Wednesday, 26 June 2013

L'âge des chiens et des chats. Part Two.

Last week I recommended an online resource which helped work out your age in dog years and your dog's age in human years.

It would be great for practising numbers with beginners in French.

Today, I found something even better.

"That's not possible!" I hear you cry.

At the risk of sounding pantomimous, Oh, yes it is!

Today's find was a site called Chez Maya which tells you not only how old your dog is but also it has information about cats, too. Fiona will love this.

It even tells us the difference in ages between dog breeds of different sizes.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

Quel âge as-tu? Et en années de chien?

This is an idea for practising big numbers with students. 

It came from a tweet from my friend, Fiona, this morning.

Fiona asked,

Dear francophones, how do I say “but he is 70 in dog years”? Would I have to explain the whole concept, or would a French person understand?

and I remembered a site I'd seen a while ago after an argument a conversation I'd had with someone about 1 dog year not being equivalent to 7 human years.

The site is and it is a calculator which tells you your age in dog years or your dog's age in human years. The page can be seen in 9 different languages.

I think this would be a great idea for teaching and practising high numbers with younger students.

By the way, if I were a dog I'd be 189 years old.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Do you speak touriste? Or, are Parisians really rude?

You know how all Parisians are really rude to tourists?

How you are fobbed off in shops with a gallic shrug?

How your taxi driver pretends he doesn't understand you?

Well, I have a secret to tell you.

It appears that 80% of Parisians can't speak English.

Or any foreign languages for that matter.

So don't take it personally!

They aren't being rude at all.

They are just being.....err what's the word? Ah, yes.....French!

It is for this reason that the CCI (Chambre de Commerce et Industrie) Paris Ile-de-France has produced a booklet Do you speak touriste? to help.

You can download it here and I recommend that you do.

It is an informative (and quite possibly racist) guide to the different nationalities who visit Paris.

It has some key phrases which all Parisians should know.

It lists their guests likes and dislikes, the things they want to do and see, and what they expect from their hosts.

It is so bad it is the equivalent of watching the Learn About Europe videos on youtube...


Friday, 7 June 2013

Kérity, la maison des contes - a French film for children.

Last month I blogged about the Luc Besson film Adèle Blanc-Sec and shared the link I found to some fantastic resources for studying the film with older students.

Unbelievably, today I discovered a French film which is suitable for primary school children.

It's called Kérity, la maison des contes.

It's an animated fantasy film about a small boy, Natanael, who can't read, who is bequeathed a collection of old books. He discovers that well-known characters from children's literature and fairy tales are hiding in the books and he sets off on a quest to protect them from an evil witch.

Like they did with Adèle Blanc-Sec, those nice people at the Institut Français in Germany have made a resource pack for studying the film in schools.

The resources are all in French but many of the discussion activities could be done in English.

There are matching exercises and a wordsearch of characters which could be done quite easily.

The pack contains answer sheets for teachers, too.

The DVD of Kérity, la maison des contes is available from the French amazon site. Sadly, amazon uk only sells the  English version of the film, Eleanor's Secret. The original version of the film can be streamed and downloaded from a number of sites on the web, but I wouldn't want to breach any copyright laws by posting links on my blog.

Even if you aren't going to study the film with your students, I heartily recommend it as a film you could watch with your own children. Even the English version.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

MFL Show and Tell York. #mflsaty

Last Saturday I went to #mflsaty at York St John University and spent an enjoyable day with 70 or so MFL teachers doing what MFL teachers do best. 


Not complaining.


It was the latest in a series of MFL Show and Tells and this event was the brain child of Suzi Bewell, MFL expert, PGCE MFL tutor, teacher, writer, expert, genius, builder of industrial strength pinatas and all round good egg.

It was great to see lots of old friends and make some new ones.

The day started off with a very informative and interesting presentation and a quiz by Bob Harrison (from Toshiba) on the importance of technology in teaching. 

Then came the Show and Tell:

Thomas Allison was first up. He told us all about Kidblog a safe and simple blogging platform designed for use in education. 

Next we had a presentation from Marie O'Sullivan. Marie made us sing the time in German to the Eastenders theme tune to show how adapting familiar tunes can help students learn and practise vocabulary. She also showed us Lyricsgaps and AlexTV. There is more information on Marie's blog about all this.

Martin Wheeley then took us on a cultural journey around the Catalonian Christmas phenomenon that is the Caganer.

Then David McDermott gave an impressive presentation on the uses and usefulness of place mats. He showed us some examples of how they can be used to ensure that learning takes place and gave us a link to some really good examples on the TES resources site. 

Will Strange then told us about how he uses sweets as poker chips to increase student participation in his presentation, Group talk poker. A great idea I'd seen before, forgotten about and now promise to use in the future. Thanks, Will.

The amazing Isabelle Jones then shared her experiences of jazzing up revision. She has blogged about it here
already. You'll find her "genius bar" presentation by following the link, too.

Next we heard about an amazing transition project from Lisa Gibbs. Lisa uses an African folk tale Kirikou et la sorcière as a great way to engage year 7 students. A student study pack is available here

Mary Cooch then shared an amazing resource Mystère à Blaru with us. It's a google street view mystery in French which is available on Moodle here and which, for non-moodlers, can be downloaded from here

Ricky Gibson then presented a great way to use google forms to set up online quizzes which could be used for homework and/or tests. A brilliant idea. If only I had access to ICT.

Next we were wowed by Amanda Salt who presented some fantastic ideas for using new technology to teach A level. Amanda has very kindly shared her presentation on her blog: here and shared her thoughts and ideas on the whole day: here.

The final presentation of the morning was from Clare Seccombe. Clare shared her Trash or Treasure idea, which is very simple, yet effective and extremely clever. Clare has shared her presentation on her blog here and has also shared her thoughts on the day here.

Then we had lunch.

The afternoon session started with Claire Hampson.Claire made us sing Abba songs with the lyrics changed to help us learn how to conjugate verbs. It was much more fun than I've described it. Anyway, Claire recorded us singing and has uploaded it to her blog along with her thoughts on the day.

I then presented a new, updated version of my "ipad or my pad" blogpost where I give a dozen or so reasons as to why paper is better than using ICT. This new version involves me "dropping" my ipad a few times to the gasps and stunned silence of all those present. I finished by showing the papier ne sera jamais mort toilet paper commercial. 

The final shower and teller was Alicia McKenna. Her presentation "Making the learning visible" was pretty amazing and a great way to round off the Show and Tell session.

The afternoon then took the form of "Genius bars" where attendees opted to join a small group to listen to (and join in) a 10 minute presentation. I did one on differentiation, which I'll blog about one day. Amanda Salt told us about Triptico, an amazing desktop tool from David Riley, and my old friend Rosemary Hicks shared her ideas on using FOX thinking tools.

The final word came from John Bidder the genius behind the Blippit app creation tool. This is something I'd like to know more about and if you'd like to know more you can read all about it on Jen Turner's blog

The day was an amazing success and ended like most Spanish religious festivals with a donkey being beaten to a pulp. 
I can't wait for the next one.