Reading and writing are integral skills that are sometimes shied away from when introducing languages to young learners. Thank you to everyone who came along today & sorry the session was rushed! As promised here are the resources & I hope to get the whole ppt onto slideshare in the next few days & will post it at the bottom if anyone wants a copy. Anyway here are a few of my ideas of how to make the written word accessible to all children, wherever possible without touching a pen.
Advice from Dyslexia Association:
• Make the font large; avoid fonts with serifs
• Use a cream background rather than white
• Keep the page/board uncluttered
• Use visual images & animations
Having fun with words:
• Alphabet bags & magnetic letters (teach the alphabet song, get children to arrange the letters back in the form of the song, row by row. Spell names, words & get children to use the letters as you call them out - really make learning kinaesthetic. You can get foam letters from pound shops and Little Linguists have gorgeous beanbag sacks of letters. Play pass the letter bag & when children take a letter from the bag they must combine it with a phoneme such as 'ou' eg c & ou = cou. Often the children who struggle most with English are so relieved to discover that the phoneme will always be the same in the target language and it is much more reassuring to learn.)alphabet cards.doc
• Alphabet floor mat (use a foam floor mat if you have them in your school, or chalk the alphabet on the floor outside. Divide class into teams. One person at a time is shown a word by the teacher and has to 'dance' it out, jumping from letter to letter, for their team to write. Winning team is first to get the word.)
• IWB (Promethean tools & resources can be downloaded free
from and Smartboard ones
(nearly all available in Fr/Ger/Sp)
• PowerPoint with macro (if you don't have a whiteboard you can still make the letters move around in a powerpoint using this nifty trick - also included is the coordinates grid with nouns at bottom & adjectives along the vertical )powerpoint that thinks its an IWB.ppt
• • Writing on backs & you may need permission for this, certain schools practise SEAL techniques where children ask each other for permission to touch first, the in teams try chinese whispers by writing a letter on the back of the person next to you, who writes it with their finger on the back of the next and so on. Build up to words when the children get good at this. They are still practising spelling.
writing in the air - teacher 'writes' a familiar word in the air, children write down what they think they saw onto miniwhiteboards.
• Wordle http://www.wordle.net free online site but use common sense as it is uncensored - you or class type in some text or a list of words in the target languages, click & back it comes as a beatiful word bundle
• Dry Wipe boards -for children who are struggling to write in English, often through fear of making a mistake, a mini whiteboard is very reassuring. Mistakes can be easily wiped away with no trace at all & chances are your classmates wont even notice, while asking a class to hold up the boards is a quick assessment for learning activity for the teacher to keep tabs.
Sandtrays - work like mini whiteboards in that it's safe to make a mistake, wipe it & it's gone forever, but only you know how your class would cope with trays of sand! More likely you might work with a small group & borrow the sandpit from reception, or in my old school we went down to the beach - hey you make use of what you've got right?! Anyway you do it because of the fantastic feeling that you get when you write draw in the sand with your finger.braintraining colours.ppt
Having fun with sentences:
• Human sentences - Each child gets a word and they run around to make a sentence. BUT add in NINJA SANDWICHES (Download flashcards here ne pas sandwich.doc ) saboteurs in pairs try to nobble the verb before the sentence can be completed. Through in some connectives (et, mais) to get double points for your sentence.ne pas sandwich.docconnectives.doc
• Running sentences - Make a human sentence with a simple sentence such as J' + ai + un + chien + noir + qui + s' + appelle + Fifi. Give several more children extra adjectives - bleu, blanc, rouge etc. As the class 'read' aloud the sentence one of the extra adjectives has to race behind the line and replace the 'noir' before the children reading reach that bit of the sentence. Repeat until a child doesn't make it in time & is out. You can try this exchanging nouns, verbs etc too.IOWFood_chains2.doc
• IWB / PowerPoint with macro - or use paper - print the words for the children to manipulate to enable them to work at sentence level without needing to copy entire sentences. This helps them to focus on the meaning of the words rather than the mechanics of the pencil.
• Deal or no deal (download ppt versio here or make a paper version with flashcards or as a snap version to play in groups. Discuss the word class as teams decide to keep or discard a word.)
• Online flashcards http://cramberry.net/
children can type in questions and answers in the target language directly into this free site to create their own online flashcards to play in school or at home.Deal or no deal French.ppt
• Languages Online free sentence maker game http://www.education.vic.gov.au/languagesonline/games/sentence/inde...
• Bee-Bot / Roma (directions, sentences etc.) - this is the robot that children have to learn how to move in ICT, add some flashcards and get it to make sentences in the target language or give the directions / instructions in the target language.
It is worth considering an element of surprise and lack of logic occasionally, to make it safe for children to guess & get it wrong without fear of their French being wrong.
Having fun with text :
• Cartoon maker http://www.toondoo.com/
free online site with readymade cartoons that children can type in speech bubbles in the target language with really professional results.
• Voki http://www.voki.com/ - everyone should have a voki - try it out without even registering & write your text in the box, select the language and the 'voice' and hear it read out by the animated character.
• Scaffolding (also known as writing frames or ‘squelettes’)
• Photostory3 & Voicethread (free download from http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/digitalphotography/PhotoSt... ) & Voicethread (sign up for a private ‘educator’ or ‘K12’ account at http://voicethread.com/ ) Allow children to creat & script stories, take it to the next level with voicethread and share stories with partner schools so there is a real purpose to the 'writing'.
• Animation + Moviemaker (animate single words or storyboard, script & film entire stories – Movie Maker is usually already installed on most computers, download stop motion animator free from http://www.clayanimator.com/english/stop_motion_animator.html
or catch Oscar Stringer & Lisa Stevens)
• PowerPoint Stories: Use to make template books or encourage children to make their own animated versions of QCA unit 9 –Raconte moi une histoire! It's a simple copy weriting exercise combined with ICT powerpoint making skills with a very satisfying end result - they've made new resources for you!
Oh if we have to use a pen:
• Be creative!
• Cursive writing http://www.momes.net
(lots of downloadable handwriting worksheets) & more ideas from Jan Lewandowski’s blog http://www.janlewandowski.co.uk/2008/02/21/french-handwriting/ (Remember to check how children hold their pens)
• Shape poetry or ‘calligrams’ - ‘Guillaume Apollinaire’ & examples from ‘Le village des calligrammes’
More can be found at Le petit prince site http://www.lepetitprince.com/fr/CLUB/calligramme.php
a ‘pangram’ uses every letter of the alphabet – Why not challenge your class?!
• Big pens & big paper - so much more fun than little pencils and exercise books.
• Mini Wipe boards
The key points:
• Don’t hide text, exploit it (and compare/contrast with English)
• Teach grapheme/phoneme correspondence http://phonologique.wikispaces.com
• Make it ‘safe’ - we need to create a classroom environment where child is empowered to make an educated guess and feels safe to do so.
• Play with language
Finally here is the whole handout:
Reading and Writing Handout.doc