Wednesday, 30 September 2015

ALLNE Languages Teachmeet #1

Exciting news for North East MFL-ers!

The ALLNE is hosting its first Teachmeet.

It takes place on 20th October 2015 at Newcastle University's King George VIth Building in room 1.36.

The Teachmeet runs from 4:30-6:30pm with the idea that attendees will have the opportunity to network and chat afterwards and perhaps wander into Newcastle for food and drinks.

This is a Teachmeet with a difference as it is specifically aimed at trainee teachers and NQTs.


It came about after a conversation Steven Fawkes and I had at Suzi Bewell's MFL PGCE Show and Tell at York University this summer.  

Steven thought that it would be a great idea to put on similar events in the North East.  There are lots of really great Teachmeets around the region, but none specifically for MFL trainees and NQTs.

So after a few emails and tweets between us, the amazing organisational skills of Newcastle Uni PGCE tutor, Cheryl Mackay, Eleanor Gordon for creating the link and Rene for letting us have the venue, everything seems to be ready. 

Any teachers or educationalists can sign up to attend but presenters must be either trainees or recently qualified teachers.

How do you sign up?

You can find out more and sign up to the event here.

If you wish to present for either 2 or 5 minutes or have any questions, you can contact Steven or even Me and we'll be glad to help.

Also if you're reading this and know someone who might like to come, please tell them. 
See you there! 

If you can't make it Newcastle, don't worry, we intend to host others in and around the North East during this academic year.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

More authentic links for A2 French

Here it is, following on from this post I wrote a few years ago, a brand new list of links to authentic texts for A2 French.

Don't forget that I made a page of links to the un jour une actu videos, too.

There's also the fun with languages site (from Sutton Academy) which has a lot of A level French online games.

Wealth and poverty

En Chine, on moticve les écoliers avec des visites de maisons de luxe

Quatre graphiques pour mieux comprendre la pauvreté en France

Le nombre de pauvre baisse, leur niveau de vie aussi

Les dix chiffres noirs de la pauvreté en France

Les SDF ne meurent pas seulement en hiver

Le chomage progresse dans régions...

Law and order

L'euthanasie aux Pays-Bas

Exécution prévue en Arabie Saoudite

Impact of scientific and technological progress

Un français de 6 ans, premier français à recevoir une prothèse de main imprimée en 3D

L'Europe autorise les OGM de Monsanto

Doit-on ressusciter les espèces disparues ?


Les villes avec le plus d'immigrés en France

Il faut beaucoup de courage pour quitter son pays...

Qui sont les migrants ?

Paris accueille ses premiers migrants

D'où viennent (vraiment) les immigrés entrant en France ?

C'est quoi, le droit d'asile ? 

Non, des refugiés n'ont pas refusé de la nourriture halal ?


La SNCF condamnée pour discrimination


Les femmes s'affichent dans la rue

Cartoon: les droits des femmes

Ces célébrités ont été victimes de violences conjugales

My blogpost about SOS femmes a site dedicated to women's issues

Fin de la < Page 3 > du Sun

Préjugés et Stéréotypes


Linfen, la ville la plus polluée du monde

La France dévoile sa stratégie bas carbone


C'est quoi, une énergie durable ? 

Les trois plus grands mensonges sur la planète 

En France, 100% d'électricité renouvelable n'est pas plus couteux que le nucléaire

Toutes les énergies renouvelables

Protecting the planet

Thalassa, la mer pour sauver la terre

Comment les éruptions volcaniques influencent le climat

Pourquoi avons-nous besoin des abilles ?

C'est quoi la couche d'ozone ? 

Friday, 28 August 2015

More Authentic Links for AS French

Here is a list of articles which could be of use to anyone teaching AS French:

Les consoles de jeu à nouveau autorisées en Chine

Dix choses à ne jamais poster sur Facebook

Smartphones reconditionnés

La Game Boy a 25 ans

Les nouveaux jeux dangéreux

10 ans de télé-réalité

Popular Culture

One Direction: un membre du groupe parle de "pause" pas de séparation.

Trop saoul pour b****r. Vraiment?

Festival de Cannes: Les pires looks de stars sur le tapis rouge

L'homme le plus percé du monde

Les jeunes conducteurs sont de plus en plus sérieux

"No déo": la nouvelle tendance beauté

Healthy Living

Trop de hanches, trop de fesses

La fille de Whitney Houston est décedée  

Le squat, destination préférée des Français

Boire quatre cafés par jour 

Comment le football est (presque) devenu un sport individu

L'incitation à l'anorexie est désormais un délit

Alcool: l'ivresse de plus en plus fréquente chez les jeunes français

Frites McDonalds: la recette révélée par McDo, ça tourne au bad buzz

Une étude controversée met en cause la cigarette électronique

Faut-il légaliser le cannabis en France ?

Le plan antitabac

Trois mésures-chocs contre le tabagisme

Le paquet de cigarettes sans logo

En France, le camping résiste à la crise

Football: la France se convertit au spray

Comment faire pour ne pas tomber malade en avion

Les sports qui comptent le plus de licenciés

Le Glamping

Les chambres d'hôtels les plus chères du monde (New: 31/08/2015)

Family & Relationships

Les perles des sites de rencontre

La fin du mariage

Le mariage gay

Ashley Madison ne comptait que quelques milliers d'utilisatrices

I've also written a post full of  binge drinking links, one with internet links, one with TV links, and an older post with General AS links (most of which still work).


Sunday, 12 July 2015

MFL Show and Tell in the Lakes #MFLSATLakes

Yesterday I went on a road trip to Keswick to attend Cumbria's first MFL show and Tell.

If you've never visited the Lake District, you are really missing out.

It is one of the most beautiful places in the UK, if not the world.

It took place at Keswick School and was extremely well organised by the amazing Rebecca Wylie.

I love my job but I'd be tempted to move if my classroom had views like this:

This is my report of the day. (Anything in brackets wasn't mentioned and is just me thinking out loud).

The day started at 11 with a welcome from Keswick School's headteacher, Simon Jackson.

Anna Bartrum of University of Cumbria, said some opening words and gave us some activities to do to warm us up. These included a watching powerpoint where we had to identify words which flew very quickly across the screen, an activity called "ask 3 people" where we had to ask 3 questions to 3 people to find out information which we then fed back to the group. finally she asked us what all these things had in common with a sandwich.

The first presentation came from Wendy Lightfoot.
Wendy talked about starter activities which are great for practising numeracy and literacy.
They included:
order the numbers - give the students numbers as words and get them to put them in order
fizzbuzz - a counting game where pupils count in the target language but replace numbers ending in a 5 with the word "fizz" and those ending in 0 with "buzz".

scrabble - getting students to create valuable words

boggle - give the students a pre-made boggle grid with key words for them to find. (You could make your own using a wordsearch creator and reuse them)

wordclouds - Wendy suggested tagxedo

quick write - teacher starts to write a word on the board students have to guess it before it's finished

definition bingo - students pick words, teacher reads a definition for the students who have to work out if they have that word

first letter last letter game - student says a word, their partner has to say one which begins with the last letter of their partner's word and so on. (You could even make it into game show style activities. See my blogposts on Harry and Chain Letters)

anagrams - useful for consolidating spellings

spot the mistake - (I know lots of teachers hate this! I quite like it. I do these types of activities regularly with my students)

Next was Jane Hegedus who shared with us some ideas for introducing a "little bit of literature" into our lessons. She talked about the ALL literature wiki and shared with us the poem un hombre sin cabeza.
Jane showed us the activities she had done with her pupils with a felt and velcro lifesize body prop, which included introducing and consolidating vocabulary, dictionary work, brainstorming vocabulary, and practising and reinforcing grammar. She also showed us how we could use Clare Seccombe's "Trash or Treasure" idea.

Becky Henderson was the next presenter. She showed us how to "keep it real" in Italian. She uses real situations to teach language, including cooking using the only target language. She also taught us how to order drinks in Italian by means of a song. All good fun.

Helen Tucker then told us about 3 part sentence Mastermind (I know it as Cluedo and it needn't necessarily be 3 parts!) . It's a great idea for getting students to talk. It's great for revision, takes only a few minutes to plan, it's competitive and it also makes students listen to each other.

Paul Harrison then told us about iportal4languages. This is a EU funded project for people who want to learn English, Spanish, Turkish, Polish, German, or Bulgarian. Or all six. It is completely free. You just sign up and start learning. It has its own youtube channel and, should you so wish, you can learn in Second Life too. 

Stephanie Licht then showed us some Great German Resources. She told us about how we can get free, fairly robust maps of Germany for students to use and some for classroom displays for very little money. (I missed the end of this as I was preparing for my presentation. Sorry, Stephanie.)

I was next talking about Time Management. This was a 7 minute chunk of my hour long "Standing out or outstanding?" presentation from #ililc5. (This is probably the last time I'll ever do this, as I think everyone in the world has seen it by now.) It seemed to go down quite well and got a few laughs, so that's always a bonus.

The final presentation of the first session was from Alex Crawford.She talked about her department's Relationships and choices project. Her students do a lot of cross curricular work and their work often links to business studies. She showed us how her students do practical activities, creating videos, project managing a team of students, etc. to achieve well in languages. They have a weebly website with all the information and resources the students need. The students also each have to acquire a certain amount of zollars using zondle to be successful, too. (Garry Mills has written about using zondle on his blog).

After coffee (which was OK) and cakes (which were amazing!) we had the second session.

The first presentation of the second session was from Elaine Pratt. She showed us the workbooks her department uses which contain all of the worksheets and grammar needed for her groups for the whole year. (She didn't say what happened of they got lost, ruined or stolen, though.) Then she showed us a Quiz Quiz Trade activity. This is one example of the many cooperative learning structures.

Rebecca Chapman then showed us some examples of CLIL. Her students have learned about King John in History and have learned about Senegal in Geography lessons, all taught in French. There is some more information about this on the MFL page of their school's newsletter with comments from some of the students.

Stuart Gorse was next with Hugo. Hugo is a ventriloquist puppet who is the star of many youtube videos, which Stuart creates to help his students to learn. 
Stuart told us that he gets bored really easily and so tries to teach in a way which will not be boring for him or for his students. Here is Hugo and Marlene Dietrich in Stuart's take on Déjeuner du matin:

Helen Tucker had to follow that and did extremely well, all things considered. She told us about using the song Léon le caméleon with her primary students and how it was used as the basis for a lesson on colours and to introduce similes.
She also showed us the poetry balls. These were strips of coloured paper with sentences, or lines of poetry on, fastened at the top and bottom with paper fasteners and then can be hung up as a display. I shall be using this idea next term.

Marie Nunes was the next presenter. She showed us her virtual classroom, lakesloveslanguages. It's a weebly account which contains all the information needed by students in each year group from primary right up to A level. There are lots of quizlet quizzes embedded onto it, also there are vocab lists, activities and videos. (It's impressive.)

The penultimate presentation of the day came from Suzi Bewell, who also provided the raffle prizes.  She talked about FLAME, which isn't CLIL, in case you were wondering. Suzi talked about transforming language learning and instilling intercultural understanding into our teaching. We shouldn't always talk about the differences between different cultures, we should also talk about how similar they are, she said.
Suzi mentioned these:
Sur le chemin de l'école:

Where children sleep:

and Le Travail des Enfants:

The final speaker was the day's organiser, Rebecca Wylie.
Rebecca told us about how she uses vocabulary mats, there were examples of these on our tables. They were laminated A3 sheets with key vocabulary on them.
She also showed us how she uses classdojo with her groups. (I love classdojo and blogged about it here in 2012.)
The best thing Rebecca showed us was the scratchcards she made.
These are made by putting special scratch off stickers over cards. Ours were for prizes but could be used for lots of things in the classroom and we got some to take home. 
All in all, it was a fantastic day.

I met some old friends, met some new people, and learned and was reminded of loads of really good stuff. 

I'm really looking forward to next year's #MFLSATLakes2.

Monday, 6 July 2015

La fête nationale - Bastille Day resources

My students will finish school for the summer at the end of this week so this week will be learning about Bastille Day, or as it should be called, La Fête Nationale.

I've done work with my students about La Fête Nationale many times over the years but realised that I'd never blogged about it.

So, here is a list of some resources and links you could use:

  • There's a cornucopia of resources here on the TES website.

  • ParisInfo has a webpage dedicated to celebrations happening in Paris.

  • has a page full of activities for younger children here, including some nice comptines and coloriages. There's also a quiz here

  • euroclubschools has some activities and a quiz here

...and there are lots of clips on youtube...

...I  like this one....

....and I love this one....

You could also go to and send your friends a totally free e-card, like this one....

...or perhaps not....

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Studying a French film - dossiers pédagogiques

A couple of years ago I blogged about Luc Besson's film, Les aventures extraordinaires d' Adèle Blanc-Sec.

I included a link to the institut français' German website where you could find a dossier pédagogique with exercises for students to complete before, during and after watching the film.

For the last fifteen years, the Institut Français Deutschland has held a Cinéfête for students, the Jugendfilmfestival, where Francophone films are shown and studied.

For each of these films, they have produced a dossier pédagogique all in French, with exercises all in French.

The selection of films for the 2015 festival are:

  • Comme un lion - Samuel Collardey
  • Populaire - Régis Roinsard
  • Le tableau - Jean- François Laguionie
  • L'Italien - Olivier Baroux
  • La Cage Dorée - Ruben Alves
  • Une bouteille à la mer - Thierry Binisti
  • Séraphine - Martin provost

Information about these films can be found on the festival site here.

The dossiers pédagogiques are here

The archives of the 14 previous film festivals can be found here.

Here is a list of all of the films shown in the first 14 festivals and you should be able to click on them to go straight to the dossier.:

Cinéfête 14
Cinéfête 13
Cinéfête 12
Cinéfête 11
Cinéfête 10
Cinéfête 9
Cinéfête 8
Cinéfête 7
Cinéfête 6
Cinéfête 5
Cinéfête 4
Cinéfête 3
Cinéfête 2
Cinéfête 1

Many of these films are available in the UK on DVD and can be viewed on youtube, too.


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Un jour une question - video links for A level French

A few years ago I blogged about un jour un actu, a news website for children in French.

The site is still great and I've used it a lot, but sadly, the teacher resources are no longer free to use unless you pay for a subscription.

One of the newer features to this site is the "un jour, une question" videos.

These are short clips explaining events and situations in simple language.

These can be a great way to introduce some key vocabulary to A level students.

I've been through the archives and put together links to the videos which are relevant to the AQA AS and A2 syllabuses (syllabi?) in the UK.

If you are looking for a clip, all of the relevant ones are here.

You're welcome.

AS French


Pourquoi Facebook est-il interdit aux moins de treize ans ?

A quoi ça sert la pub ?

Quels sont les dangers d'Internet ?

C'est quoi le piratage informatique ?

C'est quoi la VOD ?

Popular Culture

C'est quoi la consommation ?

Qui a inventé les jeux vidéo ?

Qui décide de la mode ?

C'est quoi, la vie privée ? (New 20.07.2015)

Healthy Living and Exercise

Pourquoi doit-on faire attention à ce qu' on mange ?

Pourquoi la cigarette électronique a-t-elle été inventée ?

C'est quoi le Ballon d'or ?

C'est quoi le sida ?

C'est quoi le cannabis ?

A quoi ça sert de faire du sport ? (New 27/7/2015)

C'est quoi le low cost ? (New 28/7/2015)

Pourquoi la cigarette est-elle mauvaise pour la santé ? (New 28/7/2015)

Le sommeil, à quoi ça sert ? (New 7/8/2015)

C'est quoi, les colonies de vacances ? (New 28/8/2015)

Family and Relationships

C'est quoi le harcèlement à l'école ?

Pourquoi certaines personnes sont contre le mariage pour tous ? 

A2 French


Comment se déplacer sans polluer ?

C'est quoi les OGM ?

C'est quoi, le changement climatique ?

C'est quoi une centrale nucléaire ?

C'est quoi un accident nucléaire ?

Pourquoi faut-il réduire les déchets ?

Pourquoi la Chine est-elle aussi polluée ?

Pourquoi y-a-t-il des jours plus pollués que d'autres ?

C'est quoi une énergie durable ?

Pourquoi avons-nous besoin des abeilles ? 

C'est quoi le gaspillage alimentaire ?

C'est quoi la couche d'ozone ?

C'est quoi la biodiversité ?

D'où vient la pollution de l'air ?

C'est quoi le gas de schiste ?

Pourquoi faut-il économiser de l'eau ? (New 10/7/2015)

C'est quoi, le gaz de schiste ? (New 02/08/2015)

Multicutural Society

C'est quoi, l'antisémitisme ?

C'est quoi un migrant ?

C'est quoi, le djihad ?

C'est quoi la laicité ?

C'est quoi le Ramadan ?

Comment l'Europe lutte-t-elle contre les naufrages de réfugiés en Meditéranée ?

Contemporary Social Issues

A quoi sert un satellite ?

C'est quoi un drone ?

Pourquoi on a créé les restos du coeur ?

Pourquoi dans certains pays les enfants travaillent-ils ?

C'est quoi la liberté d'expression ?

C'est quoi un SDF ?

C'est quoi payer un loyer ?

Pourquoi le virus Ebola fait-il si peur ?

Est-ce qu' un enfant peut aller en prison ?

Pourquoi y-a-t-il de l'esclavage dans le monde ?

C'est quoi être pauvre ?

Comment un pays peut avoir une dette ? (New 8/7/2015)

A quoi ressemblera la voiture de demain ?

C'est quoi, le chômage ?  (New 27/7/2015)

I shall continue to add to the list as new videos are released.