Sunday, 9 April 2017

Easter revision sessions.

Easter is often a time of panic for secondary teachers here in the UK.

The GCSE exams start in about 6 weeks.

Yes, only six weeks, stop reading this and go and prepare some last minute listening questions.

Quickly!

Off you go!

Now!

They are all going to fail!!

Aaaaaarrgggghhhh!!!!!

See?

For the past few years I have been into school during the Easter break to put on a "revision session" for my GCSE students.

A morning, or afternoon, of practise exam questions, revising exam technique, vocabulary revision games, etc...

This year I've decided not to for a number of reasons:

Firstly, I know for a fact that the students who would benefit from such a session are the ones who are the least likely to attend. I have put on "voluntary extended day" lessons for an hour after school every week since January. Only one student out of 29 has attended any of these sessions.

Secondly, apart from reassuring the students, I don't see much value in putting on a session. After all, all they really need to do is learn the vocabulary and I can't do that  for them. They have access via the school's VLE to all the resources they need, it has links to every past paper available, I have set 40 odd pages of listening and reading revision exercises, and I am only ever an email away from any student, or parent, with any worries or concerns.

Thirdly, I need a break. I work very hard in term time and plan my work so that holidays are not used (or at least hardly ever) for school work.

Finally, and probably most importantly, the students need a break. Ten subjects, ten revision sessions. That's at least five days in school. When will they get to rest or relax? They need to "recharge their batteries as much as their teachers.

Oh yeah, one other thing, why should I give up a day of my holiday for kids who have misbehaved and done no work for the last 18 months?

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Guess Who? An amazing speaking game

Guess Who? is a game by Hasbro.

I love it.

It has been around since 1979 and currently looks like this:

The object of the game is to guess your opponent's character using only yes/no questions.
For example: Il a les cheveux noirs? Elle a les yeux bleus? 

It lends itself really well to all languages and is a great way to get students of all ages speaking in the target language.

It comes in various different editions from travel size through to an electronic version, there's an app and even a tea towel...seriously. 

Look:
 

There is also a corn-who-copia of copies available too...if you are Guess Who-ing on a budget....like this...

and this...

Anyway, you can play this in your classroom without spending a huge amount of cash.

If you go to the Hasbro Guess Who website, you can download extra character sheets.

You can also do a google search and come up with hundreds of characters you could print off and use.

If your printing budget doesn't allow for colour, you can paste an image into a powerpoint presentation.

In the past I've even used photos of teachers, students and celebrities, too.

About 15 years ago I bought cheap versions from the Pound Store and laminated the cards.

I'm still using them.

Students always seem to love playing it.

Enjoy.


PS

I discovered today (from wikipedia) that there is a fan-made version of the game, "Guess Who: The Utley Rules".

In this version "players can only ask about the assumed characteristics of the characters" based on their physical appearance.

This sounds like it might be a lot of fun for the more able students I teach.

Monday, 27 March 2017

PopXport - Bands, Trends and Events - the Best Music from Germany

If you, or your students, want to find out more about contemporary German music, bands etc., Deutsche Welle has a great music magazine programme (I refuse to say, "show", it's the Brit in me), PopXport.

This programme (see?) would be ideal for those studying the new A level German specification in the UK and is a great place to start for anyone, anywhere with an interest in German music.

PopXport has its own Facebook page and twitter account too, so you can stay up to date with all the programmes without having to trawl the DW website.

The presenters are Markus Schultze and Kate Müser (who has the most amazing hair!).


The programme itself is in English but is a cultural programme not a language learning programme. DW has plenty of language learning resources here and so can be forgiven for this.

If you are interested in popXport you may also be interested in Kate Müser's other projects:

Meet the Germans is a series of videos about all things German, from food to idioms to pronouncing funny German words.

justkate.de is Kate's website with links to her videos, etc..

Kate's youtube channel featuring #germany24, Best ever German words, Learn English, #realgerman

Saturday, 18 March 2017

¿Quién es el asesino? A murder mystery for Year 8.

This week I finished teaching the preterite in Spanish to my year 8 class.

I wanted to do a lesson which was fun, but challenging, to consolidate their learning.

So I came up with this (all photos I used have been removed for copyright reasons or to protect the innocent/guilty):



Starter: The setting

Students in pairs or groups figure out what has happened.
They explain it to the others in their group.

Task 1: Alibi

Students write an alibi in Spanish saying:
- where there where and the time
- what they were doing and giving an opinion about it
- who they were with

Task 2: Taking statements

Students are now a police officer taking statements.
An opportunity for speaking and listening.
In groups, students give their alibi, the others take notes in English.
They then use the information they have gathered to decide who has given the least plausible alibi.

Task 3: Giving evidence in court

Students now have to prepare a statement to give in court.
This involves writing a paragraph to say what the murderer said they were doing and giving alternative explanations as to what you thought they were really doing.

Plenary

Volunteers give their evidence to a massive photo of Judge Judy.

There are no wrong or right answers to this task.
As long as the students are using their Spanish, then that's fine.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A2 French - Women's rights

The 8th of March is International Women's Day.

By coincidence my A2 class will be studying women's rights this week.

Here are some links to articles, sites and resources in French:


  • The official Journée Internationale des Femmes site is here, so that's a good place to start.



  • sos.femmes is also a cornucopia of articles, information and links. 

I wrote a post about it a few years ago here.





  • Many resources, articles, cartoons from FIDH. This site is also available in English and Spanish



  • The official UN site









  • A video clip from RTL news (Belgian) with an article: Droit à l' avortement following funding cuts by Donald Trump.






















I hope you can find something interesting in all this.








Saturday, 25 February 2017

Carnival - links and resources

It's Carnival time!!

Carnival is celebrated in different forms around the world.

In Brazil a 5 day festival takes place with processions and dancing.

In the French speaking world Mardi Gras is celebrated with parties, concerts, and parades.

In Germany and Austria Fasching, or Karneval, takes the form of processions and drinking lots of alcohol. Traditionally, alcohol was banned during Lent, so Germans would drink as much as possible during Fasching.

And in the UK we make pancakes...

Yeah, pancakes.

With lemon and sugar.

Do we know how to party or what?


So here is a list of links to resources in French, German, and Spanish:

French

TES Mardi Gras Resources

Powerpoint from primary resources

Le Carnaval en France: quelques ressources

Activities from education et numerique

Display and quiz from the grid

A free KS2 resource from brilliant publications

Some resources (in English) from activity village

Pages from 1jour1actu here, here, and here

some activities and links from apfvalblog

Carneval ressources from TV5monde

lepointduflé has lists of videos about mardi gras here including the one below:


German

TES Fasching Resources

History and culture of Karneval and Fasching from the German Way

Was ist Fasching? from kidsweb and creative things to make and do here

Karneval activities from UKGerman Connection

Two audio resources from audio-lingua.net

Karneval resources from Frau Kirschner's Website

Karneval im Deutschunterricht from dw.de



Spanish

TES Carnaval Resources

Carnival resources from Kennedy Spanish

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Le racisme - A Level links and resources

I'm just getting around to finishing off this topic with my A2 students so I thought I'd share the free resources and links I've used and planned to use:

The (sadly late) political cartoonist Chimulus had some excellent work published in Nouvel Observateur




  • News story of a 24 year old man imprisoned for racism in Arras




I also found this video from singe savant:



  • TES resources on le racisme (These are mostly free - I can't believe people are charging money for selling exam boards' stimulus cards!!!)
  • There are lots of resources for all A2 topics here from MFL Online
There you go.

That should keep you quiet for a while.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Saint Valentine's Day - links and resources

Loathe it or hate it, if you've left the house recently you will not have been able to escape the hearts, flowers and tacky cards reminding us that it's only 3 weeks until St Valentine's Day.

My students are obsessed with it and I'm sure yours are, too.

So, here is a list of links and resources for you to use to appease the hormonal little monsters:

French:

  • For younger students there are some bricolages at teteamodeler.com
  • Lots of resources on the TES site (only the free ones)
  • Some great links form 1jour1actu here and here   
  • Valentine crossword and wordsearch puzzles from Andrew Starr at mflresources
  • Valentine's vocabulary and another wordsearch from brilliantbook
  • A scheme of work about Valentine's Day with resources in pdf format from Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation

















Spanish:

Valentine's Day resources from TES

Ideas from Woodward Spanish

A bilingual page with history and facts about Valentine's Day

 Interactive games from Online Free Spanish

Links to resources about El Día de Amor from spanishmama





German:

10 fun facts about Valentinstag in English

German Valentinstag free resources from TES

Links and resources from MrShea.com

Familienleben.ch has a page on celebrating Valentinstag with children with ideas and links to activities

and what about this?