Skip to main content

Light Bulb Languages

One of the very best free sites for modern language teachers is Light Bulb Languages, formerly known as MFL Sunderland.  It offers over 4000 practical and accurate resources for French, German, Spanish and Italian. It is curated by Clare Seccombe who used to work in the secondary sector, but who is now a primary languages consultant and teacher. The resources are written by Clare and a  range of contributors.

The French section is divided into pages by the English and Welsh Key Stage system, from beginners up to advanced level.There are also separate pages for games and puzzles, interactive games, display, Christmas, starters and plenaries, thinking skills and sound files. The bulk of the resources are aimed at younger and intermediate learners, the A-level resources being relatively limited in scope.

The primary section is a real strength of the site. It contains a practical scheme of work with resources, a separate section of resources, podcasts with transcripts which complement the scheme of work and which can be used by teachers wishing to improve their skills). There are some really practical hands-on activities for young learners, including "mini books", cards to make, boardgames and dominoes to play. The powerpoints are clear and practical. There is a separate section about transition which is a key issue in England as primary languages become compulsory from September 2014.  I can foresee this being further developed with the new National Curriculum in mind.

The Key Stage 3 (age 11-14) section is divided into grammar, texts, audio-visual and worksheets/OHTs. Within the grammar sections past, present and future worksheets can be found, alongside a range of other simple grammar areas. Resources are largely Word docs with clear and practical exercises which would work very well with a range of aptitudes, though perhaps least well the very able.

The worksheet section is comprehensive and includes handouts on school, clothes, weather, numbers, places in town, shopping and daily routine, as well as resources specifically for revision. the large range of printouts should mean there is something to please most teachers.

The sound files page has a lengthy list of MP3 files and transcriptions or accompanying powerpoint presentations. The Display section includes learning mats, a powerpoint countdown clock, verb conjugations and lots more.

The Key Stage 4 resources are divided into the same categories as those in KS3. The grammar and text resources are generally more limited in range, although the audio-visual page has a goodish range of Word docs and powerpoints, plus a couple of podcasts. The best page has a lengthy list of worksheets, including a good number which I know from my own experience are very useful for exam and coursework (controlled assessment) preparation. This, along with the primary section, is another strength of the site. Once again, although the range of abilities targeted is wide, teachers of very able pupils might find some resources too easy.

Just to highlight one or two other pages mentioned earlier: the Christmas page is super, especially for younger learners, with handy wordsearches, mini-books, calendars and much more. Have a look if you don't know what a mini-book is. There is a useful page of classroom display resources and a super page of puzzles and games.

If I tell you that the range of Spanish resources is nearly as extensive and that you'll also find plenty of German materials, plus a smaller selection of Italian resources (mainly KS3), you'll have an idea of what a treasure trove this site is.The accompanying blog is here.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New GCSE resources on frenchteacher

As well as writing resources for the new A-levels, I have in recent months been posting a good range of materials to support the new GCSEs. First exams are not until 2018, but here is what you can find on the site in addition to the many other resources (grammar exercises, texts, video listening etc).

I shall not produce vocabulary lists since the exam board specifications now offer these, with translations.

Foundation Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Role-plays
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (2)
100 translation sentences into French (with answers)
Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a good Foundation Tier essay (Word)

Higher Tier 

AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier)
AQA-style GCSE 2016 Photo card conversations (Higher tier) (2)
20 translations into French (with answers)
Reading exam (Higher tier)
How to write a good Higher Tier essay (ppt)
How to write a…

5 great zero preparation lesson ideas

When the pressure is on and there are only so many hours on the week, you need a repertoire of zero preparation go-to activities which promote input and/or practice. Here are five you might well find useful.

1. My weekend

We know that listening is the most important yet often neglected skill for language learning. It's also something some pupils find hard to do. To develop listening skill and provide tailored comprehensible input try this:

You tell the class you are going to recount what you did last weekend and that they have to make notes in English. The amount of detail you go into and the speed you go will depend on your class. Talk for about three minutes. If you spent the whole weekend marking, you can always make stuff up!

You then make some true or false (maybe not mentioned too) statements in the target language about what you said in your account. Class gives hands up (or no hands up) answers. This can then lead into a simple pair work task where pupils make up their own tru…

What teachers are saying about The Language Teacher Toolkit

"The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence." (Ernesto Macaro, Oxford University Department of Education)

"I absolutely love this book based on research and full of activities..  The best manual I've read so far. One of our PDs from the Australian Board of Studies recommended your book as an excellent resource.  I look forward to the conference here in Sydney." Michela Pezzi, Teacher, Australia, Facebook)

"Finally, a book for World Language teachers that provides practical ideas and strategies that can actually be used in the classroom, rather than dry rhetoric and theory that does little to inspire creativity in ways that are engaging for both students and teachers alike." (USA teacher, Amazon review)

Three AQA A-level courses compared

I've put together my three reviews of worthy A-level courses which you might be considering for next September. They are all very useful courses, but with significant differences. The traditional Hodder and OUP book-based courses differ in that the former comes in one chunky two year book, whilst OUP's comes in two parts, the first for AS or the first year of an A-level course. The Attitudes16 course by Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri is based on an online platform from which you would download worksheets and share a logon with studenst who would do the interactive parts (Textivate and video work). The two text books are supported by interactive material (Kerboodle) or an e-text book.

Attitudes16





An excellent resource which should be competing for your attention at the moment is the Attitudes16 course which writers Steve Glover and Nathalie Kaddouri have been working on for some time. You can find it here at dolanguages.com, along with his excellent resources for film and li…

The Language Teacher Toolkit review

We were delighted to receive a review of The Language Teacher Toolkit from eminent applied linguist Ernesto Macaro from Oxford University. Macaro is a leader in the field of second language acquisition and applied linguistics. His main research interests are teacher-student interaction and language learning strategies pupils can use to improve their progress.

Here is Professor Macaro's review:
The Language Teacher Toolkit is a really useful book for language teachers to either read all the way through or dip into. What I like about it is that the authors Steve Smith and Gianfranco Conti are totally upfront about what they believe to be good practice but back it up with research evidence. So for example the ‘methodological principles’ on page 11 are supported by the research they then refer to later in the book and this approach is very similar to the one that we (Ernesto Macaro, Suzanne Graham, Robert Woore) have adopted in our ‘consortium project’(http://pdcinmfl.com). The point i…