Clothes and colours

In French this term, Year 3 have been learning about clothes and colours, and how to put these together in a sentence.  Over the last few weeks, they have dressed their paper models, labelled them and learned how to write sentences to describe what they are wearing.  Here is an example of their work:

Song writing in German

Years 4 and 5 have been enjoying learning German this term with the Goethe Institute scheme featuring Felix and Franzi.  Recently, Year 5 have been learning about colours and fruits, and, as ever with this scheme, having fun learning through song.  After learning the song ‘Ich habe eine Banane’ which features various fruits and their colours, Year 5 were challenged to amend the song by using the first verse as a template, and to add additional verses using a bank of different German fruits and colours.  They rose to the challenge and wrote some wonderful new versions of the song, using a variety of interesting new colours such as schokoladebraun (chocolate brown) and giftgrün (toxic green).  

Here are some of the results:

MFL and STEM = lots of fun!

This week, we have STEM week which has meant the opportunity to create some MFL lessons with a STEM twist!

CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) lessons, that is, teaching languages through a cross-curricular topic, are gaining in popularity, particularly within primary teaching, and there are many benefits to this method of teaching.  The pupils have the opportunity to learn maths/science/ICT whilst at the same time absorbing useful transactional vocabulary in the foreign language.  It could be said that it is easier for pupils to retain the vocabulary that they are learning because it is relevant and integrated in to the topic that they are learning, rather than being learned separately and theoretically in a language-only lesson.

With this in mind, here are some examples of the lessons we are enjoying this week.

Year 3 

Cross-curricular French and Science: Les fruits – est-ce qu’ils flottent?

Taken from a lesson idea presented at a workshop at the recent Language World 2017 conference (the national conference of the Association of Language Learning), Year 3 have been learning the names of fruits in French, and making predictions in the language as to whether or not each fruit will float or sink.  Il/elle flotte ou il/elle ne flotte pas?  After having made their predictions, we did the experiment and pupils then wrote up their results in French, using sample sentences.

Year 4

German ‘Papierdrachen und Monster’: Making a Monster video.

When in Germany for an etwinning conference last week (which I will write up in a separate post), I found a wonderful little bookshop selling children’s books and came across book with many templates for paper dragons and monsters.  In this lesson, Year 4 followed visual instructions to cut out and make their own German paper monster, and then made them in to finger puppets.  They then worked in pairs to write, perform, direct and film their own mini videos using their puppets to perform German dialogue (taken from our recent lessons).  The results were great!

Year 5 

Stop Motion! German and ICT.

Year 5 did much the same as above, creating paper monsters, but when it was their turn with the ipads, they used stop motion and imovie to create their videos, adding in German dialogue as a narration over the top.

Year 6 

Navigation challenge : Can you find your way around the German S-Bahn?  

Year 6 were challenged to find their way around the German S-Bahn (high-speed suburban train and underground network in Munich) using a map.  Having spent 3 days in Munich the previous week, I was interested to use the S-Bahn map as a navigational challenge for Year 6.  Pupils completed a set of challenge questions, including language questions (find the word for the airport/the zoo, etc.), directions (how many stops to get to…which lines do you need to use?) and observation (can you work out from the map…).  Once the questions had been answered, they were challenged to write their own to test their peers!

All in all, a lot of fun is being had during STEM week, and it has demonstrated just a few of the ways that MFL can be incorporated into cross-curricular teaching to enhance the curriculum and to support the teaching of other subjects.


Pupils often ask me if they can use the MFL ICT apps that we use in school from home, which is something I would definitely encourage!  The use of apps in MFL greatly increases the retention of vocabulary and learning in this way has many benefits.  Learning is independent and self-directed, pupils can work at their own pace, and the repetition of vocabulary through games and matching activities, using listening and reading skills, is excellent for a pupil’s general literacy (recognising words which are the same or similar to English, working out new words using context) while building a strong basis for future language learning.

There are many good language learning apps out there, but here a few suggestions of apps that we currently use in lessons.  Most pupils in the school are familiar with these already, so they can easily be used at home.

Junior Language Challenge – Years 5 and 6 only

Pupils in Years 5 and 6 are currently taking part in the Junior Language Challenge which is a national competition.  All pupils have their own log-in details (if they have mislaid these, they can see me (Miss Riley) for a reminder of these!).  I am keeping a regular eye on the leaderboard and there will be prizes at the end of the year for the highest scores!  The app can be downloaded from the website on to an ipad or tablet if you go to the ‘download’ tab after logging in. The language currently being learned in this round of the challenge is French.

Memrise – Years 4 and 5 only

The above course uses vocabulary taken from the Felix and Franzi German course (Goethe Institute German) which I am currently teaching to Years 4 and 5.  It is free to sign up and create an account, and most pupils are already familiar with Memrise from their MFL ICT lessons (some will already have created their own account).

Quizlet – all years. 

This is the app that we use most frequently in MFL ICT lessons.  There are a number of suggested courses below for different languages and different year groups.  Again, it is free to sign up and create an account.  Some Year 6 pupils created their own account with their school email addresses this week.  Quizlet can be accessed via the website at, or downloaded as an app to use on an ipad or tablet.

Year 5 Spanish Healthy Living

Year 6 Spanish The Verb ‘to go’

Year 3 Spanish Sports

Year 5 German Sports

Year 4 German

Enjoy your language learning, and any questions, please let me know!


Los colores! by Year 3

Last term, Year 3 were learning about different colours in Spanish, and learned to sing a song using all of the different colours.  Here they are singing in Spanish!

Wilkommen, Felix und Franzi!

On the return from the Easter holidays, Years 4 and 5 have welcomed a couple of new arrivals, Felix and Franzi (characters from the Berlin Zoo who have moved to England) to their MFL lessons.  Years 4 and 5 are learning German this term with the Goethe Institute programme.  The scheme of work is a lot of fun, very engaging and interesting for the pupils who can work with the puppets, watch the animated adventures of the German duo in a series of bi-lingual cartoons, learn songs and take part in fun language-learning activities and games.  We’re really looking forward to a fun term of learning more about German language and culture!  I will post some videos and recordings of the pupils working with Felix and Franzi and singing German songs in the coming weeks.

Hallo Felix, Hallo Franzi!

In other German news, we have also welcomed back Bob, our German travel buddy, who spent last term in a German classroom with a Year 6 class in Schongau, Bavaria.  He returned with a journal full of his adventures in Germany with the children, pictures, postcards, information about the local area and sweets – a very exciting parcel to receive!  We will be working with all of these fascinating authentic materials over the coming weeks in our MFL lessons.

Willkommen zurück, Bob!  

You can learn more about Schongau, the town in Bavaria in Germany where Bob spent last term, here:


Similes in Spanish

This week, Years 4 and 6 have been practising their dictionary skills while also revising colours and learning about how to use similes in Spanish.  Firstly, we read and understood a poem in Spanish together, which used similes, and then we used dictionaries to look for nouns which would help us write our own.  Year 4 pupils are just being introduced to using bi-lingual dictionaries in their MFL lessons, and Year 6 are getting more confident using theirs.

In order to use the nouns that we had found in the dictionary correctly in our poems, we needed to understand the different words in Spanish for ‘the’ and for ‘a’ and when to use these appropriately.  Year 6 are beginning to get to grips with this, and Year 4 worked well at using the example provided for them – and some pupils were able to start to adapt the example and write independently.

The resulting poems are Easter-themed, describing the different colours of an Easter egg.

Here are some examples of the lovely work that the pupils have produced:

Healthy eating in Spanish: Primary Languages Workshop

Today, some of our Year 5 pupils didn’t have their usual MFL lesson, but instead had the opportunity to participate in a Spanish primary languages workshop with a visiting school.

We were lucky to have a wonderful class of enthusiastic, hard-working junior linguists from Seely Primary and Nursery school visiting us, with their teachers, for a morning of Spanish games, reading and writing activities and interactive pair work, all related to the theme of healthy eating and sports in Spanish.

It was a very busy morning with lots of great participation, hard work and fun from all of the children involved.  All of the teachers were extremely impressed with how the pupils paired up and worked together to contribute to all of the activities.  The children from the two schools helped each other to build sentences, learn new games and pronounce new words.  After all of that hard work, we were certainly ready to sit down and enjoy a lunch together at the end of the morning!

Thank you so much to Mrs Perry, Mr Knowles and their class of Year 5s from Seely Primary School for making the trip to visit us and making the morning so enjoyable.

Here are some photos where you can see our pupils working hard and having fun together with languages:


Budding linguists…languages at Lovell

Teaching (and learning) a language at primary level is a lot of fun, as I hope you will see from all the exciting activities that will be showcased on this blog, and teaching the infants at Lovell House is no exception!  We have a lot of fun learning French and Spanish through games, songs, pair activities and more.

Here are a just a few examples of the language activities we take part in during our lessons at Lovell.

EYFS have been learning their Spanish colours using a carousel of interesting, hands-on activities, including sorting coloured balls, building multi-coloured lego towers and playing nerve-wracking rounds of ‘Topple’!

Year 1 and 2 have been learning about family in Spanish, and foods.  They have been taking part in similar activities which help them to practice their vocabulary in real-life situations.  In our MFL room at Lovell House, we have a mini Spanish cafe where the children can practise ordering food and drink.  While preparing to visit the cafe, they can use the foam letters, scrabble letters and board books for reading and spelling, as well as using the puppets and interactive online games to practice listening to, and speaking using the vocabulary they need.  Here are some photos showing some of the activities we have been enjoying in recent weeks.

¡Feliz día de la madre!

This week, we have been celebrating ‘El día de la madre’ (Mother’s Day) in MFL lessons, and each year group so far has made some fabulous Spanish Mother’s Day cards, which have also helped the pupils to consolidate what they have been learning this term in the language.

First, it was Year 4’s turn to create their cards.  They used a simple flower template which allowed them to practise Spanish personality adjectives, using a word list and writing the Spanish and English words on each side of each petal.  Once decorated, the cards looked great, finished off with a Spanish greeting inside.

Next, it was Year 3’s turn.  Year 3 have been practising colours and numbers recently in Spanish, so they completed a colour by numbers card, using all the colours they have been learning and revising their numbers from 1-10.  Again, they wrote a Spanish greeting inside.

Finally, it was Year 6’s turn.  We looked at a Spanish poem, and translated this, before using our dictionary skills to find a variety of adjectives to describe Mums.  This allowed us to look at masculine and feminine adjectives and change some of the adjectives before we could use them.  Putting this all together, Year 6 created some impressive cards, as you can see.

Well done everyone on all of your efforts, your cards all look fantastic!