Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Le papier ne sera jamais mort.

Last week I went to the Teachmeet at Blakes on Grey Street in Newcastle. There were lots of incredible teacher types there and I managed to catch up with my old ICT and computing expert friend, Mark Clarkson.

Mark is a bit of a genius and he is one of the most enthusiastic teachers I know.

We were discussing a presentation I did a couple of years ago called "I-pad or my pad?" in which I argued (successfully) that a pad of paper is better than an I-pad for so many different reasons.

Admittedly, it might not have been the most serious thing I've ever done, but the point of my presentation was that technology should not be used just for the sake of it and that sometimes the "old fashioned" ways are just as good, if not,better.

This morning Mark sent me a link to this video, which I think proves my point.

And it's in French.

Sort of.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Verbix - conjugate verbs online.

If you read my last post and had a look at the interactive German resources you may have seen the link to Verbix.

Verbix is an online verb conjugator.

You choose the language you want - there are over 60 of them from Afrikaans to Wolof.

It is very easy to use and the layout is easy to follow.

Type in the infinitive (or even the English and it will tell you the infinitive) and you will be given the full paradigm of your chosen verb in the present, perfect, past, pluperfect, future, future perfect, present conditional, past conditional tenses, and the imperative and the progressive (continuous) forms.

It really is jolly good.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

AS & A2 German grammar resources.

It's exam season!

I was looking for some fun ways of practising grammar with my yr12 German group and came across a website form the University of Michigan's German Department.

Their site is called Interactive Grammar Tutor and has explanations, examples and interactive exercises which can be done on PCs, tablets and even those newfangled Ipad contraptions.

My students found the exercises quite challenging but they enjoyed doing them. It was slightly more interesting than completing the exercises in their grammar books and they were given instant feedback,  a :-) or an X, and an explanation as to why their answer was correct or not.

There are separate sections for verbs, cases, gender, adjectives, adverbs and, the ones I used today, relative clauses.

It's not a substitute for a teacher but it's a great source of information and a good way for more advanced learners to practise and revise German grammar.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Dans mon sac - Authentic songs in MFL

When it comes to writing schemes of work many language teachers become obsessed with doing what they have always done.

One of these things is the "dans mon sac" unit where students are taught all the words for stationery items. 

If you've ever been to France you'll hear people talking about nothing else....stylo this.....règle that...bâton de colle...trousse...

OK, I may have made that last bit up. 

One of the reasons I believe students are turned off by languages is the "baby" stuff we do with them. 

Before you get annoyed, I'll explain. In History in KS3 in England and Wales, students study the national and global effects of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In Geography they study urban design, crime, and climate change. In Maths, it's algebra. In Science, students learn particle theory...

...and then they go to French and learn the "classroom words" for stationery items and, quite possibly, stationary items.

In February at #ililc3 I was talking to a lady about how I had used this song to teach year 8 students the "tu" form of verbs in the present tense and then got students to practise by writing their own verse using what they had learned.

This being the Easter break and having time to do things, got me searching for other songs which could be exploited and this morning I came across this song "Dans mon sac" by Alizée.

This song was only released on the 25th March so you probably won't have heard it before.

The lyrics are clear, sung slowly and quite simple.

You could exploit this by getting students to write their own lyrics (simplify it by creating a gapfill exercise - the lyrics are here) and perhaps then include things which they really have in their own school bags.

Much more fun and creative than the "écoutez et répétez" Longmans Audio Visual French type activities which so many of my colleagues love.