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					             Language Links!
                                                       Issue No. 15

Dear Principals, Teachers and Students,
Welcome once again to the Initiative’s Newsletter! We would like
to thank you all for your contributions and we have tried to
include as many of them as possible. It was wonderful to receive
so many submissions from teachers and their pupils on the area of
School Correspondence, which was one of the suggested topics               Caroline Nash of IBEC visited St. Mary’s on the Hill, Knocknaheeny, Cork,
for this edition. It certainly appears to have caught the                  to present them with their prize of a digital camcorder and was treated to a
imagination of teachers and pupils alike. In order to reflect the             whole school performance of Italian songs sung and performed with a
links being forged across Europe we have dedicated a special                                        percussion accompaniment.
section to the area in this edition. The guidelines and themes for         Pupils, staff teachers and the Principal of St. Mary’s on the Hill NS pictured
the autumn newsletter are detailed on the back cover.                      with Caroline Nash, IBEC, Tanya Flanagan, National Coordinator, MLPSI
As some of you are aware this edition is going to print in the                      and visiting PLs, Rosemary Sheehan and Pascaline Horan.
absence of Tanya Flanagan, our National Coordinator. We are
delighted to take this opportunity to wish Tanya and her new               Greetings from the Director:
baby daughter every possible happiness! We look forward to
                                                                           As we near the end of the 2005-2006 school year, I congratulate you
Tanya’s return in the autumn. Carmel Roche, Project Leader for
                                                                           on your participation in the Modern Languages in Primary Schools
French is also temporarily leaving the team due to maternity
leave. We send her and her family every good wish on the birth of
                                                                           The amount and quality of submissions for each “Language Links”
her baby son.                                                              reflects the innovative and enriching teaching and learning that is
We are pleased to report that Initiative schools hosted 39 trainee         taking place the length and breadth of the Country.
teachers from France and Spain this year – we hope that this               The National Co-ordinator, Tanya Flanagan and the team of Project
experience was beneficial to trainees and to the host schools. We          Leaders work tirelessly to provide for the best in teacher professional
hope to continue this collaboration next year.                             development and student learning. In addition, this past year has seen
Congratulations to all who took part in the recent French                  the continued promotion of the M.L.P.S.I. and the building up of
competition. The number of entries has surpassed all                       networks through attendance at cultural events, School events,
                                                                           European Projects, materials development and I.C.T. promotion of
expectations! The winning entries and schools will be notified
                                                                           research and the dissemination of best practice.
                                 before the end of the school year.
                                                                           Yet, it is you, the students, teachers and parents who give life and
Modern Languages                 The MLPSI was delighted to                enjoyment to the Initiative and in so doing, we collectively are
in Primary Schools Initiative    collaborate with Primary                  expanding our horizons, and arriving at greater appreciations and
E-mail Addresses:                Curriculum Support Programme in           understandings of ourselves and of others. As parents and teachers,
National Coordinator:            the delivery of an ‘Introduction to       you have awakened the natural curiosity and creativity of young
Tanya Flanagan                   the Primary School Curriculum’            minds, invigorated the learning process and have instilled values and         day for Visiting Teachers.                confidence in our young people, thereby helping them aspire and
Italian Project Leader           The Project Leader Team would             achieve their potential.
Pascaline Horan                  like to take this opportunity to          And so, another cohort of sixth class students will join the Post-                                                  Primary sector decidedly more skilled and more confident in the areas
                                 thank the Director and
Spanish Project Leader                                                     of cultural awareness, language acquisition, plus enhanced
                                 Administrative staff of Kildare
Kènia Puig i Planella                                                      communicative competence.
                                 Education Centre for their support.                                                       I hope that the students’ enhanced appreciation and awareness of
                                 We wish you all continued success         cultural diversity and richness will lead to increased positive attitudes
German Project Leader            in your language learning, a very
Gina McQuaid                                                               towards language learning in general.
                                 enjoyable summer break and we             We bid a fond farewell to the sixth class students who have
                                 look forward to working with you          participated in the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative
French Project Leaders
                                 next term.                                and wish them every success and enjoyment in their Post-Primary
Frédérique Rantz                 Best wishes,                              schools.
Carmel Roche                     Rosemary Sheehan                          I look forward to the continued participation of students and teachers,                                                         in to the future.
                                 & Project Leader Team                     Anne Kelleher, Director, Kildare Education Centre.
Rosemary Sheehan                                                 May 2006.

                               Director of Kildare Education Centre: Anne Kelleher.
                                       Administration: Bernadette McKeown,                          Ionad    The Education
                                   Vivienne O’Loughlin, Marian Leahy, Mary Keane,             Oideachais     Centre            Tel. (045) 530200
                                               Margaret McCormack.                              Chill Dara   Kildare Town      Fax: (045) 530237
                                           ICT Advisor: Gerard Corcoran.                    Co. Chill Dara   Co. Kildare       Email:

                K I D S ’                                          C O R N E R
Le Couple Heureux                                                      Scoil na Croise Naofa, Mahon,
A project that was great fun and very beneficial was ‘Le Couple
Heureux’. On the bottom quarter of an A4 sheet you describe the
happy couple, make this fun by having an elderly bride and a           Pupils from Scoil na Croise Naofa, Mahon, Cork recently held a
younger groom or having them                                           “ French Food” tasting day! Pupils dressed in French colours to
wear unusual clothes, like our                                         sample the different delights on offer.
example shows. The project                                             Here are a few thoughts from pupils afterwards:
incorporated a number of topics
                                                                       Steven Cronin: One morning we had a French tasting morning. I
we had covered like clothing,
                                                                       tasted many foods, some I liked and some I didn’t like. J’aime le
colours and ages. We also
                                                                       jus d’orange, le pâté et les biscottes. Je déteste le fromage bleu et
designed menus for our
                                                                       les cornichons. J’ai tasted many new foods et j’aime most of
restaurant ‘Le Chien Bleu’.
                                                                       them. I had a great time that morning.
Poster by Greta Domarkaite,
                                                                       William Daly: I loved le pain et le pain au chocolat – it was like
Scoil Íosa, Ballyhaunis, Co.
                                                                       heaven, no wonder they eat it in France!
                                                                       Colin Murphy: My most favourite food was le pain au chocolat
Teacher: Seamus Caulfield
                                                                       mixed with la confiture “Bonne Maman”! I hope we go tasting
                                                                       again soon.
                                                                       Teacher: Natasha Lynch

                                                                       Pancake Tuesday
                                                                       Nous avons préparé des crêpes en classe! The week before we
                                                                       read through a children's french language recipe for crêpes The
                                                                       class was divided into two groups with all the necessary
Mullagh N.S.                                                           equipment and ingredients, and with the help of a classroom
                                                                       assistant Ms. Margaret Grehan we had a French cookery class.
Evelyn, a 6th class pupil at Mullagh National School, Co. Clare,
receiving a book token from Mr. Sean Mc Mahon, School                  The practical lesson was a big hit with the boys and they were
Principal, for her project work on the topic ‘Where I live’.           able to eat their produce. The only problem was that the nice
                                                                       smell wafted around the school corridors and had the rest of the
Teacher: Geraldine McMahon
                                                                       pupils craving for some as well! It was a Pancake Tuesday that
                                                                       will not be forgotten.
                                                                       Teacher: Lucy Travers

                                                                         Sixth class boys in St. Joseph's N.S., Kilcock, Co. Kildare on
                                                                                               Pancake Tuesday.

                 K I D S ’                                            C O R N E R
Correspondence from pupils                                                Ballinadee N.S.
in Bushypark N.S., Galway                                                 En Ballinadee N.S. in Co.Cork
                                                                          han tejido esta bandera de
Bonjour à tout le monde! On est ici dans la classe de français à          España para decorar la clase
Bushypark. On prend le petit déjeuner ce matin – un chocolat              como parte del curriculum de
chaud, du pain et des croissants. C’est délicieux !                       manualidades. iBuena idea!
Teacher: Mary Hayes                                                       Los alumnos toman nota de las
                                                                          temperaturas para su proyecto
                                                                          de geografía y el tiempo.
                                                                          Profesora: Montse Ontiveros

Loughegar N.S.

Nous avons fait une carte de la France pour illustrer les aspects
culturels et gastronomiques (après dégustation, bien sûr! Nous
avions emmené : saucisson, rillettes et camembert ... en bonnes
Normandes!) . Nous en avons profité pour faire découvrir la
géographie de la France: mers, montagnes, fleuves, capitale et
villes qui avaient été abordées en classe (lors d'une leçon sur les
fêtes et les festivals: Dunkerque, Nice, Marseille, Caen, et
Deborah et Marie (IUFM de Rouen)                                          St Brigid’s N.S.
Loughegar N.S. Co.Westmeath                                               Some of the work
                                                                          undertaken by the girls of St
Class teacher: Susan Neylon                                               Brigid’s N.S., Midleton, Co.

                                                                          The girls in 6th class at St
                                                                          Brigid’s in Midleton, Cork
                                                                          took some time to look at
                                                                          differences between the
                                                                          weather and types of hobbies
                                                                          in Bayern in winter and
                                                                          summer compared to those
                                                                          at home.
                                                                          Teacher: Kara Gibbons

     Deborah et Marie ( IUFM de Rouen) with pupils from
                       Loughegar N.S.
                                                                                                          Winter in Bayern

                 SPECIAL                                                         EVENTS
Drama in St. Patrick’s Girls N.S. St Paul’s N.S., Drogheda
St Patrick’s Girls National School in Hollypark, Foxrock, Dublin,            St Paul’s N.S. en Drogheda celebra cada año la semana
recently put on a very colourful and musical performance en                  internacional con actividades representativas de todas las culturas
français.                                                                    presentes en la escuela. La profesora Carmen Nalty nos ha
The three fifth classes each performed a mini-play in French. The            enviado estas fotos. No olvidéis enviarnos fotos de vuestra escuela
plays were: Le Joueur de Flûte (Pied Piper), L’Histoire de St                si participáis en festividades parecidadas.
Patrick (Story of St Patrick – patron saint of Ireland) and Blanche
Neige (Snow-White).
The plays were performed to a full house in the school hall at
lunchtime with parents, teachers and pupils from other classes all
in attendance. A great show was enjoyed by all. The acting was
really outstanding! Magnifique! The girls’ French teacher, Ms.
Kristine Fitzgerald, adapted the plays from the original fairytales.
The girls learned all their lines in French which they delivered
with gusto et un très bon accent. Chapeau à toutes!

                                                                             Premios Consejería
                                                                             Las alumnas de Scoil Bhríde en Clane fueran las ganadoras de la
                                                                             competición sobre El Quijote. En la foto las vemos con su
                                                                             profesora Maria Byrne, el Consejero de Educacíon José Antonio
                                                                             del Tejo, el asesor técnico Miguel Ángel Miguel y Kènia Puig i
                                                                             Planella, Project Leader for Spanish en la reciente entrega de
                                                                             premios en el Instituto Cervantes. Muchas gracias a todos por
                                                                             participar en la competición.

  Pupils from fifth class St Patrick’s GNS with their teacher Ms.
      Kristine Fitzgerald and their Principal Ms. Una Foy.

 Recita di italiano
                                                                             fiore: “Per fare tutto ci vuole un fiore”! Tutti hanno fatto dei bei
 Drumcondra NS                                                               disegni grandi dell’oggetto che rappresentavano e lo hanno
 Alla fine dell’anno scolastico, tutti i bambini che studiano                mostrato a tempo con la musica.
 italiano a Drumcondra NS hanno preso parte ad una recita in                 La quinta e la sesta classe hanno recitato “Hanno ucciso l’Uomo
 italiano che, come sempre, e’ diventata un modo per condividere             Ragno”, una canzone ben nota di un gruppo pop italiano chiamato
 quello che imparano.                                                        883. mentre cantavano, rappresentavano la canzone, che parla
 Dopo un caldo “benvenuti”, ovviamente in italiano per stabilire             dell’Uomo Ragno che viene ucciso da criminali sconosciuti, o da
 l’atmosfera, la terza e la quarta classe hanno presentato “Ci               qualcuno nell’ “industria del caffe’”, e del panico e tristezza che
 vuole un fiore”, una poesia del famoso autore per bambini                   seguono. Loschi personaggi in un pub, il capo della polizia, gente
 Gianni Rodari, messa in musica da Sergio Endrigo. Ogni                      nel panico o interessata solo a bellezza e denaro e, ovviamente, lo
 bambino era un anello della catena che ha portato il pubblico da            stesso Uomo Ragno – che e’ finito in una bella bara! – sono stati
 un tavolo ad un fiore e quindi da un fiore alla terra, per tornare al       tutti parte dello show.                  Teacher: Cecilia Ramondetta

    Celebrations and Seasonal Events
Noël à Lismore                                                               Celebrating Carnevale – A
Pupils from Bunscoil Bhothar na Naomh, Lismore Co.Waterford
were very proud to have baked “ les croquants aux noisettes” pour            Whole School Approach
les festivités de Noël.              Teacher : Clotilde Fitzgibbon St. Mary’s N.S. Cobh participated in Italian Week by celebrating
                                                                   Carnevale in style. The Infant Classes as well as the Senior
                                                                   Classes made colourful masks and displayed them in the corridor.
                                                                   The Infants also enjoyed hearing about the characters associated
                                                                   with the traditional Italian masks and learned to recite ‘A
                                                                   Carnevale Ogni Scherzo Vale!’ Pat Lemasney from the local
                                                                   Gramophone Circle visited the school and provided the senior
                                                                   pupils with an
                                                                   opportunity to listen to a
                                                                   selection of Italian opera
                                                                   arias. Well done to the
                                                                   Principal, staff and

                                                                                                                      Senior and junior pupils
                                                                                                                        from St.Mary’s N.S.,
                                                                                                                       Cobh showing off their
                                                                                                                        wonderful Carnevale

                                                                             Gaelscoil de h-Íde, Fermoy,
Carnevale!                                                                   Cork
Carnevale takes place in Italia. It is a famous festival where Italian       Pupils from Gaelscoil de h’Idé, Fermoy, Cork dressed up to
people dress up as famous characters such as Arlecchino.                     celebrate Mardi Gras! 6th class pupils visited younger classes and
Arlecchino was a poor boy who wanted to go to one of the balls in            entertained pupils and teachers alike with performances of
Venezia. But he couldn’t because he had no costume so his mother             ‘Alouette’, ‘Savez-vous planter les choux’, and ‘Si tu aimes le
made him a suit out of patches and string. He is now one of the              soleil’.
most iconic characters in Carnevale. Martedì Grasso means Fat
Tuesday. In Ireland we have Pancake Tuesday. Durante Carnevale               Teacher: Clotilde Fitzgibbon
la gente porta le maschere in costume. (This means during
Carnevale people wear a mask and a costume.) Bambini fanno le
loro maschere e mangiano le castagnole. (These are round spongy
sweets made with flour, eggs, milk and sugar.) We dressed up as
various characters. And here are some photos:
Marc Ó Cionnaithe
Ian Ó Mathuna
Rang a 5, Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Álainn, Corcaigh

      for your class...dod’ rang...per la vostra classe...
     para tu clase...für Ihre Klasse...pour votre classe...
Wo ich wohne                                                              Balscadden N.S.
A few weeks ago we started a lesson on ‘Wo ich wohne’. We                 En Clonalvy N.S. y en Balscadden N.S. también han trabajado el
decided to start by designing our own imaginary town!                     tema de su localidad. Los trabajos que nos han gustado más son
First we talked about the buildings and shops in a town or city and       de Eimear Boyle.                       Teacher: Brian Fitzgerald
what they are called in German.
Then everyone chose a shop or building they would like to draw.
The most important thing was the name of the shop or building.
We wrote these in big letters. Among the buildings were a Schule,
a Kirche, a Friseur, a Krankenhaus, a Hallenbad, and a Flughafen.
We drew some people, bins, zebra crossings, traffic lights and
other signs. Then we all helped to put the map together using glue
and a lot of hard work! Today in German class we are going to
use the map to learn the names of shops and buildings in German!
Next we plan to learn how to describe the people and buildings in
our town. After that we are going to use the map to learn how to
ask for directions in German and how to give directions in
German. Making the map was really fun and we are looking
forward to hanging it on the wall and using it in class.
Teacher: Kara Gibbons
                                                                          Ma Ville!
                                                                          Claire Benson and Laura O’Regan from St. Joseph’s GNS in
                                                                          Clonakilty, Co. Cork prepared a very informative project on their
                                                                          Teacher: Breda Brooks

 Girls from 5th and 6th class in Scoil Bríde, Crosshaven, Co.Cork

Coolick N.S.
Samples of work, in Spanish,
on the topic ‘Where I Live’
from pupils in Coolick N.S.
Kilcummin, Killarney, Co.
Annette Lagan
                                                                          Using ICT for French!
                                                                          Pupils from Mullagh N.S. Co. Clare researching French speaking
                                                                          countries for their school project.
                                                                          Teacher: Geraldine McMahon

       for your class...dod’ rang...per la vostra classe...
      para tu clase...für Ihre Klasse...pour votre classe...
Scoil Mhuire Lourdes, Carrigaline, Co. Cork
Over the last few weeks, we the 5th and 6th class boys of Scoil Mhuire
Lourdes have been talking and learning about the differences between
living in Germany and Ireland. There are lots of differences! For example
meals in Germany are different and German people seem to eat a lot more
bread than us.
If you live in Germany, you have to start school a lot earlier. You also
finish school earlier. That would be great! German school children get
shorter school holidays though so we’re not sure what we would prefer..
In Germany and other European countries such as Switzerland, Austria,
Holland and Belgium, San Nikolaus visits children on December 6th. We
had fun learning about him and looking at teacher’s photos of December
6th in Germany. We learned lots of other things about living in Germany.
We decided to make some posters to show where we live and to show
Germany and also to show the differences between the two places. We
hung them up in the corridors for all the school to see, so that everyone can
learn a little more about Germany and living there! We hope you like them
too. We would all love to visit Germany some day and perhaps show a
German friend what it is like to live in Ireland.
We are looking forward to seeing more photos of Germany and really
seeing how German people live from teacher’s visit to Berlin at Easter!
Schöne GrüBe aus Carrigaline
Teacher: Kara Gibbons

A CLIL Approach
CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) in use in Scoil
Rafteirí Castlebar.
Pupils at Scoil Raifteirí, Castlebar, looked at the theme Where I
Live, and used ICT to help explore this topic through Italian.
Digital pictures of local landmarks, including supermercati, la
farmacia, la scuola, la biblioteca etc. were shown in a powerpoint               Some differences between Ireland and Germany from 5th
presentation which was shown by means of a digital projector.                     and 6th class boys, Scoil Mhuire Lourdes, Carrigaline,
Expressions such as che cos’è questo/a?, dov’è?, si trova                                                Co.Cork
qua…were practised as the pictures came on screen. A map of the
town centre came up after each picture was shown, and different
children tried their hand at locating the places featured. We
learned the names for the different places, and we revised
prepositions. Following directions on the map was the last step.
                                                                          St. Michael’s, Ballyfermot
Come si va dalla scuola fino al ristorante Supermacs? Devi girare a
destra ai semafori…
Teacher: Gearóid Ó Marcaigh

                                                                          En esta foto vemos a Jessica, alumna en St. Michael’s en
Pupils in Scoil Rafteirí, Castlebar enjoying an Italian/Geography         Ballyfermot preparando un póster con información de su barrio.
                               lesson.                                    Teacher: Susan Mularkey

  School Correspondence
Bienvenue à Killarney!                                                 Hola!
Pupils in St. Oliver’s N.S., Killarney, Co. Kerry have been very       Pupils from Cromane N.S., Co.
busy with their pen-pal correspondence. Pupils have established        Kerry have prepared some
links with two primary schools: one in Douvrain in Belgium and         colourful introductory letters!
the other in Paris, France. They are learning a lot about each         Teacher: Mary Moore
other through their letters and video exchanges. Pupils from the
Ecole du Mesnil Aubry in Paris are due to visit St. Oliver’s in
May! We hope that they enjoy their visit and we look forward to
hearing more about it..
Teacher: Hélène Olivier

                                                                       Some Project Work
                                                                       A colourful picture from Leanne Murray, Clonalvy N.S. Muchas
                                                                       gracias a todos.                     Teacher: Brian Fitzgerald

  Some posters prepared by pupils in St. Oliver’s N.S.for their
                French and Belgian pen-pals.

Listowel et Montpellier
The convent Primary school in Listowel, Co.Kerry, recently hosted a
French trainee teacher from the IUFM of Montpellier. Anne Pourquier
(pictured opposite with some pupils) really enjoyed her time in
Listowel and has set up links with a school in France. We hope the
project leads to more exchanges between France and Ireland.
Teacher: Del O’Sullivan

  School Correspondence
Letters to France!                                                        St Mary’s Primary School,
Scoil Naomh Rath in Birr, Co. Offaly is corresponding with the
primary school in Merville in north eastern France. The contact was
made with the help                                                        Since November 2004 the 5th class have been exchanging
of our Project                                                            letters with a 5th English class in Emil-Von-Behring in Marburg
Leader. The class                                                         in Germany. I came across a request for pen-pals on
CM2 is a perfect                                                 (presently undergoing reconstruction) and
match for 5th and                                                         emailed the teacher giving a brief outline of the standard of
6th class.                                                                pupils involved, topics I felt might be of mutual interest etc.
                                                                          After a few emails it was decided to have the 5th classes write
Teacher :                                                                 to each other; we writing in English and them in German with
Mary Fleury                                                               both teachers helping out when letter arrived. We felt this was a
                                                                          worthwhile exercise in that authentic and original ‘documents’
                                                                          were passing between the two classes that held great ‘interest
                                                                          value’ because someone from Germany/Ireland had written
                                                                          them.There was great excitement whenever I said ‘Die Briefe
                                                                          sind hier!’ especially as many letters contained photos, stickers
                                                                          and small trinkets.
St Brigid’s in Haddington                                                 In September we decided that we would now write in German
                                                                          and our partners would write in English. This required more
Road and “C.P.Ágora”                                                      planning as the level of our German would not match that of
This is the second year that the children in St Brigids in                their English. However by settling on a specific topic
Haddington Road, Dublin, have exchanged letters with the school           beforehand a ‘standard’ type of letter with some personal
“C.P.Ágora”, in Madrid. The project is proving to be very                 information can be written.
successful and the children and teachers are very enthusiastic
                                                                          What my pupils have learnt in relation to cultural
about it. We send pictures, songs, drawings, collages, poems,
                                                                          awareness/Landeskunde has been enormous. I feel it has made
bookmarks, etc., as little presents and at the same time to get to
                                                                          language learning become more real to them.
know, and share our cultures. We also displayed a mural in our
school showing some letters and pictures from both countries and          Teacher: Onra Enright
explaining a few things about the project. This is what we wrote in
the display:

                                                                               Pupils showing their letters from their German

How are we organising our pen pal project?
We sent a group letter from each 5th and 6th class, one side of the
page in Spanish and the other in English. On the Spanish side we      Letters from L’école Primaire de
used words we had learnt. On the English side, we told our friends
interesting things about Ireland.                                     Bellevue to St Paul’s, Navan
One day we all wrote a few sentences, and our Spanish teacher
made a group letter out of them. Someone in our class copied it,      Teacher: Caroline Bled
and we sent it to Spain!
We sent songs in both languages, and drawings. We also sent a list
of the children in our class. Each Spanish child chose a person to
write to, and sent individual letters.
We are now looking forward to receiving their answers!
Teacher: Lucía Atencia

Teachers’ Corner                                                                      Teachers’ Corner
                                   Teachers at Incareer
                                   Spanish teachers at Incareer day in Dublin last December.

Pen Pals and Class                                                          topics as the day, date, weather and seasonal activities. Teachers
                                                                            can teach the format and standard phrases used in
Correspondence Exchanges                                                    correspondence (starting and finishing a letter, … ) and display
                                                                            them on charts in the classroom. The written form of other
In our last issue we gave you some general tips for starting a              phrases and vocabulary needed to write about different topics
school correspondence project. Here are the remainder of our                will be discovered or revised in connection with their use in the
tips. We wish you the best of luck and look forward to hearing all          letter. Pupils will then be far less dependent on the teacher for
about your exchanges in future editions of Language Links!                  support when they start composing their own letter. Children
1. Not just about paper… Consider an even wider choice of                   should understand from the start that the teacher will not agree to
media, including visual arts productions (use of fabric,                    translate sentences or passages for individual pupils nor allow
photography, …), exchanging self made or recorded audio tapes.              chunks of text to be copied from written sources…
In particular consider making a short ‘video-letter’ or ‘video-             4. Use of Gaeilge? Use of other languages? Consider the use of
postcards’ with the class. More on this in a future issue of                Gaeilge as a component in the correspondence. Pen pals and
Language Links…                                                             foreign teachers will be mainly interested in writing and reading
2. Mother tongue or target language? The balance between                    in English but in the plurilingual perspective adopted by the
languages is important to satisfy both teachers’ objectives                 MLPSI, the NCCA and all European initiatives Gaeilge should
(language learning, intercultural learning, real link outside the           also be there somewhere. Other languages present in your
classroom) and pupils’ motivation and sense of achievement.                 classroom or in the partner classroom should also be
Consider and decide on your priorities regarding the use of                 acknowledged in an appropriate way. Consider how this could be
mother tongue and target language. Your priorities may be                   done… we will come back to it in a future issue of Language
different from those of your partner teacher. This can easily be            Links.
accommodated once discussed and agreed. The children’s                      5. Regular slot, over a number of weeks. Decide on a regular slot
language level is an important factor. Children can start the letter        when the project will be progressed, possibly on a weekly basis.
in the target language and then naturally continue correspondence           Over an agreed number of weeks, children apply themselves to
in their mother tongue, to the great pleasure and satisfaction of           the different phases of the task at hand. They learn or reactivate
their pen pals. As a rule, however, letter content written in the L2        the written language required, plan and compose their letter,
should also be restricted to a ‘manageable’ amount of text.                 draft, revise, improve, and illustrate it. Teachers and pupils have
Otherwise the exchange can turn into a translation exercise for             a clear time scale in mind and sufficient time is given to do full
teachers and pupils.                                                        justice to the amount of learning involved and to the nature of the
3. Teach the language, do not translate for the children. It is             real life link with another child.
crucial that correspondence is written by the children                      6. Nothing can replace having your own pen-pal… The very
themselves, focusing on the level they are at in the L2. They can           personal contact with a child from ‘over there’ is the greatest
be guided and encouraged to write as much as they can in the                motivation for the children. This is why once children have been
target language through structured activities. The beginning of all         matched with their individual pen-pal, the correspondence
letters can be carried out as a class activity focusing on such             exchange ‘has to work’. There are a number of recommendations

Teachers’ Corner                                                                     Teachers’ Corner
and pitfalls to avoid disappointment and discouragement for both           If you know of or discover good school correspondence
pupils and teachers.                                                       websites, share the information with your PL and with others
The school-based nature of the pen-pal correspondence acts as a            through future issues of Language Links.
safety net in so far as teachers can/may:                                  Please also remember to send us your tips, experiences or
- discuss how to best match pupils.                                        questions for the ‘Pen-pals and school correspondence
                                                                           exchange column.
- guide and encourage children. Support their efforts to engage in
meaningful correspondence even at a very limited level of                  By Frédérique Rantz and Pascaline Horan
- provide support not only in the drafting of correspondence but
also take responsibility for the completion and sending of
- sometimes need to provide context and help interpret parts of
the correspondence received. They can discuss with children
their reactions to letters and guide intercultural learning. More
about this in a future issue of Language Links…                            Italian Week - La Settimana
- ensure that all pupils will receive a letter. As class sizes are         della Cultura Italiana
most likely to be somewhat uneven, some ‘tweaking’ is always
needed. Two classes in one country may be matched to one class             The week of February 27th - March 3rd was designated Italian
in the other... Some children may need to write more than one              Week/La Settimana della Cultura Italiana for all our Italian
letter to make up numbers….                                                schools in The Modern Languages in Primary Schools
                                                                           Initiative. The idea behind the week is that the children
- organise for additional group or class productions to be sent            studying Italian get a chance to engage in extra cultural
(group art work or project, group e-mail, group poster,…) As               activities in the school or local area and to share their work
second best, this may supplement a disappointing or missing                based on the Italian language and culture with the whole
letter…                                                                    school community. As the week coincided with the festival of
- decide that for a very small class, particularly a multi-level           Carnevale in Italy many schools participated in the week by
class, a group correspondence will be more appropriate and still           involving the children in activities around the theme of
give scope and satisfaction to all contributing individuals.               Carnevale itself. Mask making proved a very popular choice
7. I want to start, what do I do? If you would like to explore the         and links were made with the fabric and fibre and construction
possibility of starting a school correspondence exchange, first            strands of the Visual Arts curriculum. In some schools the
contact your PL who may occasionally receive requests from                 children also extended the art activities to costume making and
schools in your target country/countries. Beyond this, ask                 the results were very impressive. Cooking also proved very
personal contacts or consult the dedicated websites below.                 popular and while some teachers invited in native Italians
                                                                           guests to lead the proceedings, others relied on their own
Websites                                                                   culinary skills to give the children an authentic taste of Italian
- European Schoolnet portal. Very rich in                      food.
possibilities for class to class contacts with many countries. Also        Great efforts were made to make the celebration a whole
a good source of ideas for the classroom.                                  school affair. One very simple way in which this was achieved
- Canadian website (Quebec) offering                         was to involve the 5th and 6th class pupils in teaching the
communication in a choice of 8 world languages. Notice board               younger classes simple Italian songs and playground games.
for teachers interested in class exchanges (post your ad and               This always proves a very popular activity with both the older
consult offers, direct automatic contact by e-mail)                        and younger pupils involved.
- Although this is a French portal            In Cork the local Gramophone Circle got involved for the
it includes links to a variety of sites which offer correspondence         second time in Italian Week by providing volunteers who
in a large number of world languages including the 4 languages             visited the Italian schools in Cork City and Cobh to give the
of the MLPSI. Well worth checking. Click on ‘Correspondre’.                children an opportunity to listen to Italian opera music under
There is then a choice between ‘correspondance scolaire’                   their guidance. Grazie mille to Eddie Hogan, who helped
(specifically for school based pen pals exchanges) and ‘dialogue           organise the visits, and to the various facilitators who visited
interclasse’ (class exchanges)                                             the schools
                                                                           Overall the week was again a great success. Well done to all
                                                                           the schools who participated and I am sure those who did get
French specific:
                                                                           involved would highly recommend participation in the week as
- French site, très sympa et facile à utiliser…              a way of bringing the Italian culture alive and, very
Click on ‘Correspondants francophones’ and discover directly               importantly, of getting the while school community involved
the messages from young children looking for e-pals. Suitable for          in Italian language and cultural activities.
individual e-mail based correspondence rather than class directed
correspondence. Therefore more for ideas, but well worth having
a look at.                                                                 Italian PL: Pascaline Horan

New Italian Ambassador
Auguri di buon lavoro! As the newly arrived Ambassador of Italy
to Ireland, I am delighted to extend my very best wishes to the
schools, students and teachers of Italian involved in the Modern
Languages in Primary Schools Initiative. Over the past seven
years, this initiative has helped put the study of Italian in primary
schools “on the map”. It provides many youngsters with the means
to enjoy and explore the Italian language, culture and life style and
plants the seed to encourage them to continue their studies of
Italian in secondary school and university.
If Italian was once the language of “memory” it is today also
becoming the language of business. A recent study in fact shows that
those who study Italian abroad are motivated mainly by economic
reasons (linked to work, trade and tourism). The Italian language is
the 19th in the world for the number of its speakers; however it is the
5th for the number of foreign students who study it.
My congratulations to Tanya Flanagan, the National Coordinator
and Pascaline Horan, the Italian Project Leader, for their
dedication and tireless work to ensure the success of the Initiative.
I wish you a productive and enjoyable year.                                       MLPSI German teachers with the range of resources kindly
I have very much enjoyed reading “Language Links” and am truly                 provided by the Goethe Institute for the Incareer training day in
impressed with the quality of the Italian students’ contributions. I            Blackrock Education Centre in December last. Included in the
commend you all on your enthusiasm and excellent work.                         treasure trove were stickers, postcards, maps and puzzles, which
Bravissimi!                                                                    no doubt proved very popular with pupils back in the classroom.
Cari ensegnati, cari ragazzi mi auguro di avere presto occasione di
incontrarvi. L’Ambascita d’Italia è a vostra disposizione per                  Trainee Teachers from
l’invio di informatione e materiali sull’Italia e per qualsiasi
assistenza vi possa servire.                                                   France and Spain
Buon lavoro e arrivederci.                                                     This year the MLPSI has been delighted to place 33 French
Lucio Albert Savoia                                                            teachers from nine different IUFM colleges in France and 6
Ambasciatore d’Italia in Irlanda.                                              Spanish teachers from Ces Don Bosco, Madrid. We would like to
Ambascita d’Italia                                                             say a Grand Merci and Muchas Gracias to all the teachers and
63 – 65 Northumberland Road                                                    pupils who welcomed these visitors into their schools. We look
Dublin 4                                                                       forward to working with a German college as well next year. If
Tel: 01 6601744 Fax: 01 6682759                                                your school would like to get involved contact your Project
E-Mail:                                           Leader for more information.
                                                                               School of the month
International                                                                  Log onto our website ( every month to see our
                                                                               school of the month. So far we’ve had St Brigid’s N.S.,
Food Fair Exhibition                                                           Haddington Rd, Dublin for Spanish, Holy Cross N.S. Tramore,
St Nicholas N.S. Dundalk, participated in the IACI (Integration of             Co Waterford for French and St Joseph’s G.N.S., Clonakilty,
African Children in Ireland) International Food Fair and                       Co.Cork for French. If you would like to nominate your school
Exhibition. The pupils prepared a display of research and food                 for School of the Month send us some information about your
from France. The event was attended by parents, pupils and                     school, tell us what you get up to in language class and add in a
teachers. The guest of honour was Mr. Dermot Ahern, T.D.,                      few photos. Send it to School of the Month, MLPSI, Kildare
Minister for Foreign Affairs.              Teacher: Brigitte Nelson            Education Centre, Friary Rd., Kildare.

    The Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative is                      Looking forward to our
   managed by a Project Management Group in which the
   following people participate:                                               next newsletter!
        Chairperson: Pádraig Mac Fhlannchadha, Inspectorate                    Thank you all very much for your contributions. As usual, we
        Hallie Browne, Primary Administration, D.E.S.,                         have received wonderful examples of the work that is going on in
        Athlone                                                                classrooms around the country. The topic for special
        Brídín Gilroy N.C., Post Primary Languages Initiative                  consideration for the next edition of Language Links will be
        John Harris, Trinity College Dublin                                    Cross Curricular Links. We are sure that the current round of
        Hilary Roche, N.C.C.A.                                                 Incareer days will provide you with lots of interesting ideas. The
        Gay Barry, Colleges of Education                                       deadline for receipt of work for the next newsletter is October
        Anne Kelleher, Director, Kildare Education Centre                      27th 2006. N.B: Please send your submissions directly to your
        Tanya Flanagan, National Coordinator.                                  Project Leader, c/o Kildare Education Centre, or to their
   The PMG Group reports to a Consultative group                               individual email address.
       comprising of the Partners in Education.                                          Best wishes, The Initiative Team


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