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Au Revoir les enfants worksheets

Some time ago Paul Heywood sent me his worksheets for use with the film Au Revoir les enfants, one of the prescribed films for A-level French (all exam boards).They are freely available on the Samples page of frenchteacher.net. Here is the first worksheet from the set.


Louis Malle: Sa vie et son œuvre

Faites des recherches sur la vie de ce metteur en scène/réalisateur français:


1. Quand est-il né et où? Est-il encore vivant?

2. Qu’est-ce qui lui arrive pendant l’Occupation?

3. Il travaille avec quel réalisateur très célèbre et quel est le résultat?

4. Qu’est-ce que c’est le mouvement du cinéma qui s’appelle La Nouvelle Vague?

5. Louis Malle en fait-il partie?

6. Quelle musique emploie-t-il dans son excellent film noir en 1957?

7. Pourquoi à ton avis les films suivants suscitent-t-ils toujours la polémique? : Les Amants (1958), Le souffle au coeur (1971), Lacombe Lucien (1974)

8. Au Revoir les enfants: Bref, de quoi s’agit-il?

9. A-t-il gagné des prix de cinéma? Lesquels?

Le film

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Recent posts

What does “mastery learning” mean for language teachers?

This is a guest blog by teacher Mick Heseltine-Wells who works at the Kings’ School, Al Barsha, Dubai. He and his department have been looking at ways of improving their practice by considering the notion of mastery learning. They have chosen to link this in particular with the teaching of grammar and have come up with their own action points for the future. His Twitter handle is @mickheswells nad his school can be found at @KSABMFL.

Do get in touch with me if you have something interesting to share. My email is spsmith45@aol.com.

‘Mastery’ – what is it? How can it be achieved in MFL? Well, that is a question my second in department (@SenoritaUskova) and I were asked to present about to SLT recently. Not an easy task. However, one which, has really shaped our thinking on our French and Spanish course content, particularly at KS3, and also ignited a desire to explore this issue even further.

In the early stages of research on the topic it soon became apparent that mastery in MFL is not a…

How many new words should you include in a text?

We know that for second language acquisition to occur students need to hear or read meaningful input. If the message what they hear or read is not understandable you might as well expose them to gibberish. In fact, there has been research into how many new words students can cope with while maintaining a meaningful message. Don't forget that students can use compensatory strategies, e.g. their knowledge of the world, their hypotheses about what a text might mean, their knowledge of cognates and so on, to work out meaning to some extent.

Studies, for example those carried out by Paul Nation, indicate that for a text to be understood a bare minimum 90% of the words need to be already known. For most learners this figure rises to around 98%, maybe even more. If you include more unknown words than that students lose the message (and may switch off as a consequence).

Those percentages may seem high to you, so to test them for myself I have taken a text from frenchteacher.net and looked…

Teaching writing: a sponge cake and an epiphany

This is a guest post kindly sent to me by Australian language teacher Rowena Bata who works at Kardinia International College, Geelong. You'll see that Rowena is making a very valid point about process and product which she stumbled upon in an unusual fashion. But let her explain...

I'm a firm believer in the idea that practice makes perfect; you get better at something by doing it. I'm never going to be able to run 100 metres in 10 seconds if all I do is sit on the couch and watch Usain Bolt on the telly. I need to get out on the track, learn how to run faster, and train regularly. Similarly, I'm never going to be able to write a decent essay in French if I never actually write anything in French.

Looking at this situation from the teacher's perspective, I know I should set my students more writing tasks so they can improve their writing, but I don't have time to mark so much writing each week. Like the majority of teachers, I'm not lazy, there just ar…

Quizlet Bingo

I sometimes think that there are so many teachers getting on with their jobs and doing great things, but who perhaps don't engage so much with social media or are maybe too modest to share their work. If you have any great lesson ideas or plans or just things to say about language teaching, with nowhere to share them widely, let me know, as I am looking for a wider variety of content on my blog. I often have 2000 views or more of my blog posts, so you'll have a readership for your work. Just send a pdf or Word doc to spsmith45@aol.com.

So here is something Greg Armstrong sent me. Many teachers enjoy using Quizlet and Quizlet Live with their classes. Greg sent me this guide with comments about how to play Quizlet Bingo. See what you think.


We Teach Languages podcast

A few weeks ago Stacy Margarita Johnson did an interview with me about language teaching. It was a fun conversation which Stacy has condensed into a 20 minute podcast which you can find on her site alongside many others.

Below is the link to the discussion entitled Principles of Outstanding Language Teaching. It's nothing grand, just some thoughts about some of the factors which I believe make for effective language teaching. One of my main themes was that generic teaching skills may be more important than adherence to any particular teaching methodology. But I also outlined some key principles as I see them, ones which are supported by research too.

https://weteachlang.com/2018/06/22/ep-58-with-steve-smith/

About Stacy and her podcasts (from the site):

"The organizer/producer/host of We Teach Languages is Stacey Margarita Johnson. In that role, Stacey conducts most of the interviews, does editing, production, and communications as well. In her “real” job, Stacey is Assistant …

Beginner lesson plan - talking about oneself

Here is a simple novice text which can be exploited in a number of ways, some of which are suggested below.

Marie-Hélène raconte

Je m’appelle Marie-Hélène. J’ai 9 ans. J’habite à Toulouse dans le sud de la France. J’habite dans une maison avec mes deux parents et mon frère Alain.
Nous avons un chat qui s’appelle Raoul. Il est noir et il est très mignon. J’adore les chats, la neige et les dessins animés à la télé. J’aime aussi jouer sur l’ordinateur.

Dans ma chambre j’ai mon lit, ma bibliothèque, mes livres, mon bureau et mon ordinateur. J’adore ma chambre. Elle est bleue.

J’aime mon école et j’adore ma maîtresse. Elle s’appelle Madame Bernard.Je n’aime pas les souris, je préfère les hamsters. Je déteste les araignées. Elles sont horribles.

A. Vrai ou faux?

1. Marie-Hélène a neuf ans.
2. Elle habite dans le nord de la France.
3. Elle a une soeur.
4. Elle a un animal à la maison.
5. Son chat est très méchant.
6. Elle déteste la neige.
7. Elle joue sur l’ordinateur.
8. Il y a des livres dans sa ch…

Guided translation + for beginners

This is a resource from the frenchteacher Samples page. It requires careful reading, guided translation, with a degree of personalisation and writing. The source text could also be exploited in other ways to maximise recycling of the language. Activities could include reading aloud, question-answer, short term memory aural gap-fill (where the text is hidden, read by the teacher with pauses for gaps to be filled), correcting false statements and translation of words, chunks and sentences (both ways, L1 to L2, L2 to L1), dictation, running dictation or gapped dictation.

Here it is.

Ma ville – Amélie parle

J’habite un appartement à La Rochelle, une ville dans l’ouest de la France sur la côte atlantique. C’est une ville historique avec ses trois tours célèbres. Les touristes adorent faire du shopping sous les vieilles arcades du centre-ville et se promener près du vieux port.

A La Rochelle on peut faire des promenades en bateau aux îles, visiter des musées, flâner dans le vieux port et les ja…

A parallel text and exercises for beginners

Here is a text and translation I wrote for near-beginners, one of 20 on the Y7 page of frenchteacher.net. Help yourself if you think it would be useful.

The thinking behind these is to provide some interesting comprehensible input to beginners, with the English translation compensating for the relative difficulty of the source text. You would ideally present the texts side by side and get pupils to closely compare each version. Pupils learn how to make use of cognates and learn some new vocabulary along the way. If it is high-frequency enough to merit revision this could be done in a subsequent lesson.

Les dauphins

Les dauphins sont des mammifères marins qui sont liés aux baleines et aux marsouins. Un mammifère marin est celui qui vit dans l'eau. Les dauphins se trouvent partout dans les océans de la planète et dans les rivières et les marais aussi.

Les dauphins sont carnivores (mangeurs de viande) et mangent des poissons, des calmars et d’autres animaux marins. Ils nagent souvent ens…

20 reasons to learn another language

I posted this a long time ago, but here it is again if you’d like to use it for a poster or a class brainstorm or discussion. Maybe you can think of more!


1. If you ever move abroad you will be able to talk with local people.
2. You may need the language for your work in the UK or abroad.
3. You will find the language useful when you go on holiday or travel through the country.
4. You may wish to study abroad one day.
5. You may need the language for study or research in another field.
6. You may need it to learn about the culture, civilisation or history of another country.
7. Maybe you just like the challenge of learning another language.
8. It may help you look at your own language or culture.
9. You may just enjoy using different sounds and words. It’s fun.
10. Perhaps you enjoy solving grammar problems and translating.
11. It will make you seem clever – people think learning languages is hard!
12. Maybe you do not want to look stupid when you meet non-English speakers.
13. Perhaps you wish t…