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!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


What is a blog? (this is a blog!)
  • blog is short for a web log or diary consisting of posts
  • it is linear - the most recent post is at the top of the page
  • older posts are archived usually monthly and are easily accessed
  • the posts can have tags or labels for easy searching
  • it is interactive - readers can comment on the posts
  • it is easy to create from customisable templates - no knowledge of HTML needed

Features of blogs in general
  • easy to use, attractive, colourful
  • immediate update
  • enable communication across the world
  • private or public
  • can upload other files eg photos, audio
  • can embed widgets and other tools like voki
  • can have links to other sites
  • tags for easy searching
  • record of all previous posts in archive
  • can be translated into other languages
  • readers can subscribe to the blog
  • readers can access at any time - could be homework

Some reasons for using a blog in education
A blog can be :
  • a diary of a school trip
  • a showcase of pupils' work
  • a reflective blog for teachers (see the blog roll in the side panel)
  • a learning log
  • for an audience of pupils, other classes, parents
  • peer assessment: 2 star and a wish in comments
  • a record of work, useful for absentees

A blog can have one or many contributors
  • all pupils in a class
  • several teachers
  • another school

Comments can be moderated ie you can read and decide whether or not to approve - good if pupils are commenting

There are many blog creation sites: including
  • blogger.com free and easy
  • edublogs.org free, for education, more features, more complex
  • typepad.com monthly charge

This blog has been created in blogger.com which is simple and straightforward to use 
The principle is the same for all blogs - some have more features.
See the post creating your own blog in blogger for how to do it!

creating your own blog in blogger

Create a google account -
User name will be your email adress. 
Be sure to note your log in and password!!

Blogger blogs have a URL that starts http://        .blogspot.com
eg this one is htttp://mlpscpd.blogspot.com and readers access it that way. 
When you want to add a post you need to log in via blogger.com and click on Dashboard

Choose a URL for your blog. This can't be changed afterwards so think carefully.
You can change everything else so don't worry too much about other decisions.

You can write a bit about yourself in Profile
(Dashboard> Edit Profile)

You need to choose a Template - you can change it later.

Go to Settings > Format to set the Time Zone to GMT otherwise it will look like you are posting at 3am!

To make your first post go to Posting > Create
Give your post a title eg Welcome

Type your post. You can use the buttons to change font, size, make bold
Add a picture or a hyperlink. You probably dont need to change font colours etc as they are part of your template.

You can Preview your post at any time. when finished you have 2 choices: Save - will keep it as a draft or Publish which will make it visible. You can always go back and edit it afterwards. Publish again to save the changes. 

A word about saving as a draft. When you come to publish it it will publish with the date stamp of the draft which may be some weeks ago. Click on Post Options to change the date stamp.

Blogger has lots of online help including videos

or click on help 

One feature blogger does not have (at the moment, anyway) is the ability to embed a sound file. If you think you will want to upload sound files you would be better with edublogs.org eg
Otherwise you can put a link to a sound file, if you have somewhere to upload it to.
Or there is a work-around described in this blogpost

Thursday, March 5, 2009

ICT for Modern Languages

In this session we will be looking at how ICT can be wonderful for
  • supporting your own learning
  • supporting your teaching
  • finding tools and resources
  • being creative
The examples are for French but most ideas are transferable to German, Spanish.

Supporting your own learning - referencing is easy
online dictionaries such as
http://www.wordreference.com// scroll down for examples of use, discussions
http://ultralingua.com/onlinedictionary/ has grammar and conjugation of verbs as well
and a brilliant number to word tool eg type in 1789 and find out how to say/write it
for help reading foreign webpages use lingro.com
be very suspicious of babelfish for translation, ok for French - English
Keep au fait with news stories
written news reports for children journal des enfants
short video news clips for children mon jt quotidien
watch French TV eg Paris TV
BBC clips for language and culture
For pronunciation what better than to hear a native speaker saying it. All of these next sites have audio files
French about is a huge site with all sorts of useful stuff eg
http://french.about.com/library/pronunciation/bl-audiodico.htmaudio dictionary
http://www.howtopronouncefrench.com/vowel sounds, tongue twisters, animal sounds - very useful
http://swac-collections.org/?lang=frais a comprehensive list of words, but no meanings.

Word processing
Using Microsoft Office Word for typing French
Word will autocorrect words, often without you noticing it
eg trois comes out as trios and cathédrale will come out cathedral
Either turn off autocorrect (tools menu)
or better still turn this to your advantage by changing the language for he document in Tools Menu>Language to French. Then, with (autocorrect on or by spellchecking) it will put on accents for you and correct your spelling!
Typing accents
on a mac it's easy. The option key is now called alt. The trick is to lift off after typing alt e; then type e again for é
on a PC use ASCII codes or in Word use Symbols
or if online use typeit to copy and paste

Supporting your teaching
Network with other practitioners across the globe and find out what they are doing in languages teaching with Web 2.0 social networking tools eg blogs, twitter.com, delicious.com. This is all about sharing!
See my favourite blogs in the Blog List at the side
I "follow" and "talk" to teachers elsewhere in the UK and in Australia and the US and share ideas.
watch video clips of teachers in action from http://www.teachers.tv/
and http://primarylanguages.org.uk/
teachertube video on using puppets
Join a Glow group!

Finding tools and resources
delicious is a site where you can bookmark and tag useful sites. you can access them from any computer. You can see other people's links (your network) and save them too.
my delicious links look at the tags. click or type them in the box. eg French, primary, whiteboard
flashcards and instant games
mes-english.com is a site for teaching English as a foreign language but the flashcards without words are very useful. you can use them to make bingo cards in the related site, tools for educators
youtube videos
great for all sorts especially songs, karaoke versions, see the actions

Being creative
Here are some ideas to motivate your pupils to write. Their work can be published and viewed by classmates, parents, the world. What better reason to make a good job?

cartoons - there are various sites and pieces of software to create a colourful cartoon
I like http://www.toondoo.com/ You need to create an account but it is free.
Here are some examples


www.wordle.net is a visual tool to display text, or highlight frequency of words in a text. No account is needed but you need to remember what you called it to find it again.
(You need the Java plug-in installed in your browser)

www.voki.com lets you create a talking character. It uses text-to-speech or you can record your own voice. You need to create a free account first.

There are lots of sites where you can create your own quizzes and games with exactly the vocab or info you want for your class
Blockbusters - numbers
Dustbin sorting game- my game on nasal vowels
Mystudiyo multiple choice 7 questions on Paris

Other devices
Apart from computers and internet other devices to use:
mobile phones – have cameras, video and audio recording and Bluetooth to send files to your computer
digital cameras
USB sticks
mp3 players have inbuilt microphones, cost from £10
ipods play audio and video (need extra microphone to record)
dv cameras eg Flip video from £77 - £130 pocket sized, batteries, USB connection
low tech – Talk Time products with recording modules from TTS catalogue

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Aujourd'hui, c'est mardi 24 février 2009, c'est MARDI-GRAS.
En France comme dans beaucoup d'autres pays, c'est le "CARNAVAL".

See links for information, activities and pictures....
in English in Wikipedia and in French in Wikipedia


carnaval in Nice

carnaval in Menton

activities in teteamodeler and more in fete-enfants


Welcome to South Ayrshire MLPS CPD blog and thank you to Kay for setting it up!
Kay has been a Support Officer for Modern Languages in East Ayrshire and is now delivering MLPS Modules 1 and 2 at the University of the West of Scotland.Teachers have been so enthused that I asked Kay to do 4 MLPS CPD sessions. Kay will be posting her notes on this blog.