Thursday, 28 May 2009

New NC level descriptors for MFL

The Government has decided, in its wisdom, to get the QCA to manage a public consultation on changes to the National Curriculum.

The consultation will run from 30th April until 24th July, although parents are only to be consulted fron the beginning of June! Why?

I only just found out about this and I'm sure most of you didn't have a clue either. If you did, thanks for the "heads up".

Most subjects will have changes to their NC level descriptors, but I'm more interested in MFL than in the others. By clicking here you can read the proposals for MFL.

If I have understood correctly, there will be 3 attainment targets:

1) Listening and Speaking
2) Reading and Writing
3) Intercultural understanding

The third one is, of course, brand new, and it's a tricky one.

As far as I can make out, you could get a level 8, or even Exceptional Performance without actually knowing a single world of a foreign language. (My results should improve then!)

For more information or to get involved go to the ALL website and follow the links.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

TeachMeetNE 2009 Newcastle 18th June 2009

Thursday 18th June 2009 7.00pm - 10.30pm

Tyneside Bar, Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne

The opportunity for teachers to meet other teachers, chat, network, share resources and ideas, and put faces to the names you see on Twitter.

Click here for more information.

If you are interested, add yourself to the wiki and I hope to see you there.

If you can't make this, there are other teachmeets going on around the country. Go to the TeachmeetNE page and follow the links.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Tools for educators

I have to thank mpc for this one. mpc is a regular poster on TES MFL forum and recommended this excellent site. It is called Tools for educators and allows the user to create all manner of resources for use in the classroom.

It allows the user to create:
board games
bingo cards
and a cornucopia of other types of resources which lend themselves rather well to teaching languages.
tools for educators is an affiliate site of mighty education systems

Friday, 22 May 2009

le cheval qui murmurait.

I just found this on youtube. I think it is hilarious. Enjoy.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Cyber Summit on 21st Century Skills

Not just for languages, but everything. If you are based in the USA you can take part in this online conference. Have your say and be a part of advancing education on a global scale. Help turn our students into responsible global citizens.

You can register your interest here: Cyber summit or, if you are not sure what it is all about, watch the amusing clip first.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

New GCSE spec MFL assessment materials

As we all know, or should know, the GCSE is changing, or has changed. I recently attended some excellent CPD organised by Comenius on this in the wonderful city of Durham led by Gill Beckett (MFL expert, google her, she is amazing, a human dynamo!).

If you teach languages and are still not sure which board to choose, you need to get a move on. If you haven't read Helen Myers' excellent document on the new specs (shame on you! she spent ages on it!) you can do this here.

I'm blogging this because of a post today on the TES MFL Forum asking if anyone had any specimen papers yet. So, to save you all more work, and I know you are all very busy, (what with speaking exams and the like!) here is the definitive list of already published specimen materials on the web:

AQA French (from page 65 onwards it's the same examples for each language)

CCEA French, German, Spanish

WJEC French, German, Spanish

OCR French, German, Spanish

Edexcel French, German, Spanish

As the Yorkie says: Amusez-vous bien!

Sunday, 10 May 2009

23 Ways to wordle?

Following on from my last post I have made a huge discovery. I discovered wordle last week but I have been trumped on a massive scale. While I was doing the "teacher thing" of reinventing the wheel, fellow international edublogger Samantha Lunn has created the wordle equivalent of inter-galactic time travel. (I feel like the bloke who invented the telephone the day after Alexander Graham Bell!) Her 23 ways to use wordle in the classroom is fantastic. Fortunately for us all Samantha is one of those true professionals who is more than happy to share her hard work with us all.
If you haven't seen it, you really should take a look. For those who don't know her work yet, here is her wordled CV:
Wordle: CV

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Wordling in the classroom.

I have discovered another excellent resource.
It is the brain child of Jonathan Feinberg and is a "toy" for generating word clouds.
My students love it (my school hasn't blocked it yet!) and we hope it will be a great way to learn key vocabulary and be creative. I'm hoping that using word clouds will improve my students' vocab retention.
It is a little early to comment yet, but time will tell. If anyone has any evidence to this, please let me know. Below is an example of a word cloud "Meine Schuluniform" using key vocabulary from the year 7 scheme of work.
Wordle: Meine Schuluniform
The next task is to get the students to create "Meine Traumuniform". Hopefully, I will post some next week.

Friday, 8 May 2009

CPD for everyone for free

Each of us needs to keep up with developments and good practice, even if we are not looking to further our careers.

So what do you do if your school is reluctant, or can’t afford, to allow you out to complete CPD courses?

The answer is: Take responsibility for your own professional development.

There are many MFL CPD opportunities online which few teachers are aware of, most of which are free. These can be done in departments or by individual teachers.

The National Strategies site is an excellent place to start.
There is a wealth of invaluable information specifically related to the teaching of MFL.
There are video resources, case studies and practical online exercises to undertake.
The learning units include:
Using the MFL Framework
Planning Lessons
Using the Target Language
Developing how you question students
Effective starters
and plenaries
Using Assessment for Learning

Each unit contains “nuggets” which are intended to help MFL teachers improve. Most of us will have some extra time this term to do this now that year 11 and 13 students are about to leave us. So, use your time profitably this summer. This website will soon be closing, but I have it on good authority that the resources will be moved to the new site:

Here is an example of one of the nugget clips:

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Comedy, the international language.

Not very educational, but funny and in German. My year 7 pupils love it. Who would have thought that people would still be laughing at this 80 or so years later?

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Swine 'flu?

Every single one of my Year 11 students can recite verbatim the government's information on the symptoms of swine flu, how it is transferred, what you should do in order not to get it, and the incubation period of all influenza-type diseases.

So how come they can't remember the present tense of the verb, "sein"?

They should spend less time here: and more time here: