Modern Languages at Southwater
At Southwater Junior Academy, Modern Languages has always been a curriculum area that inspires and captivates our pupils. We are proud to have specialist teachers and HLTAs who lead learning right from Year 3 to Year 6. Our curriculum is individual in its content whilst ensuring that children develop key skills and progress in both the breadth and complexity of language learning, during their time with us. As a school, we offer French as our primary language. A half-termly Spanish unit features in Years 3-5, developing to one full term of Spanish for our Year 6 children, in preparation for KS3 language learning. Our curriculum is a spiral curriculum, developed to continually consolidate and broaden children’s knowledge and linguistic application, whilst meeting National Curriculum skills and objectives.
When children enter Year 3 we are keen to share and celebrate their existing knowledge and experiences of any language. Children are quickly encouraged to be creative in their learning through a range of speaking and listening games such as Splat, Noughts and Crosses and Number Ping-Pong, to mention just a few. By the summer term we find ourselves with emerging linguists, capable of reading and writing simple or compound sentences which describe animals and their habitats. Creativity finishes the year as children design their own animal masks!
Throughout Year 4, our language learners are encouraged to grow in independence as they tackle more challenging reading and writing activities. In order to do this, a developing understanding of key grammar terms is set into motion. Children start to learn verb phrases which can be used alongside interchangeable nouns, allowing children to express themselves more freely. A growing knowledge of cognates helps children to quickly expand their bank of vocabulary. In Year 4, children have their first opportunity to become intercultural researchers as they discover and present facts about Paris.
Here at Southwater Junior Academy, we are very proud of the progress our linguists make each term and each year. At the beginning of each termly unit, children complete an Assessment for learning Grid in which they asses their current knowledge against the objectives for the term. They also complete unaided questions to evidence their pre-unit knowledge. Both the grid and questions are repeated, unaided, at the end of the termly unit, allowing children to manifest and see for themselves, the progress they have made over the term. In addition, the use of a Speaking Skills Record Sheet, allows children and teachers to keep track of how much they contribute to speaking French in class.
In the Upper Juniors, children are assessed twice a year against our very own Age Related Expectations (ARE). These descriptors are compiled by us and are confidently derived from KS3 AREs as well as elements of the Primary Languages Framework and National Curriculum, meaning our children are always aspiring to high national expectations.
We like to get our Year 5 children inspired by the art of communication. Children begin to think of language as one of many ways expression can be created and received. Throughout the year, children look closely at the work of the French artist Matisse. The artist’s later prints form the stimuli for all the language content taught in Year 5. During the year, we see our learners develop a deepening understanding of grammar and syntax, and how to manipulate these successfully. By the end of the spring term, children begin to demonstrate paragraph level reading and writing skills as they take on the role of art critiques, expressing their haughty opinions
Our Year 6 language learners make us very proud indeed. Year on year, they achieve high standards in reading, writing, listening and translating skills, with most children securing level 3 in writing. In the autumn term, cross curricular links see children putting themselves in the shoes of an evacuee. Children are tasked with writing a postcard home, expressing the likes and dislikes of country life, as well as the contents of their suitcases! We also develop the complexity of grammar in the spring term when children are required to use two consecutive verbs in a sentence, based on learning from the story ‘Le loup qui voulait changer de couleur.’ After a small amount of Spanish lower down in the school, our Year 6 children finish their language learning one full term of Spanish. In the spring term, any language learning is underpinned by thoughtful research in to Mexico and its people.
In the Upper Juniors, there is a greater focus on speaking confidently and with secure pronunciation. At the start of Year 5, pupils are issued with a speaking record sheet, and rewarded with a sticker to add to their record sheet every time they use their speaking skills in a lesson, be it independently or as part of a group. At the end of each term, the stickers magically convert in to team points!
Here at Southwater, we are very privileged to have two French clubs run by Madame Frost. There is a club for Lower Juniors and a separate club for Upper Juniors. Both clubs offer a valuable opportunity for children to expand and develop their knowledge, through the wide range of content taught by Madame Frost.