Sara talked about crosscurricular work, links and resources and the benefits of a content-free curriculum at KS3. Our challenge is to design a curriculum to address the needs of learners as individuals, to prepare them better for KS4. With cross-curricular learning giving learning a wider context, Sara pointed out that this suits languages better than most. There is a possibility of accommodating ‘local’ learning eg by designing SOWs for local interest eg the ferry company that provides employment for most people in the area. It is also important to embrace skills and processes by teaching them what language is about rather than lists of words, something which is close to our own department's heart.
So how do we throw out the textbooks? Sara pointed out that planning is key to ensure academic rigour and enjoyment. In her school, they had done a unit called "Le Chateau Mystère" with Year 8, involving a break-in. Pupils could choose if they wanted to work in groups or as individuals etc although all had to produce a murder book. A key advantage of the unit was pupil motivation as they found it a compelling context, which improved their language learning skills, developed their use of tenses and offered more creative outcomes. These outcomes included a police file, with clear assessment criteria and a checklist of minimum content. This content included:
Description and area
Plan of crime scene, before and after
Chronology of events –past tense
Listening tasks completed
Lineup with descriptions
Other resources included a news reports, with short news bites. Pupils picked out vocabulary and made up a word wall. There was a body outline in corridor. Teachers found that pupils were using question words, opinions and suppositions. Whilst there is a recognition that there is a lot of vocabulary they will never learn again, the point is to build confidence in using and manipulating language.
Other possibilities include:
• Roleplay eg phoning the emergency services, record someone doing a witness statement for listening task
• Interview each other like police interview
• Suspect line-ups inc Hugh Grant
Sara pointed out that there are many potential cross-curricular links:
Science – fingerprinting
PSHE Crime and punishment
DT for house construction
Drama for crime reconstruction
Another option was a unit called Bon appétit whereby pupils created a cookbook. Pupils could print and sell, or blog a recipe a day. Grammar includes adjectival endings, imperatives and at the café for transactional language. For cookery skills, Sara and the other teachers took them to the HE dept.
A suggestion was made to consider a unit at the Grand Prix with possibilities including countries, nationalities, tenses, colours and forms, time, transport, simple future for who would win the race, places in the town, commentaries and roleplays for the lost tourist who can’t find the hotel.
"The Great Dinner debate"
• Which 5 people would you invite to dinner and why? Pupils would prepare physical and character descriptions to justify their decision,with a table plan. Pupils could then debate in class who should be invited and why.
Create a dossier for a French family relocating to England.
• Tied in to PSHE of economic wellbeing on buying a house
• Facilities, chosen a house, get an estate agent to judge the best dossier
Fantasy football portfolio/WAGs
• write a biography, where you are located, etc
A day in the life of ..
• Teach daily routine and pastimes, then write a longer piece of work.
• Outcome A3 poster, get them to present wearing the mask of that person
My dream holiday
• Give them a budget, book tickets, accommodation
• Make them stick to real life re departure times etc
Compare and contrast TL countries eg a child in Burkina Faso
• Healthy living manual
• mangerbouger.fr French gov website loads of stuff that is accessible
Protecting our Planet campaign
Sporting Event dossier: Tour de France, World Cup, Olympics
Where to begin:
• Identity the required content first
• Design the ‘theme’ around it
• Keep ‘themes’ generic so you don’t alienate the pupils
• Have clear learning outcomes
• Plan for progression within a unit
• Plan for progression across a Key Stage