Tuesday, September 22, 2009

European Day of Languages Ideas

If you are thinking of some ideas to celebrate EDL (26 September) here are some I have come across.

Use Wallwisher to creat a message board like this one

And here is a list from teachers

Thursday, April 2, 2009

CfE news

Newly published today Principles and Practice and updated Outcomes and Experiences Click here

Friday, March 27, 2009

French Sound System

This is the sound file to go with the handout from yesterday's session.

You can also find the text  if you go to "visit this podcast on podomatic" There's a few seconds pause before I get going!

The whole thing lasts about 9 minutes!

It was recorded some years ago with French assistant Pauline and Julien.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


How confident are your pupils when speaking French? There is an insight into pupils' attitudes to speaking French here along with teaching French phonics. 
Not only should teachers have an understanding of the rules but they should have some skills to pass this knowledge on to their pupils. 
The new CfE outcomes emphasise being able to explore the sounds of the language and have fun with them.
  • I can make comparisons and explore connections between spelling patterns in English and the language I am learning.
Listening and Talking
  • I have explored the patterns and sound of language through songs and rhymes and shown understanding and enjoyment by listening, joining in and responding.
  • I have explored comparisons and connections between sound patterns in different languages through play, discussion and experimentation.
  • I can use my knowledge about language and pronunciation to ensure that others can understand me when I read aloud or say familiar words, phrases
Teach the pupils how to decode words - spend time on this
Display words, group words
Discuss how they will remember the meaning

In this session we will try out some ideas on sounds and rhymes. 

The alphabet is a way in to sounds.
The way you say the letters is the way they are pronounced (unlike the alphabet in English).
Practise spelling out words: your name and words as they are learnt
Sparklebox letter cards (scroll down to sb612) are useful for a physical activity. Give each child a letter and call out words (make sure all the letters are used or remove them first eg w k) 
Make up sentences or phrases to practise a sound eg 
a comme abricot
quatre chats 
tictac for examples

Have the letters of alphabet along the wall or floor. Have lots of mini picture cards for pupils to put on/beside the correct first letter. Sounds easy, but what about quatre, chat, un, cinq, huit, gilet! Pupils could work as teams - colloboration!

Be creative with rhymes
à Paris, à Paris sur un petit cheval gris - find more rhymes
or c'était Pâques - find more egg colours
food rhymes - make up a song 

name song:
j’ai un nom on-sound (nom, prénom, menton, chanson)
6 au lit i- sound (lit, petit, dit) and ou-sound (poussez-vous)
dans la foret lointaine ou- (coucou hibou and u-sound du)
une poule sur un mur ou- (poule) and u-sound (mur, dur)
pluie et pluie et parapluie rhyme ui-sound (pluie, parapluie, nuit)

Because French has so many homonyms there are lots of wordplay jokes and puns. 
Quelle est la différence entre un paquet de nouilles et un ver de terre? 

(between a packet of noodles and an earthworm)
Réponse : L'un a des pâtes (pattes), l'autre n'en a pas.

Tongue twisters
U and O sounds
pruneau cru, pruneau cuit, pruneau cru, pruneau cuit (raw prune, cooked prune)
OU sound
Poupou la poule rouge déboule l'escalier et échappe l'ampoule
Poupou the red hen rolls down the stairs and escapes the lightbulb
or challenge pupils to make up their own!

if pupils are unwilling to speak French get them to make their own puppet
value their contributions, however short
get them to record themselves
don't always correct every last detail - only today's teaching point
it is OK to make mistakes!

If you are unsure of the pronunciation of any word you can hear it said in this huge data base of French words

Talktime products from TTS
More links in my delicious

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Active Learning

Definition of active learning?
Activities to suit kinaesthetic learners?
or activities to involve pupils in their learning, to develop thinking skills?
Interactive whiteboards are great for getting pupils involved but most of today's suggestions are low tech!
Non-verbal responses, reacting to a word or phrase with a physical action
eg for a story or a song, jump up when you hear your word or 
hands up whenever you hear a colour or 
a certain phoneme eg words with ou in song dans la forêt lointaine
more examples in French songs blog
mime items of vocab eg weather phrases
or perform a non-related action for a different colour, say 2 colours
eg jaune  levez les bras
rouge sautez trois fois
vert vous êtes fatigués, bâillez
bleu frappez des mains
bleu et jaune!

Brain gym
colour words written in wrong colour

Ordering, sequencing
Each team/table has a set of letter cards (or magnetic letters or mini whiteboard)
Teacher says a word pupils must spell out words each holding a letter and stand in correct order
Can do the same for words and sentences
Or the lines of a song, or times of the day
Matching pairs
Either face up or face down (random)
picture to word
half sentences on different coloured card (daft combinations are fun)
sound to word or picture using Talktime products from TTS catalogue

KAL knowledge about language, links L1 and L2
sorting words: by topic, vowel sounds, parts of speech (Grammar Ninja)
seeing patterns, collecting word families (eg le boulanger, la boulangère, la boulangerie or le coiffeur la coiffeuse, se coiffer)
seeing patterns
playing with rhymes - eg make up a food words song, or à Paris, à Paris sur un petit cheval gris
riddles (devinettes - there  are hundreds in French)
eg quel fleuve français n'a pas d'eau? which great French river has no water -
(you have to say it aloud)
M et Mme Versaire ont une fille. Comment s'appelle-t-elle?
answers at the bottom

Reluctant talkers can be inspired to talk if they have their own puppet. Keep their puppet in their drawer. 
Lisa Stevens talks about using puppets in this webcam video The video quality is not good but content excellent! She mentions an idea from Jo Rhys Jones of rewarding good talking in French with accessories for a sock puppet - fancy pipe cleaners for hair. Best talkers have the most hair!

Chain questions - done as a warm up. Great revision. This is where a set of questions are printed and cut out so that each pupil has an answer and the next question. Pupils have to listen carefully to work out the right order.

Pass the parcel. Sitting in groups pass round objects or flashcard pics and when the music stops have to say something appropriate to what they are holding eg j'ai un crayon; voici une pomme

Games requiring some space
Giant steps baby steps (H/O)
si vous avez une grande sœur, faites quatre petits pas

Walkie Talkie
Each pupil has a piece of paper. They have to find someone who likes cats, has an older brother. and go round asking  till they find someone
… aime les chats
… a un grand frère

Walking Dictation
is done in teams. text is on sheet a bit away from group. one at a time reads a section and runs back to dictate to the group. can  take as many visits as needed to complete.

Work in pairs (collaborative) to gather information from a text. 
You don't need to understand everything.
Prediction: what do you know already about the subject. need to check it is actually in the text
Identifying known words, spotting cognates. Use a highlighter to mark off known.
Working out what part of speech the unknown word is eg noun or verb

More ideas from 

riddle la Seine (le Rhône, la Loire, La Garonne ont tous un O)
Annie Versaire

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


In Pinwherry Primary School,we have a French GLOW Group for P6 and P7. I have uploaded a Word Document with links and tasks for the pupils to do a Webquest on Easter.



We'll complete the Quiz before the Easter holidays.

We'll make an Easter card and send an Easter message.We hope to sing this Easter comptine

Last year,the P6 class in Gardenrose PS learnt and illustrated an Easter rhyme "C'etait Paques".

I would be happy to send you the Powerpoint I made then.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Red nose day

I found the following idea posted on the NACELL forum. A language teacher is suggesting this lovely "comptine":  J'ai un gros nez rouge for children to sing and mime on the day; as a good "opportunity to incorporate a little language into everyday classroom routines". You can find other songs on http://ram.de.la.charabiole.free.fr/comptines/sommaire.html

you can also print an illustrated version on http://www.teteamodeler.com/vip2/nouveaux/expression/fiche195.asp.

Here is the link to a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YLr43CLKWc

A little late for this year but well worth saving!