Summer Courses for Teachers

I’m very excited to announce that I’m running some intensive beginners’ French, German and Spanish courses over the summer holidays… just for teachers of MFL!
Many of us benefit hugely from being able to teach more than one language with confidence and my summer courses will provide 25 hours of tuition, covering all of the topics and basic grammar you’ll need to be able to deliver outstanding Key Stage 3 lessons!
Take a look at the PDFs below for more details and email kate@katelanguages.co.uk if you’re interested in booking a slot or want more information.
Guess Who sports

Practising sports vocab with Guess Who?

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.

Continue reading “Practising sports vocab with Guess Who?”

katelanguages memrise

Practise Key Stage 3 vocabulary on memrise.com!

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.

The French course is available here, the German one is here and the Spanish one is here.

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:

Happy vocab learning!

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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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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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!