Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Mobile devices research

I've been doing a research project for school and chose to look at the use of mobile devices in the classroom. Unsurprisingly, there is very little published evidence to support the use of mobile devices in the classroom and it is left to those of us who are in favour to state our case.
Much more could have gone into the slideshow but I've actually ended up taking a lot of material out. It's for presentation to staff at a workshop so I have tried to reduce it to the main points for discussion.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

MFL Magic with QR Codes

I've just got back from an amazing weekend and #ililc6. Here is my presentation on QR codes. Many thanks to Helen Myers for organising such a great event.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Fasching and Mardi Gras

I can't believe it's Fasching already. Here is a selection of resources for the week ahead:- has a selection of masks and other Fasching-related things to make. has some Fasching games.

For French resources, there is a selection of links to resources here.

There are also some nice resources on

Here is a link to a Mardi Gras feature on 1jour1actu from a couple of years ago.

Have fun. :-)

Friday, 29 January 2016

Teacher Training at Portsmouth and Stubbington

Over the past couple of days, I have delivered teacher training on easy ICT tools for MFL. Thanks to everyone who took part and I hope you have found some useful ideas for your classroom practice. Here is the slideshow.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Reading and Listening skills

It's been a long time since my last blog post, not through idleness but because things have been very busy!
Today I went to Southampton University to talk to PGCE trainees about reading and listening skills. Here is a copy of the presentation, just in case anyone else might find it useful.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Translation workshop

Last week I went to a CPD event on teaching translation within the new curriculum. Here are some of my notes on this, along with a few websites I've found.

Although translation only counts for about 5% of the marks in the new GCSE, it can be done in fun way and it can also be part of our focus on culture within the context of the new curriculum.

Translating idioms is a good place to start. Here is a selection in French and in German. So when covering the topic of parts of the body, we could look at relevant idioms like avoir un poil dans la main (literally to have a hair in your hand). This means to be lazy - obviously!?

Another good starting place is translating jokes. There are plenty of French puns on I love the Carambar jokes like this one:
Pourquoi le pecheurs sont-ils maigres?
Parce qu'ils surveillent leurs lignes. :-)

News headlines make a great starting place. I'm a big fan of Newsmap; it's easy to select your language from the menu bar at the top and if you want to go for a detailed look, you can click on the headlines to open the full articles.

One way of differentiating translation skills is to give students a sheet with sentences to work on, divided into 4 levels of difficulty.

Another idea is to give students pyramids of sentences to translate, which become progressively more complex. This is something we have done a lot of work on in our department.

For longer texts, I liked the idea of getting students to work in groups to translate paragraphs. Get them to write on sugar paper, then get each group to pass their paper round and see if it can be improved on.

Parallel texts make a great activity for youngsters. It is easy to devise your own. Put gaps at different points in each text to differentiate the task - the easier task is to find the English and the more challenging task is to find the TL. Steve Smith has been putting French/English parallel texts on his website, - well worth the subscription, in my opinion.

Finally, a lot of fun can be had with texts which have been badly translated through Google. But let's not forget my personal favourite: badly-translated signs.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Confucius Classroom event

On Tuesday 2nd May I went to the launch of the Confucius Classroom at Bay House School. Some of the funding for the Confucius Classroom will enable a Mandarin teacher to offer lessons at my school as part of the enrichment programme.
The afternoon involved a demonstration of Mandarin Chinese language and culture. We started by watching a lesson with a class of Year 9 students. They had to guess the meaning of some Chengyu, which are idioms in 4 characters.

Students then performed a play entitled "Paint the dragon, dot the eyes". This saying means that if you paint the eyes on the dragon it will come to life and it signifies that if you don't finish something, it will be no good. I'm not a Mandarin speaker, but it was clear that the students had learnt their lines really well.
The students then took part in a workshop with calligraphy, painting plates and making a paper dragon.
This was followed by two song performances. The students had learnt the songs by heart and the performances were really good. The songs were "Jasmine Dragon" and "A small apple". Then some of the students gave a presentation about their trip to China last summer, when they visited Beijing and Changzhou.
At the end of the presentation, the Headteacher gave a short talk about the importance of global citizenship. He was then invited to paint the eyes on the dragon the students had made, thereby bringing the Confucius Classroom to life.