Skip to main content

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.


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 fran├žais (TV5 Monde) is a rich source of video, listening and reading. Some of the material suits lower levels too.


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, of course and Le Bon Coin (for everything, including houses).


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. has study booklets at all levels.


Popular posts from this blog

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…

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.

"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.