It’s that time of year again. Year 11 have gone. Year 10 are thinking about work experience. Year 9s become that little bit more difficult to teach.
I got lucky this year. I got a rather nice year 9 group. They are a group with a mixture of middle and top set characters with a handful of lower ones thrown in. The words mixed ability make the range of abilities sound wider than it is.
Over the past 5 years I have not been so lucky. This post is an exploration of the variety of strategies I’ve tried. The following picture does not represent a strategy but is definitely reflective of how it has felt at times:
Prepare a presentation/poster
Sometimes we do not get enough time to cover the extensive culture and history that surround the languages we teach. Students prepare a presentation in groups of two or three to be delivered to their class.
How to vary it:
- Give students a choice of delivery styles: interview, powerpoint and speech, podcast recorded using apps like spreaker , giant A2/A3 poster for corridor complete with text and pictures. If you are a school with ipads then a whole world of possibilities are probably open to you (leave suggestions in the comments section).
- To use TL or not to use TL. With groups where most carry on til GCSE then insist on some TL, otherwise make the activity about presentation skills (perhaps colloaborate with English).
- Horrible Histories. Having met Terry Deary, the man is on to something. The more gory or wacky it is; the more kids will read about it. Perhaps get your kids to go after the lesser known facts.
- Ban certain websites. Wikipedia is not always correct. At university when I looked up the Spanish Civil War it turned out it was Manchester United’s sub goalkeeper! Encourage use of reputable sources.
|Guerra de independencia||Don Quixote||Espana|
|Islamic Conquest of Spain||Gabriel Garcia Marquez||Bolivia|
|Colombus||Castilla y Leon||Paraguay|
|Spanish Civil War||El País Vasco||Chile|
|Juan Carlos de Borbon||Tango||Honduras|
|Ernesto Che Guevara||Galicia||Puerto Rico|
|Al Andalus||La tomatina||Colombia|
|Eva Peron||San Fermin||Los Andes|
|Evo Morales||Pedro Almodovar||El salar de uyuni|
|Diego Maradona||Las islas canarias||Patagonia|
Spanish survival kit
Everything needed for the casual tourist. What does a holidaying student need?
Name ¿Cómo te llamas? Me llamo …,
How are you + opinions¿Qué tal? ¿ Cómo estás?
Numbers 1 – 20, Age ¿Cuántos años tienes?
Where live ¿Dónde vives? Vivo en …
Holiday dates, times
|3||Food and drink
Ordering in a restaurant/bar/café
Complaining – this is not what I ordered etc
|Money and shopping
Asking how much
Understanding larger numbers and prices
I would like Quisiera …
I like/don’t like Me gusta…/ No me gusta …
Asking where places are in a town ¿Dónde está …? Esta … ¿Hay … par aquí?
There are obvious benefits to this approach. It gives students some revision of the basics and prepares them for holidays. The downside is that it is too simplistic for some.
This is this year’s idea. As a department we looked at the new specs and decided there was some stuff we have never taught. So we decided to give it a go. The results have been surprising. Most students seem to have taken to it as they appreciate it is necessary for their classmates. Other groups with slightly lower numbers of GCSE students have found it a bit tougher. They do however appreciate the more advanced themes (global understanding) and focus on being able to make up stuff on the spot. Rachel Hawkes writes that students judge their TL abilities based on what they can say and she is right.
“But SLT would never allow it!!” I hear you scream. You may be right but at the same time there is a lot to be gained, if it is handled well.
Things to consider:
- Get permission from parents, HoD and SLT if needed.
- Make sure it is already on your scheme of work! History show films regularly, why not mfl?
- Create a worksheet with questions to provoke thought.
- Give pupils a selection of words to find and switch the subtitles on.
- Give pupils a synopsis to translate sections of before starting.
- Give the pupils some character bios to translate before starting.
- Give the pupils some character bios to fill in during the film with multiple choice options. Eg: Ramón es descapacitado / paralisado / activo
- You could show them the trailer to give an overall picture.
- You could give them a series of pictures from the film to put in order afterwards .(perhaps with a short Spanish explanation underneath.
- You could write some true/false sentences for the students to work out.
- You could make a multiple choice quiz based on the film using Kahoot to gauge their understanding of the film.
One of the most difficult GCSE groups I ever taught was spellbound watching el mar adentro. 17 boys, 2 girls and they were transfixed. It also fed quite nicely into their Philosophy, Theology, Ethics lessons at the time.
If you have a group doing GCSE then take them on a grammar crashcourse. I believe grammar teaching is important and it can be fun (post on quirky ways to teach grammar is coming soon).
Expo and Mira tend to cover something grammatical and then assume it is mastered at the end of that particular page. The next time it is revisited, it will be similar but with something new added. If you are following one of these schemes then you may find students are not quite as adept with the grammar as you would like. Graham Nuthall (The Hidden Lives of Learners) suggests students need three exposures to new concepts before they start to embed them. If you are using the above textbooks, it is entirely possible that students will only have had one exposure to some concepts.
The Euros, world cup, Olympics, Women’s World Cup, Wimbledon
Use it as an opportunity to teach opinions and the future tense in the third person. You could also use it to revise past tense, weather and a variety of vocabulary. More ideas on Wimbledon can be found here with this shameless self-promotion link.
I think that … is going to win
In my opinion England will win etc.
Perhaps you do something different entirely, leave it in the comments section below!
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