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katelanguages French Key Stage 3 booklet

Katelanguages resources in use

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.

katelanguages French resources

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.

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Great games for language learning

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.

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Creating and selling teaching resources

A guide to creating and selling teaching resources

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.

I currently share and sell my teaching resources on tes.com and on this website.

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Les animaux – a Year 7 lesson plan with new GCSE-style questions

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.

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Improving listening skills MFL

Improving listening skills

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!

improving listening skills MFL

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!

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September – a time for resolutions?

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…

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Reading books in another language

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!

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using language games

Playing games is a great way to learn languages!

Whether you are playing traditional word games, such as I-Spy or 20 Questions, or purpose-made board games and card games, playing while you learn is a great way of staying motivated!

Particular favourites of mine are the shopping list game from Orchard Toys, which is even available in French (along with a number of other great games) – Orchard Toys French games Continue reading “Playing games is a great way to learn languages!”

Learn vocabulary with memrise.com

Our favourite website to use for vocab learning is memrise.com

It’s free to join, and there is something for every level.

We have lots of courses on memrise, especially if you are studying for your GCSEs, so check them out and have fun while learning some new words!

https://www.memrise.com/course/1522065/aqa-french-gcse-new-spec-general-vocab/

https://www.memrise.com/course/1142252/aqa-spanish-gcse-school-and-jobs/

https://www.memrise.com/course/1142199/aqa-german-gcse-school-and-jobs/

Podcasts are a great way to learn a language

Whether you’re in the car, on the train or bus, or doing a bit of housework, listening to a language learning podcast while you’re doing it is great! There are so many out there, you are sure to find one at your level.

Some of our favourites are the ‘Coffee Break‘ series, ‘Notes in Spanish‘ and ‘Slow German‘.

What are your favourites? Leave a comment to let us know!