Sunday, 12 July 2015

MFL Show and Tell in the Lakes #MFLSATLakes

Yesterday I went on a road trip to Keswick to attend Cumbria's first MFL show and Tell.

If you've never visited the Lake District, you are really missing out.

It is one of the most beautiful places in the UK, if not the world.

It took place at Keswick School and was extremely well organised by the amazing Rebecca Wylie.

I love my job but I'd be tempted to move if my classroom had views like this:


This is my report of the day. (Anything in brackets wasn't mentioned and is just me thinking out loud).

The day started at 11 with a welcome from Keswick School's headteacher, Simon Jackson.

Anna Bartrum of University of Cumbria, said some opening words and gave us some activities to do to warm us up. These included a watching powerpoint where we had to identify words which flew very quickly across the screen, an activity called "ask 3 people" where we had to ask 3 questions to 3 people to find out information which we then fed back to the group. finally she asked us what all these things had in common with a sandwich.

The first presentation came from Wendy Lightfoot.
Wendy talked about starter activities which are great for practising numeracy and literacy.
They included:
order the numbers - give the students numbers as words and get them to put them in order
fizzbuzz - a counting game where pupils count in the target language but replace numbers ending in a 5 with the word "fizz" and those ending in 0 with "buzz".

scrabble - getting students to create valuable words

boggle - give the students a pre-made boggle grid with key words for them to find. (You could make your own using a wordsearch creator and reuse them)

wordclouds - Wendy suggested tagxedo

quick write - teacher starts to write a word on the board students have to guess it before it's finished

definition bingo - students pick words, teacher reads a definition for the students who have to work out if they have that word

first letter last letter game - student says a word, their partner has to say one which begins with the last letter of their partner's word and so on. (You could even make it into game show style activities. See my blogposts on Harry and Chain Letters)

anagrams - useful for consolidating spellings

spot the mistake - (I know lots of teachers hate this! I quite like it. I do these types of activities regularly with my students)

Next was Jane Hegedus who shared with us some ideas for introducing a "little bit of literature" into our lessons. She talked about the ALL literature wiki and shared with us the poem un hombre sin cabeza.
Jane showed us the activities she had done with her pupils with a felt and velcro lifesize body prop, which included introducing and consolidating vocabulary, dictionary work, brainstorming vocabulary, and practising and reinforcing grammar. She also showed us how we could use Clare Seccombe's "Trash or Treasurehttp://changing-phase.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/trash-or-treasure.html" idea.

Becky Henderson was the next presenter. She showed us how to "keep it real" in Italian. She uses real situations to teach language, including cooking using the only target language. She also taught us how to order drinks in Italian by means of a song. All good fun.

Helen Tucker then told us about 3 part sentence Mastermind (I know it as Cluedo and it needn't necessarily be 3 parts!) . It's a great idea for getting students to talk. It's great for revision, takes only a few minutes to plan, it's competitive and it also makes students listen to each other.

Paul Harrison then told us about iportal4languages. This is a EU funded project for people who want to learn English, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, German, or Bulgarian. Or all six. It is completely free. You just sign up and start learning. It has its own youtube channel and, should you so wish, you can learn in Second Life too. 

Stephanie Licht then showed us some Great German Resources. She told us about how we can get free, fairly robust maps of Germany for students to use and some for classroom displays for very little money. (I missed the end of this as I was preparing for my presentation. Sorry, Stephanie.)

I was next talking about Time Management. This was a 7 minute chunk of my hour long "Standing out or outstanding?" presentation from #ililc5. (This is probably the last time I'll ever do this, as I think everyone in the world has seen it by now.) It seemed to go down quite well and got a few laughs, so that's always a bonus.

The final presentation of the first session was from Alex Crawford.She talked about her department's Relationships and choices project. Her students do a lot of cross curricular work and their work often links to business studies. She showed us how her students do practical activities, creating videos, project managing a team of students, etc. to achieve well in languages. They have a weebly website with all the information and resources the students need. The students also each have to acquire a certain amount of zollars using zondle to be successful, too. (Garry Mills has written about using zondle on his blog).

After coffee (which was OK) and cakes (which were amazing!) we had the second session.

The first presentation of the second session was from Elaine Pratt. She showed us the workbooks her department uses which contain all of the worksheets and grammar needed for her groups for the whole year. (She didn't say what happened of they got lost, ruined or stolen, though.) Then she showed us a Quiz Quiz Trade activity. This is one example of the many cooperative learning structures.

Rebecca Chapman then showed us some examples of CLIL. Her students have learned about King John in History and have learned about Senegal in Geography lessons, all taught in French. There is some more information about this on the MFL page of their school's newsletter with comments from some of the students.

Stuart Gorse was next with Hugo. Hugo is a ventriloquist puppet who is the star of many youtube videos, which Stuart creates to help his students to learn. 
Stuart told us that he gets bored really easily and so tries to teach in a way which will not be boring for him or for his students. Here is Hugo and Marlene Dietrich in Stuart's take on Déjeuner du matin:




Helen Tucker had to follow that and did extremely well, all things considered. She told us about using the song Léon le caméleon with her primary students and how it was used as the basis for a lesson on colours and to introduce similes.
She also showed us the poetry balls. These were strips of coloured paper with sentences, or lines of poetry on, fastened at the top and bottom with paper fasteners and then can be hung up as a display. I shall be using this idea next term.

Marie Nunes was the next presenter. She showed us her virtual classroom, lakesloveslanguages. It's a weebly account which contains all the information needed by students in each year group from primary right up to A level. There are lots of quizlet quizzes embedded onto it, also there are vocab lists, activities and videos. (It's impressive.)

The penultimate presentation of the day came from Suzi Bewell, who also provided the raffle prizes.  She talked about FLAME, which isn't CLIL, in case you were wondering. Suzi talked about transforming language learning and instilling intercultural understanding into our teaching. We shouldn't always talk about the differences between different cultures, we should also talk about how similar they are, she said.
Suzi mentioned these:
Sur le chemin de l'école:


Where children sleep:



and Le Travail des Enfants:



The final speaker was the day's organiser, Rebecca Wylie.
Rebecca told us about how she uses vocabulary mats, there were examples of these on our tables. They were laminated A3 sheets with key vocabulary on them.
She also showed us how she uses classdojo with her groups. (I love classdojo and blogged about it here in 2012.)
The best thing Rebecca showed us was the scratchcards she made.
These are made by putting special scratch off stickers over cards. Ours were for prizes but could be used for lots of things in the classroom and we got some to take home. 
All in all, it was a fantastic day.

I met some old friends, met some new people, and learned and was reminded of loads of really good stuff. 

I'm really looking forward to next year's #MFLSATLakes2.

Monday, 6 July 2015

La fête nationale - Bastille Day resources

My students will finish school for the summer at the end of this week so this week will be learning about Bastille Day, or as it should be called, La Fête Nationale.

I've done work with my students about La Fête Nationale many times over the years but realised that I'd never blogged about it.

So, here is a list of some resources and links you could use:


  • There's a cornucopia of resources here on the TES website.




  • ParisInfo has a webpage dedicated to celebrations happening in Paris.


  • momes.net has a page full of activities for younger children here, including some nice comptines and coloriages. There's also a quiz here























  • euroclubschools has some activities and a quiz here











...and there are lots of clips on youtube...


...I  like this one....




and I love this one...

You could also go to cybercartes.com and send your friends a totally free e-card, like this one....


...or perhaps not....