On the Facebook group ‘Global Innovative Language Teachers’, someone recently posted a link to this brilliant set of ‘extra’ Guess Who characters. In fact, it’s so brilliant that I’m using it with the primary school-aged children I teach this week and I thought I’d write a quick blog post about how I’m using the game to practise sports vocab and physical descriptions.
While preparing a lesson for a GCSE French student this morning, I came across this excellent set of reading strategies on an Edexcel document. It’s too good not to share!
I have created 3 new courses on memrise to accompany my Key Stage 3 vocabulary and grammar booklets. They currently include the topics of ‘me, my family and friends’, ‘technology and free time’, and ‘where I live’. I’ll keep adding to them as I write and publish more Key Stage 3 booklets.
I have also put a number of GCSE and A Level (French) courses on memrise – just look through my profile to find the best ones for your language and level!
Click here for free samples of the vocabulary and grammar books:
- French Introducing myself vocab and grammar
- German Introducing myself vocab and grammar
- Spanish Introducing myself vocab and grammar
Happy vocab learning!
I get so much lovely feedback from teachers about how they’re using my resources with their classes, so I thought I’d share with you some ideas and photos of how one fabulous teacher is using the French Key Stage 3 resources with her Year 7s.
She has printed off the pages that relate to the vocabulary that her class is learning and the students have stuck the sheets into their exercise books. I think this is a great way of working through the booklets, as it breaks the work down into manageable chunks for the children.
I love playing games in language lessons – it’s a great way to engage students and make the learning fun. However, it’s important to ensure that the games exploit key vocabulary and grammar as much as possible. With that in mind, here are my 5 favourite minumum-prep, maximum-fun games to play in the language classroom.
Why write and sell resources?
As well as being a private tutor of French, German and Spanish, I also write and sell teaching resources for the new MFL GCSEs and Key Stage 3 languages. It all started as an idea to help teachers understand and prepare their students for the new style of questions in the revamped 9-1 GCSEs. I hoped to make a bit of extra income on the side of my tutoring business, but in just over a year, it has become my main source of income and the thing I spend around 80% of my working time on.
It is becoming increasingly clear that to ensure success at GCSE, we need to embed GCSE-style activities into lessons from the start. I don’t believe that this has to be too stressful or boring, however, which is why I’m creating a series of workbooks for Key Stage 3 learners of French, German and Spanish that include new GCSE-style reading, translation, writing and speaking tasks.
The following lesson plan incorporates some of the tasks from my French ‘me, my family and friends’ workbook, mixed with games and other activities that I have always made an integral part of my Key Stage 3 lessons. I hope that the ideas given here will prove useful for other teachers who are looking for ways of including GCSE-style tasks into Key Stage 3 lessons in an engaging way.
The most difficult skill?
Having seen lots of posts on social media and received a number of messages about how to improve listening skills (especially since the release of the latest GCSE results), it seems really clear that this is the skill that both teachers and students alike struggle with the most. So, how can you improve your listening skills, either to pass an exam or simply to be able to understand real-life conversations in a foreign language? How can teachers help their students to develop their listening skills, without simply doing ‘test’ after ‘test’ – i.e. describe the task, play the recording, repeat the recording, go through the answers, rinse and repeat – which, let’s face it, is pretty boring for everyone!
Ideas for good practice
I’ve reflected on my ideas for good practice in this area and what follows are some of the things I do to help both myself and my students become better listeners in a foreign language. The tips here are intended as practice in lessons, rather than what to do during the exam, but if activities like these are done regularly, an actual listening exam should be a doddle!
OK, so you might not be quite as excited as these kids… but you get the idea!
I’ve always found the start of the new academic year to be a great time for making resolutions… much more so than January, which in the world of education is in the middle of the year and dark and cold and somehow already feels too late to be making resolutions. However, in September, I’m full of energy after a lovely summer holiday, excited about teaching new classes and meeting new students and colleagues, and generally much more motivated to get the shiny, fresh, brand new academic year off to a great start!
So, with all this abundant energy, I’ve made 3 ‘September Resolutions’ to focus on this academic year…
I’ve recently been challenged to post 10 book covers on Facebook that have ‘rocked my world’ and it got me thinking about reading books in foreign languages.
Before I start singing the praises of reading books in a foreign language, I have to say this loudly and clearly… it’s really hard! I find it takes me at least twice as long to read a book in another language, and it takes more than twice as much determination to finish reading the book as it does when I read one in English. But then the sense of achievement when I finish it is probably about 10 times as great … so it’s all worth the effort in the end!