Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Teaching film - dossiers pédagogiques updated

***** Most of these links no longer work but I had the foresight to download all of the resources. Should you want any, email me: ***** 

A few years ago, I wrote a post about teaching film with links to the institut français' dossiers pédagogiques for its cinéfête.

Earlier this week, Steven Fawkes contacted me and asked if he could use the link.

I had a look and discovered that none of the links worked any more.

I've had a rummage around the internet and discovered that most of the dossiers are still available but only via their Austrian site. Each link takes you to a work pack.

I've used some of these in the past and they're quite accessible to most students, although please check suitability first!

Although they are produced for German speakers, all of the work is in French.

Anyway, I've updated it.

Just for you.

Here goes:





That's as far back as the archive goes, unfortunately, but I'm sure there's something there you can use.

You may just want to use the dossiers for some ideas on how to exploit a film you already use.

Most of these films are available on DVD, internet, etc and most can be obtained with English subtitles.


Sunday, 3 December 2017

Christmas links & resources - Updated

I made a list of links to Christmas resources a few years ago, but most of the links no longer work.

So I've made a new one.

Lightbulb languages has a cornucopia of resources in different languages here.

That's all you need really.

But if you want more:

  • Herts grid for learning has Christmas resources here
and finally,
  • has some interesting ecards you can send. 

Some are animated video cards like this:

Have fun!

Monday, 20 November 2017

The 50 Must Follow Educational Blogs

So, a few days ago I got my 500,000th visitor and today my blog is featured in an article called: The 50 Must Follow Educational Blogs.

This is very nice and will probably send a lot of traffic this way.

The article is featured on Tutora's  website - they are a company which helps students find tutors for almost any subject and key stage.

Their tutors charge varying amounts and are rated by students with a star system.

I'm guessing it's on a value for money basis.

That's all I know about them.

They were nice about me, though...

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Half a million hits!

Yesterday afternoon this blog had its 500000th visitor.

If that was you, thank you.

If it wasn't you, thank you for visiting anyway.

When I started this blog in 2009 I had no idea that people would read it.

It now gets more hits in a day than it did in the first 2 years.

I still can't believe anyone reads this rubbish, but thank you!

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Knowledge organisers.

There's been a lot of talk about knowledge organisers on those social media recently.

Steve Smith has written a post about them on his blog (with some nice examples).
What are they? 

Mostly, they take the form of one A4 sheet with a list of key information needed for one topic.

What are they used for? 

To help teachers with their planning and to give students a summary of key facts they need to learn.

Do they allow for deep learning as opposed to just facts? 

I'm not sure about this.

It might work in history, geography, or science but I'm not sure it works in MFL.
We don't compartmentalise our knowledge. We revisit grammar and vocabulary constantly. (See my previous post)

Teaching phrases to low ability students might be a good idea under certain circumstances, but if we just taught phrases, it might be enough to pass an exam, but are they really learning the language?

I don't think so.

What's the difference between a knowledge organiser and a vocabulary sheet?

Not a lot, as far as I can make out. Most of them are just a vocabulary menu or a big Cluedo game or trapdoor activity: Pick one phrase from each box and you'll get a grade 5.

There's nothing wrong with this if all you want your students to do is gain a pass at GCSE. However, if you have potential linguists in your groups, (those who may want to study A level or go onto read language at University) then you are doing them a huge disservice.

From what I've seen there are some quite poor ones and some excellent MFL examples being used in schools.

My students create their own personal knowledge organiser sheets before assessments. They use their vocabulary lists and the feedback in their  exercise books to create the own revision tool.

I recently saw some excellent student made knowledge organisers from students at St Robert of Newminster School, Washington  They were made for a homework task and I've been given permission to share them with you.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Soap plots and schemes of work.

I know what you're thinking.

He really has lost the plot this time.

Stay with me on this.

It's brilliant.

As some of you may be aware, as well as teaching, I sometimes write funny things for the radio and internet spoof news sites.

This is one of mine:

and this one, too:

I never said they were funny...

Anyway, I follow lots of comedy industry people on social media and read a lot of blogs.

A while ago I came across a blog written by John Fleming* entitled, How to write, structure and maintain a TV soap opera like Coronation Street.

It's a fascinating read, especially if you know very little about how television works and, even if you do, it's quite an eye-opener.

You're probably not aware that there is a formula used when writing soaps.

According to John's blog it's:

I was looking at this and I thought that it was actually very similar to the way we probably should be writing schemes of work or whatever they're called at your school. (You may even do this already. If you do, you're in the minority....)

Ours are called MTPs.

Medium Term Plans.

Ridiculous, isn't it?

Anyway, back to the meat...

Yes, I'm suggesting that we should use a similar formula to write our schemes of learning.


Because text books don't do it and students tend to unconsciously compartmentalise their knowledge.

For instance if you teach imperfect tense with hobbies, will they automatically realise they can use it to talk about holidays, too?

So how will I/we do it?

Main storylines will be topics and subsidiary storylines could be grammar points.

With me so far?

So how does it work?

OK. I'll give an example.

Year 7 French.

We start with a transition topic: self and others.

The main story line is: Me and my family.

We include the basic vocabulary and the subsidiary stories; numbers, être, avoir, possessive adjectives and ER (s'appeler) verbs.

We also occasionally start to throw in some other phrases which will become main learning later. e.g. ne...pas, ne...jamais

The second topic is: Where I live.
Family is now winding down but still the
re in the background (Ma tante habite à...)

ER verbs are peaking with aimer, détester, préferer, and habiter.

The next subsidiary stories are appearing now: dans, à, en, and other preposisitions.

My town is giving way to my house, inside my house, my dream house.

Adjectives will be the next subsidiary....

Then conditional verbs...


In true soap style all of these stories will reappear at some point although some may return as rather more than a subsidiary.

Of course you, as the writer, will get to decide the main stories, the roles played and the recurring characters.

You can change them to suit your audience and decide how much depth you go into with each one.

So, ignore what the text book says, don't compartmentalise, and make sure their is some fun built into it.

Creativity and practical tasks are your Comic Stories.

You could be animating, creating gifsmini booking, making comics,  acting, or whatever you choose...

If I/we do this, then topics, grammar points, etc, will be constantly revisited and the phrase "but you did this in Year 8" will become extinct...

I hope so anyway...

* Read John's blog about his visit to North Korea here. It's really good!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Teaching and stand up comedy....

In August I spent a few days at the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

I watched a lot of comedy shows, hung out with some friends (yes, I have friends), made a couple of new friends, chatted with strangers, spoke some Spanish, drank some beer, and ate a lot of junk food.

This is something I do each year and, for the first time in many years, every show I saw this year was at least Good and most of them were Outstanding.

I've just read that sentence back and I know that it sounded like an Ofsted rating but, as a student (and often writer) of comedy, I can tell you that there are many similarities between teaching and performing stand up comedy.

Admittedly there are many differences:
...a teacher's audience is usually sober.
...a teacher keeps regular hours and gets paid regularly.
...teachers get paid during the holidays.
...teachers can get away with using other teachers' material and resources.
...for a comic, every set is an Ofsted inspection.

So, let's take a look at some of the similarities:

Anybody could do it.

Many people think they could probably do both simply by turning up. Both professions are incredibly difficult.

You're only in it for the adulation, money, holidays, etc...

Most teachers, and comics, do their jobs because they love them, not to be famous, rich or popular. Both jobs, in my opinion are a vocation (and a form of therapy!). The majority of working stand ups in the UK are not on megabucks. A jobbing comic will probably earn less than a teacher.


This is important for success in any profession but paramount for teachers and comics.
I'm always quite surprised that punters/pupils think the material they're presented with is being made up on the spot.

Anecdote: As I was leaving an Edinburgh Fringe show, the couple in front of me were discussing the performance. One said, "That was really good." His friend replied, "I'm disappointed. It was exactly the same as when I saw it on Tuesday with Tony."

Differentiation (or Know your audience)

Your lesson with 7A1 will be the same topic as you did with 7A5 (and you may use the same resources) but you'll take them to their destination by a different path.

If you don't you're not very good. (link to my differentiation post)

Every class is different. Every audience is different.
Bottom set Y10 on a Monday morning is a different group than bottom set Y10 last period on a Friday.

The audience at the Stand in Newcastle for the Thursday Show is quite often nothing like the audience for the Saturday can probably guess why...

Tailor your material to fit your class/audience.

and always have a plan B

and a plan C...

Delivery (Finding your own style)

You are you.
Be you.
Find your own teaching/stand up style that you're comfortable with.
You've probably seen the video of the teacher who greets each of his students with a different, personalised handshake. (You haven't? it's here.)

That isn't you!

Don't even try it.

Find your own "thing".

I try to inject a lot of humour into my lessons - Happy students do well, in my experience.

Over the years I've seen many stand ups and teachers who have tried to imitate the style of another established person they've seen in their profession. This is not necessarily a bad thing at the beginning of your career but these people are never going to reach their potential if they spend their professional life trying to be someone else.

The most successful comics (and teachers) are, in my opinion, inimitable.

For comics and teachers feedback comes in different forms.

Instant feedback happens in both professions:
If your audience is laughing or your students are taking part and on task, you're doing OK.
If your audience is not laughing, or your students have switched off, you'll know straight away that there's a problem.

However, comedy and teaching are both subjective. Not everyone will laugh at the same jokes and not all students will understand immediately. Everyone learns differently and laughs at differently things.

Both comics and teachers will  be heckled at some point. However, this can be a good thing, depending on the comments made and how they are presented. Dealing with this is a skill which needs to be learned and perfected to be successful.

I've seen stand ups and teachers ignore this feedback and try to carry on regardless. In both cases it rarely ends well.

As well as receiving feedback both jobs involve giving feedback: for a teacher different types of  assessment and for a stand up it's the reactions, pauses, words and body language shared with the audience.

A comic I saw this summer, mentioned that she was once chased from a venue through the car park and half way across the town... Not the best kind of feedback, you'd probably agree.

You can't please everybody all of the time.

Long term feedback (Reputation)

A teacher who has a good rapport with students and helps them make progress will get a good reputation and be a success. Records of this are kept via appraisal. This is how careers move on. The same thing happens in comedy. A comic with a good reputation will get work and eventually headline, play to bigger audiences and, hopefully, earn more


Continuing Professional Development - three words that strike fear into most teachers' hearts (those who have a heart!). Without CPD or a Personal Learning Network (PLN) or observing others, there is little opportunity for a teacher to improve his/her practice.

Similarly, a lot of comics will regularly attend comedy shows in order to see what their peers are doing and will watch new comics' acts to see what type of things audiences like, what works and what doesn't work.

In both professions a critical friend is always an asset.


Both professions involve a lot of work "out of hours" for which there is no pay.

Many writer/performers will start writing material for next summer's Edinburgh Fringe within the next few weeks.Constantly chopping and changing, trying out new material in their club sets, and in the case of political or satirical comics, hoping that nothing Trump-y or Brexit-y happens in the meantime.

This happens in teaching all the time and more so when new specifications are introduced or schools decide to change their assessment weeks, calendar, marking policy, etc...

Friends who aren't comics/teachers
In order to keep sane I rarely socialise with teachers.
Don't get me wrong I have lots of friends who are teachers but I need to have friends who don't just talk about marking, assessment and playing Naughtiest Child Top Trumps...

Whichever profession you are in you must do something else just to keep your sanity.

Finally...'re in a room full of people and you're the only one facing the wrong way.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Laughing with Hitler

Laughing with Hitler is a 2007 BBC documentary about humour (and later the suppression of humour) in the Third Reich.

The reason I'm sharing this is because recent events, predominantly but not exclusively in the USA, reminded me of this film, in particular this quote:

"Germany in January of 1933 a motley crew of petit bourgeois thugs seize power, until then no-one had really taken them seriously..."

You have to remember that many, if not most, Germans were not fans of Hitler, his ideas, his oppression, or his cronies.

The documentary does contain some very good jokes, like this one:

Hitler visits a lunatic asylum, where he is dutifully saluted by the usual line-up.
With one exception.
Hitler asks, "Why are you not saluting like the others?"
The man replies, "Mein Führer, I'm the nurse. I'm not crazy!"


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The ethics of keeping a Cookie Monster as a pet...

For those of you who don't know Cookie Monster, he lives on Sesame Street  (and has a presence on Facebook and Twitter), he is a monster and loves to eat cookies. (Nominative determinism)

I thought I'd already blogged about this but it turns out that I haven't.

So, here goes...

Conversations in my house can often be, how can I put this, extremely weird.

Admittedly, I'm generally the instigator of such weirdness.

One such recent conversation was:

Is it ethical to keep a Cookie Monster as a pet? 

A few days later I asked my Year 9 (14 years old) tutor group this question and, during their debate, I was surprised by the maturity of their answers. The more they thought about it the deeper their answers became...

They eventually decide it was not a good idea.

I also got my Year 7 French beginners to do a descriptions activity based on this with a great deal of success.

So my plan was then to use this with Y12 (Advanced level students) as a way of getting them to speak confidently in the TL using "A Level type language".

I haven't done it yet but I plan to do so next term...

I'll report back but in the meantime here is a clip of the Monster himself with Sir Ian McKellen...

Monday, 31 July 2017

La pâte Marmite, ça se mange?

I just discovered an article on the Telegraph website entitled: The surprising health benefits of Marmite
and it reminded me of this video from LEXPRESS.FR so I thought I'd share it with you.


La pâte Marmite, ça se mange? by LEXPRESS

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Tour de France 2017 - links and resources

Here's a list of links and resources for this year's Tour de France...

  • Cycling weekly's guide to the tour. Everything you could possibly need to know (in English).
  • Site in French from

  • From vélowire, news, rumours, gossip, etc...
  • Resources from TES for a number of different subjects

  • ...and best of all a quiz from the amazing Alex Bellars

That should be enough to keep you busy for now...

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Summer half term and time management.

That's it.

Half term is over.

You snoozed you loozed...

You snozt you lost...


You know what I mean. I hope.

So, tomorrow is the start of the final half term of the year.

In seven weeks, it'll all be over...

So this is a list of stuff I'm going to do over the next six weeks or so:

1) Keep teaching.
It's not the holidays 'til the end of July for most of us. Many students will want fun and games. They equate nice weather with not working. It's a cultural thing. They are going to be extremely disappointed. Especially my Y10 and Y9 GCSE students who will even be getting things to do over the break.
Standards and routines.

2) Plan for next term.
Schemes of learning for next year may need some tinkering but for Y7, Y8 and Y12 but they will mostly stay the same. GCSE for Y10 is pretty much done and dusted for the first term. Y11 still needs to be finished. Little and often. Sort out the assessments, too.

3) Marking.
Sorry, assessment and feedback. Or is it feedforward now? This is really important. Even for the students who are not taking my subjects next year. If you're not on top of it, the students won't see it as important either. Plus, you never know when there'll be a work scrutiny*, LA inspection or even an Ofsted inspection.

*I know. I organise them.
4) Sort out my cupboard.
This is more likely to be me "recycling" a lot of stuff. I've only been in the room for 2 years and there is an avalanche of old papers just waiting to happen...

5)  Change my wall displays.
I really don't think "this is what a good piece of coursework contains" is that relevant any more. I need something more relevant and helpful (with lots of pictures of Lindsay Lohan). My tutor group will change, too. I also need to remove any traces of German from my room as, from this Wednesday, I'll no longer be teaching German. Not ever. Not at my current job anyway... :(

This means I will have almost all of the summer holiday not working. 

Friday, 26 May 2017

GCSE French Reading Challenges from WJEC - updated now includes Spanish

What's the best thing to come out of Wales?

No, it's not the M4!!!

The Wonderful Welsh have given us many things.

They gave us really cool stuff like powered flight, the theory of natural selection, radar, and the microphone.

They have given us such stars as Shirley Bassey, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Charlotte Church, Dylan Thomas, Tanni Grey-Thompson and that opera singing bloke from the Go Compare adverts.

But these all pale into insignificance* when compared to the WJEC French reading challenges website.

* No, they don't!

I came across this site purely by accident but it is really good for revising and practising vocabulary.

If you are teaching the new specification French GCSE this is an ideal place for your students to do some independent study. 

The home screen looks like this:

The challenges are categorised into the 4 topics: 

For each category there is a choice of activities (even some listening tasks).

There are different levels of difficulty.

From easy vocabulary matching games...

to sentence building...

to exam style reading comprehension tasks...

I've done some of the challenges on my laptop and on my fruit-pad and they work well on both devices.

My only criticism is that I couldn't find anything similar in the other languages offered at GCSE by WJEC but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they arrive.


This resource now has a Spanish version!!!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Le Hand Spinner, l'objet le plus satisfaisant du monde ?

Loathe them or hate them, if you're a teacher you'll no doubt have seen these, the latest must-have gadgets...

You've probably even confiscated a few and had a sneaky play by yourself when you thought there was nobody watching.

Well, they have become a huge phenomenon all over the world and your students may like to know that it's not just them annoying the bejaysus out of everyone over the age of 25.

Your students love them, so why not harness their enthusiasm by engaging them in some French?

Here are some links to share with your French classes:

  • Even FNAC is getting in on it, claiming it is based on a Tibetan meditation technique! 

There you go there's got to be something there your students will like and which will drive you into an early grave....

How about using these links for some translation, a reading comprehension, or a vocab finding exercise?

Personally, I don't have a problem with them.


Monday, 1 May 2017

Remaining positive at this difficult time.

This isn't a post about the EU.


We voted for Brexit. (I didn't.)

It's over.

It's happened.

We are all going to hell in a handcart...

...but look on the bright side, it's a right hand drive handcart, painted in Union Jack colours, which will be driven on the left hand side of the highway to hell...

No, this post is about GCSE.

Specifically, remaining positive.

Negativity breeds negativity and I know this because I'm a very grumpy old man.

So, how to be more positive with a group of Year 11 students about to take their GCSE exams and who haven't really learned enough vocabulary?

This is my list of positivity for very intelligent students who have breezed through the last 11 years of their education without ever really exerting themselves:

  • Let them know, individually, what they're really good at. (Even if it's just recognising cognates!)

  • Reward them. Have a bag full of lollipops and Haribos on hand to distribute. If you did an Easter holidays revision session (You shouldn't have! See here) I can guarantee you were a different person (probably because the kids who needed to be there weren't!). You even took in sweets and/or cakes, didn't you? And you smiled! You were the MFL equivalent of cabin crew and you know it!

  • Get them used to a familiar lesson structure. I have 2 lessons each week with my students. Lesson one is reading and lesson 2 is listening. Each week we revise a different topic. We complete half a dozen or so different types of questions and revise the vocabulary to go with each question before attempting it. I'm using GCSE reading resources from zigzag education and listening resources from the Pearson German GCSE Revision Workbook

  • We are doing what I call pre-listening and pre-reading. Exam technique, if you like. For instance if we are doing a listening question I show them the question title and the GCSE Grade for that question. e.g. Shopping. C grade. I give them a few minutes to come up with a list of vocabulary they think they might hear for a question of that grade. They then share their list with their partner. For reading questions they highlight any unfamiliar words and then share those with their partners. Doing this makes them feel more confident about their own abilities. They are actually surprised (and you will be!) at how much they actually do know.

  • Distractors. Spend time revising and learning distractors. Get the students to specifically listen for time phrases, however, but, never, not, didn't, etc... Show them the examiners' reports for questions like this. If they can see where most candidates fell down, perhaps they can learn not to.

  • Everything we do  is marked by the students in class. Less for me to do. Instant feedback for them. They make a list of al the vocabulary they didn't know and they learn that for homework/revision

  • Forget about Target Grades. The student who is currently working at a D grade is not going to get an A star. So don't push it. You can't learn it for them. Just get them to do their best. If that means a foundation listening paper for an A star target student, then so be it.

  • Give them homework! Don't just tell them to revise. Give them guided revision. Some students will not have a clue how or what to revise. Give them lists of key vocabulary to learn. Give them listening and reading activities to do. I do this via a very good VLE. Again, you needn't mark the work. Give them a clip, a question, a mark scheme and a tapescript. Use sites like to find some authentic listening clips they won't have heard before.

  • And finally. Don't panic. You know who will ace the exams and you know the ones who on a good day will scrape a C and on a bad day will get a D. GCSEs are designed for some people to fail. (Look at last year's marks to ums conversions.) Someone has to get a D, someone has to get an A. That's how it works. You can't control it, so don't fret about it.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Easter revision sessions.

Easter is often a time of panic for secondary teachers here in the UK.

The GCSE exams start in about 6 weeks.

Yes, only six weeks, stop reading this and go and prepare some last minute listening questions.


Off you go!


They are all going to fail!!



For the past few years I have been into school during the Easter break to put on a "revision session" for my GCSE students.

A morning, or afternoon, of practise exam questions, revising exam technique, vocabulary revision games, etc...

This year I've decided not to for a number of reasons:

Firstly, I know for a fact that the students who would benefit from such a session are the ones who are the least likely to attend. I have put on "voluntary extended day" lessons for an hour after school every week since January. Only one student out of 29 has attended any of these sessions.

Secondly, apart from reassuring the students, I don't see much value in putting on a session. After all, all they really need to do is learn the vocabulary and I can't do that  for them. They have access via the school's VLE to all the resources they need, it has links to every past paper available, I have set 40 odd pages of listening and reading revision exercises, and I am only ever an email away from any student, or parent, with any worries or concerns.

Thirdly, I need a break. I work very hard in term time and plan my work so that holidays are not used (or at least hardly ever) for school work.

Finally, and probably most importantly, the students need a break. Ten subjects, ten revision sessions. That's at least five days in school. When will they get to rest or relax? They need to "recharge their batteries as much as their teachers.

Oh yeah, one other thing, why should I give up a day of my holiday for kids who have misbehaved and done no work for the last 18 months?

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Guess Who? An amazing speaking game

Guess Who? is a game by Hasbro.

I love it.

It has been around since 1979 and currently looks like this:

The object of the game is to guess your opponent's character using only yes/no questions.
For example: Il a les cheveux noirs? Elle a les yeux bleus? 

It lends itself really well to all languages and is a great way to get students of all ages speaking in the target language.

It comes in various different editions from travel size through to an electronic version, there's an app and even a tea towel...seriously. 


There is also a corn-who-copia of copies available too...if you are Guess Who-ing on a this...

and this...

Anyway, you can play this in your classroom without spending a huge amount of cash.

If you go to the Hasbro Guess Who website, you can download extra character sheets.

You can also do a google search and come up with hundreds of characters you could print off and use.

If your printing budget doesn't allow for colour, you can paste an image into a powerpoint presentation.

In the past I've even used photos of teachers, students and celebrities, too.

About 15 years ago I bought cheap versions from the Pound Store and laminated the cards.

I'm still using them.

Students always seem to love playing it.



I discovered today (from wikipedia) that there is a fan-made version of the game, "Guess Who: The Utley Rules".

In this version "players can only ask about the assumed characteristics of the characters" based on their physical appearance.

This sounds like it might be a lot of fun for the more able students I teach.

Monday, 27 March 2017

PopXport - Bands, Trends and Events - the Best Music from Germany

If you, or your students, want to find out more about contemporary German music, bands etc., Deutsche Welle has a great music magazine programme (I refuse to say, "show", it's the Brit in me), PopXport.

This programme (see?) would be ideal for those studying the new A level German specification in the UK and is a great place to start for anyone, anywhere with an interest in German music.

PopXport has its own Facebook page and twitter account too, so you can stay up to date with all the programmes without having to trawl the DW website.

The presenters are Markus Schultze and Kate Müser (who has the most amazing hair!).

The programme itself is in English but is a cultural programme not a language learning programme. DW has plenty of language learning resources here and so can be forgiven for this.

If you are interested in popXport you may also be interested in Kate Müser's other projects:

Meet the Germans is a series of videos about all things German, from food to idioms to pronouncing funny German words. is Kate's website with links to her videos, etc..

Kate's youtube channel featuring #germany24, Best ever German words, Learn English, #realgerman

Saturday, 18 March 2017

¿Quién es el asesino? A murder mystery for Year 8.

This week I finished teaching the preterite in Spanish to my year 8 class.

I wanted to do a lesson which was fun, but challenging, to consolidate their learning.

So I came up with this (all photos I used have been removed for copyright reasons or to protect the innocent/guilty):

Starter: The setting

Students in pairs or groups figure out what has happened.
They explain it to the others in their group.

Task 1: Alibi

Students write an alibi in Spanish saying:
- where there where and the time
- what they were doing and giving an opinion about it
- who they were with

Task 2: Taking statements

Students are now a police officer taking statements.
An opportunity for speaking and listening.
In groups, students give their alibi, the others take notes in English.
They then use the information they have gathered to decide who has given the least plausible alibi.

Task 3: Giving evidence in court

Students now have to prepare a statement to give in court.
This involves writing a paragraph to say what the murderer said they were doing and giving alternative explanations as to what you thought they were really doing.


Volunteers give their evidence to a massive photo of Judge Judy.

There are no wrong or right answers to this task.
As long as the students are using their Spanish, then that's fine.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A2 French - Women's rights

The 8th of March is International Women's Day.

By coincidence my A2 class will be studying women's rights this week.

Here are some links to articles, sites and resources in French:

  • The official Journée Internationale des Femmes site is here, so that's a good place to start.

  • sos.femmes is also a cornucopia of articles, information and links. 

I wrote a post about it a few years ago here.

  • Many resources, articles, cartoons from FIDH. This site is also available in English and Spanish

  • The official UN site

  • A video clip from RTL news (Belgian) with an article: Droit à l' avortement following funding cuts by Donald Trump.

I hope you can find something interesting in all this.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Carnival - links and resources

It's Carnival time!!

Carnival is celebrated in different forms around the world.

In Brazil a 5 day festival takes place with processions and dancing.

In the French speaking world Mardi Gras is celebrated with parties, concerts, and parades.

In Germany and Austria Fasching, or Karneval, takes the form of processions and drinking lots of alcohol. Traditionally, alcohol was banned during Lent, so Germans would drink as much as possible during Fasching.

And in the UK we make pancakes...

Yeah, pancakes.

With lemon and sugar.

Do we know how to party or what?

So here is a list of links to resources in French, German, and Spanish:


TES Mardi Gras Resources

Powerpoint from primary resources

Le Carnaval en France: quelques ressources

Activities from education et numerique

Display and quiz from the grid

A free KS2 resource from brilliant publications

Some resources (in English) from activity village

Pages from 1jour1actu here, here, and here

some activities and links from apfvalblog

Carneval ressources from TV5monde

lepointduflé has lists of videos about mardi gras here including the one below:


TES Fasching Resources

History and culture of Karneval and Fasching from the German Way

Was ist Fasching? from kidsweb and creative things to make and do here

Karneval activities from UKGerman Connection

Two audio resources from

Karneval resources from Frau Kirschner's Website

Karneval im Deutschunterricht from


TES Carnaval Resources

Carnival resources from Kennedy Spanish

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Le racisme - A Level links and resources

I'm just getting around to finishing off this topic with my A2 students so I thought I'd share the free resources and links I've used and planned to use:

The (sadly late) political cartoonist Chimulus had some excellent work published in Nouvel Observateur

  • News story of a 24 year old man imprisoned for racism in Arras

I also found this video from singe savant:

  • TES resources on le racisme (These are mostly free - I can't believe people are charging money for selling exam boards' stimulus cards!!!)
  • There are lots of resources for all A2 topics here from MFL Online
There you go.

That should keep you quiet for a while.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Saint Valentine's Day - links and resources

Loathe it or hate it, if you've left the house recently you will not have been able to escape the hearts, flowers and tacky cards reminding us that it's only 3 weeks until St Valentine's Day.

My students are obsessed with it and I'm sure yours are, too.

So, here is a list of links and resources for you to use to appease the hormonal little monsters:


  • For younger students there are some bricolages at
  • Lots of resources on the TES site (only the free ones)
  • Some great links form 1jour1actu here and here   
  • Valentine crossword and wordsearch puzzles from Andrew Starr at mflresources
  • Valentine's vocabulary and another wordsearch from brilliantbook
  • A scheme of work about Valentine's Day with resources in pdf format from Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation


Valentine's Day resources from TES

Ideas from Woodward Spanish

A bilingual page with history and facts about Valentine's Day

 Interactive games from Online Free Spanish

Links to resources about El Día de Amor from spanishmama


10 fun facts about Valentinstag in English

German Valentinstag free resources from TES

Links and resources from has a page on celebrating Valentinstag with children with ideas and links to activities

and what about this?