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Setting work for home study

A major challenge for language teachers just now is selecting and sharing work with students to do at home. Here a few suggestions on the issue to add to your own. The sites I mention are the tip of the iceberg and focus mainly on French. I have stuck to free resources, not subscription sites.

By the way, I'm not getting into the use of tech here, as I have no great expertise on that. In any case, I imagine for younger learners especially it may be a question of setting other types of work.

ADVANCED

For advanced learners the job is not so tough. There is a plethora of listening, reading and grammar material they can use, whether it be from their textbooks, other resources shared electronically or online resources. You may have your favourites, but for a selection for French you can check out my links here and here. You may want to stick with topics on the syllabus, or free up students to read and listen more generally to what interests them.

One idea I used was to ask students to choose their own text, write a brief summary in English and a glossary of, say, 15 new words or phrases they think it's useful to retain. The same could be applied to listening texts, but these might need some more filtering from you first.

Particular mentions could go to France Bienvenue, with its audio extracts accompanied by transcripts and notes and Daily Geek Show.

A vos plumes is recommended for interactive grammar practice.

Lyrics Training is super.

Apprendre le français (TV5 Monde) is a rich source of video, listening and reading. Some of the material suits lower levels too.

INTERMEDIATE

With low-intermediate and intermediate students (roughly Y9-11 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland), the challenge becomes greater since the level of proficiency and background knowledge is lower, so using authentic resources can be problematic. The point is this: they might find texts, videos and so on which seem interesting, but if they really can't process the language they are reading or listening to, then they are unlikely to make much linguistic progress. they may of course benefit in other, non-linguistic ways.

With that in mind, you can still source useful worksheets, reading comprehension tasks and some online listening - I have found cartoon videos a useful way to go since the language is simplified for tiny tots, but the content can still appeal and amuse. YouTube captions should be switched on where they are available to make the language input more comprehensible. The quality of captions is often very questionable, though. That's a shame.

For French listening you could check out Peppa Pig, Trotro, Petit Ours Brun and Simon. That covers a fair range of animal species.

Check out also Audio Lingua with its large archive of short audio recording in multiple languages.

Online grammar presentations can be useful if that's what your classes need. I like this collection by Maud Sullivan.

BBC Bitesize is worth looking at if you haven't checked in on it for a while. As well as the GCSE section, there is a KS3 area you could use with your lower classes.

Languages Online has been a staple of interactive practice for many years and has to be recommended. I'd be flexible in its use. If your class is weaker, then choose material from the year below on the site.

Froggyspeak has easy stories to read and listen to, plus a few interactive exercises.

French Revision with Eileen has audio with accompanying worksheets for download.

More challenging, but of interest is Les Energivores, with its short videos on an environmental theme.An excellent staple is 1jou1actu, along with its 1jou1question videos (though the latter tend to suit advanced learners since they are pretty fast).
Teachvid is strongly recommended for combined interactive viewing, listening and reading. Some resources are freely available.
A number of commercial providers are currently making their platforms free to access. Have a look at Teachit Languages with its vast collection of resources for French, German and Spanish.

French Grammar Tour is a fun site which combines reading and interactive grammar. Students could follow the suggested tour around France.

French Amis may also be of interest (for other levels too).

Consider using online shopping sites for web tasks, e.g. provide a list of items in English and students find what they are in French and list the best prices they can find. Auchan is good for groceries. But works for household goods. There's always Amazon.fr, of course and Le Bon Coin (for everything, including houses).

NEAR-BEGINNERS

For beginners, the challenge rises even more since the language they have covered is so limited that authentic resources become fewer in number. In this case, you might be relying more on your textbooks, electronic textbooks and worksheets. From YouTube beginners could have fun with the Alain Le Lait videos - singalongs on all sorts of topics.

Languages Online, again, is useful. I'd also pick out one or two specific links from my list on frenchteacher, e.g. Lightbulb Languages (French, German and Spanish) and LanguagesOnline Australia. Both have worksheets, in the first case masses of them!

Teachvid, mentioned above, is worth checking for easy resources.

Teachit Languages, mentioned above, has lots of resources - there is a free sign-in option.

Primary French teachers could look at this list of free sites.

Frenchteacher.net has study booklets at all levels.

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