MaxiMap at a Welsh for Adults event
Annwyl Gyfeillion/Dear Friends
I’m Jaci Taylor and I work as a Development Officer for the Mid Wales Welsh for Adults Centre. I’ve also spent many years teaching Welsh to Adults as a second language. My present post involves marketing the Welsh for Adults provision in Mid Wales and organizing informal learning activities which enable our students to become more confident in their use of Welsh. Welsh speaking volunteers are also encouraged to take part in these activities.
As part of our marketing activities we organized a stand in a one day festival (‘The Big Do/Y Miri Mawr’) in the grounds of ‘Y Plas’ in Machynlleth. We had also agreed to do a Welsh Taster Session. I reckoned that the map would be a great visual aid and help us to attract more people to our stand. So with a borrowed map (Thanks to CAA, Aberystwyth University) and praying for fine weather we set off for Machynlleth.
Here I am showing Georgia Barton from Coleg Powys how the map could be used to teach the weather to our Welsh for Adults students.
Heddiw, mae’n bwrw glaw yn Iwerddon. – Today, it’s raining in Ireland, ond mae’n boeth yng Nghymru. – but it’s hot in Wales (type of weather and place names to be replaced).
The idea is to use props and when the learners hear the sentence spoken in Welsh they have to grab the appropriate props and stand in the appropriate place on the map. This is one way of providing listening comprehension, and I find that our learners are quite competitive in this type of activity.
As any Welsh Tutor/Teacher knows this exercise can be expanded – the weather forecast is a very useful resource using different tenses of the verb ‘to be’:
‘Mae’n niwlog iawn yn … bore ‘ma ond bydd e’n cliro prynhawn ‘ma.’ ayyb
‘It’s very foggy in … this morning, but it will be clearing this afternoon.’ etc
Students can now ask questions:
Ydy’n braf yng Nghaerdydd bore ‘ma? Is it fine in Cardiff this morning?
The answer can be obtained from a local newspaper, a computer, or a mobile phone. The student who responds to the question can stand on the appropriate location on the map when responding.
There are so many ways of using the map to teach and revise some of the very first language patterns that we teach in Welsh
‘O ble dych chi’n dod? / Where do you come from?’
‘Dw i’n dod o … / I come from …..’
In this exercise students can stand on the map to show where they come from, or other students can indicate on the map where they think a certain, town, village or area is located. This activity can be expanded with questions and answers such as: Is it here? Where is it? Is it near ….? Its between … and …. It’s in (name of county). The home town of each student can be marked on the map with a photo of the person.
Many people in our Welsh classes come from over the border, although there are a great many from Wales as well – hence the need of a map of Wales
We had a lot of fun on the Aberystwyth Summer course when I used the map to play a game with the weather as the theme.
We had 4 teams and I had prepared several sentences using various tenses of the verb ‘to be’, i.e. It is, It was, It will be and different adverbs of time.
‘Mae’n wyntog yn … heddiw / It is windy in … today’
‘Roedd yn stormus yn … ddoe’. It was stormy in … yesterday
Bydd yn braf dros y penwythnos yn … It will be fine in … over the weekend.
The teams had to comprehend the Welsh sentence, i.e. what type of weather I was referring to and choose the appropriate picture (each team had a selection of pictures depicting the weather), but the best part came when I read out the location, and this was without explaining the place name of each of the dots on the map beforehand.
Each team had a runner, and the idea was to get their picture on the map on the right location to win the point.
Unfortunately I was so busy laughing I forgot to take any photographs of adults hurling themselves at the map (sometime full length on the floor) to arrive at the correct location before the other teams. Sometimes they were running backwards and forwards from one location to another with their team mates offering various suggestions in Welsh about the location of the place I had named.
To finish we did go over all of the locations on the map which was a learning curve for everybody, even the fluent Welsh speakers. The Welsh learners were able to learn the place names in Welsh. To do this I divided the place names between the teams and they set about placing them on the map in the correct location. This created a lot of interest and communication between the participants.
I could have made the weather game more difficult by having three sets of weather picture cards in a different colour, one set in green for present tense, one set in blue for past tense (imperfect), and one set in red for the future tense. The students would then have had to understand four pieces of information – the tense, the type of weather, the location, and the adverb of time.
Another activity that created a lot of amusement was me asking everyone to stand on the map in a certain location. So there we were 16 adults crammed into a very small space. I then asked everyone to move northwards, southwards, swim to Ireland, etc – all in Welsh of course. So you can imagine the situation – 16 people shuffling from one location to another looking as if they were all glued together; and after all that the map was still in one piece with no signs of wear and tear.