Monday, 27 March 2017

An overview of Cambridge Global English Stages 1 - 6


Cambridge Global English is the first scheme designed for ESL children studying an English-medium curriculum. It is a nine-stage course for learners of English as a second language, ranging from the beginning of primary to the last year of junior secondary (roughly ages 6–14). The course has been designed to fulfil the requirements of the Cambridge Primary English as a Second Language curriculum framework developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment. These internationally recognised standards provide a sequential framework for thorough coverage of basic English concepts and skills.

1. How does Cambridge Global English relate to the Cambridge English as a Second Language curriculum framework specified by Cambridge International Exams and the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)?

a. What is the Cambridge Primary English as a Second Language curriculum framework?
The Cambridge Primary English as a Second Language curriculum framework has been designed and created by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations.

The framework provides a comprehensive set of progressive learning objectives for learners of English as a Second Language based on the Council of Europe’s Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), which is used widely both within and beyond Europe to map learners’ progression in English.

The curriculum frameworks are divided into five strands: Reading, Writing, Use of English, Listening and Speaking. In line with the CEFR, learning outcomes in each strand for each successive stage are defined in terms of what learners should be able to do in English. This framing of learning objectives as a progressive can-do sequence should encourage the use of learning-centred, activity-based approaches by teachers in the implementation of the curriculum frameworks.

Student progression in each strand within the curriculum frameworks is mapped in terms of the common reference levels in the CEFR.

It is envisaged that students will progress in terms of the CEFR across the Speaking and Listening and Use of English strands in the curriculum at a marginally faster pace. The main reason for this is the primacy of modified oral input in early years’ second language teaching where learners may not have sufficient literacy skills in their own language to develop English through reading and writing. This can be further complicated for learners whose first languages are non-Roman script languages – involving the mapping of new foreign sounds to equally foreign symbols. Although such early literacy considerations may vary within different learning contexts, what remains constant in the pedagogic approach within the curriculum framework is that the teacher’s use of structured talk will be the key facilitating factor in supporting early Primary learning and that all learning in the classroom will be characterised by high-quality interaction in which the teacher seeks to encourage the active use of English by learners in completing all tasks. This focus on modified oral input – which enables learners to focus on forms as well as meanings – will support the slightly faster incremental development of Speaking and Listening and Use of English skills across the curriculum.

The assessment framework (see table below) is designed to support the implementation of the curriculum framework by providing teachers and learners with motivational end-of-stage goals and to help teachers, learners and parents monitor progress being made. The assessments at key transition points across the curriculum relate to Cambridge ESOL’s international suite of English language assessments for learners – multi-skilled, externally certificated tests from University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations – and there are end-of-year progression tests for all stages from Stage 3 to Stage 6.

b. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP)
Written Curriculum

The International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) balances the acquisition of significant and relevant knowledge and skills, the development of conceptual understanding, the formation of personal, positive attitudes and the capacity to take responsible actions.

The written curriculum is made up of five essential elements and details what students will learn.

Essential elements in the PYP

The five essential elements of the PYP are:

·        knowledge, which is both disciplinary, represented by traditional subject areas (language, maths, science, social studies, arts, PSPE) and transdisciplinary
·        concepts, which students explore through structured inquiry in order to develop coherent, in-depth understanding, and which have relevance both within and beyond subject areas
·        skills, which are the broad capabilities students develop and apply during learning and in life beyond the classroom
·        attitudes, which contribute to international-mindedness and the wellbeing of individuals and learning communities,  and connect directly to the IB learner profile
·        action, which is an expectation in the PYP that successful inquiry leads to responsible, thoughtful and appropriate action.

Taught Curriculum

The taught curriculum is the part of the International Baccalaureate© (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) that sets out its pedagogical approach. It identifies how schools should teach the PYP written curriculum.

The PYP is committed to structured, purposeful inquiry that engages students actively in their own learning. 

This approach respects students’ developing ideas about how the world works. It encourages them to question, consider and refine their understanding of the social and natural world.

Assessed Curriculum

The unique approaches to teaching and learning in the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) can be explained through the taught, written and assessed curriculum.

The assessed curriculum explains how teachers go about gathering and analysing information about student performance. The IB does not set examinations or moderate grades in the PYP.

In the PYP, learning is viewed as a continuous journey, where teachers identify students’ needs and use assessment data to plan the next stage of their learning.

Cambridge Global English 1 – 6 reflects the principles, aims and approaches described above as it has:

An international focus. Specifically developed for young learners throughout the world, the themes, and situations and literature covered by Cambridge Global English strive to reflect this diversity and help learners find out about each other’s lives through the medium of English. This fosters respect and interest in other cultures and leads to awareness of global citizenship.

An enquiry-based, language-rich approach to learning. Cambridge Global English engages children as active, creative learners. As learners participate in a wide variety of curriculum-based activities, they simultaneously acquire content knowledge, develop critical thinking skills and practise English language and literacy. The materials incorporate a ‘learning to learn’ approach, helping children acquire skills and strategies that will help them approach new learning situations with confidence.

English for educational success. To meet the challenges of the future, children need to develop facility with both conversational and academic English. From the earliest level, Cambridge Global English addresses both these competencies by presenting authentic listening and reading texts, writing tasks, and unit projects similar to those learners might encounter in English-medium and international schools. Emphasis is placed on developing the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills learners will need to be successful in using authentic English-language classroom materials. At Stage 1, very basic learning strategies are introduced and practised. These lay the foundations for future language learning and development.

Rich vocabulary development. Building a large and robust vocabulary is a cornerstone to success in both conversational and academic English. Cambridge Global English exposes learners to a wide range of vocabulary. Many opportunities for revising these words and using them in personalised, meaningful ways are woven into the activities and lesson plans.

Individualised learning. We approach learning in an individual way by both acknowledging the individual nature of the knowledge and background of each child and encouraging their specific input. We also provide for differentiated learning in the classroom by offering a range of activities of varying difficulty and extra challenges. Unit by unit support for this is provided in the unit notes in the Teacher’s Resource book.

Integrated assessment. Throughout the course, teachers informally assess their learners’ understanding of language and concepts. The Teacher’s Resource provides suggestions for extending or re-teaching language skills based on learners’ demonstrated proficiency. At the end of each unit, learners apply the skills and knowledge they have acquired as they work in groups to create and present a project of their choice. This provides teachers with an excellent performance assessment opportunity. An end-of-unit quiz in the Activity Book provides another evaluation measure: a quick progress check on learners’ understanding of key ESL and early literacy skills.

Structure of the Coursebook and the Workbook across the 6 stages

The Learner’s Book provides the core input of the course and consists of nine thematic units of study.

Each unit contains six lessons developed around a unifying theme, and linked to a main question at the beginning of the unit. The materials cater for the needs of learners studying in a primary context, they feature skills-building tasks for listening, reading, writing and speaking, as well as language focuses.

In addition, there is a strong vocabulary-building element to the course. Ways of introducing basic learning awareness skills are also explored through features such as:

Materials are aimed at the learner with all the experiences that they bring to the classroom. Learners are encouraged to see the moral and social values that exist in many of the course texts, and find opportunities to reflect on these. We feel that the learner needs to be exposed to many different forms of text topics and styles in order to develop the skills of assessing, interpreting and responding appropriately to content. Therefore the course aims to provide a variety of factual and fictional texts, dialogues and poetry, on a range of different topics, at the appropriate level.

Learner’s Book structure

Cambridge Global English consists of nine thematic units of study, designed to cover approximately three units per term, in most educational systems. 

The Stage 1 and Stage 2 Learner’s Book is structured as follows:

• Starter unit: At the beginning of primary school, learners can come from a variety of backgrounds. Ideally most will have had some basic introduction to letters and numbers in English before they start this course, but a Starter unit is still included at the beginning of the Stage 1 Learner’s Book to provide an opportunity to review these basic concepts. The Teacher’s Resource offers a range of further activity suggestions for providing learners with additional support and basic language practice, so that they can all approach the Stage 1 Learner’s Book with confidence.

There is no such unit in the following stages.

Main units: Nine thematic units provide a year’s worth of curriculum lessons.

Picture dictionary: At the end of stage 1 and Stage 2 Learner’s Books there is a thematically arranged Picture dictionary. This dictionary can be used for a number of activities, such as reviewing material at the end of terms, but its main aim is to introduce the concept of using a dictionary in order to look up the meaning of words.
This should be done on a fairly regular basis, so that the learners become ccustomed to the idea.

Unit structure

Stages 1 and 2

Each unit is divided up into six lessons. The length of lessons will vary from school to school, so a strict time limit for each lesson has not been prescribed. Lessons are structured as follows:

Lesson 1 Think about it: Lesson 1 introduces the main topic, usually in the form of a question which should be a trigger for input from the learners in line with the enquiry-led approach of the course. A short poem and main picture lead into the topic of the unit, giving learners an opportunity to identify key vocabulary items. This leads to vocabulary practice tasks and culminates in a productive task.
Lesson 2 Find out more: Lesson 2 is geared to deeper learning about a curriculum topic. It usually involves a short listening or reading passage followed by critical thinking skills and guided writing tasks.
Lesson 3 Letters and sounds: Lesson 3 focuses on the mechanics of reading and pronunciation, including phonics, alphabet skills, reading, listening and writing skills. It usually contains a song or simple phonics story.

Lesson 4 Use of English: Lesson 4 focuses on developing language skills through contextualised activities. It involves combinations of speaking, writing and reading activities.

Lesson 5 Read and respond: Lesson 5 focuses on literacy and reading stories, poems and factual texts. It allows the learner to explore a variety of text types and develop comprehension and writing skills through related activities.

Lesson 6 Choose a project: Lesson 6 is the consolidation and production section of the unit. Learners produce a project related to the unit content. Lesson 6 begins with a restatement of the initial unit question and leads to a review of what has been learned in the course of the unit. Learner independence is enhanced by allowing choice. Learners choose one of three projects to complete.

At the end of the lesson they carry out a short activity (Look what I can do!) where learners can be encouraged to identify and demonstrate skills they have accumulated during the course of the unit.

Stage 3

The Learner Book structure changes in that Lesson 1 is the Opening lesson, Lessons 3 and 4 are now Skills development lessons, there is a Literacy lesson and Lesson 6 is a consolidation lesson which includes not only projects but also other features.

Lesson 1 Opening: This lesson introduces the main topic, and the Big question which you will find in the unit notes of the Teachers Resource book. The unit objectives are introduced for the teacher to share with the learners. This overt teaching of objectives is part of the ‘learning to learn’ strategy. The main lesson introduces the theme through a large picture. Children respond to the picture in a ‘Talk about it’ activity in which they describe the picture, make predictions, share prior knowledge and/or make personal connections. Next, children are given a listening task, or they choose a listening focus from a series of questions. They listen to the narrative or conversation that accompanies the opening picture and then share the information they have gathered with their classmates. Subsequent Lesson 1 activities focus on building vocabulary related to the unit theme. Learners often read a brief informational text, examine a map, chart or graph, and/or do a simple hands-on learning activity.

Lessons 3 and 4 Skills Development: These lessons provide children with explicit practice of specific ‘Use of English’ and word study skills as they read, listen and respond to short, engaging texts related to the unit theme. There is a balanced emphasis on all four skills – listening, speaking, reading and writing – and vocabulary continues to be presented and reviewed. Each unit includes a short poem that helps children practise fluency and pronunciation.

The poem also provides an opportunity to examine rhymes and spelling patterns. Enquiry learning activities are integrated into these lessons; learners conduct interviews and surveys or do experiments, and then report on the results. A variety of guided writing activities are also included.

Lesson 5 Literacy: Children read and respond to a longer piece of literature, either fiction (a play, traditional tale or contemporary story) or non-fiction (a factual article or quiz). An initial ‘Talk about it’ activity engages learners in pre-reading strategies such as previewing, predicting, scanning or activating prior knowledge. Follow-up questions and activities focus on story elements, reading comprehension (literal, inferential and critical), word study and values-related conversations.

Lesson 6 Consolidation: This final lesson begins by restating the Big question and then offering learners a choice of two projects which can be done either individually or collaboratively. Each project engages students in using the language and concepts they learned in the unit and creating a product (a poem, poster, questionnaire, etc.) that they will then present to the class. The second part of this lesson asks students to review and reflect on their learning by completing several short tasks that directly relate to the unit objectives presented at the beginning of Lesson 1. The students can then think about their ability to do these concrete tasks as they consider the Look what I can do! statements at the end of the lesson.

Stages 4 – 6

The last stages also introduce changes to the structure of the units.

Lesson 1 Opening: This lesson is slightly different from that in Stage 3. It still introduces the main topic, the Big question which you will find in the unit notes of the Teachers Resource book and the unit objectives are introduced for the teacher to share with the learners. The main lesson begins with a ‘Talk about it’ activity in which the children are expected to react to information, ideas or visuals. There is a contextualised listening or speaking text which leads to exploitation of vocabulary and grammar. A free-speaking activity usually ends the lesson.

Lessons 2–4 Skills: In these lessons, learners explore the topic in various ways using a variety of short listening and reading texts which do include cross curricular topics. The lessons focus on the mechanics of reading, including spelling or pronunciation and use of English and integrate the four skills. Guided writing activities are included in these lessons.
The Literacy lesson is the same and Lesson 6, although it has a different name, remains the same.

Activity Book

Each lesson in the Learner’s Book is supported by two Activity Book pages which reinforce and extend the material introduced in the Learner’s Book. It also provides opportunities for personalisation and creative work, as well as challenge activities to support differentiated classroom situations. In these activities, more confident learners can do additional work at a higher level. The last lesson of each unit offers additional assessment / self-assessment opportunities.

Teacher’s Resource book

The Teacher's Resource 1 - 6 provide step-by-step guidance notes for each lesson in every unit to support teaching the content of Learner's Books.
A unit overview at the beginning provides a snapshot of lesson objectives and the language and skills covered.

The notes include answer keys to activities in the Learner's Book and Activity Book. An icon signposts moments in which it’s recommended to go to the Activity Book to do certain activities. You will also find teaching tips, complete audio scripts, suggestions for differentiation and assessment, cross-curricular links, critical-thinking opportunities, portfolio opportunities, unit-based wordlists and additional unit-linked photocopiable activities with detailed notes that include estimated preparation and completion time, materials needed and detailed procedure notes .

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Creative Writers Club Part III - Tavira, Portugal


Poetry can be used to exploit various aspects of the English language in the foreign and second language classroom. Poetry can beharder to write than prose, it is also true that it is a most personal kind of writing and it needs sensitive treatment, especially with older students. Poetry is subject to interpretation and is as subjective as it can be objective. But some simple forms can be just as esy and fun to write. Besides it will give the children the opportunity to explore language, organize ideas, manipulate strucutre and vocabulary and give free rein to their imagination and feelings.

Cut-ups and collage

The Locust Tree in Flower by Williams Carlos Williams.






Write down on a large piece of paper as many words and phrases about a given topic as you can think of, e.g. spring / the sea / March

Cut the words and prases out and rearrange them to make a poem.

Cinquaine poems
Cinquaine verse doesn't rhyme but you can use alliteration or rhyming vowels. It follows a pattern of 5 lines and can be on any topic. The form presented in your handout is simplified for use with children.

One way of working with these poems is this:

      - Give the children examples of cinquaine poems.
-         in groups ask them to identify the structure of the poem
-         what is the relationship between the first and last words of the poem?
-         what is the feeling of the poem?
-         brainstorm as many possible pairs of synonyms as they can create. Put the pairs up on the board ( holidays-vacation, life-journey )
-         choose one of the brainstormed pairs and write a cinquaine together on the board
-         working individually with the outline in your handout they can write their own poem on subjects of their choice.

Line 1  one word (title, the subject of the poem)
Line 2  two words (describe the subject)
Line 3  three words (action, describe what the subject does)
Line 4  four words (describe a feeling about the subject)
Line 5  one word  (refer back to the title)

You can make it more challenging by doubling the number of words on each line.

After the students have tried these simple forms, they may be ready or old enough to try some more sophisticated writing, perhaps combining cinquaines and couplets or writing sequences of cinquaines or writing persona poems. These poems are more suitable for older students, perhaps 7th. graders.


A persona poem is a structured 8-line poem, biographical in nature. they make a good in-class assignment at the beginning of the term when students and teacher are just getting acquainted with each other. Students bring in photos or small mementos, collect pictures from magazines or draw their own pictures of things which are self-representative. This becomes the basis for their follow-up collage.

In small groups or as a class, they look at the example poem about Kate and discuss the structure of each line. What parts of speech or groupings of words tipify each line.
Using the model structure, they can work alone and write about themselves, or work in pairs and write about their partners.
Students finish their poems and include it in a persona collage. These can make good wall posters and can be used as interesting starting points for more interesting conversations.

-         LINE 1  Kate  first name/nickname of person
-         LINE 2  tall, energetic,happy, intelligent  4 adjectives that describe the person
-         LINE 3  sister of Danny  X of Y, describing important relationship
-         LINE 4  who loves music, books and fresh air  3 things s/he loves
-         LINE 5  who is afraid of President Trump, spiders and heights  3 things s/he hates or is scared of
-         LINE 6  who wants to see Latin America, the end of poverty and summer  3 things s/he wants to see
-         LINE 7 resident of this moment  resident of + place/time/concept
-         LINE 8  Thompson  last name of person in poem

The Creative Writers Club Part II - Tavira, Portugal

For many children, one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing is that it allows them to create invisible friends for themselves in the characters that they invite to their stories and they also create new worlds in which these characters live.

We should emphasize that, even if it is fiction, they need to logical and consistent. They will need to ask themselves questions to get the details right. The rules of logic apply even for stories based on fantasy and science fiction. If we are writing about monsters and aliens, we might need to know what the monsters eat, what kind of planet the alien comes from. This kind of questioning can open up new areas of intellectual and emotional interest for these budding writers of fantasy or science fiction.

 A few ideas for writing poetry or stories


(adapted from Wright, 1997)

Building vocabulary

Students seem to operate on a very limited vocabulary repertoire. While their passive vocabulary may be quite extensive, their active vocabulary is often very limited and they end up using the same words again and again:

People always walk or run
Girls are pretty or not pretty, sometimes they can even be beautiful!
Something they like is nice, if they don’t it is not nice
And you do things slowly or quickly

And that’s it! What follows is a sample of activities that can be used to help them build up their active vocabulary.

a. Character.
Brainstorm on the board adjectives beginning with each letter of the alphabet. If you feel students are going for the most common, give definitions and ask them to say the adjective:

‘Someone who always says ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and lets old ladies go first on the bus is ….?’

If any letters are missing, ask students to use dictionaries and look up more adjectives and provide a simple definition. Have them keep a written record in their notebooks.

Then play a game. 1st. student begins by saying: ‘I like my friend Albert because he is amiable’, the second follows: ‘I like my friend Betty because she is brilliant’, and so on.

b. Describing places 
To excite students’ imaginations when writing a narrative that requires description, you can try modelling the narrative as if you were telling the story and eliciting enriching elements from them.

Suppose they have to write a story about what happened to them one evening when their car broke down in the middle of nowhere. You may begin like this:

‘One day, you were driving along a deserted country road. The sun was beginning to set and the sky was …….
What colour was it? Red, yes red but was it just red?
Bright red ... and yellow that’s it. There was no traffic and the nearest village was ….
Where was the village? Near? Far away? How far was it?

Suddenly the car began to slow down and eventually it stopped. You tried to switch on the engine again but nothing happened. How did you feel?

You can build the story together by encouraging them to add interesting details and helping them with new vocabulary. It is a good idea to write the contributions on the board classifying words into categories, e.g. verbs, adjectives and nouns. Afterwards, you can ask the students to write their version of the story in groups.

Another option is to make copies of a short narrative or description omitting all verbs and adjectives and numbering the blank spaces. In pairs or groups, students fill in the missing details. If you would like to make it easier, you can provide two or three options from which they can choose. Depending on the kind of text and the level of the students, you can supply options with different connotations.

d. Beautiful sounds 

Words have meanings but when you read a text aloud, they also have sound. It’s sometimes difficult to concentrate on the sounds of words without thinking about their meaning. You can do this as a game to explain what the rhythm of a text is and how the choice of words can affect this rhythm.

Provide a list of words and ask the students to say them aloud and choose three or four they like the sound of most. They need not be words they know. we’re interested in the ‘feel’ of the word. For example:

Murmur  hush  dribble  home  lullaby  mist  nevermore  lilac  bobolink  fawn  marigold  fair  memory  mouse  harbour  cobblestone  rainbow  trembling  

Then, ask them to write six words, not from the list above, that they think sound beautiful. Allow them to use dictionaries. As a class ask them to share their words with their classmates. As a follow up, they can write a short story or a poem using their words.


·        Children write the words Who, What, Where, When, Why, on a piece of paper in a column down the left side.
·        Next to WHO, they write the subject of the sentence as creatively as they like
·        They fold that part of the paper so WHAT is on top and all students pass their papers to the left
·        Without looking at the subject, they write a verb next to WHAT, fold the papers and pass them to the left.
·        Continue until they have finished writing why, they open the papers, make sure the verb agrees with the subject and time and share the sentences with the class.

MAGAZINE MARVELS  This can be done as group work or individually.
 Materials: old magazines with a variety of pictures/topics, glue, poster size paper, scissors.

·        students can work alone or in small groups
·        each student/group receives a folder containing a set of pictures. A story must be created using at least 5 of those pictures ( characters can be melded- all the young boys in the set are John, even if they have different faces )

CHAIN STORIES are a suitable task for introducing children to the world of storywriting. The procedure is very simple.

·        set the stage: pre-select a theme ( mystery, fable, soap opera )
·        set up the authoring teams ( groups of 3 )
·        everyone writes part A ( the beginning of the story ), and gives it to another person in the group
·        everyone writes part B ( the middle of the story ) and gives it to the third person in the group.
·        the last person writes part C ( the end of the story )
·        children can illustrate the story

-         Draw an imaginary picture on the board or on a large piece of paper
-         Ask the children to say whatever they can about it, for example, where it is, what it is doing, what colour it is, where it is going. Write their words and phrases around the picture.
-         Say things like Oh, dear What's wrong?  encourage the children to think of things that might go wrong for funny Fellow.
-         Ask the children to each draw their Funny Fellow, to write a lot of words and phrases around it and then to invent a short story about it.


In this activity, the children will use a collection of objects as the basis of writing a tale about the people who used them.

What you need:
·        A collection of objects, at least three for each student

What you do:
·        Review stories that everyone in class has read and discuss the key objects in the stories: Three Little Pigs, Rapuntzel, Cinderella, The Lord of the Rings. How were they used? Who used them? Were they new or old? How were they important in the story?
·        Have each student bring in three to five objects from home that they can keep in school for some time. The objects can be unique or common every day things.
·        Place the objects on the table and let students choose three that they think they can work into a tale. If you want to make it more challenging, have them try to choose three totally unrelated things.
·        Encourage the children to write about the objects in imaginative ways. Remind them that the objects must play a key role in the tale, and not just be mentioned in passing.
·        When they have finished writing, ask them to read their tale to the class.

·        You may want them to pretend they are archaeologists. Bring 5 unfamiliar objects and have students work in groups to write a tale about the people who used them.

This activity is more suitable for older children with a higher level of English but it can still be adapted for use with younger less experienced children. Of course, the resulting stories will be simpler.