Saturday, 30 August 2014

Skolinks

I was contacted by a site called 'Skolinks' recently, which sets up penpals around the world.  Could be fun!  The link is at the top right of this blog. If there's a way to get your pupils using the TL, this is it!!!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Intro video

So, I was having a play with Powtoon (This appears on my latest http://srswopshop.blogspot.com post too!) and came up with this little video style thingy.  I think I am going to use it in my first lesson with Year 7, just to show them how easy it is to understand.  Obviously I have chosen my words very carefully and provided lots of images and so on.  Every little helps!  I might make a little sheet for them to sum up what they have understood.

Here it is:


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Chapeau!

If you're going to teach in the TL, you need every trick in the book, including a 'routine' for those times when you absolutely cannot speak in the TL and only English will do.  For these such moments I have one of these:

They become readily available when we have things like World Cups and Euros etc!  This is how I use it:

Child desperately needs to speak to you in English.  You will only allow them to if they ask in the TL if they can (and sometimes, I make them state a reason why, like 'because it is too difficult' etc).  When they have asked in beautiful French or German (language given to them on the language mats on a previous post), they then wear the above hat.  Whilst the hat is on and ONLY whilst the hat is on you are both allowed to speak to each other in English.  The SECOND it comes off, you are back in the TL.  This can work for you too.  YOU must ask for permission to speak in English (Sometimes they refuse you permission!) and on their approval, you wear the hat and the same situation applies.  Simple, but effective.

I love my hat!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Some excellent resources

I was in school today, planning for the year; in particular planning what to do regarding the levels that we no longer have and how we are going to squeeze a quart into a pint pot; the latter being an annual discussion!  In our discussion, use of the TL came up and given that we are always on the lookout for practical resources, my lovely HOD, shared some great resources she found, by Rachel Hawkes.  In trying to find them again to look at, I uncovered this policy on using the TL, which I really like:


Here are the presentations.  The message is clear - be a role model and be consistent:






Sunday, 10 August 2014

Classroom Language mats

I have already posted photos of these (Original post here), but after having had requests for them, I thought it probably easier to upload them properly. So here they are, my classroom language mats, to allow my pupils to communicate with me and each other in the TL as much as possible:


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Planning

Actually, there hasn't been much so far!  I get all creative at the start of the holidays and loads of ideas find their way to the front of my mind and then I stall!  I just know that I have a lot to think about.  I have to think about how to make the language accessible straight away, whilst also intriguing my shiny new MFL learners and make them want to find out more.  It's like giving them a taste of a really yummy cake, but not the whole thing.  I don't want them to go away feeling confused and lost, but neither do I want them to think that they can understand everything immediately; I would be doing them a disservice because you often find yourself, as a language learner, struggling for meaning and this is good - it stretches your mind and makes you think about connections and word families and, 'Where have I seen that before?' and so on.  I am also lead teacher for Talented, Able and Gifted (TAG) education in our school and therefore am trying to challenge pupils as much as possible; although as language teachers, teaching in the TL, I think we are actually rather good at it anyway.

So, thoughts on the first lesson.  Well I will have 3 Year 7 classes; 1 German and 2 French.  As German is my specialism, I will probably concentrate on that class mainly for the benefit of this blog, although I am sure that the 2 French classes will pop up.  I will assume that most of the pupils in the class have done French before, which is the norm here.  Therefore, it will be appropriate to start from zero knowledge.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I do not want to start with the usual boring rules and expectations lesson, which is all done in English as this will be defeating the object somewhat.  What to start with and how to go about it is the issue.

I usually start with a registration routine pretty sharpish.  For those of you who have never done this I thoroughly recommend it to get the party started(!).  In German, I usually introduce 'Ich bin hier' as their answer to the register and 'nicht hier' for those who are absent.  I do this because it is all about thinking ahead and using structures that are going to be future friendly.  'Ich bin' is a phrase which will be used over again, so that's why I use this for the register.  'Nicht hier' is just a simple foot in the door.  In the future, they will be taught:  'Er/Sie ist nicht hier/krank/im Urlaub' etc.

However, before they even enter the classroom, they will have to be put in their seating plan; so, I think a visual representation of the plan on the SMARTboard would be a good idea, accompanied by 'Fred, du sitzt neben Bob und Joe' with lots of gestures and pointing.  After this, a greeting and a simple intro accompanied by a visual presentation (PPT, Emaze, Haiku Deck) with images and cognates where possible:

Hallo!
Guten Tag/Morgen!
Ich heiße Frau Wylie.  Wie heißt du?

Eliciting some meaning from them would be the next step, then drilling with mimes.  It's essentially a dialogue, so it would make sense to get them out of their seats and using it with their classmates as soon as possible to get to know each other - it is after all a communication tool - that it why we are learning it and teaching it in the TL!  After that I will need to use it to get to know their names, so a ripple effect conversation would be good:  I start it off and address one of them - maybe I will throw a ball (Or my knitted snowman, Peter) and the conversation will move from child to child.  An element of competition may need to be introduced - maybe a timer...teampoints for each conversation delivered.  Maybe a timer with a random explosion - if it explodes on you while you are talking, you lose points.  Maybe a musical chairs type activity - play some music quietly in the background (German of course!) and when it stops, points are lost???   Lots of things could be done.  I want them to leave their first German lesson, having had fun and excited to come to the next one.

Something that we do in our department is hand out Schultüten to all our new Germanists on their first lesson (like they do in Germany).  These have been made by our Year 9 and 10 and filled by Year 12.  We put sweets from our Austria trip in with stationery items, like rulers and pens.  They love them and it rounds off their first lesson really nicely.  The whole experience needs to be as real as possible, so that they expect the same kind of thing in the next lesson (not the treats, the learning experience!) - we use German to communicate and it is normal practice in our lessons.

Phew - lots of thoughts and possibly rambling here!  I'll have to come back and sift through to plan the lesson.  I also started to make some phrase signs for the door for colleagues in other subject areas to use with us if they knock at the door for something - got to lead by example!

Bis bald!