Tuesday, 25 February 2014

4 song bundle of kids' songs in Italian .pdf - with download updates for LIFE

Product features:
• One page, per song verse - colour coded for tense and pronoun to teach student to recognise and use patterns
• Songs included:
• He’s got the whole world in his hands* (action song) 3 verses and bonus slide • If you are happy and you know it* (to teach emotions and body parts) 4 verses and bonus slide
• The Alphabet (to teach letters, sounds and spelling) 1 slide
• The Hokey Pokey* (to teach body parts) 2 verses and bonus slide
* extra slide for song as cloze for students to create own extra verse

Teaching ideas:
• classroom display
• slideshow on interactive whiteboard
• print for student reference
• print for students to write own verses

Student activities:
• student reference sheet
• print in black and white for students to highlight irregular verb forms
• print in black and white for students to highlight patterns across pronouns ie. suffix endings for pronoun voi across –ERE verbs.

Suggestions for use:
• student copy for reference/ teacher use as display or demonstration
• print, laminate or print on magnetic paper for whiteboard use
• A4 or A3 – check printer settings before printing

Made by Italienfrancese 2014

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Focused word lists

I ask my students to brainstorm from prior knowledge. I want to see which direction it takes.  Each group is different when I have worked with adult beginners in the community to five years olds in the first year of school to twelve years olds at the end of primary school. This activity allows the scope of learning to be opened up more than if I was to share new vocabulary at the beginning of a new unit of work or a new chapter from the textbook.  If I merely, sent around a photocopy of the vocab list and asked “Which words can you predict? Which words do you know? And which ones do you not have any idea about?”  I would not stimulate the same discussion in the group of learners.  And one or two at least would be nodding off in the corner.

I introduce pronouns as hand gestures.  There are six pronoun groups: I, you (singular), he/she/it, we, you (plural) and they. The first three are all singular.  The last three are all plural.  Within the singular groups, I is in the first person, you is second person and he, she, it and even formal you (for example, in Italian) are third person. 

First person refers back to the speaker.  First person in the plural is we (referring back to us). Second person it the listener or person you are speaking to.  Third person is a different person/group from the speaker and the listener.  These ‘others’ are being spoken about and not directly to.

Beginners in learning a language (be it foreign or improving their knowledge of their native language) often confuse these terms and labels.  Often initial knowledge up until a focused lesson on pronouns, is intuitive and is what sounds/feels/looks right to the speaker/writer.  When you start to learn a foreign language, you don’t have years of experience to lean on to determine what sounds/feels/looks right to you as the speaker/writer.  

I teach pronouns with hand gestures to simplify some of these of the beginning language learner. Most of these hand gestures are obvious, but help the learner to process the context of who is speaking, who is listening and/or who is being spoken about.

In the singular, point to the appropriate person. 
In the plural, circle in the air to indicate the group of 2 or more people.
For ‘I’, simply point to the speaker.
For ‘you singular’ point to the listener.
For ‘he/she/it/formal you’ point to who the speaker is telling the listener about.
For ‘we’ circle in the air to refer to the speaker and the listener.
For ‘you plural’ circle in the air to refer to both listeners.
For ‘they’, circle in the air to refer to two or more other people being spoken about by the speaker to the listener.

A basic list for learning any language.  Note: in Italian days and months, both DO NOT have capital letters.  In English, they always have capital letters. Just a convention to be aware of.

A surprising list for nationalities and languages. In Italian, countries and cities have capitals.  However, nationalities and languages DO NOT have capitals.

It’s always a good idea to occasionally take a break form the grammatical side of learning a new language to explore some idioms.  Here are some of my favourites: Italian olio di gomito (lit. oil of elbow) is elbow grease. French la grasse matinée (lit. the fat morning) is a sleep in.

I work with students to brainstorm and research some common festivals and holidays.  Start with festivities common to both cultures: birthdays, Christmas, Easter, even Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.  Then, challenge their knowledge / introduce some cultural holidays to the target language: national holidays, regional festivals like Carnevale.

I brainstorm from the news: It is always powerful to start with common knowledge like world news or famous people.  Recent natural disasters, known disasters even Pompeii in Italy, famous sports people, films stars, singers, tv personalities.  Most people surprise themselves with their own prior knowledge or even with how much they knew but didn’t realize was linked to Italy as a country or the Italians as a people.

This is one of my favourite topics – because you can take it anywhere to any place and time: list in three column famous people, famous places, historical events in time. Each group takes this in their own direction. Sometimes modern people, sometimes more historical.  Sometimes recent political events, or recent natural disasters that made the world news. Some people are more interested in Italy when it became a Republic or the influence of the Roman Empire.  There is something for everyone.  Children are often either more interested in the modern famous people or the gladiator era in to main groups.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

10 Favourite places to visit in Italy

10 places I visited in Italy
1.     The Colosseum in Rome – always a big tourist attraction.  I went in on my own, because my host family in Rome did not want to pay for the attraction they had seen before.  The atmosphere was set with moss growing over the ruins, a tour guide walking groups through the building and actors dressed up in period clothing for tourists taking photos.
2.     The Vatican in Vatican City – It was an amazing atmosphere to see the Pope speaking to the people on the last Sunday before Christmas in 1999. The square was decorated with Christmas spirit complete with a very tall, Christmas tree next to a life size nativity display.
3.     The glass maker in Venice – first visitors in Jan 2 2000.  It was spectacular to see a glass maker use his breath little by little to blow a piece of glass into the shape of a horse.  Very fragile with a mazing detail.  And it did not take him long to make.  We watched the process of heating and moulding the glass in around 20 minutes.
4.     Milan train station –  I travelled from the Milan air port across to Vicenza, Veneto train station to meet my second host family in 2003.  On my trip home, I looked trough the shops and found a collection of products made into fridge magnets.  I looked and looked at them all and finally decided on a wood oven frozen pizza, and two packets of dry pasta.  Very cute momentos of the time and place to keep as souvenirs.
5.     The parmesan cheese factory in Reggio nell’Emilia – I was lucky enough to see the cheese making process and storage.  I visited a local cheese maker who was friends with my host family in Reggio nell’Emilia.  Also, I had a quick look at a small Italian bakery in action.
6.     the car free centre in Reggio nell’Emilia – It was refreshing to see the city council organising green transport.  Big car parks were put in next to city bus stops.  Free bikes were available to ride around the city using green energy.  It was a nice approach to keep cars and car pollution out of the city centre and brought many people though the city to shop and meet up with friends.
7.     The bell tower in Florence was stunning.  Old architecture maintained over the years for the community and tourists to explore.  The bell tower was open for an entrance fee to let tourists climb the many steps to a great view.  Coming up the last stairs, you step into view of the cityscape from high up the bell tower.  It was foggy day but the fog over the town still made spectacular panoramas for my own photos to share of my travels.
8.     Winter in Italy with snow.  This is spectacular for anyone who does not have snow back home. I was so hopeful for seeing some snow that I thought the first heavy hail storm was snow.  I went up to the roof top of my host family’s apartment block in Rome.  I took photos and showed my host family.  What looked to me like a blanket of white snow, ended up melting within half an hour.  A blanket of hail must be much thinner than a proper blanket of snow.
9.     Christmas in Italy with nativity displays.  Most towns on each Christmas visit had a display of some sort or another.  Some houses set up a model nativity even taking up half a room.  The most impressive town in northern Italy has a community put nativity scenes in their windows counting to more than 100 displays.  It was wonderful bringing out the community and visitors in Christmas spirit, despite the cold weather.
10. New Year’s in Italy with friends in the mountains. I stayed with friends for three days in their mountain apartment.  We enjoyed the little community but found it to be more like camping when the pipes had frozen over the week before.  We left a bucket of snow near the open fire to melt down to water.  Washing hands became rubbing snow and a bar of soap together.  On the last day, we put snow melted to water into a watering can.  Together we soaped up dishes and then the other person was the tap/watering can to rinse of soap dish by dish.

Ten things I would love to see and experience
1.     anywhere south of Rome
2.     Pompeii in Naples
3.     Sicily
4.     Sardegna
5.     Little Italy tourist park
6.     the leaning tower of Pisa, Tuscany
7.     an outdoor concert
8.     the Carnevale in Venice
9.     Easter in Italy
10. Summer in Italy

What is your favourite place in Italy? Where would you love to go next time?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Reflections on teachers’ needs in languages

This is a summary of the language learning community I have been welcomed into on Teachers Pay Teachers. Some schools will have one or two languages on the curriculum.  Others will be seeking trained teachers in languages, but be unable to attract a teacher for the moment.  My first teaching job was in a regional town.  I took the position after no one had filled the vacancy in the previous 4 years. It was excited about the challenge straight after university. The town was welcoming but it was a challenge to lift all students with a four year gap in their Italian knowledge towards year level standard for 5 – 12 year olds.
Through TpT, I have learned from my generous and supportive returning customers
·       Italian buyers make 33% of purchases of Italian products
·       French buyers make 27% of purchase of French products
·       These languages are then followed by Spanish, German and Portuguese.

·       Customers have bought 60 different products from my store.
·       The biggest range is the Italian range of 34 different products.
·       Followed by French, Spanish, German and Portuguese in descending order.
Making products in more languages reaches students in more schools.
·       Action: I create resources in Italian and French, and for the growing need for similar resources to support school learning other languages.
Making language bundles makes resources more affordable
·       Action: I bundle the number chart sets in languages to discount the price and make it more accessible to teachers
Teachers need beginner and advanced resources to support all students
·     Action:  I create a range of numbers resources across languages to support from 1-10, 1-30 and 1-100.
·     Action: I create colour coded vocabulary and sentence building to support gender and number patterns in nouns and highlight the roles of verbs and nouns.
Authentic texts make authentic learning experiences
·      Action: I create a bundle of activities that are useful with any text.  You can adapt it to any text and use the graphic organisers to help students interact and respond to the text. One example is newspaper reading comprehension activities.

 I am amazed with how much support there already is in the TpT community from my fellow teachers. If you are a langauges teacher looking to start your own TpT store, try to make a variety of resources.  If you know more than one language to increase your reach to more students dramatically,  If you are artistic, many teachers like to buy bright and colourful resources with illustrations particularly for primary school children. If you are not so artistic, make space in your resources for students to have the opportunity to draw their own.  Students who make their own connections will remember more of the work throughout the unit.

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Happy Teaching and Learning Languages!

Interview of a Language Learner

              Name: Heather (Italienfrancese Teacher Blogger)
Languages: English (native), Italian (major), French (minor) and now some Spanish.

Favourite foods: pizza verdurissima and crepes
Favourite chocolates: Baci and Ferreo Rocher
Favourite cheeses: Bocconcini, Brie and Camembert
Favourite foreign films: La vita è bella (Italy) Tais Toi (France)

First languages experiences: At primary school, I lived in a multicultural community in CA, USA on campus at Standford Uni.  Many international families studying for PhD, and children attended the primary school on campus.  30+ nationalities in each class and at community pot luck dinners.  Now, the same primary school teaches BILINGUALLY in English and Spanish!

Languages learnt at school: Primary (French), High School (French, German and Italian).  Final year of school (Italian).  University (Italian & French).  Trained to teach: Italian to year 12 and French to year 10.  Continued learning: via Benny Lewis’s blog and Duolingo (free app in iPhone).  I teach beginners Italian for adults at University of the Third Age as a volunteer. I am working on 5 learning and maintaining my skills in 5 languages in Duolingo: Italian, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese.  I look forward to Duolingo adding many more languages - especially Welsh (My husband's family is Welsh and it looks like a great language challenge ;-)

Overseas trips: high school exchange to Italy (1999), au pair in Italy (2003), study tour to New Caledonia (2007), study tour/cultural research Italy (2009)

Favourite translations from Italian: Non vedo l’ora – I can’t wait (Italian translates as ‘I cannot see it now’), olio di gomito - elbow grease (Italian translates as ’oil of elbow), testa in giù - upside down (Italian translates as ‘head in down’.

Favourite translations from French: il fait la grasse matinée – he is sleeping in (French translates as ‘He is having a fat morning’.  Tu as l'air d'un artiste - You look like an artist. (French translates as ‘You have the air of an artist’.


Are you a language learner or language teacher?  Would you like to guest blog? I would love to share my learning journey and learn about yours. Please comment if you would like to guest blog for a Interview of a language learner :-)

Summary and Reflection of Report "Europeans and their Languages" (2012)

Research has been conducted into the languages learned after mother tongue in European countries.  Europe as a continent is interesting because its contains many countries that happen to have more than one national language.  This in itself promotes language learning.  If many citizens speak at least two languages as least at conversation level, they are more likely to try learning another language for work or travel reasons.  I know that since I learnt Italian at high school and university level, I was then more comfortable to learn another language when the opportunity arises. Personally, I learn some French and German at primary school and high school before taking up Italian at senior high school and into university level.  I then because a languages teacher after completing a double degree in Arts with Education and a Diploma of Language.  This certified me to teach French to year 12 (senior) and Italian to year 10 (junior high school) from my minor and major respectively.
·       The most widely spoken mother tongue is German, then Italian, English, French, Spanish and Polish.
·       Most respondents in Luxembourg, Latvia, the Netherlands, Malta, Slovenia, Lithuania and Sweden speak at least two languages.
·       The five most widely spoken foreign languages remain English, French, German, Spanish and Russian.
·       Just over 40% of Europeans are able to understand at least one foreign language well enough to follow the news on radio or television.
·       Most Europeans are able to read a newspaper or magazine article in a foreign language. However, Europeans are slightly less likely to understand any foreign language enough to communicate online (e.g. using email, Twitter, Facebook etc.)
·       Europeans regularly use foreign languages when watching films/television or listening to the radio, then using the internet and communicating with friends.
·       Most Europeans are not active learners of languages. Over 40% have not learnt a language recently and do not intend to start.
·       Most Europeans identify working in another country as an advantage of learning a new language, then using the language at work (including travelling abroad), the ability to studying abroad and possibility of using it on holidays abroad.
·       Most Europeans think that knowing other languages is very useful.  English is perceived as the most useful before German, French, Spanish and Chinese.
·       Most Europeans consider mastering other foreign languages as useful for the future of their children, first French and German then Spanish, and Chinese.
·       Most Europeans say free lessons would make them significantly more likely to learn a language, then if they were paid to learn, if they were able to learn it in a country in which it is spoken, and if it improved career prospects.
·       Most widely mentioned barrier to learning another language is lack of motivation, then lack of time to study properly and that it is too expensive and lastly not being good at languages discourages them.
·       Most widespread method used to learn a foreign language is attending lessons at school, then by talking informally to a native speaker, with a teacher outside school in group language lessons, and by going on frequent or long trips to the country in which the language is spoken. 
·       More than 40% of Europeans prefer subtitles to dubbing when watching foreign films or TV programmes.
·       Translation has an important role to play in a wide range of areas across society, from education and learning and in health and safety, getting news about events in the rest of the world, participating in or getting information, accessing public services or enjoying leisure activities such as TV, films and reading.

Fact: Europeans are feeling favourable towards multiligualism.
·       Europeans have a positive attitude towards multilingualism. Most know other languages is very useful and almost every European considers mastering languages useful for the future of their children.
Fact: Research does not prove that multilingualism is increasing.
·       Most Europeans consider English as one of the two most useful languages then German, French, Spanish and Chinese.
Fact: Passive skills increasing
·       More Europeans regularly use foreign languages on the internet and watching films/television or listening to the radio.

Fact: Advantages and Barriers of Language Learning
·       More Europeans identify language learning with working in another country. A little over 40% of respondents think that learning a new language would help them to get a better job in their own country and study in another country.  Just under 40% believe learning a new language would help with understanding people from other cultures.
Fact: Young people are the future
·       Cultural, societal, economic and technological change opportunities among young Europeans, to engage them in learning new languages and using them in a wider context.
·       The majority can use their languages in passive activities, and communicate online and read the press or watch TV. However, cost, time, quality of teaching, availability of learning resources and motivation remain significant barriers to learning foreign languages.
·       Young people aged 15-24 years are more likely to choose English, German, Spanish and Chinese to learn as a foreign language.
·       Although the language skills need to be improved, the Europeans’ favourable attitude will probably be reflected in the abilities of the young generations in years to come.

Personal Reflection
My students have mixed reactions to the challenge of learning a new language. I teach in a regional town 5 hours from our state capital.  The main employer is town is the steel works company.  So, many families have parents working 12 hour shifts in a roster of 4 days on and 4 days off. I feel some of the people in this demographic may have always lived locally and never expected to travel.  This seems to have affected the perspective of the students.  Some expect they will never travel further than Adelaide our capital city.
Personally, I use all forms of technology to engage my interesting a variety of texts and extend my understanding of new vocabulary and grammar.  If you read my blog post (http://italienfrancesetpt.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/7-ways-to-expand-vocabulary.html) you will see I combine internet, film, books, people just to name of few.  I actively do this since I live in a regional town and do not have as many opportunities as I used to when I lived in a suburb of Adelaide.

In conclusion, this report finds that in general Europeans as a population are not becoming more proficient in more languages yet; most have enough proficiency to listen to target language radio of watch foreign language television and movies.  Many of these people preferring subtitles and not dubbing over the original language. Many young people continue learning another language (mainly English, German, Spanish and then Chinese) primarily to gain work in another country.

Implications for teachers

As a teacher, teaching outside of Europe, I suggest we use authentic target language sources to engage the interest of our students. Teachers should choose authentic digital texts with optional subtitles for  beginning language learners.  Beginners can use subtitles as needed without loosing the listening skills experience in the target language. Encourage your students to make connections with language learning and their world: it can open doors to working overseas, getting a better job in their own country and understand other cultures more deeply.
Eurobarometer, Special. "Europeans and their Languages." European Commission (2012).