Classroom Language Visuals in Spanish … and how to keep track!

Following on from last week’s post containing some visuals I’m using with my French classes for setting up classroom language, here goes with some for Spanish:

Bless you

Can I

How do you say in English

How do you say in Spanish

How do you spell

I don’t know

I’ve forgotten

Pardon

Points – winning and losing

winning and losing

Won – lost

Repeat please

Right – wrong

Silent letter

One of my little ‘challenges’ as I get going with lots of classes which are completely new to me is working out how to keep track of which expressions I’ve begun to get going with classes and which I haven’t.  This is simpler when you only take on a couple of extra classes a year (if that’s how your school does it), but when you are new to a school at any stage of your career and you want to set up routines with all of them, this poses an extra challenge!

I’m teaching all of six of the Year 7 French classes and the school runs on a 2-week timetable.    As some of the groups will have their third class with me before others have had their second, my poor old memory might not stand up to it!  To get round this, I’m using this simple grid: Year 7 Classroom language

Basically, at the end of a lesson, I tick  which expressions I have actually used with the class (rather than those I intended to use) and which I presented properly (as opposed to fleetingly).  Different linguistic events will crop up with different classes and will require different expressions.  This grid helps me to see whether all classes are getting pretty much the same deal or if one is lagging behind the others.  Without something like this to look at, I might not actually notice for quite a while.  The ticking can be done between one class leaving and the next arriving and it’s easily done – I only need to see which new ones have been slapped on the wall before I quickly take them down before the start of the next lesson.  There is no need to make sure that every class has used exactly the same expressions in the same week or anything like that – this is what contributes to the authenticity of the interaction – but it will help me to see at a glance if there are any gaps I might want to fill with the class which is on their way down the corridor.  I would, however, try to teach the same range with all classes over a half-term period.

As expressions get extended or more complex, or synonymous phrases crop up, they can be added to the bottom of the list.

So.  Monday’s coming!  Have a good week everyone!

Classroom Language Visuals in French

It’s the night before the morning after!  Tomorrow I start in a new school in East Anglia, teaching French & Spanish in an 11-16 mixed comprehensive.  I’m very much looking forward to it, all mixed in with that apprehensive feeling of starting something new!  Part of that, of course, is preparing lessons for classes I don’t know yet, so I’ve got my strategy planned out which will almost certainly need adjusting once I’ve got to know my classes and I’ve identified what their next steps are.  So, to get us started, you’ll find below some of the classroom language I’m intending to use in the first week with my French classes.  The Spanish visuals will pop up here in a few days’ time.  Some of these expressions I probably won’t need in the first week, and some I’m not intending to use, but the chances are a situation will crop up that I need to be ready for.

A couple of points that I will make clear to my classes but which may not be immediately obvious as you look at the visuals:

  • Where ‘vous’ appears (or ‘Usted’ in Spanish), it is accompanied by a picture of a crown to remind them that in the contexts in which ‘vous’ appears here, it is a formal form of address.  (In a later lesson, we will choose which pupils in the class we will address as ‘vous’ for the rest of the lesson, and they will wear Christmas cracker crowns!).
  • I colour-code verb endings that I want to make a big deal of in green, genders in blue or red (masc / fem, respectively),  question words in purple and the negative elements (ne…pas) in brown.  The pair of glasses drawn around ‘ne’ and ‘pas in ‘Je ne sais pas’ are ‘les lunettes de la négation’, an idea I got from a student at St. Martin’s, Lancaster, several years ago.  A brilliant idea to show pupils that a verb must go between the two elements.
  • I never put these up on the wall as A4 rectangular sheets – I like to cut round the edges to make a cloud shape.  Much more pleasant to look at, I feel.
  • All the phrases will eventually be permanently displayed on the wall, but until we’ve used them all (and there are more to come), they go up and come down for each lesson (not as much hassle as it sounds).  I keep them laid out on the floor behind where I stand so I can find them easily and they go up on the wall when the situation arises and after I’ve got the class pronouncing them correctly.  Many of those situations I engineer to arise, as it were, and others happen unexpectedly.
  • I’ve got lots of new classes to meet this week so there is the extra challenge of how to keep track of which classes have met which expressions as the weeks go on….!  I’ll tell you how about that in the next post!  For now, here are those visuals:

What’s the difference

Silent letter

Right – wrong

Points – winning and losing

Won – lost

Repeat please

Pardon

I’ve forgotten

I don’t know

How do you spell

How do you say in English

How do you say in French

How do you pronounce

Can I

Bless you