Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Eurovision 2014 links

It's that time of the year again.


Loathe it or hate it, it seems like Eurovision is here to stay.

For those who don't know, The Eurovision Song contest is an annual abomination competition in which European countries (and Israel, don't ask!) sing their hearts out to win the coveted best song award. It really isn't as good as I make it sound....

Here are some links to various websites with information about the whole sorry affair...

This is the Spanish entry

The German entry

And the French entry...

I don't think that any of them will win....

...and I don't really care...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Boule et Bill - great literature for KS2 French

There has been a lot of discussion on various MFL fora about introducing literature to KS2 pupils of MFL in  England and Wales.

I don't think that Mr Gove is suggesting that our primary school pupils should study the works of Molière, Goethe or Cervantes, at least I hope not, but I do think that there is nothing wrong with introducing our younger pupils to books, magazines and comics which children in France, German, Spain and everywhere else, are reading.

However, I do think that most students would be able to cope with a simplified version of the fables of La Fontaine.

When I stared teaching in the 1990s one of my training schools used a French text book called Avantage. At the end of each chapter Avantage had some Boule et Bill comic strips.

For the uninitiated, Boule is a 7 year old boy (and has been since 1959!) and Bill is a cocker spaniel.

To the students this was the best thing about the book. It was a great way to introduce French culture and get the students reading for pleasure, or at least out of curiosity. They loved the one which was in franglais!

Boule et Bill is a very popular BD in the French speaking world. They have also appeared in cartoon films and a series of books for younger readers, too. Almost all of their adventures can be bought on amazon in print, kindle and DVD versions, too.

Last year Boule et Bill made it to the big screen in a live action film.

Here is the trailer:

Watching this would be an ideal way of introducing the characters to a class of young French learners. They could describe the characters, what they wear and what colours they wear, what their characteristics are, learn words for animals, etc.

Much better and much more fun than text books and worksheets.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Girl stuck in storm drain helps students improve their German


This news story helped my year 10 class to improve their German today.

If you haven't seen it, a  16 year old from Dover dropped her iphone into a sewer and (instead of rejoicing) she decided she'd climb down after it. She got stuck and had to be rescued by a fire crew, much to the amusement of her neighbours who filmed her and took pictures because that would be the neighbourly thing to do. Obviously.

At the moment, my year 10 German class is studying the topic, Friends and Family.

I've been trying to get them to use a variety of intensifiers and adjectives to describe people and thought it'd be a good idea to show them the story and then get them to come up with as many different ways of describing her as they could.

The title was: Wie dumm ist sie? (How stupid is she?)

The nicer students (the girls) came up with phrases like

ziemlich ungeschickt (quite clumsy)

and the boys came up with the likes of

total verrückt (totally crazy).

An interesting and amusing way to get students to use some really creative vocabulary and they thought it was fun, too.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

SOS Femmes - an authentic French resource for A Level students.

Today while searching for something else I discovered a site called Lost in France.

It's primarily designed for British ex-pats living in France and I came across it because I was looking for information about current films in the French cinema for my yr9 class.

There is a page dedicated to cinema listings which has links to film posters and trailers all in French.

The site also contains legal, financial and lifestyle advice and is a comprehensive guide for anyone considering a permanent move to France.

It was from here that I found this site:

SOS Femmes is a website dedicated to advice for women.

There are sections on:
Domestic abuse
Sexual abuse
Alcohol abuse
Forced marriage
Women's rights
and more.

There is even a forum with over 700 questions and advice from readers of the site about many issues.

For a teacher of advanced level French this is the ideal place to find authentic materials.