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Showing posts from February, 2020

Review: The Language Gym interactive site

This review comes with a disclaimer! I obviously know Gianfranco Conti who, with former colleagues, set out to redevelop and monetise the existing free site which has been much used by teachers over the last few years. Gianfranco asked me to write an honest review, so here goes. I shall focus mainly on the French content as it stands so far - bear in mind new material is being added all the time. I tested the site on my PC. First off, what is The Language Gym?   It's an interactive website with French, Spanish and Italian content, which enables students to practise their language manipulation and comprehension skills. Content comes at all levels from novice to advanced. In the Games Room there are four types of activity called Verb Trainer, Workouts, Boxing Game and Rock Climbing. Let's look at each in turn. Verb Trainer There are two modes to choose from: Practice Mode and Normal Timed Mode. The latter adds an element of time pressure to encourage quick response and

Book review: A-Z for French B by Danièle Bourdais

This 96 page book is an extremely useful vocabulary list for students studying IB French B. The concept is very simple. Vocabulary is listed for five broad themes (color coded in the book), divided into sub-topics, matched to the IB syllabus. On each page there are lists not only of words and collocations, but whole sentences with parallel translations like the one below on Peace and Conflict. Some sentences are simpler ( niveau moyen ), others more sophisticated ( niveau supérieur ). Sentences marked with a blue asterisk have been selected to model particular linguistic features, such as the use of relative pronouns, the subjunctive mood or words which avoid over-using simple ones such as dire . These features are highlighted in bold, as are their English translations. After the main lists, Section 6 of the book provides phrases to help with the preparation of the individual oral assessment. Section 7 supplies other useful phrases which are not topic=specific. Most of the langua

GCSE resources and links from frenchteacher 2020

In case you don't know my site (which is extraordinarily good value at £30 for around 1800 accurate resources!), here is a summary of what you can find for your Y10-11 pupils. Don't forget that all resources are in Word and therefore editable, e.g. you can add your own school logo or departmental identity as long as the original source is identified and not shared with other institutions. You'll also find that there plenty of resources on the Y8-9 pages which might work well with your Y10-11 classes, depending on their attainment. 1.  Exam preparation resources These are divided by tier and include knowledge organisers, photo cards, role plays, translations, full reading papers, essay-writing guides, conversation booklets and conversation board games. Some resources are in booklet form (27 resources) . 2.  Sentence builder frames These cover GCSE themes, come with a suggested teaching sequence and scaffolded, gapped versions of each grid.  You could easil

Book review: Key Questions in Language Teaching by Alessandro Benati

This is a brand new introduction to the findings of second language acquisition research and their implications for language teachers. Alessandro Benati is a professor of English and Applied Linguistics at the American University of Sharjah, as well as a Visiting professor at the University of Portsmouth and University of York St. John. He is known as an eminent scholar in his field, having worked in particular with American scholar Bill VanPatten. What's in the book? There are seven chapters covering roughly 200 pages. Chapters look at: what we know about second language acquisition and the implications of this for teachers;  how methodology has evolved over the years;  the role of communication and interactive tasks;  the role of listening and reading comprehension tasks;  the role of grammar, vocabulary and corrective feedback;  how research is carried out and, finally, an overall evaluation of the issues.  Major issues in the field are discussed, e.g. the

Using sentence builder frames for GCSE speaking and writing preparation

Some teachers have cottoned on to the fact that sentence builders (aka substitution tables) are a very useful tool for helping students prepare for their GCSE speaking and writing tests. My own hunch is that would help for students of all levels of proficiency, but may be particularly helpful for those likely to get lower grades, say between 3-6. Much depends, of course, on how complex you make the table. To remind you, here is a typical sentence builder, as found on the frenchteacher site. The topic is talking about where you live. A word of warning - formatting blogs in Blogger is a nightmare when you start with Word documents, so apologies for any issues. It might have taken me another 30 minutes just to sort out the html code underlying the original document. Dans ma ville (in my town) Dans ma région (In my area) il y a (there is/are) des banques (banks) des cafés (cafes) des