Category Archives: Resources

KS2 French workshops: Alliance Française, Manchester

Published 23rd October 2013

Rusty French? Lacking in confidence?  These workshops might help …
A Green Mouse has been asked to pass on the following information from the Alliance française:

“In partnership with the French Institute in London, the Alliance française de Manchester is organising a series of 6 workshops to support any practitioners involved in teaching French in Key Stage 2, especially class teachers and teaching assistants, who would like to get started with French or to use it more regularly in the classroom, from 14th January 2014 onwards.

These workshops are aimed at practitioners who have little or no knowledge of French, including those who feel rusty and lack the confidence to use their French in the classroom and will be led by Catherine Cheater, renowned trainer both nationally and internationally, and author of Catherine Cheater Schemes of Work for French.

With a maximum of 20 participants, these sessions of 3 hours each aim to be friendly, supportive and fun. As such, participants need not feel anxious about their level of French. Handouts with key language will be provided at each session.

For further information on dates and times, please refer to the following link on our website:
KS2 French Workshops ”

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Singing helps with Language Learning

Read the following article, published 18/07/13, to consider how helpful it can be to sing in a foreign language:

Daily Telegraph/science-news

Hopefully research like this will encourage more families to search out interesting songs and nursery rhymes in other languages to sing with their young children.  Of course there is far more to learning a language, but singing really can help to loosen those vocal chords!

French songs for children

Spanish songs for children

Easter Egg Activity




Easter Activity – Egg Blowing + painting

A wonderful Easter activity is to blow eggs and paint them.
Try to get hold of white eggs if possible.
Drill small holes carefully through both ends of the raw egg, either with a fine drill or by gently pushing and twisting a pin or a thin skewer slowly through the shell:

Image for blowing eggs

Blowing Eggs 3

Blow the raw egg out (the smaller the hole, the harder it will be to blow the egg out!) and then dye  with food colouring.
Ideas:
–  Drip blobs of hot candle wax onto the egg before dyeing or before adding another colour.  Then pick them off after the egg is dry.
–  Draw on the egg with a wax crayon before or after dyeing.
–  Painting over the dye is fun too, like this little pig (petit cochon) chosen because of all the chocolate eaten over Easter!

image of painted Easter egg

Pâte à sel is another fantastic activity for the Easter holidays.  Why not make a figure like the angry bird in this picture but make the eyebrows friendly and paint it yellow to make an Easter chick instead?!

The instructions, including a video clip, are available here:  the recipe

Angry bird in Easter eggs!

For quick access to all the free resources go to:
French Resources
Spanish Resources

Thought for the day!

Broadcast on the BBC Today Programme, 24th January 2013:
“Music and singing should be central to education and children’s lives” …

Image for A Green Mouse Blog

We all want our little guys to fly …!

Music and singing are excellent for introducing sounds in other languages.
A Green Mouse is creating and sharing free French and Spanish listening practice for any child:
Songs for young children, and many video resources to link sound to words in accessible visual contexts for early listening and speaking practice.

Spanish Playground Snack

August/September, the season for sunflowers!
Think of Mediterranean countryside with its fields and fields of sunflowers all appearing to turn their heads to the sun as it moves across the sky:

It is also the time for going back to school, and sunflower seeds have long been a healthy and very popular snack for children in Spanish playgrounds and beyond.
They are called Pipas.
Small bags of salted sunflower seeds (Pipas) are a traditional sight in school playgrounds, where they are allowed:
A very messy business because each ‘pipa’ has to be cracked open to reach the sunflower heart inside, usually done using the front teeth, and then there’s the problem of what to do with the discarded shells ….
Piles of slightly damp ‘pipa’ shells ..?!

A little too salty and messy, but otherwise a great idea …
And today ‘pipas’ are also sold without their shells!

Free listening practice in French and Spanish:
A Green Mouse

Bagpipes in Buenos Aires

Tango and Bagpipes in Buenos Aires …

Buenos Aires is a melting pot of many cultures and traditions.
There is even a small Scottish Dancing group! –  It is a tradition handed down by those who moved to Argentina to help build the railways perhaps.
Walk through one of the parks and you might just come across somebody practising the bagpipes!

Buenos Aires has several bilingual schools which offer Scottish dancing lessons!  Eg:

Scottish Dancing in Buenos Aires

Of course TANGO is the dance which Buenos Aires is best known for.  It originated in the area of the city known as La Boca – an old and very colourful area near the port:

Image for La Boca, Buenos Aires
La Boca, Buenos Aires

 

‘El Viejo Almacén’ is an example of a well-known tango venue.  It is also most enjoyable to stroll through the streets of San Telmo where, at weekends, there are often people dancing the tango in the street.  Here is a picture taken of people enjoying themselves in San Telmo on a normal weekend:

For free Spanish and French listening resources go to:
French Resources
Spanish Resources




French Strawberry Tart




Recipe for Tarte aux Fraises

There are four stages to making a homemade French strawberry tart:

1. Make shortcrust pastry, roll it out thinly, lift it into a 30cm tart tin, and bake it.
2. Make a thick vanilla-flavoured custard (crème pâtissière), pour it onto the cooked pastry case and let it set.
3. Cut strawberries in half and place them neatly over the set custard.
4. Make a sugary glaze to brush over the strawberries

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS:
30cm metal tart tin
Oven Temperature:  180 C

1.  Shortcrust Pastry (= pâte brisée):
150g plain flour
75g butter

Method:
Rub the butter into the flour using just the tips of your fingers.
Add just enough cold water to turn the mixture into a ball of pastry dough.
Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, as thinly as possible, on a cool floured surface.
Make sure the pastry is at least 3cm wider than the pastry tin.
Lift it into the tin.  Cut off the leftover pastry with a knife and press a fork around the edges.
Cover the pastry base with greaseproof paper and something heavy that can go in the oven, e.g. baking beans:

image of baking beans

Bake for 15mns at 180 C
Check that the base is cooked, and leave to cool.

2.  Thick custard – Crème Pâtissière:
1/2 litre milk
4 egg yolks
100g sugar
1 tspn vanilla
30g plain flour
pinch salt
Method:
Heat the milk in a saucepan.
Mix egg yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl.
Gradually pour the warmed milk into the egg mixture, stirring all the time.
Pour the custard back into the saucepan and bring it slowly to the boil until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add vanilla + a pinch of salt and continue stirring for about a minute.
Turn off the heat, wait a few seconds, and then pour the custard into the pastry case.

3. Strawberries:
Cut 750g of strawberries in half, or quarters if very large, and place neatly over the crème pâtissière, starting from the outside of the tin and moving in circles into the middle.

4. Glaze:
Heat 2 tablespoons of fruit jelly/jam (Blackberry jelly is great) with 1 teaspoon of water, and brush over all the strawberries with a pastry brush.

Voilà!

image for French strawberry tart


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TARTE AUX PRUNES   (Plum Tart):
Delicious variation on the recipe for Tarte aux Fraises:
Follow the recipe for tarte aux fraises but use 2lbs of fresh plums instead of strawberries.
The big difference is that the plums need to be cooked first:
Cut the plums in half, take out the stones, and place them flesh down onto a heavy-based non-stick pan.
Sprinkle them with lots of caster or granulated sugar.
Bake until the skins of the plums look/taste quite caramelised.
Slide each of the plums carefully onto the custard trying to keep the plums whole and with their skins on top.
Cool and eat!

TARTE AUX POMMES (Apple Tart):
Another absolutely delicious variation on Tarte aux Fraises!
This time lightly butter two baking trays.
Slice about 6/7 apples (thinly but not too thinly) and lay them on the trays.
Bake them until soft.
Peel them off the trays and put them on the crème pâtissière.
Brush on a sugary glaze like the one in the strawberry tart recipe above.

Bought from a good French pâtisserie, these pastries are quite expensive, a really lovely treat, beautifully made with care and precision.
Much cheaper versions are available in large supermarkets, but they never look or taste quite as special.

French Resources

¡Vale la pena! It’s worth it …!

The image of the goldfinch chick below, beak open, hopeful and enthusiastic, symbolises the carefree energy and enthusiasm of children, and all that A Green Mouse stands for.

Children can develop very good pronunciation in a second language if they are exposed to it early enough.
It is a question of opportunity, not one available to all children, so this website is accessible and free to try to reach out and provide it for any child.

Accessible French & Spanish Practice for anyone … 

We all want to help our little guys to fly …!

Image for A Green Mouse Blog

Having a second language feels good, it makes life more interesting, it is good for the brain.
By starting young we give our children a better chance of success.

For quick access to all the free resources go to:
French for Children
Spanish for Children