Children are singing when they leave Carole Nicoll's lessons, and learning a language at the same time. If they are prepared to memorise pop songs in English, the primary languages teacher says, why not in Spanish, French or German?
Now she has published The Language Factory resources, with CDs of songs in the three languages, including karaoke versions.
Primary schools in England and Wales must give all pupils the opportunity to learn a foreign language throughout key stage 2P3 to 6 by 2009 (this is already compulsory in Scotland at P6) and schools have a budget to buy resources for the first time.
The Language Factory range is among those worth considering. It has three separate CDs of songs for each language. The lyrics can be projected on to a screen from a CD-Rom and also appear in a print workbook alongside important vocabulary and ideas such as games to exploit the language.
The strength of the CDs is the catchy and often familiar tunes. For example, the song Qu'est-ce que tu as dans ta trousse? (What do you have in your pencil case?) is sung to the tune of Hosanna. As children do not need to learn a new tune, they quickly pick up the words and enjoy singing the songs.
There is also a karaoke version of each song. The useful photocopiable teachers' book has clear, appealing visuals and maps the objectives of the key stage 2 framework for languages against the various songs. These resources are excellent value for money.
Mon ane, a DVD produced initially for French children, features 30 traditional French songs, thus fulfilling the key stage 2 framework criteria for children being exposed to traditional French songs and nursery rhymes.
Well-known favourites such as Alouette and Fr re Jacques are included, as well as some more unusual songs. They are sung by a donkey and other appealing characters, with funny actions, and children will enjoy watching, listening and getting an insight into French culture.
The DVD can be used with younger children as well as with older pupils who can read the text and make the most of the karaoke version of each song, where the tune is played and the words highlighted at the appropriate time.
This is another good buy at pound;23.50.
Launchpad CR-Roms from Virtual Languages are intended for pupils to practise Spanish, French, German or Italian individually at a PC (schools will need headsets and microphones for pupils to make the most of it).
The language is at sentence rather than word level, so is mainly suitable for Year 6P6. Topics covered fulfil some of the key stage 2P3 to 6 languages framework and pupils and teachers will no doubt appreciate the native speaker input and the attractive visuals.
There is more good value in Training for Learning's CD-Roms. Each has 100 resources for interactive whiteboards, which cover the main topic areas in the key stage 2 framework and will save teachers a lot of time. The stories include fairytales such as the The Three Little Pigs, Puss in Boots, Cinderella and The Enormous Turnip, in the foreign language.
There are also drag-and-drop matching activities, "magic box" activities to develop the spelling of simple words, quizzes and links to relevant websites such as the Spanish and French weather sites.
Folens Primary Spanish consists of two photocopiable workbooks covering the main language areas at key stage 2P3 to 6, such as animals, colours, numbers, dates and months.
The first is suitable for Years 3 and 4P3 and 4; the second, with a lot more vocabulary, for Years 5 and 6. These materials are nicely illustrated and useful, as resources can be sparse in Spanish. They will involve a lot of photocopying, though, which should be taken into account Wendy Adeniji is a primary languages teacher and consultant based in West Yorkshire
The Language Factory Songs Series
All available in Spanish, German and French Single CDs (three for each subject) pound;18 each Teachers' CD-Rom pound;40 Two CDs plus workbook pound;39.99 Three CDs plus workbook pound;49.99 Pack of three CDs plus workbook and CD-Rom pound;89.99 www.language-factory.co.uk
Mon ane DVD
Teaching and Learning Publications
KS2-3Level B-E French, Spanish, German and Italian CD-Roms
pound;19.99 single user each language
pound;211.48 site licence
100 Primary FrenchSpanish Activities for the Interactive Whiteboard
Training for Learning
Folens Primary Spanish 1 and 2