Sunday, 6 October 2013

#mflsatcov (or MFL Show and Tell Coventry if you want to go old-school)

This weekend I had the pleasure of travelling to Coventry for the MFL Show and Tell organised by Emma Bains (@bains_1) Bertram Richter (@bertramrichter) and Garry Mills (@pelado) with no small help from James Padvis (@jjpadvis) The attendees were plentiful including a large number of the #mfltwitterati who had travelled up to 4 hours each way to be there. The location was great, the wifi was free and the lunch was hot, all boding well for the day. It was so wonderful to catch up with old friends and lovely to meet some new people. 
Here are my notes from the day (tidied up a bit for public viewing) 
Chris Fuller, @chrisfullerisms, kicked us off talking about putting the onus on pupil input in the classroom. Too often, we can see the teachers doing all the work, not the pupils. He talked about activities which develop skills and getting pupils working things out. Chris has a Google doc on introducing new material without standing and delivering from the front. Ideas he mentioned included:
- Dual language texts. Look for specific vocab. Then do translation 
- running translation. Then use the language and look at the structures 
- "harder texts" such as the legalization of drugs in Uruguay - low level Year 8, highlight cognates. Positive impact on pupils once they have managed a text this length. 
- make their own vocab lists, inc 5 infinitives etc 
- vocab mats - these allow for huge amounts of creativity and personalised learning 

Farid Charidine,@fcharidine, was next up with an ICT based project he did, of a virtual tour of Paris. Pupils were given several tasks. eg create a Voki with dialogue along the lines of "I'm lost in Paris, can you help me?" which they then had to embed in wordpress. In the same blog, his Voki told them the directions to follow on Google maps and they had to take a screenshot of where they ended up. Finally pupils stood in front of a green screen to record a dialogue. Despite some initial teenage indifference to the idea, Farid says the pupils thoroughly enjoyed this task and produced some excellent work. 

Dominic McGladdery, @dominic_mcg, talked through our difficulties as language teachers trying to translate all the weird and wonderful vocabulary the pupils want to know. He showed a Google translate mistranslation before showing us the wonder of Wikipedia whereby you search in English and then change the language once you have searched to find out how to say it in Spanish, German, French etc..The Académie française blog Dire, ne pas dire is a great source of the latest vocabulary pupils want to use. I'm now off to check the Academia Real page for a similar concept.. 

Emma Bains, @bains_1 went low-tech (tho high impact in my humble opinion) with her tabs for pupil exercise books. Pupils stick in various tabbed sheet grids for perfect tense, connectors etc, throughout their exercise books. These are identical to the dictionary info that they will have at controlled assessment and the pupils consistently refer to them. She uses yellow and green tabs for writing and speaking work that was good. Emma's school also uses green pens in school for literacy, improving work etc. She gives pupils a green checklist of Punctuation points for writing whereby they score 1 point for putting in full stops and commas, up to adding connectors etc. 

Lisa Stevens, @lisibo, talked about her primary school's learning journeys and this term's topic of mythical monsters. She does a song for parts of the face as well as a Spanish kids' story "¡fuera de aquí, horrible monstruo verde!" She made up a story "Señor Cabeza Naranja" and the pupils then made up a story with 2D shapes. Finally, using Book creator, pupils can make an ebook, even recording their voices as part of the story. It is incredible to hear of the kind of links and connections these primary pupils were making re grammar and language, and something that is easily transferable to post-primary. 

Helen Shaw, who is not on Twitter and a self-proclaimed technophobe, was a music teacher and then taught primary languages, before moving back into secondary education. 
She uses puppets to introduce dialogues (firstly just her as the teacher doing both voices and then with the pupils) She now uses them right up to GCSE and says particularly the weak kids loved it. She has a kids' book on animal noises and sounds to get them using correct French pronunciation. She uses "The Hungry Caterpillar" to introduce days of the week or gets the pupils to hold up realia as they hear it in the story and then asks them to retell story. Finally Helen talked about Chatter packs, with different scenes and characters, she chooses a scene and gets them to describe the characters and create scenarios. This could be very useful for those first weeks and months of L6 with your FLA as pupils work to attain confidence and fluency in speaking. 

Bertram Richter, @bertramrichter, talked about one of our sponsors, Language Perfect, recounting how excellent Language Perfect is for language acquisition and retention of vocabulary. In the Language Perfect World Championships, kids compete against each other and round the world. Bertram enables them to come during break and lunch, as well as some registration classes, and pupils have the chance to win some nice prizes. He reminded us that there are free codes for these championships available through ALL and Joe Dale's website. 

James Padvis, @jamespadvis, talked about his feedback sheet with points he uses for extended writing pieces. Once pupils have their feedback, they go to look at the Connectives pyramid if they didn't score on it, the Sentence openers Pyramid etc which are displayed around the room. He also has a sheet with the acronym PROF on it; passé, raison, opinion, future. No writing is to be handed in to him without all 4 of these. Other resources include an opinion mat to develop opinions and Kagan mats on the desks for group and pair work. Finally he talked about building vocabulary using the phrases "Je sais que c'est.. Je pense que c'est.. J'estime que c'est.. " for all year 7. Time to redo my wall displays... 

Simone Haughey, @simonehaughey, talked about lots of fun, active games: 
- Fun balls, stick vocab on them and hide round classroom. Pupils go round with their clipboards with the English, looking for the TL. She also has a Walking dictionary with key vocab stuck to them or wearing at shirt with the key vocab. 
- Fun balls 2 - pupils do a running dictation until they can make a sentence
- Cold or hot (we call this Hunt the flashcard) whereby pupils repeat new vocabulary for the pupil who has come in to the room, getting louder as the pupil gets closer to it and vice versa. 
- Lambdarts- the teacher puts the flashcards in a circle on the board, they say the word and the pupil throws the stuffed toy (lamb) at the correct FC. 
- Boys vs girls, repeating vocab, teacher points to the team who says it perfectly. 
- Kagan mix, pair, share. Pupils practise a dialogue, maybe using Audioboo, then start the activity. The music stops, they find a partner and do the dialogue before moving on. 
- Animals - pupils find an animal with the same first letter as their name. The first pupil says "Bonjour Simone le serpent, je m'appelle Lou le Loupe. Bonjour...and adds the next pupil's name." They then say "Bonjour Lou le Loupe, je m'appelle.."
- Balls - eg basketball, each person says one word of the sentence " I play basketball" in the TL and passes on the ball for the next word in the sentence 
- Repetition in voices or sounds eg use the tune from the Go Compare ad for saying the word éléphant 

Anthea, also known as @baboohaz, talked about spontaneous speaking. She loves doing the activity "Juste une minute!" where she gives them the instructions, a whiteboard, a pen and a whistle. Their challenge is to speak for a minute, their partner blows their whistle if they hear repetition or hesitation. The pupils have the key language to encourage them not to pause or repeat. 

Amelia wasn't going to speak but gave a quick demo of Puppet pals for creating dialogues which encourage the pupils to speak and lose their embarrassment. 

Joe Dale, @joedale, talked about Audio QR codes. He uses the QR reader i-nigma and likes Audioboo- the pause facility means you can have multiple people on one recording. Once you have recorded, you hit Publish to save and upload. You can do it in the app or on the web version - Add .mp3 to the end of the web address when you copy it into the QR code maker tells you how to get a QR code from a website. 

Amanda (whose surname I didn't catch) uses a Talking grid with 3 columns and 8 rows as a starter. Pupils make a sentence using one from each column and she tells them non, non, non or non, oui, non, if they have one right, etc. She gives them 5 guesses. After this, she then gives them the table in English and they test each other translating the sentences into the TL. 

Joe Dale, @joedale, delivered a Genius Bar on using Voice Record Pro. He reminded me of the brilliant website to use in conjunction with Voice Record Pro as well as the free app Line Learner Lite which enables pupils to learn dialogues eg for Controlled Assessment. 

Suzi Bewell, @suzibewell, gave a brilliant Genius Bar talk about Flame (ALL) She talked about avoiding pupil boredom re lessons on pets etc Her PGCE linguists got together with the PGCE scientists, planning a German unit of work on Space eg weather. There is a CLIL for teachers website. Another option is to teach vocab we have always done eg health but also teach infectious diseases to make it more interesting. Suzi also mentioned the York Theatre Royal PET project for drama, doing a Blanca Nieves (Snow White) panto in school as well as the Great MFL Bakeoff, using recipes from Austria and Senegal in the language, and a 5 min presentation at the end per group . Another idea was tapping into the Fair trade fortnight 24/2- 9/3 such as giving pupils Fairtrade facts, calculating travel miles etc. Another project with a museum was using the App-builder Blippit. There are loads of target language magazines eg from Mary Glasgow which have great topics eg Citizenship. Suzi suggested that we look at teaching traditional topics eg family, pets through the rights of the child. Take the same topic with a different angle Eg consider the right to education when doing the school topic, re the Work topic, show pupils how kids can't go to school as they are working instead.
Online photo collections include Toys around the world, Bedrooms round the world and Peter Menzel's Material World. Ask them questions such as "What do you think of these photos? If you were that child, what should you do?" Etc. Another idea is to do Art with 3 schools round the world and Skype them after looking at 3 artists. Using music, the PGCE created their own songs to different tunes. One made up a La Voz (X Factor-type show) SOW on an Argentinian version and pupils gave their opinions on the songs
Suzi concluded her talk reinforcing the idea that secondary pupils are too constrained in seats and that we should not let our fears about breaking away from the textbook chase the pupils away from studying languages.

Gary Mills, @pelado, talked about how he uses Zondle including having a Champions League leaderboard and how there is an overview for the pupil scores which let's toy see the times they play etc. He often sets a HW where they create a game, if it is good enough, he lets the whole class play. 

A lady whose name I didn't catch but who taught for 5 years in Ecuador talked about the very active projects she does with pupils eg for the Home topic, they made houses and labelled in TL. This was set as HW over 3 weeks and pupils had the choice of doing it in a poster style with flaps, create them using cereal boxes or made of MDF or similar. For Fashion week, they did a fashion show, using clothes from home or from the costume store. For the whole year group topic of Joseph, she taught numbers using the brothers, colours using the colours of coat,etc. When teaching Animals, she gets them to make animal puppet. 

Finally, Kathy Wicksteed talked about ALL, the Association of Language Learning, with reference to Primary languages. 

I learnt so much over the course of the day and was reminded of other little gems I had forgotten. I'm now off to beg and borrow some of the resources here and make those I can't get... 

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