Wednesday, 18 August 2010

ALL French Day, Sheffield, 5th July

Another great event organised by ALL that I am looking back at for inspiration to update my Schemes of  Work.

The first session I attended was by Suzi Bewell. Suzi is a SSAT Lead Practioner and one of her favourite area of interest is the use of phonics in language teaching.

Suzi shared with us many ideas and resources but I made note of the following points regarding the teaching of phonics:

• Put silent letters in brackets/ different colour or type.

• Introduce the phonic patterns before student come across them in new words.

A general introduction to the code, how different letters can sound together, as a general introduction / induction module or transition project.

• There is quite a lot of reference books available in French but less so in Spanish, maybe because pronunciation rules are less irregular in Spanish (?)

Teach “liaison” in French and what the most commonly used words actually sound like when they are part of a sentence (de, que, la, le, est, pour, et, qui, les, dans, des, a, en, par, un, plus, du, pas, une, au]

Play phonic bingo with tricky common words with silent letters e.g. souris, gris, ils, ans, vingt, minuit, trois, deux...

Play Le Jeu des 7 familles (Happy Family card games) Find the different families by sound. You may use to design your set of cards.

Sound-alike wall display posters: they could be yours or designed by students to consolidate previous work.

• Examples of “sound-alikes” in French: è- ê, ai-ei, ss-ç, o- au- eau, aux-ô ...

• Use Wordle to design posters or starter activities like “odd one out”

Mexican wave listening exercises e.g. when you hear the “in” sound, give me a wave: write a story with all “in” words in or get students to write the story: Vincent, vingt-cinq, intelligent, lapin, pingouin, mince, vin, patin train, fin...

Podcast/vodcast created by students with the support of the Foreign Language Assistant

Human spellings or washing lines: good for demonstrating how words break down in different syllables/ sound patterns and great for word order too.

The second workshop I attended was presented by Liz Black and was all about “Designing Compelling Learning Experiences”. Liz is an AST, a consultant for North Yorkshire LA and a Head of Languages at Stokesley School. She is a great believer in using cross-curricular themes to teach languages in order to match the content with students’ experiences and levels of maturity as well as secure their engagement.

Liz uses the Philosophy For Children principles (P4C) to manage class discussions. More information about this can be found here and here.

P4C is a very different way to look at learning and it is also a proven way to raise challenge and attainment. The introduction provided by Liz made me consider P4C as a focus for my own CPD in the coming year as it complement my own area of interest, PLTS.

Liz likes to use topics like Fair Trade and other “dilemma-led learning” opportunities and resources provided by organisations like CAFOD, the British Heart Foundation or the EC. She also designed an excellent transition module for Y7 integrating all theses references.

I also enjoyed re-reading Liz Black’s top tips about developing cross-curricular links in ALL’s Language Today magazine, Autumn 2009, the summary of which is as follows:

1. Get together a small group of teachers from different subjects who are committed and enthusiastic. Share subject knowledge and great resources.

2. Decide on a theme that is wide-reaching or global and that can foster deep learning.

3. Insist on extended time: full or half days and include a period of reflection/ evaluation at the end of the day.

4. Use native speaker sound files embedded into Powerpoint presentations to support non-specialist colleagues with pronunciation.

5. Teach dictionary skills early on in the year and provide vocabulary book for students to log their own discoveries as they go along.

6. Make audio and video digital recordings of the students working and of the outcome.

7. Plan for practicalities such as class registers, rooming, how to get resources to the different rooms.

8. Encourage ambitious use of the language, offer support but do demand an enquiring and analytical approach.

The 3rd workshop I attended was Sara Vaughan's “Stepping away from the textbook”. Sarah is a language consultant based in the South-East, where she was also co-ordinating a team of ALL Regional Subject Advisers. Amongst all the ideas given by Sara throughout her session, I made a note of the following:

• Use the French Headlines from as a starter/connect activity

• Use regional/local information to make learning content more engaging

• Make a recipe book for each region of France/Spain etc... as a way to develop cooperative learning and link with other subjects

• Use sporting event as a theme for a project: e.g. Le Grand Prix de Monaco-great to introduce direction, transport, time, places in town...

The great dinner debate: who would you invite and why?

Fantasy football portfolio/ WAGS

A Day in the Life of ...

Dream Holiday: give students a budget and they arrange transport and accommodation etc... (internet research)

Compare and contrast one aspect of the culture of the Target Language country

Design a Healthy Living manual: Make a simple food diary as homework-3 plates and 1 extra plate for snacks!

Protect your planet campaign: Design an eco-school

All the ideas and materials from the workshop can be found on Sara’s blog and are certainly worth a look as Schemes of Work are being updated throughout the land...


Clare Seccombe said...

I think there aren't many reference books available for Spanish pronunciation because it is considerably more regular than French, and because there are fewer text books available generally for Spanish.

IC Jones said...

Dear Claire, My thoughts entirely! I just wondered if it is a British or a global trend. Spanish is certainly more widespread in the US and I would like to find out if any of our US colleagues have gone the "phonic way"