Sunday, 27 February 2011

ICT into Languages Conference (#ililc), 12-13 February 2011: What Now?

I was lucky enough to be invited to talk at this fantastic event and although I greatly enjoyed it, my only regret is that it meant I missed out on some fabulous workshops and seminars run by my fellow speakers!

The conference has already created a lot of online buzz and I have tried to gather all related posts via Diigo here.

I am also particularly delighted that Zena Hilton, the Regional Manager for Links into Languages South East, has uploaded the vast majority of the presentations and handouts directly onto the Links site.
These resources represent months of specific training for Languages Faculties all over the country and it would be madness not to make best use of them…

In addition to the great launch and plenary presentations given by Joe Dale and Rachel Hawkes that have been video recorded and are available from here and here,
Chris Harte’s Language Reboot can also be viewed on here

I attended Jackie Berrie’s Powerpoint Magic for Language Teachers, Helen Myer’s Let technology take the strain, Chris Harte’s Edmodo, Alex Blagona’s wikis and Jo Rhys Jones’ Simple and Effective tips for KS2/KS3 transitions sessions. All the sessions were great in different ways and really got me thinking about the next steps for our Languages Faculty as well as my own professional development. I have also included some of the gems collected during the Show & Tell that took place on the Saturday evening.

Here are some of the things I will be looking at:

• Specific aspects of using Powerpoints in the languages classroom

Use a split screen with different backgrounds to reinforce gender/ number

Create a countdown with numbers on the slide for any activity involving vocabulary recall.

Free Powerpoint timers by Dave Foord are available from  

Use motion paths to reinforce directions eg à droite- car going to the right

Find the right path to go to somebody’s house-students guess and then see where the person actually goes (prediction game).

Ping pong vocabulary game: template can be found at  

Use tagxedo to create flags in the shape of countries  

Create a role-play scene for student to use-add writing and sound files. Mp3, Wav, Wma, Mid all of these can be inserted into a Powerpoint presentation. Format factory can be used to convert files from mp4 to mp3.

Realplayer can be used to download YouTube videos and change their formats

Hyperlinks can link to existing files as well as external sites

True or false activity hyperlink back to true or false slides.

Drag & drop macros get Powerpoint activities to behave like they would on an Interactive Whiteboard: Re-order letters, Click and drag: dans mon panier, il y a...

Mouse mischief is a free add-in for Powerpoint and it allows multiple users to interact with a Powerpoint in slideshow mode. Details, free software and templates can be downloaded from  

• Some tools shared during the Show and Tell:    
Lingro looks great for extension reading as it makes students more independent. Any word you click on can give you a translation/ definition based on wiktionary. It can also produce simple flascards.

Twister from

• How Wikis can be used to develop students’ independence and AFL:

They can be designed for each classes to develop community within class, peer assessment.

Good for work monitoring and encourage peer assessment as students look at each other’s pages.

Teachers can monitor the work done eg with 6th formers when extra study time has to be tracked.

This page is the students own space-the teacher check history to see who has done what and wikis can also be password-protected.

If teachers get the students to register, they will be trackable.

It is a good idea to include widgets such as the French newspapers headlines or simple reference widgets.

Wikis can be set up for short term projects e.g. outreach project, trip etc…

To encourage students to look at each other’s work, students can be paired up by the teacher and share a same wiki page.

Students can be asked to comment on each other’s page to support AFL in and out of the classroom.

Homework can be set on the wiki and shared with parents- good for homework monitoring.

Speaking homework can be set with uploaded audacity files as examples.

Content can be tailored quite closely to the audience and differentiated by page.

On Monday 28th February, a Flashmeeting has been set up to talk about all the great things we shared at the conference . It is an opportunity for other people who could not make it to the conference to find out more… so sign up here on the wiki and clic here to join the meeting at 9pm.

I am giving myself the challenge to use at last 3 things I have learnt from the conference before the Easter holiday. Will I succeed? I will be back to tell…

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Speak To The Future-Promoting Languages as a Strategically Important Subject

By including languages in the English Baccalaureate, the current government is making a strong statement that languages studies are an important and “rigorous” academic pursuit. However, whereas the E Bacc fails in terms of inclusiveness, the new Speak to the Future campaign reminds us all that only a "Languages for All" approach will have the desired impact on our work force and economy in general.
Speak to the Future  was officially launched on15th February 2011. It has the support of over 30 organisations in order to address the UK’s under-achievement in language learning. The launch speech was delivered by Richard Hardie, Chair of UBS ltd and it can be downloaded here .

Key supporters of the campaign include:

Association for Language Learning

British Council

Chartered Institute of Linguists

CILT, the National Centre for Languages

Independent Schools’ Modern Languages Association

Institute of Translation and Interpreting

National Association of Language Advisers

Specialist Schools and Academies Trust

Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies

The Languages Company

University Council of Modern Languages
The campaign calls for urgent action to boost language learning across all phases of education. The aim is to develop and enhance educational and career opportunities for young people as well as our ability to compete in the global economy.

It will target policy-makers in government and leaders in education and business. It will make the case for long-term positive action to transform the UK’s capacity in languages.

The campaign will span the intended life of the current Parliament, also benefitting from the opportunities created by the 2012 Olympics, the 2014 European Parliament elections and the election campaigns for the next Welsh Assembly and Scottish and Westminster Parliaments.

Speak to the Future has five key aims, designed to create a coherent approach to language learning across all phases of education:

1. Every language valued as an asset

2. A coherent experience of languages for all children in primary school

3. A basic working knowledge of at least two languages including English for every child leaving secondary school

4. Every graduate qualified in a second language

5. An increase in the number of highly qualified linguists

The five-year campaign will reach out to people and organisations from all walks of life to gain wider public support for language learning.

According to recent figures, England is currently joint bottom of a table of 39 countries in the developed world for the amount of time spent on languages by 12-14 year olds in schools. No wonder a lot of them get frustrated with their rate of progress…

The first lesson has to be that curriculum time allocated to languages does impact on students’ self-image as linguists and examination results.

A LinkedIn group has been set up to share ideas and activities to support the campaign. More information about the campaign can also be downloaded from here  and comments are welcome on this blog too.

Maybe we really are “the people we have been waiting for”…

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

CLIL Twilight at Saddleworth High School, Friday 4th February 2011

This twilight was a follow-up from a full day INSET in November.

It was very interesting to see everybody’s work towards implementing CLIL as we were all at completely different stages. This ranged from starting to talk to another subject area to two teachers from different departments jointly planning and delivering lessons.

The first part of the Twilight was spent on getting students’ views about CLIL. At Saddleworth High School, CLIL is currently used to deliver history lessons in the Top Set Year 9. Although students admitted that they might not necessarily have chosen to do their history lessons in German, they were adamant that this was helping them both for their German and their History. Students still have history assessments in English and their performance was reported as at least in line with if not above the students who had not been taught through CLIL. One of the advantages mentioned was that the concepts had to be simplified and chunked to be accessible linguistically, which also made them easier for students to understand.

Students enjoyed being rewarded for their use of the Target Language in class and they commented on the fact that it came more naturally as the lesson was delivered through German with only very few key items of vocabulary provided with their translation in English.

One of the drawbacks of CLIL is that there can be a tendency for it to be very teacher-centred. It is therefore very important to find alternative ways to deliver the history content with more student-centred activities to ensure sustained engagement in the lessons: mind maps, match up exercises, cut up & stick exercises to show how ideas are connected to each other, pair work: summarise what you have learnt so far.

Other examples of CLIL-like opportunities were presented for PSHE- A Day in the Life of..., Healthy Living, First Aid, Geography-Crime in France, Strawberries from Spain, Art-Painting titles

Ready-made resources in English were presented for these topics that naturally lent themselves to being adapted and delivered through CLIL.

We were also given the opportunity to explore the Anne Frank guide .net site to look at resources in different languages as well as suggested ideas on how to edit these resources using Movie Maker to make them more CLIL-friendly-adding own sound, music, sequencing pictures etc...

Finally, CLIL was mentioned as a way to support other E Bacc subjects like English, Maths, Science and Humanities. By providing a different approach to some of the content taught in those subjects, students can revisit concepts they have been exposed to before and gain confidence in both their understanding of the concept and of the language used to discuss them. In addition, as no further curriculum time is required, this makes it a real win-win proposition...

CILT National 7-14 Transition Conference, Wednesday 2nd February


I attended this event as a speaker and really enjoyed the keynote speech and the other workshops on the day. Transition is something we all work at but also something that is really difficult to resolve permanently as each school’s circumstances are different and always changing. So more than a magical recipe, an ever-growing set of possible strategies is likely to be more effective. Being opened to sharing new ideas on how to cope with transition issues is indeed crucial...

Jim McElwee, from Redcar & Cleveland LA, gave an inspirational Keynote speech presenting projects and issues he had come across as an adviser. He introduced us to the Honeycomb Project, aiming to develop students listening and speaking skills through the use of ICT.

Jim asked a controversial question: Are we interested in what children know? If we truly are, this should affect our attitude to errors and how we correct them. Making connections was also mentioned as essential to developing speaking skills in particular. The example given was a presentation on planets and it showed that the appropriate level challenge represented by integrating planet, colours and pronunciation made it more effective to develop students’ skills rather than teaching these items separately.

I then attended Liz Black’s session. Liz is an AST at Stokesley School in North Yorkshire. She has a wealth of experience in organising cross-curricular projects, some of them can be viewed on her school website .

Liz introduced us to her new project based around wild animals and the circus. The aims of the project are:

*to build on prior learning

*to merge primary and secondary pedagogies more closely

*to provide challenge and encourage independent learning

*to increase the use of authentic resources

*to link the different areas of the curriculum

The schemes of work were developed with the support of the SLN which provided quality time, something always crucial to the success of such projects.

The transition unit included latin words for some of the animals, geography, science, Art, citizenship. The aim was for the content to be age-appropriate, meaningful and challenging. Each areas of the curriculum were linked-for instance the geography units on “Les continents” and “Le réchauffement de la terre” set the scene for the animal unit. There was also a strong focus on developing independent learning skills through encouraging the use of dictionaries and glossaries, for instance. The link to science was made through looking at the characteristics of the Artic Hare and the link with Art involved describing various animals and looking at unusual sculptures.

Poems like Cinquains and Haikus were used to raise self-esteem and demonstrate that “with a little bit of language, you can do a lot”. I found Haikus particularly interesting-3 lines and 17 syllables-with the idea that students could beat the rhythm of a particular word for others to guess. Y8 were asked to do these poems for Primary children to raise their motivation.

Topics like animals in captivity with strong images and music were used and movie-maker presentations designed as outcome to be assessed and revision material for Year 9. The assessment was done by using a Flip camera to record and peer-assess the outcome. It was felt that there was no need for a formal sit-down test. Plenary activities included “Find the link between...”, “Give an example of”, “If I was an animal, I would be ... because...” as a way to recap using the Target Language. Other websites used by Liz for her Unit of work can be found here .

Last but not least, I attended Florence Finneberg’s workshop, run with Betty Sachet from Coldfall Primary School: “ Developing capacity in primary environments and capitalising on students’ progress in Year 7. Florence is an AST at the Fortismere High School in Muswell Hill, North London and she works closely with her 4 feeder primary schools in order to build on previous learning and stretch students in Year 7. The National Curriculum levels 1-5 are introduced in Primary and resources shared although used differently e.g. listening materials. Sharing success criteria earlier has also been key to raising standards as well as introducing peer assessment for speaking.

Monday, 14 February 2011

ICT Links Into Languages, Sunday 13th February: Personal learning and Thinking Skills In The Languages Classroom

This is a copy of my presentation on PLTS
Personal learning and thinking skills in the mfl classroom new
View more presentations from Isabelle Jones.

Here is the reference sheet given out during the session.

ICT Links into Languages, Saturday 12th February: Show and Tell-Creative Partnerships

Here is a copy of the presentation about my French rap project that I shared at The Show & Tell

Show and tell creative partnerships
This paralel text is made of the lyrics from the song with French and English  side-by-side

ICT Links Into Languages, Saturday 12th February 2011: Get Inspired, Create and Share

Here is my presentation about developing the use of ICT in the MFL Faculty
I have also embedded the corresponding reference sheet:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

CILT Transition Conference , Regent's Park Holiday Inn, London, Wednesday 2nd February 2011

I had a lovely and very productive day at the CILT National Transition Conference. I will blog about the 2 workshops I atttended in a separate post.
Here is my presentation....