Linguistic Gymnastics

Having spent Michaelmas Term learning French, all the children at Eversfield have made a short hop across the Pyrenees and are now working on their skills in Spanish. It is taking some getting used to! Some of the words might appear quite similar but Spanish is a surprisingly guttural language, requiring linguistic gymnastics with the tongue.

We don’t normally learn Spanish at this time of year. However, we want to support Form 6, who will be jetting off to Barcelona at the beginning of May, and languages at Eversfield have always been very much a whole school effort. Even the teachers are getting involved, dusting off their holiday Spanish to greet the children and do the register, and when someone holds the door open for us, we always try to remember to say muchas gracias. Mrs Murray-Smith has organised a termly challenge to encourage the children to teach their teachers new words in Spanish. Mrs Hynes had better watch out because her class are ready to test her knowledge of colours after their lesson last week.

Children in Form 3 have two lessons of Spanish every week, each lasting half an hour. On Wednesday, Mrs Murray-Smith wanted to consolidate their learning of colours, introduced in the previous lesson. The aim in language lessons is to get the children using the foreign language as much as possible. Children are often nervous of speaking in front of the whole class, so a good way to build confidence is to play a game with a partner.

Mrs Murray-Smith taught 3AH an exciting game called ¡Zas! in which the pupils have a board covered in splats of colour. In this game, one person called out a colour in Spanish, whilst the other had to touch the corresponding splat as quickly as possible, at the same time calling out ¡Zas! in their loudest voice. It proved to be tremendous fun, and Reuben felt that it helped him to remember even the tricky colour words that don’t sound a bit like their English or French equivalents, such as amarillo (yellow) or naranja (orange). Working with a partner is also very supportive. Anusha was particularly pleased to have a kind partner who helped her when she accidentally touched the wrong colour during the activity.

The children went on to try a written challenge entitled ¿De qué color es? Here the children had the chance to see and complete simple sentences in Spanish. Rayaan thought this greatly improved his spelling of colour words. Again, this was a task with a strongly interactive element. One person had to complete the sentence by writing the appropriate colour word so, for instance, we might have El cocodrilo es de color verde or La flor es de color rosa. The other person had to read the sentence and use their own knowledge of colour words to shade the picture correctly.

Spanish will continue with Mrs Murray-Smith for a couple more weeks, before we welcome back Mrs Baldwin from maternity leave. She will then work on the development of the children’s Spanish skills for the rest of the year. Languages can also be practised at home using Linguascope, which has fun activities suitable for both iPads and desktop computers, and at all levels of experience and ability. The log in procedure is simple and most of the children should know it. However, if not, please don’t hesitate to ask one of the teachers.