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Latest additions to frenchteacher

Here are the resources I have added to the site over the last month. As always if you have any requests for specific types of resources just let me know by commenting, messaging on Twitter or by emailing me via my website. I can always say no!

Intermediate level (GCSE)
  • A seven page mini-unit of work on school for Higher Tier GCSE. Various comprehension and translation exercises (adapted from a unit from The Language Teacher Toolkit TES shop). Lots of built-in recycling. based on the "narrow reading" concept (several texts reusing similar language). An answer key is provided. We have several similar units on TES.
  • A numbers lesson plan for intermediates (good Y9 to Y11). Based on the game show The Price is Right (Le Juste prix in France). All you need to add are about 10-12 slides of items for sale, e.g. from (without displaying their price). Aims: revising numbers and listening to them to develop quick recognition. This lesson would take around 40 minutes and provide lots of listening input.
  • Video listening. Another Peppa Pig to add to the collection. In this one dad once again makes a fool of himself (stereotype alert). It's called Les avions en papier. A vocab list is provided for help, then a gap-fill task with options given. Because of the relatively high vocab load here it would suit Higher Tier GCSE.

Advanced level
  • Video listening: racial discrimination in Brussels night clubs. Comprehension questions in French and sentences to translate using the recording. Yes, in the twenty-first century in Western Europe racial discrimination continues to thrive. Needless to say, this material supports the sub-themes of all the exam board A-levels, providing some useful background knowledge for AO4 (knowledge of culture).
  • Written texst on key events of the French Resistance in the Second World War. This is a set of short extracts followed by a choice of exercises which can be done orally or in writing. This is another good source of knowledge for the A-level exam (Edexcel and Eduqas/WJEC). 
  • Audio listening. This is an interview with a spokesperson for the Fondation Abbé-Pierre in which he answers questions from children about homelessness and poor housing in France and the role of the Fondation Abbé-Pierre. From the 1jour1actu online magazine. I have included various exercises including summary, translation and gap-fill. This could be used in the context of volunteering, poverty and homelessness.
  • Video listening. This is linked to a video in the 1jour1question series and is about why General de Gaulle is considered a hero of the French Republic. There is a gap-fill with transcription provided. The standard is quite easy. This fits well with Edexcel and Eduqas sub-themes. There are now five resources on this general topic area on the site, two readings and two listenings. 
  • Text and exercises about the occupation of France. Text, vocabulary to complete, gap-fill, sentence completion, creative oral work, translation both ways. Partial answers provided.


Popular posts from this blog

The latest research on teaching vocabulary

I've been dipping into The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition (2017) edited by Loewen and Sato. This blog is a succinct summary of Chapter 16 by Beatriz González-Fernández and Norbert Schmitt on the topic of teaching vocabulary. I hope you find it useful.

1.  Background

The authors begin by outlining the clear importance of vocabulary knowledge in language acquisition, stating that it's a key predictor of overall language proficiency (e.g. Alderson, 2007). Students often say that their lack of vocabulary is the main reason for their difficulty understanding and using the language (e.g. Nation, 2012). Historically vocabulary has been neglected when compared to grammar, notably in the grammar-translation and audio-lingual traditions as well as  communicative language teaching.

(My note: this is also true, to an extent, of the oral-situational approach which I was trained in where most vocabulary is learned incidentally as part of question-answer sequence…

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 _____ …

Dissecting a lesson: using a set of PowerPoint slides

I was prompted to write this just having produced for three separate PowerPoint presentations using the same set of 20 pictures (sports). A very good way for you to save time is to reuse the same resource in a number of different ways.

I chose 20 clear, simple, clear and copyright-free images from to produce three presentations on present tense (beginners), near future (post beginner) and perfect tense (post-beginner/low intermediate). Here is one of them:

Below is how I would have taught using this presentation - it won't be everyone's cup of tea, especially of you are not big on choral repetition and PPP (Presentation-Practice-Production), but I'll justify my choice in the plan at each stage. For some readers this will be standard practice.

1. Explain in English that you are going to teach the class how to talk about and understand people talking about sport. By the end of the lesson they will be able to say and understand 20 different sport…

Designing a plan to improve listening skills

Read many books and articles about listening and you’ll see it described as the forgotten skill. It certainly seems to be the one which causes anxiety for both teachers and students. The reasons are clear: you only get a very few chances to hear the material, exercises feel like tests and listening is, well, hard. Just think of the complex processes involved: segmenting the sound stream, knowing lots of words and phrases, using grammatical knowledge to make meaning, coping with a new sound system and more. Add to this the fact that in England they have recently decided to make listening tests harder (too hard) and many teachers are wondering what else they can do to help their classes.

For students to become good listeners takes lots of time and practice, so there are no quick fixes. However, I’m going to suggest, very concisely, what principles could be the basis of an overall plan of action. These could be the basis of a useful departmental discussion or day-to-day chats about meth…