Tag Archives: French Key Stage 2

How did it all start?

Why knowing the origins of human communication helps us find better methods of teaching a foreign language.

There is much debate as to the way in which human language developed as our species evolved.   But many would agree that an early part of the evolution would have been the calling out of warnings of danger.

And it follows from this that the ability to tell stories must have come much later.

However, although as a species we had to wait for the evolution of the ability to invent and tell stories, this ability to tell stories proved to be a major evolutionary step. 

For whereas “Watch out behind you” can save an individual from injury, storytelling can bring a whole group together with a shared understanding.

In short, the few words that constitute a warning helps the individual.  The story preserves the unity of the whole group.

And it is because being part of a group remains so central to our lives that the use of storytelling in learning a foreign language is such a vital tool.   The children who learn French or Spanish with stories as a core part of their learning, can share their new learning and feel part of the group.

This is why our French and Spanish courses for years 3-4 and 5-6 are based around stories.  For just as our ancestors evolved language as a way of telling stories, so the power of the story remains, and enthuses children with the desire to learn a second language.

You can read more about our story based language courses for Spanish and French through the links below…

Learn French with Luc et Sophie 1ère Partie Starter Pack (Years 3–4)

Learn French with Luc et Sophie 2ème Partie Starter Pack (Years 5-6)

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 1a Parte Starter Pack (Years 3–4)

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 2a Parte Starter Pack (Years 5–6)

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, How children learn, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Spanish, Teaching Ideas

Not when, but how.

A resource showing pupils HOW to use French Language whilst helping to deliver the KS2 Programmes of Study

The older pupils get, it appears there is a shift from wondering HOW they will use the knowledge that they have learned to wondering WHEN they will use the knowledge that they have learned. Yet the former approach to learning is far more proactive, not least because their futures are still unwritten.

Bearing this in mind, Brilliant Publications has produced a French language resource which uses drama to teach French language and thus teaches pupils HOW to use the knowledge that they have learned.

12 Petites Pièces à Jouer contains 12 age-appropriate mini French plays for beginner French pupils in primary school and lower secondary school to listen to and act out. The plays serve as a fun way to practise French, promote fluency, and develop confidence.

What’s more, these 12 entertaining mini-plays use simple, repetitive language, are ideal for use with mixed-ability groups and help to deliver the KS2 Programmes of Study: imitate pronunciation of sounds, recognise patterns in simple sentences, and take part in pair and group work.

The photocopiable book contains scripts, English translations, worksheets to extend the plays, and suggestions for performing the plays. Native French speakers perform the plays on the audio CD included with the book.

There is more information, a sample play and audio file available to download on our website.

A pupil from Yorke Mead Primary School in Hertfordshire having a great time performing the play <<Bobo le robot>> (photo reproduced with permission)

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Secondary school

Sit still or wiggle?

Just because children are told to sit still, that doesn’t mean that’s the best way to study.

“Put a group of 8 year olds in a room and play some music with a clear rhythm, and they will move.  Some will move gracefully, others may jump about waving their arms and kicking out.”

We looked at my colleague as he said this – still an enthusiastic and highly energetic dancer himself, although well past the age most people associate with anything more than a slow waltz.

“So it’s a primitive response to rhythm,” said another of the editorial team in a ‘I’m stating the obvious’ voice.  “Does that help children learn French?” 

“Yes,” said the dancer.  He swears by dancing, dances modern styles rather than ballroom several nights a week, and travels across the country, even across Europe whenever possible.

“But most people don’t dance,” came the counter argument.

And then I got the point.  True, in our society most people don’t dance – but children do dance.  In most cases, no one has taught them, they just do it.  Which is why dance and movement are ways to teach other subjects – in this case French.

Because if you can actively involve the body, learning comes more naturally and stays in the memory far longer.

Which is why we have a DVD of simple routines which combine movements with repetition of important phrases, making learning languages easy and enjoyable.

To see how click on this link, it takes you to a part of the les couleurs video where Lynn Dryden, the author of Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français demonstrates her dance routine with the children of Mountfield Primary School in Newcastle.

“Show me research that suggests that sitting still enhances learning,” I said, and there was silence for once in my office. 

“Movement is distracting,” replied the main objector on my team (why is there always one nay-sayer in every group?)  

“But not when everyone does it,” I replied.

And so here, for each topic, in addition to the main dance routine, there is also a bank of movement activities that introduce and reinforce the vocabulary, enabling the whole topic to be taught actively.

These tried and tested routines and activities have been developed by a language specialist who is also a qualified dance teacher and have been utilised with pupils and students of all ages, achieving outstanding results throughout.

There is more information on Jouez, Dansez et Apprenez le Français on our website.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Music, National Curriculum, Physical Education (PE), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Fun French Fairy Tale Plays are brilliant!

We were delighted to receive the following comments from a Key Stage 2 teacher about Fun French Fairy Tale Plays:

Fun French Fairy Tale Plays - Brilliant Publications ISBN 9781783172450

Fun French Fairy Tale Plays

“Some of my Year 5 children performed Cendrillon and it went down a treat with the children and staff alike. The children found it fun to learn and all the information about staging made everything so much easier and manageable for me. The CD and translation were so useful too.”

Cendrillon is one of the 10 plays in Fun French Fairy Tale Plays, which contains specially written adaptations of well-known stories. Each story is given a special twist, adding extra humour. For example, Rapunzel lives at the top of the Eiffel Tower and Snow White loves to play sports, especially golf!

The plays provide an ideal way of motivating children in Key Stage 2 and 3 to learn French. Pupils will enjoy the challenge of learning a French script and subsequently gain confidence through performing it to an audience of adults and/or fellow pupils.

The plays use simple repetitive language and are easily adaptable. Each play has a specific language focus, making it easy to link the plays to topics the pupils are studying.

The book contains reproducible scripts, English translations and suggestions for performing the plays. The CD-Rom included with the book contains audio files of native French speakers performing the plays as well as a pdf version of the book.

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Filed under French, Key Stage 2, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL)