ZIM ZAM ZOUM Aimed at Year 3 and above, these MFL resources can be accessed in several formats. The Yellow Pack is the mid-priced option, which comes on a DVD-ROM and centres on seven, colourfully animated songs. These Karaoke-style tracks feature the voices of French children and are accompanied by printable song-words in French and English. The idea is that the songs are more like tuneful conversations, which encourage children to learn along with the DVD's central characters - Lucy and her family - who have recently moved to Perpignan. Each of the lively compositions covers a different theme for French beginners, such as asking one another's names, counting to 20, weather, pets and the natural world.
Although the emphasis is on conversation and pronunciation, there is an explanation of plurals with Lucy, and dog Nougat, allowing you to practice this new knowledge on the whiteboard. There are also printable activity sheets featuring wordsearches, crosswords, cloze procedures and code-breaking to name a few - the answers are included if French is not one of your strengths. Furthermore, these are available at two levels: Piste Verte and Piste Rouge.
The White Pack is for those with Promethean Activboards and, while it's more expensive, it also has more to offer. There are four modules comprising of six or seven units, each of which is again built around an animated song. Because it's designed for the Activboard, 24 interactive flipcharts are included which can be manipulated using Promethean tools such as rub and reveal, roll dice and spotlight. As with the Yellow Pack there are printable activity sheets, plus flashcards, vocab sheets and lesson plans. Don't forget to use Activote to assess progress as you go, too.
Each flipchart lesson begins with a spot of revision or a warm-up before introducing new vocabulary then applying this in role-play along with grammar and information about French culture. However, you can chop and change the activities to match your children's needs.
A nice touch is the lip-sync to help with those tricky pronunciations, as well as the facility to record, replay and compare your version with a range of native French speakers.
Both the Yellow and White options can be complimented by the Blue Pack. This is an audio CD of 13 songs, which includes a booklet containing the words in English and French so you can sing along. As well as the original tunes from the White and Yellow packs, there are also songs about the alphabet, a bus journey, a family allbum, a birthday and a classroom, all of which are recorded in standard and karaoke versions.
Verdict - In tune with MFL
Songs are often used in language software as rhythm and rhyme help build the pattern of speech and the repetition is less of a chore when set to music. Here the songs use everyday speech, which helps with intonation when having a conversation. The White Pack also lets teachers make their own activities with cross-curricular links to PHSE, music, geography, dance, art, numeracy and literacy - not to mention project work and research. While it doesn't have the gimmicks of some packages on the market, the language teaching is sound and, for those with Promethean boards, it can be taught as is or customised as you see fit.
Volume 1, Issue 4 .
KS1&2 RESOURCES REVIEWED BY TEACHERS FOR TEACHERS
.....The scene is set by a catchy tune which introduces Lucy, Romain and their friends who live in Perpignan in south-west France. Each unit comes with a green and red route -the green being the standard flip-chart pages which translates to 13 lessons over 125 pages for Unit1 alone, while the red route provided extension exercises.
Planning and objectives are very obvious throughout, as are the different learning strands being addressed from knowledge about language, speaking and listening to inter cultural learning. Learning comes in form of songs, interactive activities and games with an interesting tickertape option to view specific vocabulary.
Away from the whiteboard there are worksheets, flashcards, vocabulary lists, song words and additional teacher resources, which means that this is a package which lends itself well to meshing with other products and programs.
Unit 1 covers colours, nouns, gender, name, age and where you live as well as links to Perpignan. It uses the Promethean tools well - such as the Activote - although a paper and pencil will do just as well in this assessment activity. There is a good balance between listening, speaking and looking at the words, although we'll have to take a look at the complete package to really get the measure of Zim Zam Zoum.
E R Andrew Davis
General Secretary of SATIPS
“Zim Zam Zoum” has been written by an experienced prep school teacher of French; it is aimed at children aged 6 to 12 and may be used on an interactive whiteboard or on an individual computer. Module 1 is engaging, well executed and reasonably priced (of which, more anon). Module 2 was due in January but I have yet to see it.
I am looking forward to using the materials with my Year 4 classes – maybe with other groups too, but probably with the lower end of the age range mentioned.
The material consists principally of insidiously catchy songs presented as agreeable animations: I found myself humming the songs myself after just one listening! The publishers’ website, significantly, is called www.taughtbysong.com and the materials target (very successfully, I think) the power of rhythm, rhyme and repetition to enhance the learning process. The topics covered in the first module are: greetings; presenting yourself; colours; numbers 1 to 20; days of the week; nouns of the natural world; weather; animals; animals/describing pets. There is also some grammar (hooray!): gender; forming the plural of nouns. Also provided: printable song-words, 35 printable differentiated (piste verte, piste rouge) activity sheets.
Technically, I found the DVD ROM worked very well: navigation is easy – though the brief jingle which accompanies each return to the Home Page is irritating!
I felt that the approach inherent was one which will chime happily with a lot of what we try to do in our departments: not only will the materials work well for specialist teachers and non-specialists alike; there is also plenty to engage and support pupils across the range of abilities. The animations themselves are pleasant and quirkily detailed. (What will happen to the goldfish at the end of the sweet-sharing/counting song? That cat is moving rather purposefully towards the bowl …! And what do those shops in the weather song sell?)
The cost? The standard version, usable on any IWB, costs £79.95 + VAT for a school site licence. You can also buy an extended version (£179.95 + VAT for school site licence) designed for use on Promethean IWBs; this version includes 24 extensive Promethean flipcharts of interactive exercises, printable flashcards and vocabulary lists. Also available, audio CDs including the full instrumental versions of the songs plus karaoke tracks; the CDs can be bought in bulk and sold on to pupils if you wish.
Education Business 12 April 2007
INNOVATIVE SONG-BASED SOFTWARE
FOR TEACHING FRENCH
If you are looking for an engaging and comprehensive scheme to teach primary French, the innovative and stunning Zim Zam Zoum software from Taught By Song could well be the solution. It will be published first in Promethean's Activprimary format (Module 1, the first year's teaching, available Spring 2009). As the name implies, Taught By Song use the medium of song as the basis for their French teaching scheme, building a progressive series of exercises around the topic presented in each song.
Their website (www.taughtbysong.com) contains interesting insights into the power of song to enhance language learning. The new three Rs (rhythm, rhyme and repetition) develop patterning skills and improve memory, whilst music has the ability to connect the right and left hemispheres of the brain and improve learning. Not to be underestimated also is that a song repeats itself to learner over and over again,way beyond the walls of the classroom, providing natural and meaningful repetition which aids long-term memory.
What is special about this package, is that the songs are not only original, melodic and catchy, but are also accompanied by full flash animation of a charming set of recurring characters. The animation is very high quality, with accurate mouth shape synchronising with the words, as an extra aid to pronunciation. The words are skilfully written in dialogue form to act as a springboard to role-play. Zim Zam Zoum is a remarkably flexible scheme, with a fabulous choice of exercises and games for the interactive whiteboard, which make full use of Promethean's excellent range of tools. The interactivity goes way beyond the normal drag and drop exercises and the activities show clear progression. All five skills of the KS2 Framework for languages are developed.
In trials, Zim Zam Zoum has proved to be motivating, engaging and fun, giving pupils a sense of achievement in their learning. It caters not only for different teaching styles! It is well supported for non-specialist teachers, with clear guidance notes to all the activities, as well as 'click-on' recordings of the vocabulary and sentences, spoken by native French voices. At the same time, the scheme has considerable depth, in-built differentiation and plenty for specialist French teachers to get their teeth into! The quality of the songs, animation and interactivity, together with the obvious language progression, make this software stand out.
Taught By Song present Zim Zam Zoum at the ALL Languageworld Conference in The Examination Schools, Oxford 2008
The Languages Show Olympia 2008
ZIM ZAM ZOUM Module 2 was previewed at the Languages Show at Olympia to a great reception ! The whole Taught By Song creative team was present, including composers and French animators and we were asked to produce our resources in a huge range of languages. It was particularly noticeable how attracted many teachers were by our simple animated grammar explanations, as well as the animated role-play songs.
North Yorkshire Primary Languages Conference on Friday June 27th 2008 in Harrogate
Thank you to all who visited the Taught By Song stand at this excellent conference. We were pleased to have the chance to talk to so many enthusiastic Primary French teachers in Yorkshire. Our talented song-writer, John Hyde, was able to attend this time and was particularly happy to hear how well his catchy melodies were contributing to pupils' enjoyment and motivation in the French classroom.
Durham Primary Modern Foreign Languages Conference
Taught By Song were pleased to attend this splendid Primary MFL conference at Durham on 11th June, where creative teaching through song featured strongly amongst the workshops. We were overwhelmed with interest from visiting delegates, who watched demonstrations of Zim Zam Zoum, not only enjoying the animated French teaching songs, but also trying out the huge variety of flipchart interactive exercises and games. What a time-saver to have these wonderful ready-made exercises using all the Promethean tools ! was one of the many comments in appreciation of the comprehensive Promethean version of the Zim Zam Zoum software. Lucky teacher, Amy Bell, won a free copy of the Promethean version of the software in the prize draw !
Taught By Song are pleased to announce that
the flipcharts within Module 1 have been
accredited with the top kitemark from Promethean Activprimary.
This award complements the wonderful reception the animated songs have received.
Modern foreign language lessons are to be compulsory for the first time in England's
primary schools. Education Secretary Alan Johnson backs the recommendation of a
review by Lord Dearing that all children should learn a language from the age of seven.
This should happen by 2010, as part of the next curriculum overhaul.
Read full story on the BBC website.