Tuesday, 8 April 2014
Thursday, 13 March 2014
Sunday, 26 February 2012
Key note speakers Joe Dale and José Picardo set the scene for using social media in education and how Mr Michale Gove seems to be finally tuning in to the educational benefits of technology, whilst workshop speakers (including Annalise Adam, Wendy Adeniji, Alex Blagona, Vanessa Burns, Joe Dale, Catherine Elliott, Stuart Gorse, Esther Hardman, Isabelle Jones, Helen Myers, Carole Nicoll, Juliet Park, Bertram Richter, Jo Rhys-Jones, Amanda Salt, Clare Seccombe, Lisa Stevens, Jenny Turner, and Sara Vaughan) provided a wide range of information, activities, ideas and inspiration to enhance current practice and take us forward. Not to mention the infamous Show and Tell event Sat evening which had delegates and bar staff alike in stitches on various occasions.
More updates here soon along with my session presentations from "Using ICT to enhance Teaching and Learning in MFL" and "Flashmeeting for Easy Videoconferencing" (both available on my SlideShare profile page until I can sort out an "embed glitch" here on the blog). All resources will also be found on the Languages South East website shortly.
For now, here are some wonderful pictures of teachers in action at the Show and Tell as @elvisrunner demonstrated her "Human Dominoes" game for language learning:
Monday, 6 February 2012
Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Due to the recent successful yet work heavy French exchange I am behind on my TES reading!
Summaries from the 17 June edition below:
Gove to force the 700 worst performing primary schools to switch to academy status using existing outstanding Secondary Academies as sponsors. However, NAHT is wary of using academies as an over arching solution to improving performance and believes schools that have the opportunity to pair up with other schools on their own terms have more chance of succeeding.
Major unions warning against schools switching to academies as they loose the "safety net" of local authority support.
Gove announced recently that he is raising the floor standard for secondaries so all schools must see 50% of their pupils achieve five good GCSE's, including English and maths by 2015.
BSF (Building Schools for the Future) / PFI (Private Finance Initative):
Despite tighter capital allowances Gove has pledged to rebuild or refurbish around 700 schools since scrapping the £55 billion BSF programme, using PFI. A capital investment programme be set out for 2012-13 onwards.
Search Powers :
Ministers must water down plans to dramatically extend teachers' search powers because they infringe pupil's human rights, a panel of MPs and Lords has warned.
High-performing countries achieve better secondary results by ensuring that primary pupils are not allowed to progress at different rates, according to the Government adviser heading the national curriculum review. They do fewer things at greater depth and don't move on until everyone has "got" it. Their emphasis on thorough understanding challenges the trend here towards accelerating pupils with early exam entries.
The national curriculum review may replace key stages with a year by year structure.
The EBac debate continues with continuous backlash against the absence of Arts subjects. Also fears of social divides where schools may focus on particular pupils to improve their scores.
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
OK I'll finger type from now on (why did I never learn to touch type on French keyboards?? My life takes twice as long now...).
Anyhow - I have great news to empart on my continuous search for the perfect Croque Monsieur to emulate the near paradise experience found in Calais almost 10 years ago now... : They make cheese & ham ("lardons") stuffed baguettes here!!! Oh my it is delicious:
Let's waste no time with the all important Rating:
Location: Elbeuf, Normandy, France, June 2011
Comments: Yes, this new found version of the well known cheese, ham and bread combo started with a sensual delight as the unknown prowess of this baguette was given away by the wonderful waft of warmly cooked ham & cheese from the depths of the surrounding paper bag. Then the next sense was satisfied with the visual delight of a soft bouncy interior, visible as a cut in the "baguette" top side, was complimented by the crusty sides of the "baguette" and the scattered "lardons". Oh my, add to that "salade verte" dripping with olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing and a glass of Rosé to accompany in a glass encased with cold refreshing water droplets, and there you have it - the closest thing I have found so far to my near paradise experience in Calais. The only reason why it doesn't get a 9 or 10/10 in the ratings is that it isn't truely a Croque Monsieur. However it is truely worthy of note. Until the next time a gorgeous gastronomic experience comes my way...
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Saturday, 11 June 2011
Ofsted's new regime, to be introduced in January, will mean harder measures for schools in deprived areas unless they can prove that pupils are "improving steadily", regardless of pupil background."Headteacher Jason Brook is responding by reluctantly introducing BTECs to push up scores. "...We were delivering the curriculum that we knew was right. But I can't afford to do that any longer. I have got to join the game". Union opinion is that "we don't need more perverse incentives to play the league tables. Inspections should be looking at the overall quality of education". Also to be noted is that the English Baccalaureate will not count in Ofsted Inspections.
Governors: (Editorial p.2)
Are governors more representative than effective? As govenor accountability has risen the lines of repsonsibility have blurred. Can govenors (a body of lay people) cope with being the final arbitrators of budgets, exclusions, curriculum strategies, staff, appointing the head, behavioural and other policies? Potential solution: professionalise the role of chair and pay them.
Pensions: (News p.4)
Heads offering ultimatum. No pensions, no cooperation with the Coalition's educational reforms.
Training places for Business Studies, Art, Music and RE falling due to Government cuts, whilst places for the sciences and Foreign languages are rising. Courses closing for the former in a range of universities.
Children's laureate Julia Donaldson (of "The Gruffalo" fame) thinks that phonics tests for six-year-olds is too young. Pupils may not be able to read at six and therefore will early on feel a failure.
Creative Curriculum: (P.15)
Independent schools are signing up in droves to the creative curriculum, the very thing that Mr Gove has rejected for the national curriculum, as he has chosen instead to emphasise "essential" subject content.
Building Schools for the Future (BSF): (p.18-19)
Tim Byles stepping down from Partnerships for Schools (PfS), the agency responsible for delivering the BSF programme. Defends himself against critics who believed the money was misplaced (deprived area school knocked down to rebuild when not that bad, whilst better areas had leaking roofs etc... but were in a better area so didn't qualify). Per Tim Byles the deal was "come and sort out BSF and these are our priorities", not, "come and change our priorities". Also whilst the budget swelled from £45 billion to £55 billion, some suggested this was mis management and overspend. Tim Byles said it was due to the additional responsiblities of taking on the delivery of the academies programme and special educational needs schools.
Suggestions by Harry Judge (former Oxford University admissions tutor and head of both a grammar and a comprehensive school) to simplify the secondary schools / higher education link by offering no places until August results were known. Student applicants would make more informed applications. Universities could make more informed choices. Universities could start in January to ease administration time, also allowing students to settle into their futures or contribute constructively to the Big Society.
Plus the usual weekly "page 3" equivalent sensationalist round up of scandals involving teacher misconduct, identifying those who have been struck off the register. A strangely compelling, yet uncomfortable read.
Friday, 10 June 2011
Future Government league tables will no longer take account of the CVA measure (contextual value added) when comparing school exam and test results... // CVA uses nine contextual factors including gender, first language, post code, ethnicity, deprivation and whether or not pupils are in a local authority care. // Unions warn that abolishing the CVA measure without a replacement will further stack the odds against heads and teachers who choose to work in the most deprived areas. // Performance tables will continue to show how much progress pupils make compared to their prior levels of attainement plus number of SEN students. // The white paper: "It is morally wrong to have an attainment measure which entrenches low aspirations for children because of their background". // Ben Slade, head of The Manor, Cambridge, which as above average CVA said: "It is divisive to remove CVA because it will camouflage coasting schools whether they are oustanding, good or satisfactory.
Academies and finance:
Most contracts with Capita (school admin system) have previously been with local authorities rather than individual schools, but when a school opts out of local authroity control they are forced to pay for an individual licence. // The DfE provides £25k to a school converting to academy status, but many heads say almost all of this is being used up to pay the re-licencing fee for their Sims (school information management system). // When still part of a local authority, secondary schools can expect to pay the council about £3k to £4k for their Sims. // Millions will be going out of the education budgets of schools with no change to the service other than a transfer of the licence. // Dr Bousted, general secretary of the ATL: "This is one of the hidden costs of becoming an academy". // Capita spokes person: "Due to Capita Children's Services' strong standing in the school marketplace it would be seen as using its position unfairly against its competitors if it did not pass these costs onto its customers."
National Curriculum Review 2:
English teachers are concerned that the committee overseeing the national curriculum review could be biased in favour of synthetic phonics and includes a member (Ruth Miskin)with a business interest in promoting the reading method.
The end of GCSE coursework has "fundamentally" changed English teaching and means pupils no longer learn essential drafting skills, according to an influential academic. // Drafting is an important skill which is used in universities and by professional writers. Pupils were able to assess each others' drafts and suggest improvements. // Controlled assessments, the replacement for coursework, allows pupils to prepare in advance for a piece of work which they actually write in the classroom under controlled conditions. // Dr Marshall writes: "We do not want the first attempts of a student at writing an essay. We want their considered and well thought through opinions".
Specialist Leaders in Education:
SLEs will be tasked with improving the middle management of schools - classroom teachers are already able to call upon Advanced Skills Teachers and heads can use national leaders of education. // The National College is now consulting on the role, and says the next 12 months will be spent "developing" it. // The specialist areas of expertise will be based on the new key areas of focus for Ofsted.
Then comes some spare time and a morning is spent ripping open the plastic of anything from 5-10 TES copies, sifting through for useful or interesting articles in both the paper and the magazine, throwing out the FE section, deciding whether to route though the job section or not, recycling any paper wastage... and what am I left with? A brain full of information only for 80% to be forgotten by tomorrow, and piles of paper sorted into different themed cuttings from the paper (ICT Resources, MFL teaching ideas, proposed curriculum changes, how the teenagers' brain works, creative teaching and learning theories etc...). And then what am I left with? Piles of paper sorted into different themed cuttings from the paper left to get dusty until I have time "to really digest the information and read in more detail" or "to do something with the information within". Oh so many best laid plans...
I shall from hereonin create a regular (?) blog entry called "Esther's TES Round Up" within which I shall store a summary of key points of interest from that edition. This shall therefore remain forever to hand in electronic format thereby reducing the need for extra piles of paper at my home. I hope...
Sunday, 29 May 2011
Saturday, 14 May 2011
Saturday, 2 April 2011
OK so a bit overloaded on the goats cheese front, but who wouldn't ;o)
Sunday, 13 February 2011
Thank you again for leaving positive feedback:
Saturday, 12 February 2011
There have been a range of sessions today which have all gone really well and have received good feedback (see Twitter feed #ililc for details). My session entitled "Using ICT to Enhance Teaching and Learning in MFL" went well and the audience was a kind one given the tired brains! Thank you for listening so intently and for your positive feedback. The PowerPoint from the session is saved on authorSTREAM where I have made it available for download for those that requested it if the above stream doesn't work. It has been an honour to speak alongside such esteemed and knowledgeable colleagues. I look forward to tomorrow for more!
Tuesday, 8 February 2011
We are also getting more teachers signed on and creating groups at The Weald of Kent Grammar School. MYLO has a great inbuilt motivation system: avatars which are unlocked the more points the students get, competitiveness between individual students on activities, between classes/teachers, between individuals on a national level and lastly between schools nationally. This multi-layered motivation system drives the students interest to look into more language learning activities. We look forward to higher rankings!
Sunday, 16 January 2011
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Thursday, 2 December 2010
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Friday, 15 October 2010
"And the other secret weapon the BBC had was its remarkable on-site anchor, Tim Wilcox. He is normally an anchor on the domestic BBC News channel but he was sent to Chile three weeks ago and he showed a remarkable change in persona anchoring on-site rather than from the studio. It was obvious how well he knew his story, that he knew and had spoken to all those involved – officials, family, and the like, his Spanish was impeccable in being able to interview family members and officials live and give instant translation – he was just so natural." (http://followthemedia.com/writeon/bbcchile14102010.htm)
His Twitter feed also shows the benefits of his language knowledge, as well as the power of Web 2.0 technologies:
Just spoke to the father of the first miner expected up, Florencio Avalos. Father Alfonso says he is excited but anxious.
1,286,908,596,000.00 via web
Interpreters were also important in the international communication process of the rescue attempt:
The voice of an interpreter on hand to translate the words of the miners and rescuers for the English-speaking audience watching at home, could sometimes be heard directing the miners to get out of the way of the camera set up to beam images across the planet.
Interpreters were also used to communicate Presidential speeches abroad, and Chile's President, Sebastian Pinera, even showed up or own PM by speaking to him in fluent English.
All in all languages were at the heart of international affairs. So if you want to get ahead in the world - learn languages!
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Once I'd got more experience of the "site map", as with all new websites to navigate, and tried a few activities under the guise of my own Screen Name, (Speedy Gonzales...watch out I'm on the leader board!), I became more familiar and realised how easy setting up learner accounts for the students would be.
TOP TIP FOR SETTING UP LEARNER ACCOUNTS:
1) Ask students to use their school email when creating accounts in case your school blocks access to their personal email accounts - they can always forward the details to their home account later; 2) Remind students to take care with the spelling of their email addresses (yes a few rogue emails have been sent out there - only 6/30 so not too bad), and 3) Remind students to create "acceptable" screen names...
All in all the set up took about half of the lesson (25-30 mins), but this process will only need to be done once. This time period includes troubleshooting which was more often than not correcting student's typing errors when entering the email addresses/user names etc... Note: If you are a current user of the trial site, warn the students that when first entering the site the username/password may need to be entered a few times i.e. there isn't a problem with the page. This will be rectified when the site goes fully live. We were then ready to start some activities. However, prior to letting the students "loose" (they really were chomping at the bit!), I asked them to fill in a vocabulary table that I had prepared of the phrases needed to complete the activities online (English provided, they find the French in the phrases list on screen). This was with the intent of the students retaining a written record of the phrases once having left the ICT room. I am planning also to use it for reinforcement activities once in a normal classroom (i.e. acting out the role plays).
As we are trialling the online software I decided to record our students' opinions of their experience so far - albeit limited. They had some interesting things to say, including comparisons with other online language learning sites. My publishing of the students' comments on this subject are not intended to be to the detriment of other language learning sites, yet to discover what MYLO can offer that is different through the students' eyes. As a teacher I am also aware that the excitement of a new technology can cloud a student's judgement to a certain extent. The range of language learning sites already on offer on the web are vast and of a high quality. It is the interactive features of the MYLO site (students competing against other students and the storing of personal scores) that are sticking out for me on first use in comparative terms. However, what I will be looking out for is the quality of LEARNING that takes place regardless of it's software features.
Note: the student interviewer (budding journalist in the making I think!) and the students' comments were completely unscripted.
Until the next MYLO update!
Sunday, 11 April 2010
This has been a successful use of our recent purchase of 15 web cams for the MFL department and we hope to integrate their use in other exchanges across the department. Videoconferencing provides students with authentic language experiences which help improve their confidence in the use of the target language.
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
What will learners do? The website above states: "MYLO is organised into a series of challenges. Each challenge is designed to offer a fully-rounded and self-contained learning experience, promoting language learning through creativity, problem-solving, decision-making and enquiry." These challenges have the potential to be very engaging as the innovative use of "best breed technologies and interactive routes to learning" culminate in "a social approach to learning and creative output". This embraces the rise of the "digital world",(even the PM is delivering speeches entitled: "Building Britain's Digital Future"), and how education is moving with the times.
MYLO is marketed as "Engaging, Valuable, Creative, Real-Life, Flexible, Innovative, Complementary and Evolving". Reading futher into the justifications for these descriptive words provides a sense of a well planned and conscientiously put together educational tool. My fellow MYLO Ambassadors (links to follow...) and I were given the opportunity to meet the designers from Lightbox Education and to feedback both positive and constructive comments as to its design, potential for implementation and impact on learning. This brought alive the concept of MYLO's "evolving" nature as they welcome feedback from both learners and teachers as the project develops.
I, for one, am looking forward to putting MYLO through it's paces in the classroom in the near future and will feedback on how my classes gained from the "stimulating content" and "innovative online environment", along with any reflective feedback in terms of any improvements that could be made if there are any to be found. I am eager to put into practice the different stages of the MYLO learning journey: Meet the contact, Get the skills, Compete, Take the challenge and Review my work, and to see the process through from beginning to end and how the students react to it's imaginative link to the real world via new technologies.
On y va!
Monday, 8 March 2010
Saturday, 6 March 2010
Saturday, 27 February 2010
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Monday, 8 February 2010
"What about SingStar?" I thought. Using SingStar technology to aid learning the intonation of target language expressions. As important as the pronunciation if you want to gain confidence and sound authentic I say. (I was so happy to get karaoke into the day's events somehow!).
More information on MYLO as the technology develops and classroom trials have been carried out...
Saturday, 30 January 2010
OK, I admit, the guy was set up into making knowing languages look good by my fair handed self - however it felt good at the time :o)
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Today we are going to learn how to create a blog; add text, photos and web links; embed html codes for youtube videos, podcasts, PowerPoints and photo slides shows.
At the end of the traning please add feedback on the training session by clicking on the wall below. Please consider whether the training as a whole has helped you become more confident in using blogs to enhance the teaching of MFL with your students:
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
Monday, 9 November 2009
Homework / Les Devoirs / Los Deberes... by Miss E Hardman
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Got it! Needs to be in an HTML gadget on the right....
Check out Tom Barrett's Edublog for "Thirty-Eight Interesting Ways to use Wordle in the Classroom".
Sunday, 13 September 2009
TIP 1: I use kareoke CD's as the originally sung lyrics of a song would interfere with what you are trying to sing in the target language in the classroom. Ones that I have used in the past come from the Avid label from which I have used the Kylie Locomotion successfully with Spanish Classroom language (cheesy kareoke beats but it does the job - I'll add the PowerPoint with lyrics...). However, this time I used an Abbamania CD which is less cheesy but does have light singing of the chorus in the background (no bad thing if the song flops in class eh?).
TIP 2: If you need access to the original lyrics of a song to work out the rhythm of the words without incessantly rewinding (gosh that just made me feel old!)/ replaying your music source, try a lyrics website such as Lyrics Freak
It can take some time getting words to fit the tune of song, which is why I only tend to do it when inspiration hits rather than seeking to do a song for the sake of it. However, the results are worth it. One of my year 7 classes, to whom I taught Spanish classroom language using the Kylie locomotion tune, used to sing it, without prompting, whilst running around the track during their PE lessons (so I'm told!), and they could still sing it word for word when they reached year 10. On one occasion they burst into a rendition of it as I entered the classroom for a cover lesson those 3 years later. That was one of the best moments of my teaching career so far. Enjoy!
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
I love this video as it really shows the need for Intercultural Understanding. As we welcome our new year 7's into the school we are embarking on a transition project which includes Intercultural Understanding. This features in the KS2 Framework for Languages and we hope to build upon this as they begin their KS3 language studies.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
I have just discovered the delights of SKY TV via my SKY+ box. Much to my father's dismay I have refrained from subscribing to SKY Sports, but have subscribed to the Style and Culture package instead which provides TVEi on channel 795 (Spanish) and TV5 on channel 799 (French) TV programmes. Cinémoi movies is a French cinema channel on 839, but you have to subsribe to another package to get this.
Saturday, 20 June 2009
The Big Question: would I find one as good as this again?
So what made the "Calais Croque" so good? To experience such a cullinary pleasure set against the back drop of the industrialised port of Calais begged the phrase: a jewel amongst rocks, a rose amonst thorns...
The Croque Tour so far:
Location: Calais 2000/1
Comments: What a memory, what a dream! Alas the image remains in my head. Yet the comination of an unexpectedly large (size in food terms matters) Croque Madame with a large (again good) pile of French Fries as accompaniement, with the remaining space on the large (good) plate filled with a large (g...) pile of lucious lettuce dripped delicately with a subtle French salad dressing, created a meal made in heaven...oh but the "pièce de la résistance" was the small glass of red wine to accompany such a feast. "Does a humble Croque Monsieur meal live up to the class of a good glass of red wine?" I hear you ask. "Who cares!" I cry. It worked! Especially the cafe style glass that it was held in. Oh I could go on... Now for the rest...
Location: Geneva 2005/6
Comments: Disappointment on first sight. Bad "pain de mie" bread and dry. The Swiss should stick to what they do best: chocolate and Swiss watches.
Location: Rouen 2006
Comments: No notes made so can't remember the rating...Can't have been amazing. Satisfactory at best.
Location: Paris 2008
Comments: What a great find! In the fashionable area of St Michel we sourced a bar that would serve our World Tour delight. Good portions, fries, salad and wine (with good company!) made this an enviable contender.
Location: My flat 2008
Comments: Wonderful! Had a great time sourcing a good recipie (no it's not just a cheese and ham sandwich...) and making it for my good friend Anabela. Insecurities on using too little cheese resulted in too much cheese and big fat bellies afterwards. Indeed we were unable to finish - a shocker and source of much pride breaking on my part. Nevertheless, lesson learned and more shall be attempted in the future. (I cheated with frozen chips but when one is busy...)
Location: Versailles 2009
Comments: This rating is generous. The cheese was nice but the sauce lacking. The bread was toasted - possibly as using up the previous day's bread.
The bottom line - is it right to rate it against a classic? In fact is it right to mess with a classic at all? In the light of this we placed it in a category of its own: "Tartine facon Croque Madame" / Bruchette (I was assured by our French colleague on the exchange that the latter exist "au resto à Nice qui semble des Croques Madames ouvertes").
We move on...
Location: Eurodisney 2009
Comments: Classed as a "Euro Croque" we gave the following critiques: Miss Hinge - Bechamel sauce good and not too heavy but more ham needed. Grilled bread not good. Miss Hardman - good top bread layer, soft and springy, with a layer of soft grilled cheese. The runny sauce was nicely warm.
Overall, however, is it right to compare a Croque Monsieur with a Croque Madame (the latter being my true love of the two and source of this World Tour)? However, I think it fought it's corner well - despite the lack of fries and salad as accompaniement.
A last attempt on this leg of the tour...
Location: Service station, France 2009
Comments: Satisfactory - surprisingly good for a service station or does my memories of English services stations marre my open mindedness on this matter?
This post shall be continually updated as I yearn to seek the eternal pleasures that are held within the humble meal of a Croque Monsieur/Madame...but for now some advice for anyone inspired to embark on similar such tours: do your research, know what to expect, and aim high!
One might say that I have too much time on my hands, yet the promise of school reports as my next task forever pushes me to further creative ventures.
The next generation...
Location: Starbucks, Kent, June 2009
Comments: The "Starbucks Croque Monsieur Panini"....panini??. Ghastly idea. Didn't even go there. I refuse to mess with a classic (see comments - Versailles 2009). No photo, no rating, no nothing. The tumble weed moves on...