Creating an ambitious KS3 curriculum

We’ve had a long break from our blogging (not intentional!) and have seen and used some amazing resources from our MFL colleagues #mfltwitterati so wanted to post about what we’ve been up to. We been busy developing our Year 7 curriculum in order to make it aspirational for all and promote a love of Spanish and a cultural curiosity and wanted to share one of our vocabulary booklets with you.

Curriculum outline
Our Year 7 students study 5 modules, each with at least two cultural elements and are given a vocabulary booklet to support their learning.

  1. De visita en el Reina Sofía (all about me: Reina Sofía and paintings, El Día de los Muertos, Don Quijote, La Familia Real)
  2. Mi vida en la Habana (town and home: Cuba, Mexico and Frida Kahlo, La Navidad)
  3. Mi intercambio escolar (school/daily routine: Guatemalan schools, Incas, Aztecs, Mayans, Semana Santa, Feria de abril)
  4. La Vuelta a España (hobbies and sports: Vuelta a España, San Fermín, comunidades autónomas)
  5. Vamos a la Tomatina (Holidays: la Tomatina, Las Fallas, tapas and typical dishes)

In every booklet we have tried to streamline the content and as well as include a variety of activities for students to complete. We wanted all students to have access to the vocabulary in one place, to avoid copying out in lessons (with mistakes!) and to use it as a resource when completing independent work and homework tasks.

How do we use these booklet?
At the beginning of each module, all students are given the new booklet and encouraged to keep previous ones safe. We expect them to bring it to each lesson, as part of their equipment and they use it throughout the lesson to support their learning where necessary.

We have found it to be a huge time saver both for us, not having to print out vocabulary lists, and for them, as they can quickly refer back and correct their own work or find the word they need.

The students are really good at using them successfully, they are normally ahead of us – having read the lesson aims and found the right page. This helps a lot at GCSE because they already know how to use their booklets independently.

Students love them and are always excited to find out what they will be learning during that module and it is great to see their enthusiasm and excitement as they flick through. They also have access to an electronic copy on Share Point which has been a lifesaver during this time, when setting work for them.

What have we included?

  • Core and additional vocab– We have tried to include both core and advanced vocabulary so that students can extend their learning and are able to use a range of lexical items and more advanced structures independently and accurately. We have also included activities to consolidate the vocabulary studied.
  • Phonics and pronunciation  – In the first unit we focus on the alphabet, sounds and our school spelling bee. However, we have incorporated some sort of phonics element in each booklet so that we are constantly reviewing and perfecting their pronunciation and intonation as well as developing listening skills.
  • Frases de oro / Practice makes permanent – The ‘frases de oro’ are an attempt to encourage students to add more complex phrases into their work and be more creative with their use of the language. The practice makes permanent sentences aim to get students used to manipulating these structures.
  • Vocab tests – We included a mixture of topic specific vocabulary with high frequency words, which we often wrongly assume students know already. We test them weekly and look at effective strategies for memorising and learning vocabulary. In essence – these are the phrases we want ALL students to know.
  • Error correction grids – see our blog on this here. We encourage students to use these to check their own work independently.
  • Diagnostic questions – We decided to include these to check on misconceptions and “gaps” in students’ knowledge. They allow us to discuss, reteach and recap concepts or elements that they may have misunderstood or be less confident with. We then focus future retrieval tasks on these.
  • Grammar section – Each booklet has the relevant grammar for the module for example, module one covers articles, adjectives, plurals, possessives, connectives, etc.
  • Cultural elements with activities – We have included at least two cultural elements per module so as to ignite interest and enthusiasm in our students. We were keen to not just focus on Spain and to make the language and culture of different Spanish speaking countries a real experience for them.
  • WELL (What Excellence Looks Like) and success criteria for speaking presentation/extended writing. – For each module we include any relevant information on assessments or extended writing/speaking tasks along with examples we can look at together and a success criteria they can use to structure their work. It’s just easier to have everything in one place.
  • Sentence builders – We really like exploiting sentence builders with the activities suggested in Conti and Smith’s Breaking the Sound Barrier and they do feature in our other booklets. However, we couldn’t fit one in this one – we will try to squeeze it in when we next update it though and will still use them with students.

Please feel free to download our Module 1 booklet and use it with your students if you think it may be useful. The version to print is here and to view online is here. If you do use it, let us know how you find it!

Booklet 1

3 thoughts on “Creating an ambitious KS3 curriculum

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