Friday, 31 January 2014

Roll the Dice

Thanks to another ex-colleague for this one...

Although it takes a fair bit of preparation, it’s a nice kinaesthetic activity as they get to use dice*. It’s an easy way to get them to produce a piece of writing and it shows them how certain phrases and structures are transferable. 

All they need to do is roll their dice, and then, depending on the number, look at the corresponding word/phrase in the grid and write this in the correct gap in the text. You can then get them to translate this back into English.

*Don't do this activity with a challenging class, unless you're not that bothered about getting your dice back!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014


I took this activity from Elvisrunner MFL so thanks to them for sharing such a great idea!

It's another way of getting students to really focus on the text when you or a student are reading it out loud. They are given a list of actions which correspond to certain things within the text and they have to do the action when you get to that part of the text.

Here is an example which I used with Year 9 Spanish today - they came up with the actions themselves and it worked really well. My Head of Spanish came in to the lesson and also took part in the activity...I think he enjoyed it more than the kids did!
I read the text first just so they had the pronunciation, then I chose a few students to read a paragraph each. I then wrote up any words which they weren't pronouncing correctly and we spent a few minutes practising them as a class. 

Obviously you could try different actions or even get them to do actions for nouns, verbs, school subjects, colours etc.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Draw It

Here is yet another brilliant idea which I, unfortunately, can’t claim credit for. A fellow colleague told me about this and it has worked particularly well with Y9 and 10 so far, but it can be used with all years. You read out a text to your students and, instead of them answering questions or writing what they hear, they just draw a picture of it. As they aren’t restricted to answering certain questions, students usually feel quite positive about the activity and it allows them to be quite creative.

Here is an example from a Year 8 student for the Daily Routine topic:

Once they've done this I usually get them to feedback what they heard. This could be done in the target language or just in English, depending on the ability. To make it even more of a challenge you could get them to feedback using third person or using the past tense.

Monday, 6 January 2014

What's next?

Here is a fantastic idea that I stole from my PGCE mentor, John Slade, on my second placement back up North. It's a great way of getting the students to practise their reading and listening skills, as well as their  pronunciation. I used this game today with my Y7s and they absolutely loved it. It’s so simple to do and, once you have your text, barely requires any preparation. 

Simply read the text out loud stopping at certain points and students have to say the next word. It means that they actually have to focus and read through the text and can't just switch off.


Example 1 - Say the next word
Teacher: "Je m'appelle Amelie. J'ai"
Students: "douze"

Example 2 - Say the next syllable
Teacher: "Je m'app"
Students: "elle"

Example 3 - Guess the pattern and say the next word
Teacher: "" (miss a word)
Students: "J'adore"

  • A student could then do the reading once you've initially modelled the pronunciation.
  • Students could do this in pairs or in groups.
  • You could also choose students at random to say the next word/syllable

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Guess The Song

As teachers, we all know how important the first few minutes of a lesson can be. Get them hooked at the start and you could have them eating out of the palm of your hand for the rest of the lesson. Get it wrong and all hell could break loose. Obviously this is a bit dramatic but a nice snappy starter could work wonders with a challenging class.  

This is a Spanish PowerPoint which has worked particularly well with years 9-11 but could be used with other years and could be adapted for other languages. I translated popular song titles from the UK charts into Spanish and the students had to translate them back into English. 

  • Some students may need to use a dictionary to help them or, if they have internet access, they could use WordReference instead.
  • You could put them in pairs or groups to make it more competitive. First group to translate all of them correctly win a prize.