La France en Photos

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Cryptic Reports

Inspired by the Independent's "Get The Picture" regular series of cryptic puzzles and searching for an innovative procrastination activity, with one set of class reports down and one to go, here is my own version. Answers on comments please. No prizes. Just for fun.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The Pink link with the "en" pronoun

This is my latest inspiration for teaching the "en" pronoun in French. Check out Pink's "So What" song (see below video 01.06 minutes in). It's a motivational starter / brain break tool to help pupils remember the "en" pronoun rather than teaching its use specifically. However it's fun nonetheless to see your pupil's faces when you break into ""Unh Check my flow Uohhh" in a Pink stylee in the middle of a French lesson...

Or use this link -

Interestingly enough you can find this "sound bite" spelt out in lyrics at:

OK so the quoted "Uohhh" delivered delicately by Pink is not 100% the sound of the "en" pronoun ("Uohhh" / J'"en" veux deux), but there is a tenuous link if one wishes. All in the aid of making MFL teaching fun.

So all that leaves me to say is: "Unh Check my flow Uohhh"/"en"

This blog post is dedicated to my 8D French class for putting up with my Pink impressions and also Andrew Stapley and Huguette Hopkinson at Norton Knatchbull for our recent enjoyable ideas bouncing session where they humoured my madness, and I theirs.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Symposium Language Laboratory

We are using the Symposium Language Laboratory suite at school. I've just recently delivered a practical workshop on using Symposium for teaching MFL at the SSAT SE Regional Language College's Network Meeting. I focused on it's practical use in a series of language learning activities as opposed to just looking at the technology itself. I also provided notes on how to successfully mananage a language laboratory lesson, looking at the things that you need to consider which are specific to managing pupils and teaching in language laboratories as opposed to normal classrooms. I received 100% "excellent" feedback from the delegates which made it worth while. Check out the Activa website for our case study at Weald of Kent Grammar School

Languages lead to...

One evening in to hosting our French exchange lead teacher and I'm reminded why I love learning languages. If it wasn't for learning French I wouldn't have travelled to France, if it wasn't for travelling to France I wouldn't have eaten in nice restaurants or stayed with welcoming families, and if it wasn't for these experiences I may never have discovered CHEESE & WINE! The combination of creamy, tangy, salty, savoury cheese, washed down with a fruity, medium bodied wine of the red variety is pure gourmet heaven...

My cheese favourites: (This is a work in progress - I'll add as I discover!)

Camembert (French)
Brie (French)
Wensledale and cranberry (English)
Emmental (Swiss)

My wine favourites:

I never remember names, but I do remember grapes. However my latest trick is taking a photo of a well enjoyed bottle on my mobile phone to add to my current library, ready for referring to when in the aisle of the local supermarché. Highly effective for the visual learner you know (the obligatory education link!).

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Personalised Learning Networks

There is a whole new world out there. I've just joined Twitter and discovered a whole new universe of contacts. Investigating joining a teacher network. Take a look at Joe Dale's write up of the twitter world. Contains some good links and information for productive use. I'll add more here when I've had time to get to grips with it.

Follow my twitter upates on the right hand menu...

Interesting Twitter Articles:
Tools to Keep Your Twits Organised
Thirty Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

Monday, 16 March 2009

Videoconferencing in MFL

Have you ever Googled yourself? I know this seems like a completely self indulgent thing to do but in order to procrastinate and thereby delay starting my 60+ year 8 reports I decided to quickly update my blog i.e. delay what you don't want to do and do what provides you gratification first whilst the oven is warming your dinner - it's the way forward you know...

I hadn't yet entered links to a past, yet still relevant, videoconferencing project that I completed with a colleague using Flashmeeting in 2007. Not being able to find the presentations at home I searched for them by my name on the internet, knowing they were added as links on to various sites (see below right on the menu of links). In looking for the links to post I found my photo on the web! So much for hiding behind my virtual Voki physique. So here I am in the middle being presented with a certificate at the Teachnet Awards 2008 for the work we did on the project.

Daftness aside I hope the videoconference resources on the Teachnet site are useful to anyone hoping to embark on such a cross phase project (KS2/KS4 French). See also Joe Dale's blog write up of our project.


I'm experimenting with inputting sound files into a PowerPoint document which I understand need to be WAV files. Easi-Speak microphones are easy to use in the classroom and fun for the pupils, however they seem to automatically save in MP3. Instructions say toggling between MP3 and WAV is possible but I've experiemented with no joy. If anyone has had any success let me know.

Update 13/05/09
Success! We have successfully changed MP3 files to .wav files via CDex software (thanks goes to my ICT department at school!). We then discovered how to add these onto clip art within the PowerPoint so that the sound file still works once sent outside of our network. We did this by right clicking on the clip art, selecting "Action Settings" and then browsed for the sound file...

Easi speak microphones have proved to be easy and effective ways of recording in a classroom with the ability to charge the microphone in the USB port whilst setting up the class. Once an opportune moment in the lesson has been found and recording has been completed, immediate play back is possible, again via the USB port which means that pupils can self analyse and record again quickly in order to correct their language as necessary. I love using them at the moment and hope to order more!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Dyslexia and L2 learning

I am curious about dyslexic students. My question is does interference in the aquisition of first language (L1) learning also interefere in the learning of a second language (L2), or is it specific to the L1 where the learning of L2 allows for the neurological / cognitive links to be created afresh? I don't have any answers yet but will add to this post when I find more research on this topic.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Le Foot!

In the search for resources that might motivate boys when learning languages, I've stumbled across Girondins de Bordeaux club (see web links on the right) - lots of play lists, top scorers, field positions etc. There is a web link to the Girondins TV channel too with the video feed itself below the posts on this page. Not to be out done by the French, check out the Arsenal Double Club link too.


Foreign Delights

  • Du vin!
  • Emmental
  • Gratin Dauphinoise

Foreign Favourites

  • Lyon, France
  • Bejing, China
  • Lausanne, Switzerland

Favourite French Films

  • La Haine
  • L'Appartement
  • Ma Vie en Rose
  • La Reine Margot