Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Olympian Visit at Tomlinscote - MFL-PE Handball Project part 2

On the 22nd of May we had the great honour of having an Olympic athlete at Tomlinscote. 

Dan McMillan has represented Great Britain in handball at the 2012 games in London and has come to talk about his experience and to help MFL and PE staff with the year 8 handball project.
Dan gave a inspirational presentation about how he got involved in professional sports -he played American Football for several years, before following the call for athletes to try out handball in the run-up to the Olympic Games. While the sport was virtually unknown here, Team GB had a free ticket as host nation and wanted to put up a good show, so they recruited promising athletes from other sports in an X-Factor style competition. Dan was chosen out of over 4000 applicants and he went on to Denmark and Germany to hone his skills in countries where handball is a hugely popular sport.

He talked of the difficulties in chasing his dream, but said the 'blood, sweat and tears' were all worth it when he walked into the Olympic stadium to the roar of thousands of people and represented his country doing a sport he loved. As a bonus, he shared the Olympic village with Jessica Ennis and Mo Farrah, rubbed shoulders with Chris Hoy and Bradley Wiggins over breakfast and had coffee with Team GB football players. Oh, and Usain Bolt likes his chicken nuggets, apparently!

Year 8s were fascinated by these stories and hopefully inspired to work hard to achieve their dreams. And they might check their purses for that special 50p coin with the handball player on it (It's Dan!)

After the assembly for year 8, he helped with the practical side of the cross-curricular PE - MFL project and coached pupils in tactics and team work. He also shared his handball knowledge with PE staff and Btec students, as well posing for fotos and giving autographs.

Year 8s thoroughly enjoyed the day: They practiced their language skills, met an inspiring sportsman and learned the wonderful fast paced game of handball. They were fantastic at it, as well, really picking up skills and tactics, and several enjoyed the game so much they called for a handball club to open at Tomlinscote. Hoepfully the legacy of this project and Dan's visit will continue!

After assembly, Dan answered questions from the handball groups
Dan posing with some of his fans
giving autographs

Handball Project for Year 8s

Around 80 year 8 students who had shown great potential in their MFL lessons as well in PE have had the opportunity to take part in a special two day cross-curricular project of handball. In both France and Germany handball is the second most popular team sport (after football) and a big part of the PE curriculum for both boys and girls, mainly because it's sheer fun - as our handball novice were about to find out.

On the first day, they had a four lessons of introduction to handball in French or German. Madame Christian and Madame Fatelli, Frau Bauer and Frau Savochkin taught the groups parts of the court, positions, instructions, penalties and body parts involved in playing the game and showed them videos of the professionals from France (the current Olympic champions) and Germany (who have one of the strongest handball league in the world).

designing a kit and labelling the court and positions

Practising their vocabulary with matching and memory games

some pre-practice in the classroom -with a very soft ball

On the second day, they were coached in throwing, dribbling, passing and team play by the year 12 budding football coaches under the watchful eye of their teacher Mr Harris (whose language skills are excellent!) and Ms Mensah (who was learning fast). The French lot were encouraged to use their language by Mr Daniel, while Frau Mahler tried to get the German learners to shout Zurück! and Gib ab! (although most shouted Kebab!). And of course, our Olympian guest Dan MacMillan (see other blog entry) coached the lucky groups on Wednesday in tactics and answered questions by the Btec team about coaching and refereeing.

Dan explaining the tactics
demonstrating attack and defence

A fantastic jump shot

trying out the trick shot they had seen in the handball league videos

The practice culminated in a tournament of matches to show off their newly learned skills.They played really well and Dan the Olympics handball player spotted some very talented players!
Everyone had a wonderful two days of languages and sports and hopes that this project will be repeated in the future!  
Do leave a comment below if you were involved in the project!

die Gewinner von den deutschen Mannschaften

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Eurovision Song Contest 2013

It's upon us again: the Eurovision Song Contest -the biggest singing competition in the world, watched by millions of people all over Europe - will be broadcast this weekend live from Malmö in Sweden. The semi-finals already in full swing, but luckily, our favourite MFL countries are automatically qualified for Saturday's Grand Final.

The event is also an opportunity to listen to some modern foreign languages: especially when it comes to France who pride themselves in entering songs in their mother tongue: Here is their candidate Amandine Bourgois with the rather haunting L'enfer et Moi (Hell and I) about how she's going to give the 'you' hell....
Nice song, though.

Spain are entering the contest with a pop-rock band with Celtic influences by the name of ESDM -short for El Sueño De Morfeo (Morpheus’ Dream). The song is called 'Contigo Hasta El Final' (With You Until the End). A lovely song, although more Irish than Spanish. Maybe not a winner, but a nice horse....

Germany have opted for a dreadful Eurodisco pseudotechno track called 'Glorious', a bad copy of the Swedish winner song from last year. And it's in English. Great Shame. Allegedly, the singer Cascada had 'many world-wide successes'....

The other German speaking country Austria bring forward a girl with 'US American roots' singing in English. Listening to the song 'Shine' might evoke fond memories for all who had German with Frau Mahler in their primary school: Natália Kelly almost sings 'Find the Schein!'). Unfortunately, Natália didn't make it to the final.

Then, of course, there's the British entry. After big names like Blue and Engelbert Humperdinck it's Bonnie Tyler's turn with the decent song 'Believe in me'. In the promotion picture on the eurovision website ( she looks like the granddaughter of the Bonnie in the back stage pics.
Do watch the video and tell me: why does she stand in the mud? Surely her fringey boots got ruined!?

Well, good luck to Bonnie on the day! May she bring some points home to Great Britain!

Finally, after all these English-language songs, here is a foreign language treat - in Estonian. Birgit is singing 'Et Uus Saaks Alguse'  (A New Beginning). "Leave what's passed in the past / For things to once again start anew." Or in Estonian (with even more Umlaute than German): Mis möödund, jäägu kaugele! Et uus saaks taas alguse....

Friday, 3 May 2013

Student of the Month - April 2013

Frau Mahler's Student of the Month 
for April is Georgina Rawlings in year 12 for her unwavering effort and hard work in German lessons which has led to her enormous progress since the beginning of the year. Everyone has heard that the gap between GCSE and AS-level is huge, especially in languages, but Georgina has shown that with the right attitude and dedication you can jump across and actually start enjoying the language again. 
Sehr gut gemacht und Respekt! 

We hope everyone's hard work will pay off in great exam results!
Best of luck to all of you sitting exams these days!

Year 8 trip to Madrid in April 2013

Last week, the Spanish teachers, Year 8 and some Y11 students went to the capital of Spain.
Madrid is the 3rd largest city in the European Union (after London and Berlin). The population of the metropolitan area is around 6.5 million. It is one of the world's major global cities due to its influences in science, politics, education, entertainment, the arts, media, fashion, and culture.
From the beginning, we were excited and energized.
Here you have some pictures to see how it was!

 Madrid City Hall (it was the Post Office building in the past). Ayuntamiento, Palacio de Comunicaciones y Correos.
In the same square is the CIBELES Fountain (the of the goddess in a chariot pulled by lions), symbol of Madrid & where Real Madrid Football Club celebrates their victories.

The Instituto Cervantes, in Alcala street, is a public Institution created in Spain in 1991 to promote Spanish and co-official languages of Spain and spread the culture of Spanish speaking countries. This institution is present in 86 cities in 46 countries of 5 continents. There is 1 in London city.
You can find many resources (courses, events, activities, games, books, etc) to learn Spanish!

- Miguel de CERVANTES (Spanish novelist) wrote ‘Don Quijote’ (de la Mancha). His magnum opus is considered the 1st modern European novel.
Some of his popular phrases: "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" (por la muestra se conoce el paño) and "who walks much and reads much, knows much and sees much" (quien anda mucho y lee mucho, sabe mucho y ve mucho).

The popular Plaza Canalejas. We were passing through here many times to go to other places.

Canalejas, Banco Hispano y BBVA


Show de Flamenco en el restaurante ‘Torres Bermejas’ de Madrid. Olé, Olé y Olé el arte flamenco! We were enjoying the flamenco show, even clapping to the beat of rhythm and shouting Bravo!

Pastelería del Pozo.
One of the most historical and famous bakeries in Spain. We tried some of its pastry!

La Fontana de Oro. Este lugar fue recordado por D. Benito Perez Galdos en su novela ‘La Fontana de Oro’. Madrid 1994. The Spanish writer, Benito Perez Galdos wrote about this place in his novel with the same name.

Restaurante BOTÍN en Madrid.

We visited The oldest Restaurant in the World, 1775 (S.XVIII) that is in Madrid city centre.   

It is even in the Guinness Book of Records

The cave to keep wine bottles inside The Botín Restaurant. Madrid has a lot of old and interesting caves, now usually converted  into wine cellars.
 Plaza de Neptuno, Paseo del PRADO & Palace Hotel. The Atlético de Madrid football team (Fernando Torres used to played in this team) celebrates their victories in this square.

Parque Europa in Torrejón de Ardoz town. Teatro Griego Odeon. El Parque Europa is the largest green leisure space in Torrejon, with 233,000 square meters. It has natural vegetation and reproductions of the most popular monuments in major European cities.
We enjoyed this big area, visited the most famous European monuments, played in the playground, enjoyed Spanish food in a nice restaurant and we were also actors for a moment!

Torre de Belem in Parque Europa

Molinos (windmills) Holandeses in Parque Europa

Torre Eiffel in Parque Europa

 Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Real Madrid Club deFútbol. 
The club was founded in 1902. The King Alfonso XIII granted them the title ‘Real’ (Royal) in 1920. It has a lot won of national and international sport awards.
Campo de fútbol S. Bernabéu.The capacity is 85,000 people.

Museo (museum) del Real Madrid. We were watching and reading interesting information about the history of Real Madrid, its presidents, football players, winning awards, old cloths, trainers and balls, etc.

We were in the Real Madrid football players changing room!

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia from 1992. 20th Century Art.
We enjoyed looking at paintings of some of the most famous Spanish painters like Dalí, Gris, Picasso, Miró… and specially The Guernica painting. All the students tried to paint it!

‘El Guernica’, Picasso’s most famous work, is his most powerful political statement during the Spanish Civil War. It shows the tragedies of war and the suffering of individuals and innocent civilians. It gained the status of anti-war symbol. It is blue, balck and white, 3.5 meter tall and 7.8 meters wide.

Manzanares river view from Teleférico (cable car in Madrid)
In the Teleférico cable car!

Casa de Campo. The biggest park in Madrid city centre! It was one of the students’ favorite places!

Casa de Campo
We enjoyed playing and walking through this beautiful and big park!

We went toEl Rastro’, it is the most popular open air flea market in Madrid. It has a great variety of (new & used) products (where you can barter) and some antique shops. We were buying some presents and practicing our Spanish!
At the end of our trip many students asked for more time to visit this great capital and promised to come back in future!
Hasta pronto!

Natalia Ordóñez Gómez (Spanish Language Assistant)