We started this term with a whole school Languages Day, with pupils dressed in the colours of a flag or their choice of traditional clothes. A huge thank you to parents who came in to help, contributing mini language lessons, stories, poetry, music, food, crafts and dance. There was a joyful, party atmosphere, with all children participating in the Languages Treasure hunt for flags and answers to questions dotted around the school.
We are a multilingual school, with 22 languages amongst our children and families and it was wonderful to allow a space for expressing and celebrating this in school. The day began with an assembly, followed by language and culture workshops organised by teachers and TAs in Greek, Mandarin, BSL, French, Spanish and the children's languages. Year 4 children prepared presentations, which they gave in class and have uploaded on to the class pages of the website.
Some of the contributions by parents who came in to school included German lanterns, Slovak and Bulgarian lessons, an Italian nursery rhyme, Sri Lankan dance, Polish food, sushi and Spanish poetry. There were more! We enjoyed welcoming the visitors in school, all of the activities and also making linguistic connections with the children's lives at home. Many children took the opportunity to give a language lesson, as well as making sound button recordings and video clips. Year 6 children helped organise the treasure hunt, taking responsibility for groups of younger children around the school.
Below you will find a flavour of what it is like to learn French in our school!
Progress in French is set in a context of learning about language in general and is a springboard for learning more and/or learning other languages later on. We help children develop their curiosity about language and culture, valuing and including home languages whenever possible. This is not simply an 'add on': enabling children to bring their knowledge of other languages to consciousness and compare/contrast with their learning in French lessons is important to their linguistic progression in all languages, including English. It is also an opportunity for monolingual children to understand how this works.
We recognise that French is a world language and French history, geography and culture relates to La Francophonie, including colonialism. When referring to France and French traditions, it is understood that modern France is a diverse country with evolving language and cultural habits.
Since a weekly lesson is not enough to enable children to develop a working knowledge of a language, we provide as many independent learning opportunities as possible: classes have French 'word boxes' to use in class to help recall their vocabulary and phrases, a French challenge is left on the board for each class to tackle with their class teacher the morning after their French session and home learning opportunities provided through our Languagenut programme, accessible from home.
Language skills progression is demonstrated through objectives based on the Statements outlined by Sue Cave, available at http://www.cavelanguages.co.uk/sharing-good-practice
We are currently in the process of integrating Sue Cave's Scheme into our planning, since it has the progressive phonics and grammar steps we would like to give our children the best chance of success. Once this is done, further revisions will be in terms of linking skills across the wider curriculum, with a view to embedding them in class provision, as well as the weekly specialist lessons. We also dip into the Catherine Cheater Schemes of Work purchased in January 2021, (Years 3 and 4) .
Children are able to access our French programme from home, using their individual login to our online scheme, Languagenut. Through the activities on Languagenut, pupils can revisit work done in school, complete homework assignments and learn independently via the listening, speaking, reading and writing activities provided. The Languagenut units that correspond to our in-school provision are detailed below.
Once you have accessed Languagenut, log in, using your individual password, then complete your assignments or play the games on the topic of your choice - see Topics or Vocab Trainer
Year 3 Term 1:
Unit 1, About Me/1.1, Me
Unit 1, About Me/1.2, Greetings
Year 3 Term 2:
Unit 5, Animals, Colours and Sizes/5.5, Colours
Unit 2, Hobbies and pets/2.6, Pets
Year 3 Term 3
Unit 5, Animals, Colours and Sizes/5.1, More about Pets
Year 3, Term 4
Unit 1, About Me/1.3, Numbers 1-10
Unit 2, Hobbies and Pets/2.2, Numbers 11-20
Year 3, Term 5
Unit 4, How I Look/4.3, Days of the Week
Unit 6, Food and Drink/ 6.5, Fruits
Year 3, Term 6
Unit 7, Going to School/7.5, In the Classroom
Year 4 Term 1: (please note - section still being completed)
Hobbies and pets/2.5, Hobbies
Grammar and verbs/Verbs/Avoir - present
Grammar and verbs/Grammar/Perfect Tense/Avoir
Year 4 Term 2:
Unit 21, Describing People and Things/21.5, More Colours
Grammar and verbs/Verbs/s'appeler
Year 4 Term 3
Unit 1, About Me/1.4, How Old Are You?
Year 4, Term 4
Year 4, Term 5
Year 4, Term 6
Years 3 and 4
Years 5 and 6
Listen to the songs/watch the clips - do you know them off by heart yet?
Our ranking on the Languagenut site
(the more you play, the nearer the top of the league we get!):
St Thomas ranking 1443
St Thomas ranking 981
Top class total -Year 4
St Thomas' ranking 662
Top class total - Year 4
St Thomas' ranking 309
Top class total - Year 5
St Thomas' ranking 97
Top class total - Year 4
St Thomas' ranking 71
Top class total - Year 5
St Thomas' ranking 30
Top class - Year 5
Click here to choose a revision topic from Lightbulb Languages
This games site lets you choose your topic and level.
Rate it between 1 (not helpful) and 10 (very helpful) for revision
The Languagenut resources we subscribe to are linked and described below. You can go on them at home if you have a computer you can use. Ask permission first, then use your user name and password to log on. On Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes you can use the school laptops. Come to the language area and ask to borrow one. Year 6 Language Ambassadors are on hand to help if you get stuck.
Have you also tried the games and resources on
For numbers, click on:
Numbers 30-100, depending on your personal goal!
There are also sections on
Describing your appearance and many others!
Years 5 and 6 might like to visit the sectipn on
There is also a lot of fun linguistic and cultural stuff on Euroclub Schools
Years 3 and 4 are taught on a Tuesday afternoon and years 5 and 6 on Thursday. The pairs of classes cover the same broad topic, but the language and structures within that topic are adapted for the year group taught.
Progression is demonstrated in the objectives covered, for example pupils in both Years 3 and 4 might do the Barbapapa topic. However, while Year 3 learn the colours in French through that topic, pupils in Year 4 have already done colours in Year 3, so will revise them and work on adjectival agreement. To avoid repetition of topics, they are covered in a two-year rotation.
Talk to your son/daughter about the lessons and visit this site to look at what we have covered. Ask them to show you Languagenut, go through the vocabulary and phrases and play some of the games with them.
French is taught in a skills-based way. The language-learning skills they learn, (for example recall, dictionary skills and looking for similarity and difference between languages) will transfer to learning any language and accelerate progress when applied to learning a new language.
Help your class win the prize for the most words learnt this term!
Current leaders are Year 3, who have learnt 1443 words between them in the last 30 days!
Well done Year 3!
1. Find Languagenut by following the link http://www.languagenut.com
2. Click on LOG IN (top right)
3. Enter your username and password (your class teacher will have given you this to put in your homework diary. Keep it safe, but if you have lost the details, ask your teacher or Mrs Simpson)
4. Click on 'Login' (green bar)
... see if it is possible to go to homework club and use a school laptop there
... if you can't go to homework club, speak to your class teacher or Mrs Simpson
...check you have covered everything in the 'Learn' section of the Language Course section you are working on, PLUS the games in ALL FOUR SKILLS, (listening, speaking, reading and writing) and the test
... if you are sure you know that topic, move on to a new one ... you can learn faster than you can be taught!
... you can experiment with any of the languages on Languagenut - you don't have to stick to French!
...don't worry if you tried your hardest but did not do as well as you hoped in a test - they can be repeated! They are for you to test yourself, but not to worry about ... take a deep breath and try again. If you are still stuck on something, ask Mrs Simpson
Years 3 and 4 were taught by Karine, a trainee teacher from France, who joined us in spite of the snow! Karine kindly helped us learn our colours - photos below :)
Bear puppets. We chose names for them - a chance to work on pronunciation and sound-spelling links! They were then used for conversation work in pairs. Unfortunately the lovely video of this is too big to upload, but imagine pair work conversations between bear puppets, learnt by heart or improvised!One of the best involved phrases a Year 4 pupil had learnt independently from Languagenut and incorporated in his work!
Valentine cards, for friends or relatives: pupils chose adjectives to describe their chosen recipient and wrote them in hearts on a card. It was a good opportunity to remind ourselves French adjectives often change spelling depending on whether we are describing masculine or feminine nouns.Oliwier made his Valentines card in Polish, English AND French and Emily continued her word a week Malayalam lesson (Mrs Simpson is the pupil for this!)
How to search the Languagenut site for topics you want to revise. We picked numbers as an example. Using the search facility, you need to enter a keyword from the topic you want, such as 'nine' if you are revising the numbers 1-10. You will then be given a link to the page you need. You can listen to the numbers in French, then click on 'games' to practise. When you are ready you can do the test.
In our 'Galette des Rois' lesson, we learnt the keywords:
Roi, Reine, Galette, Fève et Couronne
We used a game where we made up actions to represent each word and had to do them when the word was called out. We gradually rubbed the English translations off the whiteboard until we no longer needed them to do the appropriate action when the word was called out. We took it in turns to be the caller.
In our own galette, Seyon and Ruby were the King and Queen. They won a kit to make their own Galette des Rois!
One of our aims in Year 6 is to review and consolidate the work we have done over the years we have been learning French and look at moving on to Year 7. All Year 6 pupils have been given a workbook to use in class, which can be kept and taken home at the end of the year. Whilst it does not contain everything we have done, it is a useful revision guide and can be completed at home and taken to secondary school to show what we have done. There is also a cd-rom in the back, which is useful for revision over the summer :)
Today we handed in our Christmas jumper competition entries and looked at the Galette des Rois tradition.
Picture used here and on lesson materials (ppt) from:
The Guardian - A French Epiphany: the king of sociable cakes
Our lesson this week was on Christmas Jumper Day! The perfect opportunity to revise our colours and practise writing simple sentences to describe our jumper designs ... yes, we designed our own jumpers in French, then described them!
We had a very short time for this, so pupils were able to take their work home to finish (if needed, further copies of worksheets in the section below) In January we will look at the designs and descriptions and give a prize for:
The best presentation
The best labelled jumper, (labels in French of course!)
The best written description, (of the jumper design) in French
Bonne Chance! :):)
Supporting vocabulary can be found on Languagenut (LN):
LN Language Course 5/Animals, Colours and Sizes/5.5 Colours (revision)
LN Language Course 21/Describing People and Things/21.5 More Colours (revision and extension)
LN Language Course 16/Music and Celebrations/16.6 Celebrations (extension)
With thanks to Barbara Cee via LiPS (Languages in Primary Schools) group. Further information can be found on Barbara's blog: https://funfrenchactivities.blogspot.co.uk/
Parents of Year 5/6 children who would like to help their children with the aim of today's lesson could look at the recipe on the link http://www.marmiton.org/recettes/recette_buche-de-noel-facile_18219.aspx and talk with their children about the words/instructions that are accessible via deduction and contextual clues, such as pictures, recipes and other language we know.
This week Years 3 and 4 learnt about the French 'crèche' tradition and made triarama nativity scenes. The materials are in the section below this one - with thanks to Nicky Edwards from the LiPS (Languages in Primary Schools) group
Parents of Year 3/4 children who wish to talk about, revise or extend the lesson with their children could use the 'crèche 'section of the Euroclubs website: http://www.euroclubschools.co.uk/page41.htm I
t would be interesting to talk about this in terms of diversity - does everyone do the same thing? Do you celebrate in the the same way as your neighbour at this time of year? What is similar and what is different? Do all families in France follow the same traditions?
Formative assessment picked up a tricky problem for the children. They have learnt various phrases to describe themselves, such as 'Je m'appelle, J'habite, J'ai 10 ans', plus that 'Je' is the French word for 'I'. However, they find it hard to remember that the word 'Je' changes spelling in front of a vowel. Not only this, but the letter 'h' behaves as a vowel! We took a lesson to problematize and practise this.
We used cards for 'Je' and 'J''. These two were gang leaders, who picked gang members (verbs). The 'e' of 'Je' refused to be friends with any of the vowels, so 'Je' picked only verbs/phrases beginning with consonants for his gang. 'J'' picked verbs beginning with vowels, as the consonants who sided with 'Je' had nothing to do with 'J'', or her vowel friends. The only exception was 'h'. As 'h' was silent, she managed to sneak in with 'J'' and the vowels, since it sounded as if she wasn't there...
On our display board we can link the gang leaders Je and J' and their gangs member, using string (photos below)
We made up silly sentences - grammatically correct, but nonsense! The point was to demonstrate that all languages have rules and to practise putting the words in the right order in French ... we used a pyramid to help us build up sentences word by word, making sure we put size adjectives before the nouns and colours after them.
We experimented with ways of remembering words and spellings. Most of us found picture clues worked well. Some of us found a combination of pictures and writing helpful. For spelling, letter shapes and drawing boxes to represent the letter shapes we wanted to remember worked for many of us - we used tall (rectangular) boxes for tall letters and squares for small letters. Here are some photos of our efforts!
Students from KRAN - Kent Refugee Action Network https://kran.org.uk/ - came in to school to help us make bunting for the Turn Festival at the Abbotts Mill Project site in Canterbury. We were so impressed with their English! More students than could come wanted to visit us, so those who couldn't be with us in class sent us a 'Welcome' poster and messages. They wrote in their home languages. We talked about the languages and compared them with the languages we know. We had great fun sharing words and phrases and writing in different languages! The pupils were allowed to choose any language they wanted for their flag. The flags looked amazing all put together as bunting - we were proud of them at the festival!
Pupils were asked to give feedback on the visit from the French pupils. Many said they were nervous at first, but soon made friends. The main things pupils said they would like to change for next time were for the next visit to be longer and to learn more French so as to be able to say more!
Finally the day arrived and the pupils from Niergnies School in France came to visit us! They had to get up very early to arrive at St Thomas' at 9.30am... Year 6 showed them where to put their coats and lunches and greeted them in the hall with squash and biscuits. They spent the morning playing with us and participating in sports and games on the field. After that we had lunch together outside. We were sad to see our new friends go after lunch and we hope to arrange a return visit!
Years 3 and 4 made fortune tellers to play with with their friends from France
Back at St Thomas', we were impatient for the day when the children from Niergnies would come! We looked at some of the photos Mrs Simpson took when she was at the French school and talked about similarities and differences between their school/school life and ours. How many can you think of?
The children from Niergnies invited Mrs Simpson to join their English breakfast
Before welcoming the Niergnies pupils, we thought about ways to help them feel at home. Year 5 pupils took photos of the school and school life to show them. Mrs Simpson went to Niergnies to meet the teachers and pupils, give a presentation about our school and find out about school life in France. Miss Hill suggested taking Freda, the Year 1 flamingo. On the way, some of the other Eurostar passengers also met her! She was excited to find more words beginning with 'F' and especially keen to add some French words to her collection!