Wednesday, 18 May 2011


After hearing Chris Harte talking about Solo taxonomy at ILILC in Southampton earlier this year, , I have been trying to get pupils to think more about language, its formation and the patterns they can see.

Having already done a similar exercise with Lower 6 a while ago, I decided to experiment today with my two Primary 6 classes in the local primary school. They have been doing half an hour Spanish a week with me since Christmas.

I divided the class into pairs or groups of 3, and distributed the sheets to the pupils. After a frenzied 5 minutes of cutting, the pupils were ready to go. I told them I wanted them to group the hexagons into honeycombs by putting linking words together. The bigger the honeycomb, the more links they would have found.

It was particularly interesting to see the difference in the two classes, in terms of those who found most links. The pupils chose their groups and the majority were same sex. In one class, two groups of girls 'got it' best whilst in the second class, it was two groups of boys. Perhaps obviously, it was those who generally contribute most verbally in Spanish class who made the most links, but oleasingly the activity drew in others who have not been so vocal or engaged.

It was fascinating to see pupils with a fairly limited amount of Spanish talk through reasons for their groupings, and see connections in language. It has enthused me to start using this activity more with my own pupils.


Kim said...

Thanks for your sharing of this activity which is quite useful and interesting for novice language learners to enhance their sense of second or foreign language. Finding out the relation between words implicitly helps language learners categorize similarities, distinguish differences, and construct a mind-map of words. After reading the introduction of "solo taxonomy", here comes the idea of integrating a software you introduced in the previous postings in this activity. For the reason that the contribution of this activity and the software, Popplet, are alike. Learners benefit from word categorization through these two. "Solo taxonomy" could be utilized as the first section of word learning. Teachers choose several target words for learners to arrange relation of words. The employment of Popplet comes consecutively to offer a chance for learners to associate the already-learnt words with the new words by creating self-made mind-map. After several times of practice, learner's production could be collected for teachers to examine or to see if there is any progress in the word learning or expansion of word size.

Ben Hunt said...

Hi.. Have you seen Ana Lomba's guide to teaching Spanish at preschool level? It's at

Email me ( and I can arrange you to get a free preview copy of the 2nd edition, which Ana is completing right now.

Best wishes,