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Showing posts from March, 2011

A reflection on controlled assessments

Well, it's nearly the end of the first classes going through the new controlled assessments for GCSE and my thoughts on this are thus: Overall, not too painful for teachers or students. We have given (in nearly all cases) our pupils three goes at speaking assessments, after initially planning for four. The first we did at the end of Y10 during gained time when we were able to get cover. The second oral CA was during the December mocks in Y11 and the last one is coming up in very early May, just before the deadline. Again we have managed to secure cover for them. We chose tried and tested topics: school, food and healthy eating, holidays and free time (depending on the class). We tried to choose topics which fitted in chronologically with our existing scheme. I couldn't see the point in going for more original topics. My feeling was that we can do more creative things outside the assessment system and that the safe topics would score good marks. Marking the spoken CAs has be

La tapisserie de Bayeux

... qui n'est pas vraiment une tapisserie, mais plutôt une broderie. Mais ça n'a pas d'importance. Chaque année j'accompagne les élèves de cinquième au château du Molay, pas loin de Bayeux, et nous allons voir la célèbre tapisserie. J'ai dû la voir au moins 20 fois. Mais je ne m'en lasse pas, car c'est quelque chose de remarquable et la plupart des élèves y trouvent de quoi les intéresser. Avant de partir poue la Normandie j'essaie de sensibiliser un peu les élèves et cette année j'ai trouvé une vidéo sur Youtube qui est une version animée de la deuxième moitié de la tapisserie. Pas mal:

Revolt stirs in French school system In advance of the French presidential elections there does seem to be a debate brewing on education. The Guardian piece above describes an experiment going on in a school which has moved away from the traditional French model of pure academic instruction and marks out of 20. It's an interesting read, but it's just a pity that the writer refers to the English adopting a French-style baccalaureate. This is simply not true and is careless journalism. You are left wondering if other claims in the piece are accurate. Still, maybe worth a look.

Fischers Ghost Looks like I'll be playing a few gigs on the drums with a local band called Fischers Ghost. Set list includes music by REM, AHA, Bob Dylan, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Frankie Miller, Ian Hunter, Tom Petty and Neil Young. Earthy stuff! Good sound. Should be fun. Why not come to a gig?

Updates "Réalités Françaises"

Philip Allan Updates Conferences have been doing French days for at least 17 years. Today I took 15 of our AS students to Harrogate Grammar's swish new Sixth Form centre's lecture theatre to listen to Richard Peltier do his series of talks and activities on AS level topics: advertising, "vivre en solo", television, legalising cannabis, holidays and music. Over the years these talks have evolved slowly to include more video, more interaction, structured listening work and sketches. This time, Alain Lebourdon (I hope I've spelled that right) from Harrogate Grammar helped Richard out with the sketches. Worthwhile overall, since it exposes A-level students to some pretty solid French over 4 hours plus. Richard's talks usually offer up a few interesting facts and figures. Did you know that every time you click on a Google ad you are giving Google $5. (I assume this claim is correct.) As a Google ad "publisher" myself, I can tell you that Google does a L

£1 million paid to headteacher in four years

As the Outwood Academies group of schools is set to encompass two local secondaries: Harrogate High School and Ripon College, I found this piece in today's Guardian interesting. "An investigation is under way after it emerged that more than £1m of public funds have been spent on the services of a single headteacher over the course of four years. Michael Wilkins earns £182,000 a year as principal of Outwood Grange academy in Wakefield, but since April 2007 he has also been paid £497,400 for helping to improve other schools in the area. Most of this sum has been paid into a private consultancy company, which is run by Wilkins, two school governors and two other members of staff. In addition, according to the Yorkshire Post, £148,637 has gone into another private company owned by Wilkins – Leadership Challenge Ltd. Wakefield council is investigating whether the correct procedures were followed when making the payments. Bernadette Livesey, the council's direct

Allocution de Sarkozy

Hier soir Nicolas Sarkozy a prononcé un discours sur la sitaution en Libye. Il justifie la décision de lancer des bombardements contre Gaddafi. En voici des extraits:

Changing topics for A-level French

It's instructive to compare the topics covered in some popular Lower Sixth A-level text books over the years. So we are talking about what we now call the AS level year. 1976 Actualités Françaises (Hodder and Stoughton) - the first "modern" course Education, young people in society, leisure and sport, transport, housing, industry and automation, women at work and in society. 1979 Au Courant (Longman) "Foreigners", at home, transport, consumer society, relationships, road accidents, advertising, work, urban life, holidays 1986 Signes du temps: Vécu (Hodder and Stoughton) Forests, superstitions, solitude, Mesrine, "la pluie et le beau temps", news, family life, relationships, work and careers, free time, holidays 2009 French for AQA Media (TV, advertising, communication technology),popular culture (cinema, music, fashion/trends), healthy living/lifestyle (sport, health/well-being, holidays) and family/relationships (relationships in

The Wire

J'ai trouvé cet article dans Télérama. Nous venons d'entamer la dernière série. Le niveau reste tout aussi élévé. Le mot "marlou" veut dire "maquereau", paraît-il. Quequ'un qui vit de la prostitution d'autrui. Le mot brûlot est intéressant aussi: "brûlot", nom masculin Sens 1 Navire chargé de produits incendiaires destinés à détruire les flottes ennemies [Marine]. [Ancien]. Sens 2 Écrit, article vivement polémique. Sens 3 Boisson faite d'eau-de-vie flambée avec un sucre. (linternaute) « The Wire est-elle vraiment la série préférée de Barack Obama ? » Ultime question. Plusieurs centaines de spectateurs massés dans la grande salle surchauffée du British Film Institute, la cinémathèque de Londres, attendent la réponse avec un brin d'excitation. « Oui, et il a ajouté que son personnage préféré était Omar ! », explique David Simon, créateur de la série. Rires et murmures en pagaille. Les cinéphiles qui ont fait le déplacement

Personal ramblings

The band had a gig last night at the Tickton Grange hotel near Beverley. A few sound and playing hiccups, but the crowd liked it and danced. We've been playign together occasionally for about 10 years now (myself on the drums, Steve Rouse on bass and vocals, Richard Carew on guitar and vocals and Richard Sowerby on lead guitar). Because we only do occasional gigs we enjoy them all the more. Steve teaches locally at Harrogate Ladies' College, Richard Carew is a C of E priest who works for Archbishop John Sentamu in York, whilst Richard Sowerby is doing a doctorate at Oxford on the subject of angels in medieval literature. Someone's got to do it! Last night's set list included: Alright Now Stuck in the Middle Sultans of Swing Fields of Gold A Hard Day's Night + Paperback Writer Crazy Little Thing Called Love Smoke on the Water A Status Quo medley Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting American Pie Hey Jude Stayed overnight at the hotel, had a leis

Studying languages at university

I have just been made aware of this site aimed at young people thinking of studying languages at university. Looks well worth recommending to students. Also, for younger students:

Speak to the Future: the campaign for languages "The Speak to the Future campaign promotes the value of languages and language learning in the UK, and will raise the visibility of the issues with the public, the media, parliamentarians and policy-makers. It will make the case for a long-term commitment to achieving an improvement in the UK’s capacity in languages and a step change in language learning. The five-year campaign, launched in February 2011, is supported by languages, cultural and business organisations, who are convinced of the importance of language learning for the future of our society, our citizens and our economy." Here are the main campaign points: Every language valued as an asset This will encourage policy makers and citizens to recognise that the many languages used in the homes of UK citizens are a valuable resource for social cohesion and economic success. Download the briefing (PDF, 345 KB) A coherent experience of languages fo

Ronald McDonald en fin de carrière?

Bon texte pour A-level si vous voulez parler de la pub ou de la santé..... Article tiré de Le clown bien connu des enfants, emblème d'une chaîne de fast-food autant adorée que décriée, pourrait bien disparaître dans les mois qui viennent. La faute à une nouvelle stratégie de communication de McDonald's. Ronald McDonald, c'est pour beaucoup d'enfants le héros des anniversaires réussis et la mascotte de la célèbre chaîne de restauration rapide McDonald's. Mais aussi célèbre et reconnu soit-il, le clown Ronald pourrait bientôt être victime de la nouvelle stratégie de communication du groupe. En effet, depuis plusieurs mois, McDonald's tente de changer son positionnement et son image de marque afin de donner l'image d'un fast-food plus "haut de gamme". Parmi les récents changements observés, on note notamment l'apparition des menus "salade" ainsi que des "McCafé", inspiré de la chaîne Starbucks .

Nouvelle Citroën C4

Image: Par rapport à l'ancienne C4, la nouvelle née n'impressionne pas par son look peu aventureux. PSA vise les hommes de plus de 50 ans, dit-on, et ces clients-là ne recherchent pas l'originalité, donc la nouvelle C4 est aussi conservatrice que la Golf, leader du segment. Selon les essais, la C4 est silencieuse et confortable, mais pour moi ce n'est pas suffisant. La C5, elle, s'inspire des Allemandes, mais garde quand même une ligne sexy, un peu galbée, une silhouette qui rappelle l'ancienne C4. Bref, la nouvelle C4, c'est la Xsara de 2011, et ça n'est pas une comparaison flatteuse. Décevant.