Monday, 14 August 2017

Laughing with Hitler

Laughing with Hitler is a 2007 BBC documentary about humour (and later the suppression of humour) in the Third Reich.

The reason I'm sharing this is because recent events, predominantly but not exclusively in the USA, reminded me of this film, in particular this quote:

"Germany in January of 1933 a motley crew of petit bourgeois thugs seize power, until then no-one had really taken them seriously..."

You have to remember that many, if not most, Germans were not fans of Hitler, his ideas, his oppression, or his cronies.

The documentary does contain some very good jokes, like this one:

Hitler visits a lunatic asylum, where he is dutifully saluted by the usual line-up.
With one exception.
Hitler asks, "Why are you not saluting like the others?"
The man replies, "Mein Führer, I'm the nurse. I'm not crazy!"


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The ethics of keeping a Cookie Monster as a pet...

For those of you who don't know Cookie Monster, he lives on Sesame Street  (and has a presence on Facebook and Twitter), he is a monster and loves to eat cookies. (Nominative determinism)

I thought I'd already blogged about this but it turns out that I haven't.

So, here goes...

Conversations in my house can often be, how can I put this, extremely weird.

Admittedly, I'm generally the instigator of such weirdness.

One such recent conversation was:

Is it ethical to keep a Cookie Monster as a pet? 

A few days later I asked my Year 9 (14 years old) tutor group this question and, during their debate, I was surprised by the maturity of their answers. The more they thought about it the deeper their answers became...

They eventually decide it was not a good idea.

I also got my Year 7 French beginners to do a descriptions activity based on this with a great deal of success.

So my plan was then to use this with Y12 (Advanced level students) as a way of getting them to speak confidently in the TL using "A Level type language".

I haven't done it yet but I plan to do so next term...

I'll report back but in the meantime here is a clip of the Monster himself with Sir Ian McKellen...

Monday, 31 July 2017

La pâte Marmite, ça se mange?

I just discovered an article on the Telegraph website entitled: The surprising health benefits of Marmite
and it reminded me of this video from LEXPRESS.FR so I thought I'd share it with you.


La pâte Marmite, ça se mange? by LEXPRESS

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tour de France 2017 - links and resources

Here's a list of links and resources for this year's Tour de France...

  • Cycling weekly's guide to the tour. Everything you could possibly need to know (in English).
  • Site in French from

  • From vélowire, news, rumours, gossip, etc...
  • Resources from TES for a number of different subjects

  • ...and best of all a quiz from the amazing Alex Bellars

That should be enough to keep you busy for now...

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Summer half term and time management.

That's it.

Half term is over.

You snoozed you loozed...

You snozt you lost...


You know what I mean. I hope.

So, tomorrow is the start of the final half term of the year.

In seven weeks, it'll all be over...

So this is a list of stuff I'm going to do over the next six weeks or so:

1) Keep teaching.
It's not the holidays 'til the end of July for most of us. Many students will want fun and games. They equate nice weather with not working. It's a cultural thing. They are going to be extremely disappointed. Especially my Y10 and Y9 GCSE students who will even be getting things to do over the break.
Standards and routines.

2) Plan for next term.
Schemes of learning for next year may need some tinkering but for Y7, Y8 and Y12 but they will mostly stay the same. GCSE for Y10 is pretty much done and dusted for the first term. Y11 still needs to be finished. Little and often. Sort out the assessments, too.

3) Marking.
Sorry, assessment and feedback. Or is it feedforward now? This is really important. Even for the students who are not taking my subjects next year. If you're not on top of it, the students won't see it as important either. Plus, you never know when there'll be a work scrutiny*, LA inspection or even an Ofsted inspection.

*I know. I organise them.
4) Sort out my cupboard.
This is more likely to be me "recycling" a lot of stuff. I've only been in the room for 2 years and there is an avalanche of old papers just waiting to happen...

5)  Change my wall displays.
I really don't think "this is what a good piece of coursework contains" is that relevant any more. I need something more relevant and helpful (with lots of pictures of Lindsay Lohan). My tutor group will change, too. I also need to remove any traces of German from my room as, from this Wednesday, I'll no longer be teaching German. Not ever. Not at my current job anyway... :(

This means I will have almost all of the summer holiday not working. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

GCSE French Reading Challenges from WJEC.

What's the best thing to come out of Wales?

No, it's not the M4!!!

The Wonderful Welsh have given us many things.

They gave us really cool stuff like powered flight, the theory of natural selection, radar, and the microphone.

They have given us such stars as Shirley Bassey, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Charlotte Church, Dylan Thomas, Tanni Grey-Thompson and that opera singing bloke from the Go Compare adverts.

But these all pale into insignificance* when compared to the WJEC French reading challenges website.

* No, they don't!

I came across this site purely by accident but it is really good for revising and practising vocabulary.

If you are teaching the new specification French GCSE this is an ideal place for your students to do some independent study. 

The home screen looks like this:

The challenges are categorised into the 4 topics: 

For each category there is a choice of activities (even some listening tasks).

There are different levels of difficulty.

From easy vocabulary matching games...

to sentence building...

to exam style reading comprehension tasks...

I've done some of the challenges on my laptop and on my fruit-pad and they work well on both devices.

My only criticism is that I couldn't find anything similar in the other languages offered at GCSE by WJEC but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they arrive.


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Le Hand Spinner, l'objet le plus satisfaisant du monde ?

Loathe them or hate them, if you're a teacher you'll no doubt have seen these, the latest must-have gadgets...

You've probably even confiscated a few and had a sneaky play by yourself when you thought there was nobody watching.

Well, they have become a huge phenomenon all over the world and your students may like to know that it's not just them annoying the bejaysus out of everyone over the age of 25.

Your students love them, so why not harness their enthusiasm by engaging them in some French?

Here are some links to share with your French classes:

  • Even FNAC is getting in on it, claiming it is based on a Tibetan meditation technique! 

There you go there's got to be something there your students will like and which will drive you into an early grave....

How about using these links for some translation, a reading comprehension, or a vocab finding exercise?

Personally, I don't have a problem with them.