Sunday, 10 November 2013

#nalasat - MFL Show and Tell

Yesterday I attended #nalasat in Manchester, a Show and Tell event organised by NALA, the National Association of Language Advisors in the UK.

The event took place at the Instituto Cervantes on Deansgate in Manchester and was attended by approximately 70 primary and secondary languages teachers, trainee teachers and language advisors.

The day was extremely well organised and around 20 or so speakers shared their ideas, experiences, and enthusiasm.

I took notes and shall share the day's main points with you now. If I miss out anything, or I've credited the wrong person please let me know and I'll modify this post accordingly.

The speakers were:
Starr shared her mysterious cards with us. These were laminated cards on which there were 4 pictures which had a pronunciation connection. She also told us about some activities were students complete texts by using words which rhyme and also showed us an example the sound dictionaries she uses in Key Stage 4.

Jo had a bag of puppets and props to help students improve their speaking. She had a crocodile puppet, an easyspeak microphone and, my old favourite, lolly sticks (no mention of a mug of misery, though).

  • Louisa Dawes
Louisa showed us a few ICT-based things including prezi and goanimate and her own version of the BBC game show "Pointless"

Here's a goanimate I made about 4 years ago...  
writing dates in German by dmcg on GoAnimate

  • Sara Teare 
Sara shared her All-Most-Some objectives and her Records of Achievement. She finished by showing us a favourite powerpoint of mine: Plenary Squares (this is a different, more user friendly version, not the one she used).

Pauline showed us some really great speed reading ideas and ways of getting students to read texts and identify and practise vocabulary.

Esther presented Animal Talk. She showed us 2 animal type faces featuring llamas and cats. She gets her students to try and work out the sentences  in these type faces. A fantastic idea.

  • t
  • h
  • a
  • n
  • k
  • s
  • e
  • st
  • h
  • e
  • r

Mary is a moodle expert. She showed us some street view mysteries for students to complete online. These were originally conceived as "on paper mysteries" by Vincent Everett and were converted, or if you like, moodled by Mary. They can be found on Vincent's blog and the moodled versions can be found here.

Lisa wasn't in Manchester, her presentation was virtual. Lisa's presentation Jugando en espanol,  about learning through singing and dancing can be seen here.

  • Nikki Perry of NALA
Nikki started the afternoon session with a presentation called Thinking Interculturally. She showed us a list of words in French which we had to put in order of importance. She then asked us to do it again but from the point of view of a child living in Africa. Very thought provoking.

Marie shared some ways of improving reading skills by exploiting a text. We did some exercises where we had to look for patterns in texts e.g. she read out every other word and we had to try to guess the next words and say them with her. A lot of fun and as easy or as difficult as the teacher wants it to be.

Vicky shared some ideas for using Phonics to get students to think about pronunciation. She showed us some resources by Catherine Cheater and explained how the scheme she uses teaches vocabulary, not by topic, but by sounds. She told us about silent letter strikethrough activities to do with students and shared some great reading websites with us, too: 

  • Erzsi Culshaw
Erzsi teaches Spanish in primary schools and showed us the amazing results of an etwinning project she has done with schools in Spain. The pupils share videos and photos with their partner schools in order to improve language learning and cultural knowledge. One of the videos showed pupils saying how they get to school and who they travel with. Fantastic idea.

  • Natalio Ormeno
Natalio is a languages advisor. He showed us some great ways of getting pupils to speak in the target language. He taught us the suits of deck of Spanish playing cards and gave us an activity to do which had us all speaking some very basic (in my case) Spanish.

  •  Daniel Woodvine 
Daniel is president of the Shropshire Languages Society and he shared with us some of the ICT-based games and quizzes his organisation has produced. He explained how the game Telepathy works with students playing against each other show who has the most knowledge of vocabulary.

My offering was the "ipad or my pad" presentation. It went down quite well but I hope that the serious message behind it also struck home. My point is: use ipads but use them properly, effectively and make sure there is some language learning involved. I plugged Joe Dale's MFL ipad CPD session and gave the link to his ipads for learning webinar blog where lots of appley-good information can be found.

  • Vanessa Parker
Vanessa presented Du début à la fin a collection of amazing resources in both Spanish and French. She showed us ideas for remembering vocabulary, good ways to get students to fill in grids and she shared her idea for a display wall of post it notes.

  • Odette Hunt 
Odette is an independent advisor for MFL. She taught us a song with actions les pouces en avant

  • Alison Daly
 Alison shared Daly's Double Drop with us. Sadly, not a real ale but a game in which students accumulate virtual Euros throughout the lesson. They can gamble with her as to whether they have the right answers in their work and they lose and win Euros depending on the quality of their work. A good way to promote MFL in conjunction with moral and social values.

  •  Charlotte Gray
Charlotte shared with us an ipad application iDoceo. I hate to say it but it looks like a great piece of software. It's a teacher planner, mark book, spreadsheet, grade calculator and much more. 

  • Sarah Pearson 
Sarah shared her powerpoint activities Attention aux bombes. A game where students choose a number on the screen behind which there are pictures. The students have to say a phrase, word, sentence about the picture. However, behind some of the pictures are bombs which explode. Students are motivated by trying to find the bombs. Sarah also made some others which had different "bombs" e.g. on the one she made about pets there was a howling wolf instead, the food one had custard pies, etc..
Sarah also shared with us some Thunks. These are questions to which there are no wrong answers but which students must be able to give opinions. e.g. One I've used with AS students: Peut-on vivre sans musique?

It was a fascinating day and, as usual I learned an awful lot and was reminded of many activities, sites and resources which I hadn't used for ages.

Apparently, there will be another one sometime next year.

I can't rate it highly enough and I raise my hat to, and wish to thank, Marie O'Sullivan and anyone else who was involved in organising the day. It was brilliant!  


Clare Seccombe said...

Thanks for such a thorough post, Dom, it really sounds like a great day. Wish I could have been there!

Dom said...

Thanks for the comment, Clare. It really was a great day. (Although the coffee was pretty terrible!) It was nice to discover more #mfltwitterati members, too.