On Tuesday 21st June, Beechwood staff and children threw themselves into the school’s first “Languages Celebration Day”. The aim of the day was to celebrate the launch of Spanish at Beechwood and allow the children to experience language learning (not just Spanish!) in a fun, hands-on way. After a lot of hard work organizing activities and coordinating teachers and TA’s in the run up to the day (with the help of Ellie Baker), it was a huge relief and a proud moment to see the day come together so successfully!
It was amazing, and a great privilege, for me to be able to walk around the classrooms throughout the day and see such great learning going on – everyone, children and staff alike, really was having so much fun with language learning, which was a great sight to see as MFL coordinator! The children were all so engaged in the different activities and a lot of that is down to the energy and enthusiasm being shown by the staff…even on the seventh time of repeating their activity! I’d like to say another huge thank you to everyone involved on the day, as their passion and energy really rubbed off on the children.
The children came to school in a rainbow of different colours – representing the flags of some of the countries competing in the Olympic games, as their group names for the day were Spanish-speaking countries competing in the games. They were vertically grouped, Foundation–Year 2, and Years 3-6, and spent the day rotating around a carousel of 7 different activities to do with different languages, including: arts and crafts, music, singing, games, language taster sessions and even sign language! We had a Celebration Assembly at the end of the day, in which several groups of children performed songs they had learnt. We were also treated to a montage of photos from the day, which the children loved watching!
Here is a quick summary of each activity:
Foundation – Year 2
Flag Making (Mr Pechel and Kirstie Williams): the children made little flags attached to straws. They decorated them with coloring pencils and brought them into Assembly to wave at the end of the day. Each group made the flag corresponding to their country group, eg Honduras, Costa Rica, Argentina, etc!
PE games (Mr Sewell and Miss Rowse): the children took part in some Spanish games led by Mr Sewell, where they learnt to move and respond to some basic Spanish words such as “stop”, “go”, red light, green light in the traffic light game. They also moved up and down the playground jumping, swimming, hopping, sliding, jogging, after learning these words in Spanish. The session finished with some fun parachute games, where Miss Rowse taught the children some colours and numbers in Spanish! Great fun!
Spanish singing (Ellie Baker): this was a very noisy, interactive session that the children loved! Ellie taught them various bi-lingual songs, in Spanish and English, where they learnt the days of the week, greetings, some numbers and a song about traveling to the moon (which they performed in the Assembly). Ellie brought various instruments like bells and tambourines, as well as a disco ball and a light show – needless to say, this went down a treat!
Sign Language (Miss Saunders): this activity was particularly popular with the younger children and our TAs! Miss Saunders was so enthusiastic all day and taught the children how to sign various different animals. They learnt call and response several songs with sign language, including Walking through the Jungle (which they performed in the assembly at the end of the day!)
Spanish café (Miss Kelly and Mrs Baker): the children visited the café, where they were treated to various Spanish delights, including Manchego cheese, chorizo, olives, and Spanish tortilla. Miss Kelly taught them some of these food words in Spanish and how to say please and thank you – we were all impressed with the number of children who tried new foods, especially the olives! Children enjoyed “paying” for their meal with their 5 euro note!
French singing (Miss Dolan, Mrs Baldwin/Waingels staff): in this session, the children were led by Miss Dolan and learnt parts of the body in French. They then learnt how to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in French, as well as the classic French children’s song, Aloutte! Great to see such enthusiasm from the staff on this activity….Mrs Baldwin said she was still aching 2-days later!
ICT (Mrs Levis, Charlotte Baker): the children went into the ICT suite where they played a number of different games to do with Spanish numbers and colours. Mrs Levis said she was amazed that the children who came to her in the afternoon knew a lot of the colours and numbers as they had remembered them from activities they had done in the morning.
Spanish café (Miss Anderson and Ms Rabasse): this was the same set up as the younger ones’ café. It was great to see some of the more confident older children role playing as waiters and waitresses, going round and collecting orders from the tables!
German taster (Mrs Jain, Mrs Oldach and Mrs Jenner): This session was full of interactive games where the children learnt some basic German – numbers colours and greetings – “Splat” was a particular favourite with the boys! Mrs Oldach brought in an array of German items, which she passed around and talked about with the children.
Cinema (Mrs Bolton and Bethany Lord): the children went to the “cinema” in 3/4L where they watched a short film narrated by a little girl who is English but moved to live in Valencia. The children got to learn about what school is like in Spain, they looked around a Spanish town and learnt various Spanish words along the way – they were amazed that children in Spain do not wear school uniform!
Spanish craft (Miss Ford): Miss Ford taught the children some basic Spanish greetings and questions (how are you? What is your name? etc) and then the children made fortune tellers/chatter boxes – they used these to go round the class practising their Spanish at the end of the session.
Rangoli Patterns and Hindi (Mrs Dahele): Mrs Dahele was a star and stepped in to help out when Mr Lovegrove was off. Unfortunately the tablets were not working with the Spanish games I had prepared, so Mrs Dahele instead made beautiful rangoli patterns with the children and even taught them some Hindi!
Russian taster (Mr Daniels): This session was very popular and the children loved seeing Mr Daniels in character as a Russian in a huge fluffy hat! He spoke a lot of Russian to them, which was great! They enjoyed learning some basic Russian and grappling with the Russian alphabet!
Spanish signing (Mr Dodd and Waingels staff): The children learnt the Spanish alphabet in the form of a very up-beat, Spanish rap! They loved singing along and trying to put actions to each letter – very difficult to keep up with but Mr Dodd was especially good at it! The performance in Assembly, led by the Waingels teacher, was fantastic!
“Hello” bunting (Miss Timms): Miss Timms used a short and catchy song to teach the children how to say “hello” in various different languages! They had an action for each language and performed this song in Assembly very well. They then coloured in some bunting with “hello” in a number of languages – currently still on display in the hall.
It was clear to see how much the children enjoyed themselves and I’ve had some very positive comments from both Ellie Baker and the Waingels teachers, who all said how impressed they were at how well-behaved the children were and how much excitement there was around school on the day.