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 ?

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 ?

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 ?

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 ?

A quoi ressemblera la voiture de demain ?

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

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Peer planning, or, who needs friends anyway?

A quick idea from today's lesson with Year 9 French.

We do a lot of peer marking and peer assessment.

They are quite good at spotting their friends mistakes, but, sadly, never their own.

Today, I got them thinking and encouraged them to be devious, too.

When I feedback to students, I give targets for improvement like, include a range of connectives, or intensifiers, opinions, tenses, etc. etc...

Today, they had to think of some words to give to their partner to include in their written work.

So, by looking back at their partner's last feedback from me, they had to come up with 6 words or phrases their partner had to include in a timed piece of written work we did about music preferences.

For example,  if the feedback was "include a variety of connectives" they had to make a list of connectives which their partner had to use.

When the task was finished they had to go through and highlight where they had used those words and scored a point for each one. The partner with the most points was the winner.

There was an extension task for the more able. This was to write sentences using a specific number of words chosen by their partner.

For a first attempt, it went quite well.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

MFL Show and Tell York 3 #mflsaty3

Yesterday I attended the third MFL Show and Tell at York University.

It was organised by Suzi Bewell in association with ALL and sponsored by Vocab Express, Sanako, Toshiba, Sonocent, Goethe Institut, Mantra Lingua, Little Linguist, Learning French with camembear, art of brilliance, Routes into Languages, Erasmus+, Brilliant publications, Mary Glasgow, Linguascope, Hue, and OUP.

Like last year, it was a great opportunity to meet old friends, discuss language teaching, drink coffee and see short presentations from PGCE students, some NQTs and some other, more experienced languages teachers.

The first presentation was from Fiona Joyce.
Fiona shared her experiences of  2 recent job interviews, the second of which, and the one she really wanted, was a success. Fiona showed us some of the resources she used including a Quiz Quiz Trade activity and she also used what she called "hot chili" questions. The more difficult these questions are the hotter the chilli icon was on the white board.

The second presentation came from Claire Humphrey. Claire showed us how she has used Minecraft-style activities as a way to improve the reading and writing skills of her students. She used colouring grids and mini whiteboards as a way to get the students to write longer sentences in the target language.

Next came Diana Keszler.Diana showed us a number of amazing resources she uses with her groups.
Among these were her kitten picture starter activities where students have to say a sentence in the target language about one of the pictures on the screen. She also showed us "secret spy"; a card for students to fill in about the progress of one of their classmates, code cracking activities, talking pegs, extension cards, and her own version of tarsia puzzles* which "are easier to cut up".

(*Clare Seccombe's guide to Tarsia in MFL is here.)

Martin Heeley gave the next presentation where he demonstrated match up cards. These are cards with a question and the answer to a different question on. One student reads the question on their card and the person with the answer shouts it out and then reads their question, and so on. I like this a lot.

Next Annabel Forster showed us how to fake realia. She showed us how to fake emails and texts. This is easier to do if you have a German/French speaking friend who is willing to send you pretend texts in the target language. This reminded me of the Fakebook, SMS Generator and Twister from classtools.net.

Will Bowden then told us about his experiences of teaching students, who don't know how to tell the time, how to tell the time. He devised some numeracy activities to help the students overcome this, including using a pizza graphic to explain quarter past and quarter to. Will also told us about his "ipad v dictionary" competitions he has with his pupils looking up new vocabulary.

Next, primary specialist, Vikki Bruff, showed us how her pupils formed "human sentences". They have hi-viz vests and are given laminated words to attach to them, they them stand in a line to form a sentence in the target language.

Vanessa Burns then showed us some of the ways she gives feedback to her students. She quoted Dylan Wiliam "feedback versus feed forward" and shared her codes she uses to save a lot of time. Vanessa also told us about how her students feedback in a different colour and also how they peer assess.

Terri Dunne was next. She showed us how she gives recorded, spoken feedback to her students. Terri explained that it's quicker to record and send feedback to students than to write it and also her students like to guess where she was when she recorded it by the sounds in the background.

Following on from this, Joe Dale, demonstrated the Opinion Podcasts app which can be useful for setting speaking tasks for students which can then be saved, converted to mp3 using RP7 and stored in a shared cloud for assessing and feedback.

Alex Bellars shared an activity he had learned the previous weekend at #edcamp15, a photo scavenger hunt. I love this idea of students searching for clues in the target language.

The penultimate presentation of the morning session was from Samantha Paulin. She showed us how she uses crib sheets with phrases target language phrases to get the students to speak. She does this as a competition so each time a student uses one of the phrases they achieve points. My students have something similar pasted into their books but I've never made it a competitive thing. Perhaps I should.

The final presentation of the morning session was my 5 minutes on Time Management. It seemed to go down quite well. I've blogged about it here.

After lunch we had the first of 2 keynotes. This was from Steven Fawkes from ALL.
He talked to us about joining ALL and about the different types of CPD it offers.
Steven shared 2 websites with us: firstly, https://allconnectblog.wordpress.com/ which contains links on grammar and translation for teachers of KS2 and KS3 and secondly this site, http://all-literature.wikidot.com/ which contains information and texts to help teach literature.
For the final part of his speech, Steven presented some hilarious mis-translations into English from some old exam papers.

The next part of the afternoon was sessions from Erasmus+ and Vocab Express, two of the day's sponsors.

Then there were 3 sessions presented by Joe Dale, Alex Bellars and me.
Joe demonstrated how to use Book Creator App, Alex gave a presentation about Classdojo, and I did an updated,  much shorter and less creme-eggier version of my #ililc5 session, Teaching my dog to whistle.

The day finished with a presentation form the highly entertaining Chris Henley from Art of Brilliance.
He shared some hilarious anecdotes with us and pretty much convinced us all we were brilliant.

Oh, and I won a mug in the raffle.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Royal baby: links and clips

So, it would seem that there is a new person 4th in line to the British throne.

I feel sorry for Andrew. He'd be a great king....

I digress.

Here are some links you might like about the royal baby, or as I prefer to call her Beyoncé.

I specifically chose interesting articles, some with videos clips in the TL.

Most are simple enough to show to your students.

They'll probably be surprised to see the rest of the world obsessed with our Royals, too.

I love the fact that lots of countries have translated the Royals names, too. I'd forgotten they did that.


le Monde

Huffington Post

From Boursorama  I love the headline: La presse britannique gaga du bébé royal

Le Parisien

France TV info  Includes a lovely clip of "Typical British people" celebrating in the street and people saying what the poor kid should be called.

Europe1 seems more interested in the betting odds for the name.

and finally, Le Parisien has a diaporama of the baby they've named "Royal Baby 2"


Focus Online The baby is referred to as a "Fashion-Ikone"

Franfurter Neue Presse 

Augsburger Allgemeine is obsessed with the name

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Swiss German)

Die Welt wants to know why they've already gone home


El Pais

NTN24 with video clip

Cadenaser   (uses the translated names: Catalina and Guillermo)

BBCMundo (has a family tree with all names translated)

euronews  (with video clip)


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Revision....and this time, it's personal.

Season's Greetings Everyone!!!

Ah yes, the season is upon us at last....

*Clears throat and sings*

Deck the hall with chairs and tables
Fah la la la la la la la laa
As and Bs for the most able
Fah la la la la la la la laaaaa!

OK, I know my singing is appalling and it's not Christmas, but the exam season.

My Yr 11 class are about to sit their GCSE in German.

They are stressed and panicking.

Some of them.

Everyone is telling them to revise!

So, what's the best way to revise?

If you google "German GCSE revision" there are a million (slight exaggeration, there are only 964,000) webpages which claim they can help you.

But can they?


Ah, but can they?

Well, yes.

Obviously, but how relevant are they to the needs of your students?

I like to think that I know my students quite well.

I tried to personalise their revision by  producing a chart of what they are good at based on the past exam questions they'd taken.

I produced this:

For each Reading and Listening exam paper they'd taken so far I made a sheet for each student based on their achievement for each question.

If they got full marks, they highlighted it in green.

If they got more than half marks it was orange.

If they got half marks, or fewer, it was pink.  

So each student now knows which topics they know well and which ones they need to work harder at.

Rocket science it ain't.

How do I use it?  

Well my bell activity might be: "Write 10 key words from one of your red topics"
or a main activity might be: "Create a mindmap for one of your red or orange topics"
They could even find a partner who has a green topic which is one of their red/orange topics and test each other.

So far they're responding well to it.

Only time will tell...

Friday, 10 April 2015

It's the holidays

Put down that red pen... 

Close that book...

Just walk away...

Don't look back...

Just keep walking....

It's the school holidays!

For me, they're almost over but some UK teachers still have another week.

Holidays are for relaxing, recharging the batteries, fiddling with old Volkswagens, spending quality time with loved ones (or your family!), mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, getting a haircut, watching television, and, if you are a male teacher, not wearing a tie.

Holidays are not for working.

Of course, most teachers never switch off.

Every time I go to the supermarket I see things which make me think, "Ooh, I could use that in my beginners' Spanish class." or "I could use that clothes line, Lego, ball of twine, coloured paper, squeaky ball thing with ears, etc. with my Y10 French group.

Teaching is the only profession where people steal stuff from home and take it to work.


I spent lots of time last week working on a new classroom game show format, reading a lot of teaching blogs and having a look at some new resources.

I even stuck some homework sheets into some sets of books but I haven't been marking.

There is no point marking in the holidays.

Why do we mark students' work?

I'm quite sure that it's so that the students can be guided as to how they can improve their learning and that teachers can improve their planning.

Most students (and many teachers) won't remember what they did 3 weeks ago so giving them feedback on "old work" is pointless.

I plan to get all my marking done before the holiday begins.

"Ticking and flicking" is also pointless as it serves no purpose whatsoever.

It is merely a waste of ink and probably will indirectly increase global warming.

You don't want that on your conscience as well, do you?

There is nothing which will ruin your break more than knowing the last weekend will be spent getting yourself stressed about work.


It's the holidays.