Monday, 30 July 2012

Venn Diagrams and Thinking Skills

I've used venn diagrams with most of my classes this year. 

I find them a great way to get students thinking about how they might categorise words and phrases.

For example, with my younger students when we learn colours and adjective endings in French we use a venn diagram to separate adjectives which are masculine, feminine or both. 

When describing people and characteristics we had a positive, negative or possibly both diagram to complete. 

I have used them when teaching phonics and got the students to fill in words which contain a certain sound or sounds.

My 6th form students used them to compare and contrast characters from the Maupassant short stories they had read. 

I've even got students to make up their own categories for venn diagrams. Some of these were really good, for example one year 7 student made a "J'adore" and "Je déteste" diagram when we learned words for foods.

They require very little preparation, are very easy to make and can be done on mini-whiteboards rather than using a lot of paper.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tech for tech's sake!

Even though I am a huge technology nerd (I even own a pocketsurfer!!) I don't believe that, as teachers, we should use technology just for the sake of using technology.

Many of my colleagues, including most of my department, have recently been given ipads.

Now despite what you may think, and despite this earlier post, I don't dislike the ipad. It is, in all honesty, an amazing gadget.

But, at the risk of sounding like a petulant 13 year old, I don't get it.

I just don't see the point.

Before you bombard me with comments, links and lists of wonderful educational apps, you might let me finish.

Having spoken to many of my colleagues who love their ipads, I have only found one department which actually uses them as teaching and learning tools.

For the others it is just a planner or a games console (which they can use to play virtua tennis via bluetooth with each other in the staffroom).

A teacher's planner costs around £6, an ipad costs around £300. If you consider school budgets and the cuts in education recently made by the authorities, these things are far too expensive to be used merely as diaries. 

I firmly, believe that if teachers are to be equipped with new technology they should be given appropriate training specifically to help improve the teaching and learning of students.

Otherwise, don't bother.

Is this too much too ask?


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Authentic links for AS German

You asked for it and here it is: Authentic links for AS German.


From Schattenlichtzine: Pro und Contra Fernsehen für Kinder

From wen-waelen: Das Fernsehen sollte stärker kontrolliert werden

From MPFS: Gewalt und Fernsehen 10 Antworten

From Macht Fernsehen dick?

From Tannheiner-Tal: Fernsehen - Segen oder Fluch?


From Wie gefährlich Werbung für Kinder ist

From Carola Laun Marketing: Wie Jugendliche Werbung verstehen

From Werbung - Vorteile und Gefahren für den Konsumenten

New technology

From Das Handy im Alltag

From Pro und Contra Handy in der Schule

From Soziale Netzwerke - pro und contra

From (a silly quiz) Sind Sie Handysüchtig?


From Kino oder DVD?

Fashion and image

From Sind Markenklamotten wichtig?

From Piercing und Tattoo

From Was ist ein Emo, Punk, Gothic, Skin...?

Sport and exercise

From Sport ist wichtig für die Gesundheit

Lots of information about funsports and extremesports in German at

From Ist Parkour wirklich gefahrlich?

From kristins kinderkiste: Warum ist sport für Kinder wichtig?

Health and wellbeing

From Rauchen bei Kindern und Jugendlichen

From Jugend und Alkohol

From Jugend und Drogen

From spiegel online: Jugendliche trinken und rauchen weniger


From Reisekomplizen: Vorteile und Nachteile von Langzeiturlaub

From Vorteile und Nachteile einer Pauschalreise

From Sanfter Tourismus und Umwelt Tourismus

Family, friendships and relationships

From Heirat oder nichteheliche Partnerschaft?

From Warum heiraten?

From spiegel online: Vorteile des Single-Lebens

From Freundschaft: Was wichtig ist

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Making comics with my year 12 and Toondoo.

At my school year 12 students start their A2 French course in June.

I try to make it nice for them and so we study a nice film (this year it's "le diner de cons") and we start to look at French literature.

As we are studying Maupassant's short stories I thought it would be a nice idea to read a couple of really short stories, un duel and deux amis. These 2 stories are incredibly short and we read each of them in one lesson.

Rather than write a summary of the stories I asked them to create a Mr Men style mini-book with a nice picture and a sentence in French on each page. (Clare Seccombe is the Queen of mini-books. Read her blog.)

They actually thought I had gone mad.

Some of them are quite serious and studious (they think I'm an idiot at the best of times!) and were quite shocked that I asked them to do this.

One of them said, "This is an A level course. What is the educational value in this?"

My reply of course was, "There is educational value in everything we do. Just because something seems like fun, it doesn't mean we shouldn't be doing it."

So, off they went and created their mini-books on an expertly folded piece of A3 paper.

I then decided that it would be lots of fun to use toondoo to make comics.

By this time they had already gone, so I did it myself. Next time I'll get them to do it, too

Here is my version of Guy de Maupassant's Deux Amis.

Deux amis 1
Deux amis 2