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Friday Freebie #6 Halloween

I’m always up for going off piste and abandoning the Scheme of Learning in favour of something else (who isn’t?!). There is so much to explore for us Languages Teachers- we want to immerse the pupils in all the target language country’s festivities, bring the culture to life in the classroom, expose them to the rich language associated with festivals and events. My Spanish colleagues have been going crazy for El Dia de los muertos activities this year and our pupils are in for a treat, which means I’m going to have to rev up what us Frenchies do, nothing like a bit of inter-departmental competition! But in the meantime I’d like to share a few tried and tested things I have done in previous years. Scroll on down for Friday Freebies.

One of the activities I love to do each Halloween is quite simple but the outcome always astounds me: ‘une potion magique’ (or for the older ones ‘un smoothie d’Halloween’- they seem to respond better to this so I ask them to design a Halloween special smoothie for the local shake bar- adding challenge by getting them to describe the health benefits/risks.)

For the magic potion, I teach them some Halloween vocabulary using my Halloween PowerPoint and then let them loose with the bilingual dictionaries and they get stuck into their ingredients search- creating the most vile and disgusting concoctions you could imagine. They always surprise me with their enthusiasm and then the requests for quantity words come flooding in, followed by requests for imperatives. It’s lovely when the pupils want to spontaneously include new structures. Corrections I make as I circulate usually involve adjectival agreement. The finished pieces are often quite accomplished, brilliantly creative and downright stomach churning!

I have included a magic potion worksheet at the bottom of the post- either use it as a lovely visual to display on the IWB as they work in their books, or if you have a generous printing budget then pupils can use to write up their potions and you could create a nice display with them.

The second Halloween freebie I’d like to share with you is a Follow Me game- keep scrolling it’s at the bottom of the post. If you haven’t played before it is quite simple but takes a bit of getting used to with the pupils. Once they are well trained it is a FABULOUS speaking and listening activity. Distribute the cards (I do it at the door as they come in); all pupils sit down; the pupil with ‘START’ stands up and says ‘qui a un chat noir?’; the next pupil (the one with the corresponding card) stands up and says ‘I have a black cat, qui a un vampire?’; then the pupil with the vampire card stands and so on and so on. The last card has ‘FINISH’. It sounds complicated but when you and the class are used to it you’ll love it. Sometimes I just do 15 cards and get the boys to race against the girls etc. to see which team can get through the pack in the shortest time. Or I time the group and get them to try to beat their personal best.

To develop the idea, and if I really want the class to interact with each other I distribute the follow me cards and shout ‘human circle’. Chaos ensues. And when chaos is for all the right reasons, because pupils are strategising, communicating, solving etc. etc. then I get all warm and fuzzy inside #smugteacheralert. So what is the human circle? Using the same cards as in the above paragraph, the pupil with START comes to the front so that pupils know where the starting point of the human circle is. Then I shout ‘c’est parti’ and they have to find their corresponding cards and from a circle which begins with ‘START’ and ends with ‘FINSIH’ and each pupil is in the correct order according to their card. This involves a lot of communicating. I encourage phrases such as ‘je cherche’ or ‘je voudrais’ and ‘c’est moi’ or ‘ce n’est pas moi’. Obviously lots of them whisper in English but I reward use of French with raffle tickets. What is so great is that they usually get themselves into a circle with a few pairs or trios stuck and confused. This is where the natural born leaders will take over in an attempt to complete the circle, directing pupils to move to a different spot etc. I often have to put a time limit on it and say something like ‘you have completed about 5/8 of a complete circle. When they do get it right, the feeling of success and achievement is palpable!

So…what about the ‘something special’ I mentioned last week? Well, I have been working on this for a while now but it is taking a little longer than expected. I have been setting up a ‘shop’ section on my site. I know a lot of you use the links on my posts to purchase my resources through tes.com and tpt.com but if I bring them to you myself I can avoid commission and therefore pass the savings on to you, my subscribers. So, you will be able to find all my resources, right here, at a discounted price. BUT.. on top of that, you will also be getting additonal discounts because you read my blog. And my blog is where I will be publishing special offers and discount codes for you all. I will be uploading all of my 100+ resources over the holidays and ‘cutting the ribbon’ with a MASSIVE discount code for you.

But the Friday Freebies will also remain- I love a giveaway!

Happy Halloween,

Betsy ‘soon to be self-publishing’ Belle

xx

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Friday Freebie #5

When the heck is half term? Seriously- this is breaking point for me, I can’t take much more. European Day of Languages, Open Evening, data collection, a pile of books that haven’t yet seen a green tick never mind a purple pupil response. HELP!!!!

But apparently it is world smile day so I’m going to plaster a grin on my face, grit my teeth and hang on till the weekend. And in an attempt to bring a smile to the faces of my fellow Languages teachers, I bring you another Friday freebie.

What is it? An interactive quiz. It’s a PowerPoint which has a grid with twelve boxes to choose from. The pupil picks a box and has to answer a multiple choice question. If answered correctly, a celebration sound is triggered; incorrectly triggers an ‘oh no’ sound that the pupils absolutely adore. (So much so that sometimes they get it wrong on purpose!)

I use it as a starter. I mean, brand new, never been seen before vocab so that they have to make links between the languages. It’s a fun start to the new topic. Others have told me they use it like noughts and crosses- four in a row etc. And when they beg me to play again I often do it with a classroom timer so the two teams can compete. I time how long it takes for them to answer every question correctly, winning team leaves the class first. It’s a bit chaotic but I love a noisy classroom if every single kid is engaged in the activity. It’s also a subtle yet effective way to develop translating skills; they reallyhave to pay attention to the small but important words such as souvent, mais, trop.

Little tip- draw a quick replica of the question grid on the whiteboard so that pupils can keep track of which question they have answered.

I have the selected snacks/cafe food interactive quiz. Please let me know what other topics you would be happy to see. Even if you are not up to food at this point in the school year, it’s a great end of week/end of term treat.

Last week, new subscribers were sent an extra little resource. Follow me this week for the same. But next week ALL my followers, new and old, are in for a special something- watch this space and spread the word. (There should be an option somewhere to subscribe- a little black box with FOLLOW either in the sidebar or at the bottom of the post). I’ll double check it is working and amend if necessary.

Betsy Belle

https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/BetsyBelleTeachesFrench

xx

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Friday Freebie #4 Describing others

Friday Freebie time.

I want to give you something that I literally cannot teach without. Keep scrolling, it’s at the bottom of the page.

It’s a little gem of a resource, one that I whip out almost every week. Mostly for younger pupils but I am sometimes forced to shove it under the nose of a sixth former. Grrrrr.

It’s a learning mat. The topic is descriptions.  This resource was screaming out to be created- let’s face it, who of us has a full class who can spell yeux, cheveux and use avoir and être appropriately when describing themselves and other people? Personne?

So I crammed everything on there. Eye and hair colour- naturally. Body type- of course. But here is where it is special- it also gives the pupils the vocabulary to describe the way they look both in more detail and in a more relevant way than our textbooks and outdated PowerPoints allow. For example: ‘I wear braces’; ‘I have pierced ears’; ‘I have blonde highlights’; ‘I have an athletic body’ and even ‘I have a tattoo’ (for which they usually write- with my support- something like je n’ai pas de tatouage mais j’ai les oreilles percées).

Lots of girls where I teach sport a rather defined and thick brow. In fact, some of them shave off their natural eyebrow hair and draw them on instead. I’m not kidding. So these little lovelies can use the learning mat to write ‘j’ai les sourcils épais, je me maquille et j’ai des extensions de cheveux’.

Just before you download this treasure, I need to tell you that I have other learning mats in many other topics. The perfect follow up to today’s Friday freebie is the personalities learning mat. Example sentence they could create from it: ‘Normalement, je suis travailleur et organisé, mais quand je suis fatigué je suis un peu paresseux et très oublieux’.

I hope you love it. I have loads more at my TES shop . Please subscribe if you want Friday Freebies straight to your inbox. Ps. This week’s new subscribers will be getting a special thank you email with a resource attached.

Passez un bon weekend,

Betsy Belle

xx

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European Day of Languages

So many of us will be dashing to Lidl en route to school tomorrow and grabbing a load of brioche and croissants for European Day of Languages celebrations. Then spending the morning challenging pupils to construct monuments and landmarks out of paper straws and spaghetti. Prancing round in our national dress during lunch hour teaching traditional dances. Whatever you are doing, if you need a break just print off these A4 board games, pour yourself a coffee and give yourself a well earned break for a minute or two.

2 board games (one easy, one hard) challenging pupils to recognise basic words such as please, thank you, hello and goodbye in a range of European languages. The answers are provided so you don’t have to do anything. Extend it by giving them a time frame and getting them to see who can win the most times. Or challenge them to create their own version (they could use phones or ipads to research questions). Have a break…on me!

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ps. I am not working tomorrow but out of respect for European Day of Languages I will a start the day with a little pain aux raisins and café au lait, move on to a few light tapas dishes at midday and cook up a hearty beef bourguignon for tea. Oh no, it’s day of European languages not cuisine. Oh well. I could listen to the Gypsy Kings as I cook, that should cover it?!

Mini plug: more board games available at my TES shop. For Friday freebies please subscribe. Have a great week.

Betsy Belle

xx

 

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Friday Freebie #3

Anybody else find that very first lesson a bit tough? You know that the basics are essential but year after year find yourself drawing smiley and sad faces on the board and feel that your first lesson a basically a bit of a flop? And nobody wants that. So it was out with the smiley faces, in with a cool interactive quiz. a PowerPoint; a follow me card game and a learning mat. Better, much better.

It’s Friday and it’s the first week back so here’s a whole bundle of first lesson freebies. Spread the word. And maybe subscribe?!

Interactive Quiz

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PowerPoint

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Learning Mat

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Homework

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Follow Me Cards

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For more resources, visit my TES shop https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/BetsyBelleTeachesFrench

or TPT store https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Betsy-Belle-Teaches-French

Happy first lessons

xxx

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Friday Freebie #2

How did your listening and readings go on Tuesday? My pupils seemed pretty happy but I can tell you that Enzo the Cat, Brittany/ney and a bunch of pesky adjectives will haunt me for the rest of summer.

And so… the inspiration for today’s Friday Freebie. Don’t worry, it’s not a video about Enzo the extraordinary cat who walked 600km without even stopping at Flunch(Twitter is doing a fine enough job documenting his escapades #catsontour)!

Instead I bring you another snappy video full of adjectives. Not your usual petit/bavard/sportif…oh no, I’m talking affreux, raisonnable, malsain and triste.

Watch GCSE French Revision #2 adjectives:

 

Remember to add your email address just above the FOLLOW button to receive your weekly freebie straight to your inbox.

Happy Friday,

Betsy Belle

xx

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Friday Freebie

Friday. The Daddy of the days of the week. The other days ain’t got nothing on Friday. Not one of them can boast such a delightful combination of anticipation and relief. Relief that the week is over. Relief that you don’t have to obey your alarm clock in the morning. Relief that you can renounce the diet for one evening of reckless abandon; cue wine and a takeaway (or two dine for £10 if you are attempting to retain an air of sophistication!) Anticipation of the endless fun to behold as the weekend stretches out ahead of you.

And so in honour of this glorious day I announce my weekly Friday Freebie. As we are in the midst of exam season, I have created a funky (Uptown Funk-y) video crammed full of those small but deadly words that make all the difference in the listening and reading exams. You know the ones. Misleading little ****ers. Eg. Je mangeais souvent des sucreries mais maintenant je n’en mange plus. Grrr!!!

If you want to receive the Friday Freebie every week, you need to subscribe- just enter your email address above the Follow button.

Betsy ‘Got that Friday feelin” Belle

xx

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30 things you will only understand if you teach French…

  1. Je m’apple. Jem apell. J’ mappel.apple
  2. This question (usually following a concise set of instructions): ‘do you want us to do it in French, Miss?’!
  3. Pupil: ‘How do you say ‘got’ in French, Miss?’Me: ‘Got what?’ Pupil: ‘Just got?’ Me: Please excuse me, I need to find a brick wall to bang my head against.
  4. You write the date in French approximately 975 times a year. If only it were copied correctly the same number of times. More often you encounter a weird hybrid not unlike the following: date
  5. How seriously rich you would be if you were given a pound or even a penny for the number of times a pupil shouted out ‘the word I want isn’t in the dictionary Miss!’(Response-French words are at the front; English at the back). ‘It’s still not there Miss!’ Your eyes roll and a sigh escapes as you make your way over to point out that they are still one and a half pages away due to misspelling their word.
  6. Every September without fail when you meet your bottom set Year8s and are greeted with ‘Miss, Miss, do you know what enculer le poulet means?’!
  7. Hearing yourself for the hundredth time refer to the audio file as a tape. Then sensing the internal groans of the pupils as you attempt to drag yourself into the 21st century by quickly dropping the words ‘MP3’ and ‘download’ into conversation.
  8. Google translate. Enough said.
  9. You mourn the fact that wordreference.com wasn’t around when you did your degree.
  10. Ditto for what’s app and face time. You actually wrote letters to stay in touch with family and friends during your year abroad!
  11. Every non linguist’s reaction upon learning you teach a language ‘ooh, say something in French’.
  12. The ensuing 20 minutes during which  gems such as these are offered up by said non linguist as evidence that they know some French: ‘excusez-moi, où est la bibliotheque?’ and ‘un kilo de pommes de terre s’il vous plaît’! image
  13. This plea: ‘Can’t I just read it, Miss?’ (No). ‘But other teachers let them read it!’ (No). ‘Can I just write it out in full but in really small handwriting?’ (No).
  14. When your A* pupil is smashing his CA Speaking test and you are mentally punching the air when… the bell rings/ the door opens/a fight breaks out in the corridor…
  15. When the exam board tries way too hard to be cool, throwing in references to new technology. Anybody remember the bizarre ‘e-reader’ question circa 2012? They couldn’t say kindle because it is a brand but the word ‘e-reader’ bamboozled many a pupil (and teacher!!!)
  16. Your face when you heard role plays were making a comeback. image
  17. Your face when you heard translations were making a comeback.image
  18. BUT…no more controlled assessments!!! image
  19. #mfltwitterati is your Church; @joedale your God.
  20. Your obsession with catching any French film or programme on TV. Sitting back to enjoy but getting mildy p***ed off at the distracting subtitles.
  21. Then reaching for a pen and paper as you realise you are missing an opportunity for refreshing your slang!
  22. You say ‘school trip to Paris?’; the pupils say ‘Disneyland?’
  23. On personal visits to France, heading straight for  the sweet aisle of Carrefour and raiding all their bags of Carambar- for the pupils. Then eating all the strawberry ones before you reach the ferry terminal!
  24. Stressing out because no matter how good you think your French is, you still struggle to comprehend the jokes inside said Carambar wrappers.
  25. The bonus that end of term film time is totally justifiable from both a cultural and linguistic point of view.
  26. But certain films will always raise a few eyebrows and trigger a few giggles…kirikou
  27. Those members of staff who speak un peu de français who come up with any excuse to barge into your classroom with an unsolicited ‘Bonjour Madame, comment allez-vous?’
  28. Your faculty meetings are the bomb. Croissants and coffees all round. And your end of term lunches are the envy of the staffroom. No sausage rolls here, thank you very much. image
  29. You are probably regarded as the extrovert and eccentric ones. Which is probably quite true.
  30. But you are also undoubtedly the warmest, most gregarious, cultured and emotionally intelligent faculty of all.

Have I missed any classics? Please add them below.

Happy exam season! I hope you enjoyed a five minute distraction courtesy of

Betsy ‘if I had a pound’ Belle

https://www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/BetsyBelleTeachesFrench

xx

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The French Alien One

So…here I am, a self-proclaimed secondary expert. 10 years I have been doing this secondary thing; honing my craft, fine tuning my skillset. September after September of ‘here’s to getting it right this time’. August after August of calandar watching as the days draw closer and closer to A Level and GCSE results days. INSET after INSET. Course after course. Standardisation after moderation after- well, you get it.

But then my daughter’s school invited me in. ‘We hear you teach French?’ they said. ‘Would you like to come in?’ they said. ‘Nothing fancy’ they said, ‘just something simple, for our European week’ they said. My brain was screaming ‘primary? Little ones? Sitting on a carpet? Nooooooooo!’ But my head started nodding and my mouth started moving and before I knew it I had signed up on the spot. Disaster. I know NOTHING about primary languages.

But they had just unleashed a beast. A competitive beast. So the other mummies in the playground might push fancier buggies. They might rock that skinny jeans and Chelsea boots look a hundred times better than I ever will. But here is my chance to shine. I’m going to be the cool Mum. The one who speaks French. It was time to ram my linguistic abilities down the throats of these 7 year olds and have them running up to me on the playground forever after to practise their bonjours.

So, with the option of hiring a private jet and whizzing them off to Disneyland for the day a little out of my reach, I knew I had to think tactically.

A trip to Lidl for all of the pain au chocolats and brioches I could stuff into my bag for life and a weekend’s worth of self re-training later I was ready. I made up a little story about a boy who goes to sleep at night and dreams of becoming an astronaut. I learnt how to create an e book (thanks here to Joe Dale @joedale) and added some audio so the teachers could use it in the future without me there. I tested it out in my husband who grunted in all the right places. My littlest giggled in all of the places (huge ego boost because the story isn’t even funny) and I chickened out of showing my daughter as her critique can be alarmingly cutting!

The verdict? The pupils loved my story. The teachers loved the opportunity to get some marking done in the corner of the room. And yes, I am delighted to confirm that I am now referred to as ‘the French alien one’ by the little munchkins at pick-up time. Mission accomplished.

Here are the fruits of my labour. Well, this is the cherry on top- available for free via you tube.

The other fruits are available at a very reasonable cost in my TES shop www.tes.com/teaching-resources/shop/betsybelleteachesfrench(I have to find some way of funding all the brioches don’t I?!)

Betsy ‘theFrenchalienOne’ Belle

 

 

 

 

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Is differentiation a swear word?

Differentiation. A perfectly innocent concept which snuggles comfortably in the common sense zone of your brain; camouflages itself in the sidelines of your classroom; makes regular, modest appearances in your day-to-day teaching…

But then rears its huge ugly head twice a year to instill fear in even the most talented and experienced of teachers across the land!

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Je m’appelle Differentiation

 

There it is, on your lesson plan, all pumped up  with self-importance. You are going into battle and differentiation might be the deciding factor between a good and an outstanding judgement.

‘But every good teacher differentiates!’ I hear you cry. I know this. The observer knows this. Ofsted know this. But what we all also know is that differentiation is something you do naturally, automatically, sensitively and spontaneously.

Why should it become explicit? Well… do you trust your observer to notice how discreetly you switch your questioning from one pupil to the next? Do you trust that your observer be alert enough to notice that you have slipped one pupil a support sheet? Do you trust the observer to get inside your head as you mentally assess a pupil’s level of response and decide if a) praise or b) further challenge is required?

I don’t have that trust. So I play the game. I make my differentiation explicit. Whenever somebody else walks into my classroom, ready to pass judgement on my teaching, differentiation becomes a swear word! And this is how I tell it to **** off…

  1. Support and Challenge idea: Cardboard folders stapled to the wall. IMG_6897One for ‘support’, the other for ‘challenge’. Inside the support folder I usually put a one-page-learning sheet relevant to the topic. (Maybe add a little something extra on the observation day specific to that lesson ?) Inside the challenge folder I usually find an article from 1jour1actu.com. If it is related to the topic even better. (Again, for the lesson observation I would find something très specific). You need to make this a habit for the pupils, give them permission to access these folders without checking with you. They should seek support or challenge automatically, leaving you to sit back smiling smugly in the general direction of the observer. In your face differentiation, 1-0 to us!
  2. Support idea: Survival Kit. Designate a table, shelf or box to this. Fill it with the essentials for that lesson- it could contain model answers; tense help sheets, checklists, dictionaries…. I personally find that pupils accessing the survival kit usually select a model answer and can adapt the version with success. Consider highlighting the words they should adapt.
  3. Challenge idea: Surprise Eggs. image1This little gem comes via Twitter from the brilliant Carmel Bones @bones_carmel. Hide challenges or extension tasks inside plastic eggs. (I use my kids’ empty kinder egg cases but you can get similar from Pound shops). I add a sweet for extra reward. Have these in a box on your desk and make a show of chucking them a plastic egg/ball when they ask for a challenge or task extension. For a lesson observation I would ensure that the task relates directly to the lesson objective ie. Highlight all of the adjectives you have used/recognised and look up an alternative in the thesauras.
  4. Support and Challenge idea: Buddy/mentor medals. Once the more able pupils have finished, get them to support the others?  Great strategy, but it can result in what looks like chaos. What looks to the observer like reduced engagement- the observer doesn’t know who is a buddy and why they are wandering around the room. The pupils in need of support don’t know who is there to help. Solution: get the buddies them wear a special medal or badge. They might protest but they love the attention really. Perhaps all the badge wearing buddies earn themselves an extra reward at the end of the lesson?
  5. Challenge and Support idea: Playtime! Slide1I have spent ages designing board games that I can use as a support or challenge task. If I identify a struggling pupil I ask them to attend a play date. (I invite them via their books, great DIRT technique). They are sacrificing their own time because I need to support them outside of classroom time but they know they will spend that time ‘playing’ a board game with me and a small group of pupils. It’s a great way of revising vocabulary, consolidating grammar and developing speaking and listening skills. I have board games for sale here at my TES store. I use them for early finishers as well- usually as a way to introduce the new topic.
  6. Challenge ideas: Task cards. These are something I have stumbled upon since selling my resources to US teachers. I believe they are used for literacy centres- a concept I have been experimenting with in my French classroom. I love that they are often grammar focused (which will become even more important with current Y9s) and therefore ideal for stretching the more able pupils. You can find some great task cards here at Madame R’s store.

Ofsted claim to endorse typicality. So I cling to the security of my visible and explicit differentiation techniques, train my pupils to routinely access them and have faith that I can walk into battle with my best foot forward.

I would love to hear how you differentiate on a day-to-day basis and how you pull out the big guns for O-Day!