Saturday, 27 August 2016

New Beginnings

As you can see, I've been absent for sometime.
It's been a difficult few months which I'm going to try not to dwell on.

September is a great opportunity for new beginnings and that's just what this September is about. It's starting with me looking to supply teaching nitially, trying to get fit and maybe even getting a dog (although the final one still needs confirming by "him in doors")

Anyway the good news  (or bad, depending on how you look at it) is that I will hopefully have more time for blogging and will have time and possibilities for trying out new ideas and sharing them.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Routes Live - Routes into Language Teaching

Last Friday, I was asked to take part in a Routes into Languages live webinar about Routes into Languages, along with wit Dr. Elizabeth Anderson, Director of Routes into Languages North East, René Kogelbauer, Acting Head of the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences and Director of the North Leadership Centre and President of ALL and Karl Reid, a current trainee teacher. 
It was a fantastic experience, not least because I was able to use Google Hangouts from the computer in my classroom and all of the technology worked!
Here is a link to the webinar, I hope that it proves useful to prospective MFL teachers.

Routes Live - Routes into language teaching

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Promoting Independent Learning in MFL

A few months ago I was contacted by Eva Lamb about running a session during the ALL Yorkshire winter series on independent learning. On Thursday therefore, I headed down the A1 and M1 to Sheffield to do my session.

Over the course of 90 minutes I covered a range of activities that I use with my classes in the hope of getting them to be more independent language learning. Below is a copy of the presentation and also I have linked below that to posts that I've written in the past on this blog that describe how they work. Whilst all of my examples are MFL specific, most of these activities can be adapted to any subject area.

Promoting independent learning in mfl all from Helena Butterfield

Quiz Quiz Trade  description
Read Clare Seccombe's guide to using Tarsia here
Follow me description
Show down description
Infinite scrabble description
Download a template for infinite scrabble here
Lingo bingo description
Haiku blog post

Fan n pick 
You can quite easily use your QQT cards for this activity.
You will need:
- cards
- your "manage mat" (it helps keep the pupils focused) Download my French / German versions here
-  groups of 3 or 4

How it works:
Person 1 fans out the cards, face down
Person 2 picks a card and reads / shows it to person 3 (just the question or the English / TL phrase to translate) and passes the card to person 4.
Person 3 answers the question, with coaching and praise from person 4.
When complete the card is returned to the pack, manage mat is moved round to next person and this time Person 2 does the fanning.
The best way to work out how this works it to try it as it all becomes clear then.
I've also tried this with open ended questions for speaking practice and where I used that, person 4 gave WWW/EBI feedback and praise.  This also worked really well.

Jot write
You will need lots of small bits of scrap paper for this activity.
Give each group a collection of paper / post its / scrap paper
Give pupils a topic or theme
Pupils all write their words at the same time AND say the words out loud and place their pieces of paper in the centre. The key is they all work at the same time, individually but by saying their words out loud they ensure that no one repeats the words and you get a variety in the centre to work from.

From this they could then categorise the words / peer assess – proof read / find the odd ones out / find meanings / create sentences / etc…
It you wanted to add an element of competition (not strictly cooperative learning, I know) you could give out achievement points for most words / the groups with words that no one else came up with  / etc...

Rally Robin (Talking Tennis) 
Ask a question, give 5-7 seconds thinking time, pupils take it in turns to give their answers
Round Robin 
Same as above but in a group of 4

In both of the above pupils have their go either by turn taking or by allocating time – use a timer on your board  and give 10/20/30 to talk– you could do this for speaking practice / spontaneous talk

All write round robin 
The same as above but what each person says, the whole group write down at the same time, so they have a record, probably in the back of their book…

I hope that I've covered everything here and that you find it useful.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

How about a Haiku?

I can't believe it's so long since I last blogged!! Maybe I should try it more regularly, or maybe once in a blue moon is just enough for everybody!

Anyway, in one of my few moments of creativity this term, I came upon an idea which turned out to be a winner.

I discovered that it was National Poetry day earlier in October and decided to mark the occasion with my Y10 and 11 classes by writing Haikus. A Haiku is a 3 line poem that has 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the last line (or atleast, that's what Google told me). Obviously, with the serious business of Controlled Assessments to learn off by heart to ensure GCSE grades are on or above target, we couldn't spend a whole lesson on this, neither do I think a whole lesson needs to be spent on this. However it did work really well as a starter.

After giving them their topic (descriptions for Y10 and holidays for Y11....guess our current CA topics are!) and reminding them what a Haiku was, the mini whiteboards came out and they began work. I can honestly say that I have rarely seen them work so hard! You could feel the cogs turning as they counted syllables while trying to get it all to make sense. They joy when they had finished their Haiku....that quickly turned to despair when I'd point out "don't forget, you say the "e" in German" and they had to try a different way of getting in their 5 syllables...

Needless to say, when they all did manage to get their Haiku completed, they were very proud of what they achieved and were keen for me to Tweet them on our school MFL account, which naturally I did.

Here is a link to our Twitter account, you'll be able to find all of the Y10 Haiku on descriptions (you won't have to scroll down far to find them).


Thursday, 6 February 2014

More iPad ideas

I've finally got round to using the iPads properly again this week.
Until this week, I'd used them for Y11s to prepare for mock exams and other odds and ends.

Firstly, I used Popplet with Y8 to help them remember what hobbies and pastimes they already knew before beginning a unit of work on last weekend.  I thought it would be nicer (and quicker) than getting them to do it on paper, and so it was.  We used the app to create mind maps based around our key verbs of spielen / machen / gehen and then they could add other verbs they knew, time phrases and opinions.  It meant that pupils could work at their own pace and add as much or as little as they could.  There were some fantastic example and I was really delighted at the work that was done.  The only downside was that it was a little fiddly getting the Popples (?) sent to me at the end of the day and I actually ended up having to go round and do that later...but these are the little hurdles I'm happy to overcome as we all learn how best to use the iPads.

The second big thing I used iPads for this week, as a carousel activity with with Y11.  I had a range of activities planned for Y11 to do, consolidating the topic of Home Life which we are revisiting at the moment. The two activities I used were QR code based. Activity 1 involved using quizlet flashcards to consolidate their vocab.  This was great as all pupils were able to work at their own pace - as it was a carousel, there were enough iPads for one each - and it was great to hear the small cheers as they got all of the questions correct!
There was also a different QR code / iPad activity at a different table, where pupils were able to practice their listening skills on the This is Language site, to which we have a subscription. Rather than set a particular video as a task, I created a QR code from the link and pupils went on to that to practice listening about what they do to help at home.  Again, the personalisation was great, as pupils could listen as many times as they needed in order to finish all of their tasks.

Who knows what we'll do next week...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

More iPad fun this week

I have always been very clear in my head that technology should be used to do what you couldn't do on paper and therefore avoid using the iPads just for the sake of saying I've used them. This week, therefore, I tried something that I could have done with worksheets but that had an extra layer added due to the use of the iPads. 
I went for the "old fashioned" ... or maybe "new-fangled" translation exercise with Y11. This was an idea suggested by @missmclachlan the previous week, as something that she had tried and worked.
I created 4 sentences to translate, each converted to a QR code. One set of QR codes had French to translate into English and the other set of QR codes had English to translate to French.  As my classroom is set out in groups of 4, to facilitate cooperative learning (and to make the room seem a bit bigger), one pair in each group had the French set and the other had the English set. They were told not to let the pair opposite see their work (and they didn't!). When they finished, they swapped QR Codes and self marked the translations, to sighs it "I don't believe it, they had the answers all the time". I was then able to differentiate the activity as well, quite easily by creating some easier texts to translate.  However, because all of the work was in QR codes there was no issue with pupils feeling put out because they had been allocated an easier task, or pupils trying to avoid challenge by going for the easier choice.
We finished off, with a "Lino" to show what French they had learnt during the lesson, which it what the QR code at the tope of this piece links to.
 I will definitely repeat this activity with other classes, but for the coming week, I think it's going to be webquest quizzes about Christmas in other countries...

Saturday, 7 December 2013

iPads week 2

Not much to report on the iPads front this week. 
I have continued to love Socrative...pupils are very competitive about getting the first answer in and knowing whether it's correct, they also love the voting on the answers aspect, so I am definitely continuing with that. This week we had a focus on questioning and looked at hands up/ no hands up etc...Socrative gets round the whole thing by ensuring EVERYONE answers the question and there can't be an opt out and sit back.
I also experimented with more personalised learning for y11.  Those who had finished the extended writing task they had been set were given an iPad and worked on the Duolingo app. Those who got that far, absolutely loved it and have gone home to download the a app at home, in order to continue with it at home.
In the coming week, I will try using them to help y10 learn for their first Controlled Assessments...