So, in light of the current situation, lots of us are looking for ways we can connect with our students at distance. I currently have many resources in the shop are of the site which are on sale or free. Take a look and download some freebies by clicking here.
Another option is to direct your students to my You Tube channel. There are plenty of videos from grammar explanations to cultural clips and animations. I have shared a few below to give you an idea of what is available. Please share links with others and if you can leave a few words of feedback anywhere that is always appreciated.
So, subscribe to the channel to be kept up to date and maybe recommend your students to subscribe- there are quite a few GCSE revision videos for UK teachers to set as revision.
I hope everybody is healthy and safe. Look after each other. We will get through this. xxx
This is something I like to send home as a homework early on in the term. Unsurprisingly it is always a firm favourite, especially amongst the girls. But if you’re anything like me it’s painstakingly difficult to even put it on the photocopier because it is essentially a colouring sheet. I once did it as an emergency back up lesson when the computer was broken and I didn’t have the energy for anything more adventurous and they spent the entire lesson colouring in and telling me it was their best French lesson all year (!) Like many of us, I try to avoid colouring in during lesson time but I do think it is important to allow pupils to take pride in their work, enjoy making things look pretty and benefit from the relaxation and escapism that colouring provides. I would just rather them do it at home so rather than use in class I will set it as a homework. The second sheet is an alternative for those who don’t enjoy colouring. I ask them instead to go on a fact-finding mission and fill the boxes with whatever they discover about France and French culture. Often pupils will return with the second sheet filled in with sentences about themselves which is great as well!
That’s all from me…but take a look at my Valentine’s stuff and get ready for that last week of term.
What did you do to celebrate European Day of Languages this year? It’s always a brilliant but exhausting event- coming so early in the term that you have only just managed to get names on exercise books and seating plans sorted. And for me it has always coincided with Open Evening. Double whammy. Anybody else feel a bit like this picture…?
Added to the usual wonderful chaos of the day was my own personal challenge to do something a bit different. For one of my primary schools where some staff are a bit nervous or reluctant to teach French, I wanted to find a way to encourage them to just have a go, without worrying about the outcome. I passionately believe that language learning is all about being brave, starting to communicate and not worrying about making mistakes. We don’t always have the expertise in our classrooms nor the thousands of hours that childhood language acquisition requires so it’s normal that we will make mistakes. I would love teachers to throw caution to the wind and learn alongside their pupils. It should be fun, pressure and judgement free and all about discovery. Expertise can come later on. So I came up with an idea that would ensure that teachers took a risk and did some French every week. We made these cute little language rocks. And the rocks were going to be responsible for a bringing about change.
When the kids saw the stones they were soooooo excited! It was a task getting them to focus on language content so if you have a go yourself I would advise keeping them hidden until you have set the language task. It was only their third lesson of French so I asked them to think about what we had learned and imagine what their language stone might be able to say. Some of them just produced a simple ‘bonjour, je m’appelle…’ others added greetings, questions and answers etc.
I had seen Language Stones before https://www.facebook.com/Language-Stones-266761760561448/ and took my inspiration from here. The problem was my inspiration struck at 11.30pm so by the time I had dashed to B&Q the next morning for stones and paint, I’d left it too late. People who follow my Instagram stories will have seen my painting disaster. I had intended to paint the pebbles red, white and blue but they weren’t drying quickly enough and they were sticking to the newspaper. It was just a horrible mess so I had to abandon my original scheme and go with all white. I used superglue on the eyes and sharpies for the mouths. I actually think they look pretty cute.
The pupils used an app called chatterpix to record their stones speaking. If you haven’t yet come across it I’d recommend taking a look- it has so many benefits for teaching and learning and is a real motivator with the pupils. I’ll write a post and link it here asap if you need more guidance. Scroll down to see the video montage of some of the pupils’ work.
After recording with the app, we put the stones in a box with a sign saying ‘sshhhh, sleeping rocks’. Inside the box is a note explaining that the rocks love to be held and love it when people sing or speak to them in French. My class will choose which year group will have the box of language stones each week. There is also a note for the class teacher directing them to a suitable resource on the school system or the internet. I have added a log book/diary so we know what the stones have been listening to (and what the pupils have been doing!)
Fingers crossed this will be a successful way of encouraging participation ans raising the profile of language teaching across the school. And I can’t wait to show the pupils this video next week.
It’s a long time since I posted a Friday freebie so I’m going to make it a good one. A virtual trip to Paris! You can make a whole lesson out of this- I did it last year and it was a huge hit.
I set my classroom up in to with the tables at the sides and the seats placed in rows of 3 with a central aisle so it looked as much like an aeroplane as possible (!) Then I greeted the pupils at the door with this ‘boarding pass’ and showed them to their seats. The pass gives them something to do while the others sit down and it has a QR code they can scan when they get home which links them to the video I show.
Next I show them this video from my You Tube channel.
It takes them on a tour of some of Paris’ most well-known landmarks. There is some simple vocabulary displayed throughout the video so depending on the age of your pupils you could translate or pause the video and encourage pupils to translate or ask them to note down on mini whiteboards/ in books.
Finally we finish with this comic strip which is differentiated- version one has simple words for them to undertsand such as ‘La tour Eiffel’, verison two is longer sentences ‘j’ai vu la tour Eiffel’ and version three is blank to encourage them to write their own descriptions.
So…I hope these will be useful if you do a Paris project or a celebration day. My favourite thing to do is to put up a green screen at the end of this lesson so pupils can pretend to be posing in front of Paris landmarks. Then they can use an app to select a picture of Paris so it looks like they were really there and took a selfie!
Betsy Belle (aka Michelle…I really need to drop the weird pseudonym but it’s kind of a bit late now!)
A few teachers have asked for the doodle sheet in an alternative l font so I have whipped up two options: good old comic sans and a French handwriting font. All 3 fonts are now included within the document so you can select and print your preferred pages. Click the link below for the updated document.
I made my first doodle sheet a few weeks ago to engage pupils in the first week back when us teachers need to revisit core vocabulary and the kids are having none of it. Fair enough it can feel quite punishing to retreat back to the very start but even worse for us is when the pupils seem to have forgotten the very basics of the language. I was hoping to win them over with a good hook and decided to just try and make a blinkin’ gorgeous worksheet.
So I got crafty with my clip art and went for a ‘doodle’ design (this isn’t a technical term it’s just what I call them!) The first sheet models the language for pupils and the second sheet is blank for them to fill in. Sounds like I have reinvented the wheel but I’ve heard back from a few teachers that the design has gone down well with their teenagers so mission accomplished.
I have 3 versions now: All about me (in French and Spanish), Film Review (French) and Descriptions (French). The descriptions doodle sheet is my gift to you today- scroll to the bottom to download it. More doodle sheets are on the way…please feel free to email me your topic requests.
Here is the video to accompany the ‘all about me’ doodle sheet. Scroll down for the Friday Freebie.
What an amazing feeling last week’s Friday Freebie gave me- warm and fuzzy and all that good stuff. So many little snippets of positive feedback and all those blue thumbs on Facebook. I played with my Year 4s today who loved it (after I had explained who the main characters of Pride and Prejudice are). If you didn’t catch last week’s Friday Freebie you can get it here. If you loved the game and want the other version too (where live, fave food and fave hobby) click here.
I’m sticking with the theme and sending the pupils on a speed dating mission. No romancing necessary but lots of conversing in the language of love! Here’s the set up:
Show the PowerPoint slide with 8 questions.
Show model answers on the second slide.
Consolidate with short comprehension match up (match 8 questions to 8 answers)
Pupils stand up and circulate as you play some French music.
When music stops they answer as many questions as possible and jot down their partner’s answers on their card.
Extend by getting pupils to write out their own answers to the questions.
Extend further by allowing them to answer as if they were one of the people from the matching hearts activity (or any well known person).
If you would like to purchase the Valentine’s bundle (£3 on TES for a PowerPoint; the full matching hearts game and a Valentine’s card) click here. Or scroll down for the freebie.
Find your matching heart and speak the language of love! This cute little speaking activity will get your pupils out of their seats and moving around the room. They have a heart with a name on and an instruction to find their other half eg. Tu es Barack Obama- trouve Michelle. They then go around asking ‘Comment t’appelles-tu?’ until they find their partner. You could play this a few times against a classroom timer to see if they get faster each time at finding their other half. The full version with all four games is here https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/french-valentine-s-game-11829704 but keep scrolling for the free version.
You can reduce the level of challenge by printing in colour and telling the pupils that their partner has the same colour heart as them. Reward points/credits for pupils you hear speaking in French or pupils who tag on salut and aurevoir to their interactions.
I have three more sets of these which will use the questions ‘Ou habites-tu’, ‘Qu’est-ce que tu aimes manger?’ and ‘Qu’est-ce que tu aimes faire?’ This can be followed up with a speed dating activity where pupils have a grid and fill in information about their classmates during each ‘date’. By this point the language needed will be familiar so they should be able to speed date with confidence.
Please take a look at the website- Shop I now have 3 resources uploaded to the shop. (Only 150 to add!!!) If you buy directly from my website you get the resources cheaper than I sell them on TES and TPT and you will receive discount codes for future purchases as well.
So…teaching the perfect tense. Or any grammar point really. I just never seem to have bright and engaging resources. I have PowerPoints form the late 90s and tatty worksheets photocopied from textbooks so I spend an inordinate amount of time prancing round the room with flashcards and playing games to compensate! So I have eventually got round to making some perfect tense resources which will give me a chance to relax…
The first bundle focuses on regular -er verbs and includes a PowerPoint, two speaking activities, two follow me games, a writing booklet and a board game. It is great value and I will continue to add to it in the coming weeks. If you fancy buying it just click this link Perfect Tense Bundle.
I have been playing around with simple animations (as some of you know from my Tour de France video) and have created a series of whiteboard animations. I love them and think they are so engaging as a short interlude or as a hook into a new topic. I’m just putting the finishing touches to them all but in the meantime I am releasing this one all about dictionary fails and google mistranslations. In response to my blog post last year ‘30 things you will only understand if you teach French‘, loads of you left comments and some of them were genius. As in comically genius- definitely not linguistically genius! I have made a little compilation of them for you. Please feel free to add to the list! Enjoy!
Dictionary fails and Google distortions animation
Have a lovely break,
PS. I have started meeting people in real life who presume I am called Betsy. I’m cool with that. When I started making resources and blogging I was way too shy to go by my actual name so hid behind this pseudonym. But if you ever bump into me outside of the internet… I also answer to Michelle!
So this is kind of embarrassing…I have never watched the Tour de France. Never. I have seen snippets of course and I knew the basics about the yellow vest and the hills and the general hard graft. But that was it. So what did I do every summer when my colleagues mentioned a cultural lesson on it? I chickened out. Probably made the kids do a dictation or something equally mean!
This year I was determined to be prepared- but when did the tour even start? June? July? I actually had no idea so I started making some materials in May! It seems I am still a whole month ahead of schedule so there is plenty of time for me to share some bits with you.
Then I made some follow up activities including a board game, an infographic, a jersey design activity and some colouring sheets. I’m sharing the infographic with you (the image from the top of the post), it contains all the facts from the video and would make a great poster or help sheet. Click on the link to download the Tour de France Poster Infographic
The board game has already had some great feedback. One teacher is going to add extra challenge by getting pupils to complete a translation when they land on a new number. It would be very easy to do this by printing out a list of 34 questions or translations relating to your current topic. Here is the link- www.tes.com/teaching-resource/french-board-game-tour-de-france-plus-free-video-11631095 it is £2 but if you are new to TES you can get £3 free credit by entering JUNEOFFER at the checkout.
One last thing and NOT FOR CLASSROOM USE but hilarious if you haven’t seen it before is this video by Remi Gaillard. If you aren’t familiar with his work then I urge you to find half an hour and sit back for some chuckles- or full on belly laughs in my case! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4uXfv6Yv6g