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Latest updates to frenchteacher

After a long stay in our French house this summer when my work was limited to writing for the listening book Breaking the Sound Barrier we hope to publish by February (with Gianfranco Conti), I've turned my attention back to writing resources for In the last week I've added eight new resources at all levels.

As always I'm very grateful to the hundreds of schools and teachers who subscribe and often resubscribe to the site. There are now well over 1400 resources on the site for a fee of £25. Do take a look at the many testimonial messages I have received over the years. Here are last week's new resources:

Beginner and near-beginner

Beginner alphabet fun. Two resources: (1) a list of games to practise the alphabet (2) an alphabet grid game in which you read out letter coordinates on a grid while pupils shade in boxes to create a picture. (Thanks to a teacher on the GILT Facebook group for that idea.)

Three Kim's Game PowerPoints. This is the classic game where you show some items then hide one or more at a time for the class to recall the missing item. These ones features fruit and veg and a hungry rabbit, pets and places around town. Beginners love this sort of memory game and it's a good vocab builder. Each presentation builds up in difficulty.

 Low intermediate

Parallel reading text. Why can't kangaroos walk? A short text translated from French to English with a comprehension task and vocab grid to complete. You could come up with other ways to exploit this too.

Intermediate (GCSE)

Video listening. Une balade à Porquerolles. Linked to a France Bienvenue video. Gap-fill with options plus "find the French" translation. Don't for get that there are numerous listening tasks on the Y10-11 page: teacher-read, audio and video, including some quite easy activities.

Video listening. This is a 1jour1question video about la francophonie in the world. The main task is to spot inconsistencies between the language of the video and a set of 15 sentences. Good general background on why French is such an influential world language.


Audio listening. This is a conversation between two students, Tina and Laetitia, talking about their favourite films (from YouTube/Francebienvenue). Gap-fill to do, plus "find the French" and an opportunity to reuse some of the language in dialogue. Includes information about the film Intouchables. You could use this in Y12 or Y13. Edit to create more gaps if you need to.

Text and exercises on food poverty in France. With vocab to find, lexical work, comprehension, paired oral work, translation and summary.


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Delayed dictation

What is “delayed dictation”?

Instead of getting students to transcribe immediately what you say, or what a partner says, you can enforce a 10 second delay so that students have to keep running over in their heads what they have heard. Some teachers have even used the delay time to try to distract students with music.

It’s an added challenge for students but has significant value, I think. It reminds me of a phenomenon in music called audiation. I use it frequently as a singer and I bet you do too.

Audiation is thought to be the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. You can audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music. When we have a song going round in our mind we are audiating. When we are deliberately learning a song we are audiating.

In our language teaching case, though, the earworm is a word, chunk of l…

Sentence Stealers with a twist

Sentence Stealers is a reading aloud game invented by Gianfranco Conti. I'll describe the game to you, then suggest an extension of it which goes a bit further than reading aloud. By the way, I shouldn't need to justify the usefulness of reading aloud, but just in case, we are talking here about matching sounds to spellings, practising listening, pronunciation and intonation and repeating/recycling high frequency language patterns.

This is how it works:

Display around 15 sentences on the board, preferably ones which show language patterns you have been working on recently or some time ago.Hand out four cards or slips of paper to each student.On each card students must secretly write a sentence from the displayed list.Students then circulate around the class, approaching their classmates and reading a sentence from the displayed list. If the other person has that sentence on one of their cards, they must hand over the card. The other person then does the same, choosing a sentenc…

Have a repertoire, lighten your workload (part one)

The next four blogs I'm going to post are the equivalent of one of those TV clip shows - you know, the ones where they need to fill a weekly slot by showing the best bits, or deleted scenes, from the series. But these four blogs have a theme. The clue is in the title. Like you, I worked hard when I was teaching, but I was pretty good at keeping things in proportion using a combination of economical planning, rapid marking and experience. The extra time those things created even allowed me to stay relaxed and have fun (most of the time) and to come up with the occasional innovative idea.

So, what I'm going to suggest here is that, if you have a little repertoire of go-to classroom activities, you can save yourself a lot of time and stress, and, what's more, all for the benefit of your classes. You see, I think (actually, I know) pupils like routines, but they also appreciate a bit of variety. So if you apply your repertoire of lesson/activity types sensibly you can satisfy b…

"Ask and move" task

This is a lesson plan using an idea from our book Breaking the Sound Barrier (Conti and Smith, 2019). It's a task-based lesson adapted from an idea from Paul Nation and Jonathan Newton. It is aimed at Y10-11 pupils aiming at Higher Tier GCSE, but is easily adaptable to other levels and languages, including A-level. This has been posted as a resource on

This type of lesson plan excites me more than many, because if it runs well, you get a classroom of busy communication when you can step back, monitor and occasionally intervene as students get on with listening, speaking and writing.

Curriculum planning

Many MFL departments are talking about planning in response to whole school initiatives related to Ofsted's latest emphasis: CURRICULUM. This post is about how a department might respond to such an initiative. It's fairly broad-brush, given the nature of the issue, but not too airy-fairy, I hope.

Here is Ofsted's definition of the curriculum:

“The curriculum is a framework for setting out the aims of a programme of education, including the knowledge and understanding to be gained at each stage (intent); for translating that framework over time into a structure and narrative, within an institutional context (implementation) and for evaluating what knowledge and understanding pupils have gained against expectations (impact/achievement).” (My highlighting.)

So Ofsted wants schools to:

• know their curriculum – design and intent;
• know how their curriculum is being implemented;
• know what impact their curriculum is having on pupils’ knowledge and understanding.