Skip to main content

Nifty ideas from the Buckingham University PGCE trainees

Today I had the pleasure of spending a day training twenty young teaching trainees (nearly all already in post). In one session they and I shared successful lesson ideas. Here is what we described, as curated by Rebekah Thomas (thanks!).

Ideas that work in the language classroom

• Plickers (free) – print out bar codes and stick in exercise books, create quiz, pupils use bar code to answer, poll app, good for assessment for learning, students do not need to have a device, multiple choice, true or false, bar chart can be displayed on the board to show results
• Mini-whiteboards – assessment for learning
• Mexican wave/chain – within a certain time frame, pupils have to say a word from a sequence: numbers, days of the week, months
• Entry routine – pupils count down with you when they come into the classroom e.g. count down from 20 or chant the alphabet song – by the end of it they have to be ready
• Role plays/information gap dialogue (communicative, student-led) – role play cards with corresponding statements that form a longer conversation; statements in MT and TL
• Question–answer cards (communicative) – students ask each other questions to find out information about each other e.g. what they did at the weekend; ask students to answer in full questions to challenge them more
• Mute customer – in pairs, one student writes down a shopping list and then mimes objects so that the other student can guess what they have written down (fun and therefore memorable)
• Chinese whispers/telephone – split into groups so that students in the middle of the chain do not get bored; teacher prepares sentences which are passed down the line, last student writes down sentence *speed, *accuracy, *have different messages starting at different points
• Paired gapped dictation – one student has the full text and the other has an incomplete version; the second student has to fill in the gaps
• Running dictation – text on the wall (sentences or a passage), work in pairs, student A goes to wall to memorise text, student B writes down the sentence, student A can go back to the wall to check
• Traditional dictation – teacher led, give pupils vocabulary or short sentences to revise before you give the dictation (flipped learning – students prepare at home what they will then cover in class)
• Songs – summary of vocabulary from a particular topic, memorable e.g. ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ in TL (French teachers see: Alain Le Lait)
• Word sorting task – organise vocab in writing or orally into different categories e.g. verbs, fatty products, time phrases (teacher determines categories and then says words); can also ask pupils to write a synonym or the opposite of what you say
• Collocations – start the sentence and pupils have to finish e.g. Sit…/Close the…/Fish and…
• Large dice game – numbers on dice correspond to subject pronouns, dice is then passed around the classroom and pupils conjugate the verb in a particular tense, when pupils are confident, put conjugated verb into sentence
• Verb songs – conjugate ‘aller’ to the Mission Impossible theme tune
• Using culture to motivate – using recipes to teach the imperative; then make the recipe; do a tasting session in class
• Tell stories to engage pupils with TL and TC *use gestures *personalise stories by using their names or names of staff, local places
• Cross-curricular links – teach another topic/subject in French
• AIM language methodoly (accelerated, integrated methodology – gestures, play acting, short plays)
• Categories game – find words for different categories (a theme, aspect of grammar, beginning with a certain letter) *marking can be messy *can use a dictionary
• Personalise the lesson – get pupils to describe you or each other, maybe using a picture of you in the past
• Names in French – translate staff names into French and use it as a reading comprehension exercise e.g. Mr Greenwood = M. Vert du Bois
• Active reading comprehension – assign actions to elements of language e.g. stand up when you don’t understand the word, hand up when there is a question
• Physical listening – make up a story which pupils have to respond to physically e.g. you are walking through the woods (pupils mime walking)
• Colour coding to develop grammatical awareness – break up chunks of a sentence, write on flashcards, create sentences with a deeper understanding of their grammatical function; colours helpful for dyslexic pupils
• Modelling exercises – complete translations, cloze exercises, etc. from the front and scaffold as necessary; crucial so that they start to think like you – repetitive but necessary to develop mastery of exam exercises > fossilising good learning habits
• Noughts and crosses – drilling vocabulary such as days of the week, months, etc.
• Video making – daily routine/describe your house; describe snapshots; teachers can describe their own houses then show this to pupils


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Tell stories

Introduction

How can we make listening more enjoyable and effective for pupils? How can we turn it from a potential chore to something more memorable (and therefore more likely to stick in their long term memories)? I am of the opinion that since humans are "wired" to engage in personal listening and speaking (the expression "social brain" has been used in this context), they may be more interested and attentive when the message comes from a real person rather than a disembodied audio source. (This may or may not be relevant, but research has been carried out which demonstrates that babies pick up phonological patterns better when they listen to a caregiver rather than listen to a tape or watch a video - see here for summaries of research into this area by Patricia Kuhl.)

One easy way to make listening stimulating for pupils is to tell them easy stories in the target language. I was reminded of this while reading Penny Ur's book 100 Teaching Tips (reviewed here

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…