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how many vocab items to introduce to year 3?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Lara mfl 05, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    As a rule of thumb I'd say no more than 10 items of vocab for a first session, then extra 5, extra 3 for subsequent ones for Primary children. (Then lots of practive using those before starting to add more.)Independant prep schools will have slightly higher expectations I expect but definitely no more than 15.
  2. More important than the number of items is how you approach it. Keep it really practical. If you are teaching about 'things in my pencilcase', have some real pencilcases with things in, rather than pictures or cards. Let them handle them as much as possible- research has shown that if children handle real items while they're learning the vocab, they are more likely to retain it.
    Here is a good game - you hold up an item and say the word for it - if you say the right word, they repeat it. If you say the wrong word, they say 'Non on non' and (if they can) say the right word. You can also get them to go around asking each other for items - the one who collects the most is the winner.
    If you can include a short song or action rhyme (perhaps for revising nubeers and colours), that will be great.
  3. Geekie

    Geekie Occasional commenter

    One of the best bits of advice that I was ever given was "the magic number 7, plus or minus two". Essentially, the average brain can take on board 7 new pieces of information at one sitting. In the PML context, this equates to 7 new items of vocabulary.
    I would say that Year 3 are average (i.e. 7 new words) bordering on less able/mature, in other words 7 - 2, or 5 new words. Your Years 5 and 6 would definitely be 7, while you could probably go for the 7 + 2 in KS3.
    I have always stuck to this, especially in Primary. With Y3 I would stick to a maximum of 6 words and find lots and lots of different ways to practise them until the children are super-confident.
    The recent Ofsted report into MFL, "Achievement and Challenge 2007-2010", said that in KS2 speaking and listening are generally good, but that children still don't have enough opportunities for meaningful reading and writing. If I were observing you I'd want to see you move first of all from word level to phrase level - if they've done numbers you could easily do some plural forms such as "J'ai deux stylos". Then you could do a reading/writing exercise using the same structure. When I did this with my KS1s and KS2s I had lots of cut-outs of pencil case items and we used these to make plurals.
    My French school equipment flashcards are here if it's any help http://www.sunderlandschools.org/mfl-sunderland/resources-pr-fr-resources.htm
  4. Thank you all for your brilliant advice! Will give it a go!

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