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Showing posts from July, 2023

Full lesson plans on frenchteacher

In my last post, I wrote about how a resource can become, in effect, a lesson plan once you have established a well-rehearsed set of procedures and activities for running a lesson. On I have been adding more full lesson plan resources, with suggested activities supplied in sequence. This may of of use to teachers learning how to plan their lessons. This was the approach I took in my 50 Lesson Plans book . On my frenchteacher site I have a range of full lesson plans, some based on written texts, some task-based, some storytelling based and some based on sentence builders (substitution tables). It's that last type of plan I have been working on lately. These lesson plans (on the Y9 page) are aimed at students with about three years of French behind them. They consist of two sentence builders, one of which is gapped and which can be used at any point in the sequence, depending on how much help the class needs. As always, the sentence builder ensures the learning goal

When the resource becomes the lesson plan

In the penultimate chapter of  the new edition of The Language Teacher Toolkit (Smith and Conti, 2023), we make the point that, once a teacher has gained experience in a repertoire of go-to activities that work, the main resource used in the lesson effectively becomes the lesson plan . Typically, a written comprehensible text can be the basis of a sequence involving, for example, reading aloud, question-answer, vocab finding, drilling, 'aural gap-fill' or sentence completion, true-false and so on. Another example is where, if you are skilled in using a sentence builder (Conti/EPI-style substitution table), then that table is the basis for a ready-made lesson or lesson sequence. If you are working with a text book, for example, you don't need to reinvent the wheel provided the source language input is interesting, suitable for the syllabus and at the right level. The source IS the lesson plan. That said, when you write your own material you may be more invested in the plan a

What's going on when you do drills?

This post is about drilling and is written mainly for teachers in training and teachers who have not given this issue much thought so far. . I'll give some examples of drills, explain why they are used and hopefully get you to think about their advantages and disadvantages. One of my go-to lesson starters, notably with Y8 to Y10 classes who had developed some skill with verbs, was to use a clearly structured transformation drill . This type of drill is typically when you say a sentence and the class has to change the sentence by transforming part of it but not usually adding any new elements or vocabulary.  For instance, the teacher says: Today I'm playing football with my friends The students respond (usually with hands up, although you can use cold-calling or written answers) by saying, for example: Yesterday I played football with my friends (If you model the exercise first student will know they have to change the verb form from present to past.) Other examples of transfo

Phonics bingo

The teaching of phonics (sound-spelling correspondences or SSCs), is definitely in vogue in England, not just for first language learners at primary school, but in modern language classrooms. For many years, teachers have taught the link between spelling and phonology, usually on an ad hoc basis. But since around 2016, when the TSC Review of pedagogy was published, the explicit teaching of phonics has been strongly recommended by the DfE via NCELP and, more recently, the Ofsted Research Review which itself quoted from the TSC Review (Bauckham, 2016). The NCELP resources not only embodied explicit phonics teaching, but a systematic approach to the same, i.e. planning out a sequence of when to introduce each SSC and design lessons partly based on that sequence. The extent to which skill with phonics is acquired implicitly or through explicit teaching can be debated. Robert Woore (2022) looked at this and concluded that there is some, but not abundant, evidence that explicitly teaching s