Skip to main content

Daily Geek Show

I've recently come across this interesting French website called Daily Geek Show which also has, by the way, an associated YouTube channel with interesting videos as well as a Twitter feed worth following (@DailyGeekShow). According to their Facebook page: "Daily Geek Show est un site d'actualités dédié aux plus belles découvertes de l'humanité !" There's certainly a lot of potentially useful authentic reading and listening material for intermediate (GCSE) and advanced level.

Based in Paris, the site features videos, news, features, quizzes and an "insolite" section (weird news stories). Here is a video you could use on poverty with an A-level class (or even a really good GCSE group).

The video goes with an article here.

On the day I checked the Features page covered subjects such as  female Nobel prize winners, cannabis, left-handed people, how artistic endeavour is good for your health and animal cruelty.

The News page featured hurricane Harvey, a biodegradable car, an artist who paints false shadows on pavements to confuse people and some of the most amazing but least visited places on the planet. TheLifetyle page had features about makeup, artwork lamps, an artist who creates huge murals outdoors, how to support shy children and sweets which contain harmful nanoparticles.

The Geek page featured mainly TV and film-related video material. The "Insolite" page included this video about how you can be hacked at McDonalds (a good A-level video). The Tests and Quiz page had interactive quizzes about animals, rock bands and farting - yes, farting. They introduce the latter as follows: "Souvent gênantes, parfois drôles, les flatulences font partie intégrante de notre quotidien. C’est quelque chose que nous faisons tous jour après jour. Oui, même les princesses. Mais est-ce que vous êtes certain de tout connaître de ces gaz ? Nous allons voir cela avec un quiz !" The fifteen multi-choice questions give you instant feedback and extra information - the language is well within the scope of A-level students.

The site keeps a Top 100 of its stories based on reader popularity.

So all in all, you'd find interesting material for your own reading and listening, as well as material you could use or adapt with classes. Now to write a worksheet!


Popular posts from this blog

A zero preparation fluency game

I am grateful to Kayleigh Meyrick, a teacher in Sheffield, for this game which she described in the Languages Today magazine (January, 2018). She called it “Swap It/Add It” and it’s dead simple! I’ve added my own little twist as well as a justification for the activity.

You could use this at almost any level, even advanced level where the language could get a good deal more sophisticated.

Put students into small groups or pairs. If in groups you can have them stand in circles to add a sense of occasion. One student utters a sentence, e.g. “J’aime jouer au foot avec mes copains parce que c’est amusant.” (You could provide the starter sentence or let groups make up their own.) The next student (or partner) has to change one element in the sentence, and so on, until you restart with a different sentence. You could give a time limit of, say, 2 minutes. The sentence could easily relate to the topic you are working on. At advanced level a suitable sentence starter might be:

“Selon un article q…

Google Translate beaters

Google Translate is a really useful tool, but some teachers say that they have stopped setting written work to be done at home because students are cheating by using it. On a number of occasions I have seen teachers asking what tasks can be set which make the use of Google Translate hard or impossible. Having given this some thought I have come up with one possible Google Translate-beating task type. It's a two way gapped translation exercise where students have to complete gaps in two parallel texts, one in French, one in English. There are no complete sentences which can be copied and pasted into Google.

This is what one looks like. Remember to hand out both texts at the same time.


_____. My name is David. _ __ 15 years old and I live in Ripon, a _____ ____ in the north of _______, near York. I have two _______ and one brother. My brother __ ______ David and my _______ are called Erika and Claire. We live in a _____ house in the centre of ____. In ___ house _____ …

Preparing for GCSE speaking: building a repertoire

As your Y11 classes start their final year of GCSE, one potential danger of moving from Controlled Assessment to terminal assessment of speaking is to believe that in this new regime there will be little place for the rote learning or memorisation of language. While it is true that the amount of learning by heart is likely to go down and that greater use of unrehearsed (spontaneous) should be encouraged, there are undoubtedly some good techniques to help your pupils perform well on the day.

I clearly recall, when I marked speaking tests for AQA 15-20 years ago, that schools whose candidates performed the best were often those who had prepared their students with ready-made short paragraphs of language. Candidates who didn't sound particularly like "natural linguists" (e.g. displaying poor accents) nevertheless got high marks. As far as an examiner is concerned is doesn't matter if every single candidate says that last weekend they went to the cinema, saw a James Bond…

Worried about the new GCSEs?

Twitter and MFL Facebook groups are replete with posts expressing concerns about the new GCSEs and, in particular, the difficulty of the exam, grades and tiers. I can only comment from a distance since I am no longer in the classroom, but I have been through a number of sea changes in assessment over the years so may have something useful to say.

Firstly, as far as general difficulty of papers is concerned, I think it’s fair to say that the new assessment is harder (not necessarily in terms of grades though). This is particularly evident in the writing tasks and speaking test. Although it will still be possible to work in some memorised material in these parts of the exam, there is no doubt that weaker candidates will have more problems coping with the greater requirement for unrehearsed language. Past experience working with average to very able students tells me some, even those with reasonable attainment, will flounder on the written questions in the heat of the moment. Others will…

GCSE and IGCSE revision links 2018

It's coming up to that time of year again. In England and Wales. Here is a handy list of some good interactive revision links for this level. These links are also good for intermediate exams in Scotland, Ireland and other English-speaking countries. You could copy and paste this to print off for students.

Don't forget the GCSE revision material on of course! How could you?

As far as apps for students are concerned, I would suggest the Cramit one, Memrise and Learn French which is pretty good for vocabulary. For Android devices try the Learn French Vocabulary Free. For listening, you could suggest Coffee Break French from Radio Lingua Network (iTunes podcasts).

Listening (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher) (Foundation/Higher)