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 plan is for a French lesson, but can easily be adapted to Spanish or German.
You can download the worksheets, detailed lesson plan and Powerpoint here:
Les animaux – pets
This lesson plan is for a Year 7 mixed ability class. It assumes little or no prior knowledge of French ‘animal’ vocabulary.
Students could be given vocabulary lists prior to the lesson (such as the katelanguages vocabulary and grammar booklet for the unit ‘Me, my family and friends’).
Activity 1 (max. 3 minutes)
To check prior learning, the teacher asks if any students know the words for any animals in French. Students put up their hands and give max. one answer at a time. Teacher listens and corrects pronunciation where necessary.
Activity 2 (10-15 minutes)
This slide can be exploited in a number of ways:
- Choral repetition.
- Play games to practise the vocabulary, such as beat the teacher, slap the board, bingo, etc. Rules for these games are in the detailed lesson plan.
- What’s missing? Copy and paste the slide, deleting the words and changing the animation so one picture disappears at a time. Students work out which picture is missing and say the word in French.
Activity 3 (max. 5 minutes)
Students match the French and English sentences. Check answers as a class.
Activity 4 (10 minutes)
Students are split into two teams. To be allowed to place a coin on the Connect 4 grid, students must give their opinion (in French) of the animal named at the top of that column. The winning team is the one who gets 4 in a row.
Activity 5 (5 minutes)
Hand out copies of the reading worksheet about Eric the cat and display the reading task on the board. Either get students to read the text aloud or on their own and then answer the questions. Set a time limit and then go through answers as a class. For differentiation ideas, see the detailed lesson plan.
Activity 6 (10 minutes)
Hand out copies of the text to translate and display the text on the board. Give students a time limit to complete the translation. For differentiation ideas, see the detailed lesson plan.
Activity 7 (5 minutes)
This can be done in a number of different ways:
- Ask the class and pick one student to answer each question orally.
- Put the class into teams and get them to write the answers down on paper or mini-whiteboards. The team with the most correct answers wins.
- Write the answers individually in their exercise books and check the answers together or when you next mark their books.
- Write answers on a post-it or scrap paper with their name and hand in as they leave. Their answers are checked individually by the teacher.
In the next lesson, you could start with a crossword or another vocabulary exercise to ensure they remember the key ‘animals’ vocabulary.
Then, teach some adjectives to describe pets and explain the grammar of adjectival word order and agreement in a very simple way (useful words and grammar explanations can be found in my vocab and grammar booklet).
Next, you could display the photo of a dog from the GCSE-style questions booklet and get students to write 4 sentences about the dog. This could also be done orally or as a game.
To further practise, you could set up the role-play task from the booklet and get the students to ‘rehearse’ with a partner before performing their role-play to the class.
Lastly, to consolidate learning, students could write a 40-word paragraph about their pets or made-up pets. I prefer to set writing tasks in class, to minimise the use of Google translate and so that I can check them and get the students to redraft their work straight away if there is time.
Feedback and ideas
How would you exploit these new GCSE-style questions with Key Stage 3? Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and let me know your ideas!