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Frenchteacher updates and survey

If you have no more than five minutes to spare I am doing a quick user survey to check on what resources teachers are using and to see if there are any improvements I can bring to the site. It is here. I did a similar survey last year, following which, in response to comments, I developed the listening resources and added model answers to many of the grammar exercises.

I have had over 20 responses so far and, following the suggestion of one subscriber, I have added some hyperlinks to the top of the A-level page to make it easier to scroll down quickly to the right section. This will be useful to those who are less familiar with the layout of pages. I have also divided texts into AS level (low advanced) and A2 level (advanced) to help English and Welsh users assess the level of each resource more quickly. When I have got more responses, I'll report on any common themes.

A couple of teachers have suggested I am charging too little for the site! Well, when I decided on the pricing I decided I wanted to get as many users as possible to use the resources. This makes it seem more worthwhile to me when I am writing resources, plus, my living does not depend totally on, so I am not desperate to maximise the income at the expense of fewer users. I know how tight school budgets are too. Perhaps at some point I shall raise the subs just a little.

I have been quite busy adding new stuff recently. For a full list check the Recent additions page, but I'll just mention the following:
  • Video listening for A-level and adults on La Ligue contre le cancer. This is a very clear 3 minute video which could work at AS and A2 level, depending on whether you see the topic as health or charitable associations. The main task is gap fill for listening for detail.
  • Another Peppa Pig video with vocab and false sentences to correct. This one could be done with a good Y9 class, or Y10-11 (intermediate). I do like the clarity of these videos and I gather than Peppa is quite in vogue at the moment. Groin groin!
  • An article with exercises on the conflicting advice we are getting about nutrition. This would suit A-level and adult students.
  • An article and exercises on air pollution. Did you that it is estimated that over 7 million people die each year owing to air pollution. the victims are not who you may imagine either. A-level and adults.
  • Two video listening worksheets on simple recipes, good for high intermediate or advanced level. The internet is awash with clear and quite easy recipes in French. The visuals make the text easier to get. Comprehensible input, eh?!
  • Joanne Wallace, a tutor in Ripon, sent me a text and exercises based on a children's mini story she wrote about a naughty gingerbread man. I adapted them a bit and recommend the worksheet for Y8 or Y9. This is offered as a free sample.
Finally, just a reminder that login details should not be shared with students e.g. when using video listening sheets. The idea of these is to hand out the sheet and let students use the link to find the video. Alternatively, and this is how I would mainly use the exercises, you could present them from the front, controlling the pace and ading your own input when useful. In many schools this will be the only option if Youtube and similar sources are blocked. Please tell me if any video links go dead.

Have a good Easter!


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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
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Reading exam
Reading exam (2)
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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)
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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)

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’( The point i…

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…