Skip to Content

Grow Story Grow

  1. Published by Grow Story Grow

  2. Foreign Languages

  3. KS 2

KS 2 Professional Review by Janet Madden

Your Professional Context
My school is a one form entry Primary School in an area of significant deprivation. Although technically ‘one form entry’ we have two small classes of approximately 17 children in each year group. I have responsibility for assessment and the leadership and management of Key Dtage 2 in particular, and as an assistant head, my remit is often much wider than this. I currently teach in year 6.
GrowStoryGrow is particularly suited to those children who have some basic knowledge of a modern foreign language but it could be used across the primary key stages as there are a good range of texts available varying degrees of simplicity.

Students’ Usage
It would depend on the age range and ability of the children as to how best to use the program. For those very early modern foreign language users they would be best placed in small group or whole class using an interactive whiteboard and speakers. This would allow all children to join in with the speaking and reading of the language, allowing those less confident to be supported. For those children who have studied the language for a while longer and who are a little older the ICT suite would be ideal. However, they would need headsets to allow for independent work. The program could be used via the learning platform for use at home. The program gives pronunciation of the language so the learner could easily work independently. There are some additional activities including printable books which could consolidate learning away from the computer.

Curriculum Focus
The program is aimed at the teaching of modern foreign languages and uses a structured approach adding in key vocabulary and building up the use of high frequency words throughout the text. There are a range of texts available including both fiction and non-fiction and a range of difficulty levels from very easy which starts with basic colour, counting to three and saying hello and goodbye to much more challenging texts. The teacher/pupil are provided with a written version of the story (a sentence at a time) in both the languages chosen (currently there are six languages to choose from) and a spoken version of the language being learnt. There are also pictures to help tell the story too. The user can choose to remove any of these written/pictorial versions, however, so more confident users could remove the English text for example and be asked to translate what has been said or what is written. The content is appropriate for SEN, mainstream and extended learning due to the differentiation of text types available. There is sufficient content to base your teaching around and the building up of key words throughout the text gives a good structure within the lesson. It would depend on your chosen language as to whether you would need to supplement the program with other resources, as some languages e.g. Polish have limited resources.

Value as a teaching resource
I will use the resource in my classroom as it allows you to use common vocabulary in the context of a story rather than being words and phrases in isolation. The immediate translation and pronunciation means that it is a good resource even for the non-specialist. The easy manipulation of the addition/removal of texts, sounds and pictures helps to add support or challenge easily.

Within each difficulty level you are sometimes provided with a ‘sub-level’ of difficulty which provides more or less vocabulary for you to learn. The fact that the story builds up using repetitive phrases involving key vocabulary is really the key to this program being so useful in the classroom. There are often resources available to print off – mostly printable books but these are useful to supplement learning at home. Some texts also have supporting games including matching pair activities – all of which are easy to use. Some stories (most notably Polish) do not have supplementary activities available just yet and you would hope that these would be developed in the near future.

The program is relevant to the primary sector although it would depend on how much initial language work you have completed and which language you were studying. If you’ve done the basics then this site is really useful in helping you put your language into context and then building on using key words and phrases. Initially you would probably want to use it to support oral work before moving to more written formats.

GrowStoryGrow offers a unique way to learn modern foreign languages using ICT. You are able to select the degree of simplicity or challenge and you can add or remove any translation support. The program follows a set pattern in building up key vocabulary and key phrases as you move through the text. Through repetition it is envisaged that pupils will learn the language and being able to see the use of the language in context helps them to remember it. The stories are all illustrated as you progress through them and the pictures help with the telling of the story and the use of the key vocabulary. There are more resources available for some languages (e.g. French) than others but on the whole there is a wide selection at varying levels of complexity. A good resource to get children confidently speaking words and phrases in a new language.