Friday, 13 April 2012

ALL French Online: Share Your Best French Resources, Thursday 3rd May, 8.30-9.30

Your subject association needs YOU!
The ALL French online group will meet online on Thursday 3rd May from 8.30 to 9.30pm. Go to the following address for full details and to access the event:
This time, the aim is to share as many engaging resources for French as possible: websites, songs, videos, apps, kinaesthetic activities, ideas to enhance listening, speaking, reading, writing, cultural awarenes... in fact, anything that you have found to work with your classes.
The meeting will be chaired by Christine O'Leary from Sheffield University.
There is only one rule: share and pass the baton over-remember what is a routine technique for you could be a novel approach for someone else... and we will not know unless we share! 
As it is getting more and more difficult for teacher to access CPD, networking represents a flexible and time-effective way for us to share what works in our classrooms-all from the comfort of your living room or kitchen...

Click here to find out more about becoming an ALL member.
Looking forward to a great «Bring and Brag»...

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Language World 2012: ICT Show and Tell

I was delighted to be asked to chair the ICT Show and Tell at Language World. Although our group was small, all contributed and shared their ideas and tips true to the MFL Show and Tell model.
 Voki: The avatar site has a  text-to-speech facility that can be used for students to practise pronunciation in an independent manner, digital recordings can also be added to make speaking controlled assessment preparation more engaging.
French vocabulary flashcards: learn with music and rhythm. Ict can disguise the hard graft needed in mfl practice

Poll everywhere. com is a tool to get students to give feedback and reflect on their performance in the lesson by sending a text in.

Flickr and Instagram (mobile photo-sharing)
Instagram is a great way to share spontaneous picture updates that can be commented upon.
Flickr is a classic photo-sharing site with many linked photo tools.
Jing instructional videos that can be emailed to students and
Wordle can be used for homework or to show the most common words from a GCSE Listening transcript.
ALL London now uses adobe connect to encourage members to share via their video conference roomss/ Flashmeeting is a free-although more limited-alternative.
Second Life is a great tool to practise languages. If professional contacts are developed, native speakers from Second Life can be used to demonstrate role-plays as “virtual” Foreign Language Assistants.

Jackie Berry’s MFL digital stories wiki features a wide range of tools to develop digital stories in languages lessons.
Zondle allows you to create your own games or use games already available on class view as well as track students and share graphs representing students’ progress.
Interactive battleship on powerpoint (template using triggers and shapes)
Scratch is a free software and its has many different language packs available. Use your language skills and write simple programmes in that language. 
Thank you for sharing!

Language World 2012: Improving Memory, Wendy Adeniji

Wendy’s workshop included a lot of suggestions and no-nonsense advice to enable students to find “what works for them”.
The first piece of advice was to make it obvious that memory work is hard work. There is no shortcut despite the messages sometimes spread in the media. Memorisation in a foreign language is difficult as you need to memorise the pronunciation of the word, its meaning in English and spelling in the foreign language.
Wendy spends 3-4 lessons on memorisation at the beginning of year 7, a few weeks into September.
Memorisation skills need to be taught explicitly and it helps if students are aware of their preferred learning style. Start with a VAK questionnaire and a talk to parents with suggested strategies to support their child given their preferred learning style: Visual, Auditory or Kinaesthetic.
In addition to our preferred learning style, Wendy pointed out that we all needed to develop a reasonably good visual memory because of the way we are tested.
Word association/ link word system
Crazy and funny phrases and pictures to help you to remember words and their genders.
Spend 10 mins in the lesson to see how they can learn the words: look cover check, work with a partner and test each other. The students are then asked to reflect on the strategies they used and students have to come up with  their own link word ideas.
Humour helps memory
Actions can help you remember the words-students can invent actions too and make them as funny and memorable as possible.
The homework set needs to support the development of memory techniques: either to enable students to learn the meaning of the key vocabulary in both directions-for instance from Frnch into English and English into French, spelling, pronunciation or phonic rules.
Student can use self-assessment and Red Amber Green to evaluate how well they know the words from their look cover check sheet.
Students should be encouraged to go over the key words several times over a period of time as it is a better way to ensure they go into their long-term memory.
Translate in English
Small paragraphs are translated then the text is introduced in the Target Languages odd and even-erasing every other words- in partners with odds and evens being able to help each others.
There is a need for a mix of memorisation and free flow/spontaneous talk for students to be at their most successful.
Give first letter or pictures for memory prompts at KS3.
PLTS can support memorisation strategies through getting students to consider different ways to re-create a map from memory.
For the “Human photocopiers” activity, groups of 3 or 4 work together with each person having a number each to go to the text back and forth. This is similar to the well-known running dictation activity but for a map. For the running dictation, the person who looks is not allowed to write.
Rachel Hawke's memorisation reflection sheet is also a useful tool (see Rachel’s blog or TES)
Using music is a classic way to commit new vocabulary to memory:
Verbs can be put to music e.g ser-to be with “don't stop me now” by Queen.
The avoir verb to the tune of “The pink panther”.  Music is particularly good to memorise high frequency verbs that are also irregular.
Learn with the teach prof mini site -background music to support memorisation
Earworm apps- language-learning enhanced with music (for mobile learning)    
Borrow some strategies from English: sound out syllables separately, looking for letter patterns/ phonics, mnemonics-especially if made up by students to remember spellings or meanings, words within words
Strategies from the world of acting-tips from actors and actresses about how to learn their lines.
Use mp3 to get students to record themselves.
The site is an active way of learning vocabulary and prepare for vocabulary tests.
Powerpoint animations: New words  zooming across the screen with students having to memorise them. More and more words-how many can I memorise
Vocabulary  tests can be done via powerpoint and timed picture slides.
The Memorize now site and cue prompter are also useful tools to support memorisation in the foreign language.
Wendy now runs co-ordinated vocabulary tests at her school. Students can re-sist or get advice for “memorisation intervention” at lunchtime and after school for an hour. It is much easier to just try your best to learn the key words first!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Language World 2012: Grammar and communication? Friends-not foes, Martine Pillette

" La musique a besoin de solfège comme la parole a besoin de grammaire" Eric Orsenna
Historically, grammar went out of favour after the demise of O Level. The National Curriculum tried to define a recommended approach to grammar to include communication and knowledge about how the language works.
I agree with Martine Pillette that grammar should be FOR communication and presented as a tool, not as a problem. Students should be given the opportunity to find out about structures on their own, compare with English. Although it can be very challenging, teaching the grammatical language in Target Language helps sustain Target Language use in the classroom-and much of the grammatical terminology is very similar between French/ Spanish and English.
1.       Context
Grammar should be taught in context. Ensure there is a clear link between the topic and the grammar point taught e.g. The imperfect- what for? Where from? Why now?
It is better still if you can do some comprehension  work on a specific grammar point as the  grammar point will be emerging from a much more natural context.
“Little and often” context-led approach works better.
2.       Grammar practice
It is best to integrate all skills when practising a specific grammar point. Listening and speaking really have to come first. Reading and writing can be used to consolidate.
Negatives- students to repeat the negatives
Comparatives- improvise and ask for a personal opinion eg. Adele est plus grande que Kylie.
Verbal tennis affirmative/ negative sentences
3.       Syntax: "Un mot n'est rien sans sa phrase"
Beyond words and phrases, grammar is not just morphology (endings), its use at sentence level is what makes a difference.
Guess the word before
........................................................le soir?
Oral jigsaw sentences
Listen and repeat bits of sentences e.g. Radio, à la radio, j'entends ....
Creating their own sentences provide students with opportunities for creativity and language manipulation.
High frequency language is not just nouns. It is important for students to be aware of that-verbs are the power words.
4. Breaking down barriers between grammar points
J'aime je peux je dois je veux je voudrais je vais je pourrais je devrais
breaking down barriers - creating links with communicative functions
Verbs of likes and dislikes to be+ adj, variety of adverbs, comparative phrases, link words such as because/ but/ when/ it/ for example
Link with new OfSTED and GCSE with its emphasis on developing the students’ linguistic range.

Language World 2012: Embedding Phonics in Language Learning and Teaching, Sue Cave

The principles of Jolly phonics in can be applied in French through creating an association between sounds and images with phonics being introduced right from the first lesson.
No one usually alert language learners to the fact that letters make different sounds in different languages. Phonics makes students more independent as it allows them to try out and transfer pronunciation rules by themselves.
Sue Cave presented the 7 steps to her approach to embedding phonics in language learning and teaching, with the first three steps focusing on Oracy and steps 4-7 focusing on Literacy development.
Steps 1 and 2: Identify and practise the individual sounds in a word (1) and practise blending the sounds to create the whole word (2).
Start with the basic sounds and get students to blend the sounds together. This is a very similar process in students’ mother tongue and in a foreign language-even if the pronunciation rules can be very different.  
Once the word is sounded and blended, students can concentrate on its meaning.
The spelling is then revealed and a correct pronunciation given with the support of sound files.
New key sounds need to be introduced every lesson and be related quite tightly to the content of the lesson.
The French version of the phonics programme focuses on colours, numbers, days of the week, months and animals and 24 sounds that do not exist in French or are spelt different in English
Children came up with pictures to illustrate them and example of sounds. Then they use cards with graphemes on one side and pictures on the other side to practise.
Student practise blending with known consonants and some students can be put in charge of specific individual words. Games to help to consolidate the knowledge of individual sounds can help like the “Throw the beanbag if you hear your sound” game.
Step 3 is to practise connecting the meaning of the word to its sounds.
Step 4 is to identify and practise the graphemes for the individual sounds.
Get children to draw the graphemes in the air as it is a way to strengthen the sound/ writing link
Phonic bingo
Splat with sounds
Sing the phoneme-music helps focusing on specific sounds and slowing language down.
Step 5 is to practise reading, saying and writing the word.
Bring up the issue of silent letter and encourage the students to develop a bank of silent letters as well as a bank of sounds.
Phonic hangman with letters sounded out.
Grapheme scrabble encourages students to try to make new words.
Step 6 is to practise connecting the meaning of the word to its written form.
Step 7 is to practise putting words together to say and read a sentence.
For instance, do not teach numbers on their own.  If you count things e .g chien/ araignée, students can also find out about “liaisons”.
Busy bees can represent “z” liaisons or Light blue silent e.
As phonics comes along every time students meet new words, phonics is being taught in every lesson rather than specifically at the beginning of the year.

Language World 2012: Future Perfect?-A panel debate on the challenges ahead for languages education

The panel chaired this year by Rosie Goldsmith consisted of actor Larry Lamb, headteacher David Kennedy, young entrepreneur Lizzie Fane and EC Head of UK  Interpreters David Smith.
As somebody who is in the classroom, I always find debates about languages by non-teachers both fascinating and worrying. We are discussing languages education and the members of the panels often have a partial view of it depending on the degree of their direct involvement with it. It is sometimes difficult not to feel this is all too anecdotal but the truth of the matter is that anecdotes do shape our views-whether positive or negative.  
I found the idea of doing ICT through the medium of German discussed by David Kennedy a very interesting one. German is often seen as a more “boy-friendly” subject and ICT can also be seen that way. ICT-learning is naturally more student-centred and students can work at their own pace in a more naturally differentiated way.  In addition, ICT terminology is well defined, which means that it is easier to access in different languages.
I really enjoyed Larry Lamb’s account of his “personal encounter” with language learning. I particularly liked the fact that he challenged very openly the perceptions of languages of languages as “a middle class subject for posh kids”, as if working class children could not benefit from language learning, ignoring all the personal benefits language learning can bring ALL students.  
I totally agreed with David Kennedy when he pointed out that to encourage languages in general and at primary in particular, it is essential to remove barriers and develop more joined-up thinking from primary schools to secondary  languages departments.
Languages are seen as elitist and middle class and too hard, so all agreed that they need to be “popularised” in a similar way this has been done for science, for instance.
Larry Lamb controversially stated that he could not understand why Religious Studies are part of the “core” but it is OK to do without languages. In my opinion, there is certainly a case for giving languages the status of “core” to ensure that all students have access to some language studies regardless of ability.
All agreed that cross-curricular partnerships have a great potential to promote both languages and subjects like PSHE, which also often need promoting. In addition, joint degrees-e.g. marketing and French should also be given a higher profile.
Rosie Goldsmith defined Languages as “a passport to a broader life” and all members of the panels supported this stating how important it is for speakers to come in to talk about what they do with their languages so that students realise the real opportunities offered by studying a language.
David Smith from the EC interpreting service quoted that “36% employers recruit for language skills and cultural awareness”. So, in view of the generally anti-European stance in the UK, what can be done to recruit more interpreters? The service has looked into many ways of promoting interpreting as a career including a very popular Facebook page.

Language World 2012: “Achievement and Challenge” One Year on-How to get the most of OFSTED, Elaine Taylor

Elaine Taylor gave a very thorough update of the situation of languages in school from an OFSTED perspective.
Primary Schools
50 schools were inspected for last report. All schools had some language provision of some kind.
Many examples of good practice were observed including the following:
Students were observed developing their reading and writing skills-single words and copywriting skills at sentence level.
Students were given some opportunities to be creative and use their reference skills.
Students were taught to use text to support speaking and used familiar stories to develop both their speaking and writing skills.
Display was used in a very imaginative way to support the learning of languages eg what can be done in the local park. The display was often actively used by students as reference material.
ICT Software was used to encourage creativity  eg. Comic life software to encourage writing through designing comic strips in the foreign language although there were sometimes issues  to consolidate skills due to a lack of time dedicated to languages.
A wide range of resources was used integrating the many topics taught in primary schools  e.g. Recipes, ww2, cartoons …
Many schools had applied for the International School Award, which meant that there was often a clear focus on developing students’ cultural awareness for enrichment and extra-curricular activities.  ICT was used to research festivals and display authentic materials.
Initiatives like international days or weeks/ language of the month were very popular with students and real opportunities to widen students’ horizons.
Cross curricular projects in primary schools were developed in a natural way e.g. Christopher Columbus and origin of Spanish in America with Intercultural Understanding  built into lessons from the start.
Secondary schools
Lessons observed were at Ks3 and ks4 mostly as there are very  few opportunities to observe  ks5 lessons.
There was a very mixed picture about Target-Language use and often a need for an agreed Faculty policy. When Target-Language use was good, it was explicitly planned for and expected to be used by all members of staff.  However, general expectations of Target-Language use by students were still too low.
Good use of Interactive White Board was observed as well as motivating use of microphones and mobile phones.
Some successful activities were observed to encourage spontaneous talk with dice to support choice of activities.
Text was used well to support speaking when there was a strong emphasis on the sound/ spelling link but students were seen to be too over-reliant on text for their speaking.
There was also some good use of video clips to engage students including the use of authentic materials like songs. There was generally a good use of the Internet to support the development of Intercultural Understanding as well as effective support from members of the community and Foreign Language Assistants.
An example of a successful activity was a search for a school website in the target language country.  Students had then to introduce that school to other students in the class in the target language.
Commercials on drug/ alcohol abuse were also used successfully and adapted in the target language (subtitling or dubbing)
Cross-curricular projects were an effective way to motivate students e.g. Linguavision: phonics and music y7-13 with feeder primaries and partner schools voting for the best performance.
Good language lessons encouraged students to work collaboratively.
There were some issues building on the work done at primary due to the uncertain future of Primary MFL and the high number of different feeder primary students received by some secondary schools.
The key approach was to " revisit not repeat" but this was often hindered by a lack of specific data passed on to the secondary MFL teachers.
Examples of reports from subject visits are now available on the OFSTED website in the “Our Expert knowledge” section. There is also a link to useful references such as the  subject specific grade descriptors. Some guidance for non-specialists observing MFL lesson will also be uploaded in the very near future.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Looking Back at #ililc2-My Notes and Own Checklist

Looking at my notes from the ICT into Languages Conference at Southampton University in February, I have decided to make my own checklist from all the wonderful ideas exchanged at the conference.

As mentioned in @joedale ‘s keynote speech, follow the example of David Mitchell, @DeputyMitchell to use blogging to encourage students to write and improve their literacy in general-especially boys. His concept of “Quad blogging”-four schools from around the world blog about a light theme is certainly worth investigating…
Look at setting up simple projects integrating Skype or video conferencing as a way to bring languages to life.
Develop my use of Triptico  and share my experiments via the Triptico droxbox set up by @KristianStill
Explore Class Dojo and use Lingro to develop motivation at Ks3 and encourage extended reading in the target language at KS4.
Include story-telling in our Schemes of Learning and as a cross-phase project. Check out the materials uploaded on Jackie Berry’s MFL digitalstories wikispace wiki.
Make my own rhyming Storybird story in French and/ or Spanish to be shared on the Storybird  wiki.
Explore the potential of Storybird to be included in transition projects as presented by Bertram Richter of Tile Hill Wood Language College in Coventry.
Have a go at creating my own interactive books for Gifted and Talented extension material using flipsnack or ibook author.
Storybird as a tool for transition project-Bertram Richter, Tile Hill Wood Language College, Coventry.
Project 2 ks2/3 : la selva tropical. This project could also be used as an induction project aiming to revisit animals and colours in a different way.
Y5 came up to the secondary school and paired up with y7. The primary pupils were the experts and had to show y7 how to use storyboard while the y7 had to teach y5 about adjectival agreement.
Storyboard can be embedded on a blog but not downloaded unless you buy the stories as the artwork is copyrighted. The stories can be bought as a PDF file $2 each and are useful to be shown at open evenings or to raise the profile of MFL through a display in the library, for instance
Storybird can also be used with KS4 students at the Stage 1 of controlled assessment – the storybird book can then be used as a reference document for stage 2 preparation.
A class account can be set up by setting up a class and adding users.
CatherineElliott-Using Video in the MFL classroom     
Video is a great tool to encourage writing, redrafting, speaking, by giving a real purpose and an audience. Analysing footage can also encourage students to us High Order Thinking Skills.
A few barriers:
Child protection-permission required to use footage and need to follow school procedure to protect children’s identity.
Creativity pitfalls: the level of language students wants to want to use is very different from the level they can actually use and function at. This can cause many frustrations for the learner. A way around this could be to make videos for an audience of younger children.
Finger puppets filming is a good way round the child protection issues but you need to think about the  background and how the puppets are going to be filmed.
Stuart Gorse: Using  Music in the MFL classroom
When rhyming words need to be found, it is best to support students with a list of rhyming words and/ or give them access to a dictionary of rhymes like
Verbal tennis can be used as a warm-up activities: e.g. words around a similar theme, rhyming words etc…
Use songs to summarise stories or describe characters like “La veuve Saverini” from Guy de Maupassant’s La vendetta ( short story) to the tune of “Hotel California”
Karaoke versions of YouTube songs can be used and their lyrics re-written
The Ramones (el pueblo)
Mamma mia -daily routine
Quelles étaient les meilleures vacances de ta vie-Good riddance-Green Day
Carole Nicoll-How music helps with memorisation
Music helps Instant recall
Background music can help commit to long -term memory.
How do you get children to speak with a correct accent?
Deconstruct the song-e.g. head shoulders knees and toes
Rap-rhythm helps students to memorise words too( greetings)
Put the language to a rhythm and background music and loop it...
Music and kinaesthetic activity: Hold the card when you hear the word e.g. Days of the week
Singing in harmony/ two or three voices…
Using commercial/ karaoke tracks/demo materials:  iTunes artist: Carole Nicoll