Ideas for teaching MFL in classes with weak literacy

A plea came through on the MFL Resources mailing list this week for ideas to use for languages teaching in classes with weak literacy skills, for whom sentences are a challenge.

This year, one of my performance management objectives is about improving my teaching across the ability range, so I have been collecting ideas, and I bashed out the following list of things to consider.

Firstly, there is a lot of overlap between KS3 students with weak literacy and the sorts of things primary language teachers do in KS2, so read up on primary languages. I can’t recommend Clare Seccombe highly enough – nearly every week she blogs something useful I can use in my secondary classroom.

Somebody’s blog recently had calligrams made up from parts of the body, so you draw a man out of words, and his feet say “pied pied pied” and his legs “jambe jambe jambe” and so on. Clare wrote about this too

Presenting paradigms of verbs as flowers or spiders – I had a practice on my whiteboard recently, and students liked this.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/niles/11967148773/

Half of the battle of teaching verbs in full paradigm is getting students to understand what you are doing, so I start this with personal pronouns in English, with a set of hand gestures (I, you, he, she with a single hand for singular, we you they with both arms for plural) and then an example of a full paradigm English verb, before finally moving on to target language pronouns and verb patterns. Even this is challenging with a room full of students who refuse to accept that “you woz” is not a correct use of English. (Even that I can understand – if everyone you know except teachers says “you woz” why shouldn’t you?)

Washing lines. If you work in a school where the facilities management people are not paranoid about things blowing the breeze and triggering burglar alarms, you can string lines across your classroom and get students to create things to hang from it. This can be bunting, posters, shapes of animals, with target language words on. If you are teaching clothes, it can be a washing line; a few weeks from now we will be celebrating April Fool’s Day which in France means poissons d’avril. They could be attached to a washing / fishing line instead of following children around the school and cluttering up every other classroom. (see also: paper aeroplanes)

Simple magic tricks go down very well with younger classes.

Cootie-catchers / fortune tellers / origami. Fortune tellers get them to practice spelling some simple colours and counting in the TL over and over again. Here are some links with resources and ideas: Dom’s MFL Page and TES.

Wordsearches are sometimes banned in some departments as the students almost always need to be working at a higher level than on individual words. And yet they have their place, especially at the start of the topic, and for getting students to focus carefully on every letter as a task to improve spelling. A nice twist on wordsearches is to make bespoke ones for individual classes and you hide the names of all the students in it as well as the TL words you want them to practice. This is easily done with electronic lists of students names and online serdworch generators. In my files I make sure I keep a list of the words I wanted them to search for and then to change the file from class to class I can add in the students’ names. To get from word level to sentence level, I have in the past got them to search for words in different categories (opinions, connectives, etc) and got them to use the words they find to build sentences.

Minibooks are something we spent a little time on in PGCE year and I have found there is a huge variety of different templates you can create reasonably easily. I can’t praise Clare Seccombe’s minibooks enough – this term we have done “row of shops” minibooks with older students who promised me they were not in fact too old for that kind of thing and hexagon minibooks to practice time, and for school subjects – pictures one side, sentences on other. The row of shops mini-books are now on display and getting lots of jealous comments from the classes who didn’t get to do them.

Treasure or Trash sorting exercises work with all sorts of vocab – you give them a pile of cards of words and they have to get the ones that meet your criteria into one pile and discard the rest.

Triptico resources – find 10 and word magnets are the ones I use most, and they’re free to all. It’s a beautiful and flexible set of apps to use on a smartboard, but that will work with any projector / computer combo. (I don’t have a smartboard and I’m not sure I want one! I do appreciate a large whiteboard and would love to have more than one in my classroom.)

Tarsia jigsaws – a free app from – it’s a pair matching activity that was designed for maths but awesome for languages too. The app gets you to make your own, but you can find somepremade examples here. I tend to give them to students on sheets and they cut them out then make them into puzzles; the first few pairs to finish stick them down on a sheet of paper and use that to help other pairs to complete it. It’s helpful to have a version of the completed puzzle yourself or at least the list of pairs you came up with to use as help, to project as an optional scaffold for the weaker ones. You can make the matching pairs numbers in figures and TL words; words in TL and in English; or for an additional level of challenge, concepts that link (eg les gants / les mains. la voiture / le gaz d’échappement) OK, that last bit is moving away from weak literacy classes somewhat.

There’s an amazing “minimum preparation, maximum effectiveness” games in MFL document on the TES here. This did the rounds on our PGCE year, and I found it again this week. We were doing animals in a class this week, and we ended up with some time at the end so we played “animals heads down thumbs up” – a game I did not know how to play last year, but all classes I’ve tried it with seem to know how to do it already from primary school. For animals, four people had an A4 sheet with an animal name written on it, and the students had to say “Je crois que c’est le (poisson / chien / chat)” (which was on the board as a support) – The class really enjoyed the game. It could be done with any vocab items.

Several lovely ideas in the document above relate to chanting – eg days of week written on board, class chants through over and over, teacher rubs days off one at a time until class can chant days of week from memory. Whole class chanting as one student tries to find hidden object – quietly when student is far away, loudly when student is near. “Chef d’orchestre” – student goes out, class decides on able student whose job it is to change the word that is chanted. When that person changes the word, the people near them change too, until the whole class is chanting the new word. The student who went out has to guess who it is who is changing. You can give them a TL phrase for the guess, or you can just be happy the whole class is chanting French words…

Random snapshots of my whiteboard

I started taking photos of the things I wrote on my whiteboard as a student teacher – it would normally be names of students who needed rewarding or punishment on the school’s computer system, and since I wasn’t in my own room I would have to take a record with me to type up in the staffroom.

A bit later I started taking the occasional snap of things I’d done in lessons I quite liked, or wanted to use again, or needed a record of the vocab I had given one class so that I could use it again with another.

Most of the time, I don’t spend a lot of time writing stuff on the board, because my handwriting isn’t very good, especially if I’m going quickly, and because it’s almost always easier and quicker for me to put my 60WPM typing into practice and make a quick powerpoint slide. Standard advice for new teachers is also not to turn your back on a class for longer than necessary as they might kick off when you’re not looking. Judging by mess in my classroom at the end of most days, there is still a fair bit of chucking stuff around the room going on when I am not looking.

Here’s a random selection:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/niles/10379348525/

Introducing forming the past tense to Y8 in context of sport. We attempt to drip feed past tense phrases in lexically throughout all they learn, but we focus on getting them to understand better early in Y8.

Fiddly extra bits is not a technical grammar term, that would be “complement” or “predicate” but I’m not confident enough that those are correct. I’m also focussing on the AU part of jouer AU foot as students often omit this, and those who have learned German first pronounce it wrong. I have countered this with two little classroom games: “I say JOUER, you say AU! Jouer (AU) Jouer (AU)” and “How do we pronounce this? Yes that’s right, as in AU my goodness I can’t believe you’re still getting this wrong!!”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/niles/10379370165/

Don’t know why I took this. Dictionary exercise to stage into better L4 sentences with opinions and reasons. J’aime le fruit parce que c’est sucré. I tell them they need CORN for Level 4 – connectives, opinions, reasons, negatives. Je n’aime pas les croissants parce qu’ils sont dégoûants ticks three of those criteria off straight away.

NB every time I have done this lesson there have been students who have confused the word they are looking up and come up with transpiration, so now I make sure I disambiguate sweet and sweat before we start. There are still some who don’t listen.

Snapshots of my whiteboard

Sport again, but with able Y9 so we add a variety of adverbs of frequency to try and get more sophisticated writing.

“Avec les extra-terrestres” – with aliens – is part of a little bit of fun I’m having trying to motivate boys with weird extra bits of vocab. Happily it works with girls too! The criteria say they have to use connectives, nothing about whether it has to be true. Indeed “It doesn’t have to be true, it just has to be French” is a bit of a mantra of mine. Last year in “describe your ideal house” we added “un bassin de requins” into the things we might have there (a shark pond). This year for sports I’m including avec les extra-terrestres and avec mon ami imaginaire.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/niles/8422378807/

This was turning facts from the morning news bulletin in the car on the commute to school into a numeracy activity for my tutor group.

NB, “how old will you be in 2033?” was a less tricky question than I had envisaged. “Um, sir, we’ll be 33, of course.”

Going to try school subject Cluedo on Y7 in my penultimate lesson this term. #mfltwitterati

This was the first time I tried Cluedo, a speaking activity I got from Dom’s MFL.

It worked really well, so I do it now with all classes that will be quiet enough to let me explain the instructions. It can easily be adapted to use a wholly target language approach. In this case, students love the opportunity to say nasty or nice things about other teachers, although I do stress that we are doing a GRAMMAR exercise about FRENCH and it should not be assumed that they are writing truthful accounts of other real people in school.

On teaching practice, the German textbook Echo 3 got students to compare teachers using comparatives and superlatives. After a gale of laughter and some dictionary use I went over to find “Herr S ist der schwitzigste Lehrer” – Mr S is the sweatiest teacher. Can’t fault the German language skill, and if the task is motivating, go with it!

The Cluedo task above was used several ways in the same lesson – I usually play the game once – this takes 10-15 minutes as a whole class activity – and follow it up with “write two sentences based on this frame.” If students have already done a lot of writing, the extension might be to play the game in groups on tables as further speaking activity. Then, often, we will look at ways to extend the same sentence even further. The task above eventually resulted in this poster, which I still think I should frame and stick to my door:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/niles/8956973739/

One final thing on Cluedo – there was at least one student last year whose writing was improved by a whole level simply because he memorised a past tense sentence generated by an activity like this, and regurgitated it in his writing test. Brilliant. If some can do that, then it’s worth continuing with the activity.

Teaching through the medium of paper planes

A blogpost on compelling starters suggests getting kids to make paper planes with three facts from the last lesson on it.

Making paper planes is definitely an activity that is very popular with students. One of my own strong memories of school was my last ever geography lesson, which coincided with the last lesson that teacher would teach, as she was retiring. By the end of the lesson, we were in two teams hiding behind desk fortresses throwing planes at each other. And our retiring teaching was flinging them with the best of us.

I have used them to teach past tense in French – and have been really chuffed with answers to the question “what does paper planes have to do with the past tense?” “because we THREW them not THROW them.” The activity came from a “diverse ways of teaching new language” session on PGCE and leads the children through a target language sequence, with overblown gestures so they get what activities to do:

Je prends une feuille de papier >> J’ai pris une feuille de papier
Je signe mon nom >> J’ai signé mon nom
Je dessine une maison >> J’ai dessiné une maison
Je plie un avion >> J’ai plié un avion
Je lance mon avion >> J’ai lancé mon avion
Je ramasse un avion >> J’ai ramassé un avion

This was less than perfectly successful. My students do not have enough of a culture of target language, so activities out of the blue lead to vocal complaining. Also, unbelievably, not all students know how to make a paper plane. (“If you don’t know how, I’m not going to teach you. Make a paper ball instead.”) But the biggest problem using this as a starter is that it winds them up something chronic and it is then very hard to calm them down sufficiently that you can even talk to them, let alone task them with something constructive.

Despite the difficulties I repeated the activity with three different classes and by the end I had a killer top tip for using paper planes.

Since I had heard reports that the planes were leaving my classroom and then getting students into trouble elsewhere in school, the last instruction related to planes that I gave was “throw the planes at me.” (Met with incredulity. Seriously sir? Are you sure? And we’re not going to get in trouble?”)

The reason for doing this is this: one, they are itching to do it anyway, so you might as well give them an excuse. But two, it means all the planes end up at your end of the room and out of their hands, all the better for moving on to the next activity.

School holidays: Gove is doubly wrong

Last week, the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove made a speech saying that school hours and holiday plans were based on our agricultural past and that we were being left behind by the work ethic of the East Asian nations who had longer school days and shorter holidays.

Colleagues in teaching may be shocked to hear this, but Mr Gove is wrong on both counts.

Liberal England the TES team up to prove that the pattern of school holidays is not derived from our agrarian heritage.

In fact, schools took their holiday plan from… politicians! In the 1800s, longer summer holidays became a feature of parliament and the courts, and at the time, many in education were the sons of lawyers and politicians so it suited all concerned for the holidays to match.

The TES reports parents have been kvetching about the length of school holidays and how teachers have it easy, since at least the 1890s:

A letter to the Daily News in 1892 noted: “Little by little, the holidays at most of our schools have increased from an average of eight weeks in the year to something like 14. This gradual change has been entirely in the interest of the masters, for the school fees have not decreased in corresponding ratio.”

Another correspondent wrote: “I am convinced young boys, especially those with no real love of learning, lose in the long holidays much of the knowledge and discipline received in the short terms.”

That last complaint from 1892 is the rationale behind Nottingham city’s attempt to introduce a five term year with shorter summer holidays.

Just as Gove is wrong about the reason for school holidays, he is also wrong about the comparison between the English education system and East Asia. A blog post on the Local Schools Network crunches the data available and concludes:

English pupils spend more hours in the classroom than those in Korea and Japan. They spend about the same as those in Singapore, less than in Hong Kong and Shanghai (although pupils in Shanghai get a longer lunch break and more holidays which offset the extra hours).

Indeed, as a commenter later points out, most of the nations that beat the UK in the PISA rankings have less contact time with students than we do.

Of course this latest is just one pronouncement on which Gove is clearly, factually wrong.

Other interesting thought experiments teachers have been trying out on Twitter this week: if performance related pay for teachers is the answer for school improvement, why isn’t it the answer for secretaries of state? If parents are to determine teachers’ pay, perhaps teachers should determine Michael Gove’s remuneration package? And more generally, perhaps constituents should set MPs’ salaries.

In an ideal world

In an ideal world, I’d be in bed at 9pm on a school night, reading for pleasure for an hour before lights out at 10pm, eight hours of sleep, and up-and-at-‘em at 6am the following morning.

In an ideal world, I’d be cooking Sunday lunch every weekend, timing it so that I can listen to the Food Programme on Radio 4 and take a sip of sherry every time Sheila Dillon says “provenance” or “street food” and finishing the glass for “Chorleywood bread process”.

Two simple things I think would make me happy that I barely ever achieve. I didn’t manage them before switching careers, but they’d be even harder to do now. And why not? I’m in charge of what we eat on Sundays and when I go to bed and yet those simple steps seem a long way from possible. Perhaps Sundays might be easier but week nights – my current routine means finishing at school at 6pm, so the three hours from then to bedtime simply includes too many things to be done in time. Driving home, shopping for food, cooking and eating a meal. Any further preparation for the next day at school. Any sort of life maintenance like tidying and cleaning the kitchen, putting things away or any of the stages of the laundry process. Tending the chickens or defleaing the cats. My trainer is on at me to try and get more than one gym session a week but I’m really unsure how to fit that in. Go straight from school, starving? Or eat first and risk hurling all over the TRX frame? There’s no time in that skedz for watching TV, checking email and Facebook or the hours that I could spend trying to read everything now in Feedly. (Maybe reading blogs will be my reading for pleasure?)

I’m sure eventually I’ll be able to work more on having the life I want whilst still getting enough done but it’s a struggle right now. At least with a bit of a simple vision about where I want to end up I have a chance of getting there.

It turns out a simple vision is what’s necessary for those oh-so-long teacher holidays too. Two glorious weeks of Easter freedom fly by and as we near the end now I’m starting to feel guilty about the marking and planning is still to be done. Whilst I have got some things done I planned to – including topping up the balance on my sleep deficit, catching up with some of the TV waiting for me on Tivo and doing a small bit of reading for pleasure – it’s amazing how the time flies past.

Teaching tip – write on the desks!

The student desks in my classroom are fully sealed plastic units with a smooth surface.

Which means you can write on them with a dry wipe marker – a board pen in other words – and it rubs right off.

In fact, doing so makes less of a mess than a whole class activity with the mini whiteboards.

So when a class is settled on a writing activity and they ask for spellings, or “how do you say this in French?”, where before I’d grasp around for a spare pen, or a mini whiteboard from the cupboard, or a piece of paper, or even return to the whiteboard at the front of the room to make a cluttered confusing resource still worse… now, since I am almost always clutching a boardmarker when I am on walkabout anyway, I just write the answer to their question directly on their desk.

The first few times I did it were met with horror, and a bit of pointing and whispering. OMG, sir is writing on the tables. Then it improved engagement – more students asked questions if they thought the answer would get written on their desks.

We have posters in school that say “Stop! What are the rules about this?” and so a common reaction from students is “Sir, are you allowed to do that?” And the next question is “Sir… are WE allowed to do that…?” So you do have to be fairly clear that yes, I can do it, but no, you can’t do it, unless you have permission and you are using the correct type of pen.

I don’t always write an answer. If the question is something I think they should know (differentiated by who they are of course) or something we have laboured recently, I will signpost. Dictionary. Board. Check your book. Here, let me check your book. There. And sometimes it’s bloomin’ obvious – in a glossary on the sheet they are using, for example.

The idea came to me from this article about an English teacher removing barriers to writing and I discussed it further with colleagues this week at an inspiring school literacy training event chock full of ideas. Talk turned to mounting a mini-whiteboard on the classroom door on which to write a hook to catch students’ imaginations on their way in. I wondered whether maybe chalk pens might be the answer – write directly on the door?

Now wondering about writing up some of the common irregular verbs on my classroom windows. Crayola 5 Window Crayons FTW!

Speedy mini-plenaries and AFL

Click here for more blog posts about teaching.

On the amazing, but busy, mfl-resources mailing list, someone asked for ideas about how to do assessment for learning (AFL) whilst keeping a lesson pacey. Here were some ideas I gave in an answer. The point of AFL is to check that ALL learners are making the appropriate level of progress, and to test progress against learning objectives. These things should help you to do that.

Mini-quizes

“Turn to the back of your book. Write the numbers 1-5. Write the French for dog, cat, fish, mouse, tortoise. You should have le chien, le chat, la souris, la tortue. Mark your own work. Show me on the fingers of one hand what you got.”

(even quicker if you have the test and the answers on slides, which you can quickly type up during another activity or have ready before. Ofsted don’t need a lesson plan, just evidence the lesson is planned. Having mini-plenary tests up your sleeve is a clear sign you knew where the lesson was going in advance)

Whole class multiple choice activities

Teach your class the sign language for A B C D – you can do this pretty quickly the first time you do it, and subsequent times they will know it already and only need a little reinforcement. Then you can run through multiple choice questions on the board very fast and see instant feedback whether they are getting it right.

You can generate multiple choice questions on a set of vocab using Task Magic and then use them as a whole class activity this way.

I have seen class sets of coloured laminated cards with A B C D on, held together by treasury tags, which is also a good way to do it, but I still prefer mine with the sign language (it’s also “citizenship”)

Get feedback from routine tasks

For listening exercises out of eg 20, you can get a “numeracy across the curriculum” tick on your observation with “Take your score. Halve it and round up. Halve it and round down. Show me on the fingers of one hand what you got.” (this takes a lot of practice before most of them can do it and an awful lot of niggly questions about basic maths)

How are you feeling?

My PGCE tutor in almost every university session we had would do something along the lines of “show me how you feel – thumbs down if you are not getting it. Thumbs sideways if you are starting to understand, thumbs up if you think it’s time to move on to the next thing. Everyone show me altogether now!

You can also give the thumbs a numerical score: thumb up if you got 15-20, sideways 7-14, down if under 7.

What do the walls think?

I’ve started to do pointing at walls – left wall if you think the food item I mention is gesund, right wall if it is ungesund.

Similarly, a series of sentences on the projector: “Many of these sentences have a fundamental mistake. Read the sentence quickly then work out the error. When I say so, altogether, point at the left wall if the mistake is word order. Point at the right wall if the mistake is to do with the verb and point at the ceiling if the verb and time phrase do not match properly. Fold your arms if the sentence is correct.”

(the altogether is key otherwise the weaker ones take their lead from the stronger ones)

(copy where to point onto every slide so they have no excuse for misremembering which wall is which)

(a friend invested in a clicker with a laser pointer so she can do activities like this from the back of the classroom facing in the same direction as the kids for the avoidance of left/right issues.)

Mini whiteboard – les ardoises

Mini whiteboards, obviously, so long as you don’t spend longer distributing resources than you do using them. “I know we haven’t done family members since Y7 so some of you will have forgotten this, but I want you write the French for ‘my dad’ on the mini whiteboards and hold them up. Yours is wrong. Yours is completely wrong. Yours is just missing one teeny tiny accent. Yes, perfect” – for correct answers take a board off a kid and show it to the others.

Le and La on different sides of the mini-whiteboard, then students can just flip them – chat is it le or la, souris is it le or la? Ditto mon and ma. This can also be done with walls.

(you have to be careful with “le on one side, la on the other” or they write the words on different halves of the same side. I now model what I want with an overly dramatic flip of the board.)

Groups or rows in your classroom?

Two colleagues have decided to move from rows to groups this year, mainly because it makes resources easier to deal with. Each group table can have a pile / basket with glue, MWBs and pens, dictionaries. One friend even has a stock of cheap biros with her name stuck onto them so that kids who come without pens don’t even need to tell her, they can just get on with it. Phil Beadle things that if sitting in groups, plan to have higher ability boys paired with slightly less able girls – high girls with low boys will mean the girls do all the work and the boys nick it, the other way around the machismo will mean the boys work and then help the girls.

Do please comment if you find these posts useful. I find it strange to hear that people are sharing my ideas with their departments, when I rarely get any feedback myself.

I can’t log into the TES! Grr! “redirect loop”

This has been going on for weeks now.

The Times Educational Supplement has fantastic resources for teachers – including the best job search system out there that got me all of my interviews and my NQT post.

It has loads of articles and blogs that are useful, and once you log in you can download other resources that teachers have uploaded, that can really help make your lesson planning quicker.

I get sent multiple links to the TES every day – I subscribe to their 50% helpful “New Teacher” mailing list (the other half is mostly about primary and mostly not applicable). I follow TESmfl on twitter, and they tweet about the crème de la crème of MFL resources – both individual activities and wider professional development suggestions.

And then I want to log in and search. Does anyone else’s scheme of work teach German prepositions in a town context? Apparently not, they’re all doing it in a bedroom context (the teddybear is ON the bed, the table is NEXT TO the door etc).

But at the moment I can’t get in! It’s extremely frustrating! Neither my Mac or my PC on my desk can log in. I can use my school laptop at school to do it, but not at home. Every time I get the Chrome error “This web page has a redirect loop” and the helpful suggestion to clear my cookies for this page.

I have googled until I am blue in the face, but cannot work out how to make Chrome clear the cookies for a single page. I’ve found a nice helpful setting to clear ALL the cookies, but that seems a little bit drastic.

I have tried firing up Indernet Exploder to do the work I need to, but that is now completely ghastly. It takes over half an hour to load, is festooned with weird toolbars that must have come in with games, and fires up so many different error and warning messages you start to wonder if you’re really wise to continue.

Aarrgh. Grrr. Any thoughts?

New language teacher on Twitter

Veteran languages ICT guru Joe Dale retweeted a language teacher new to Twitter asking for interesting teaching and learning links.

I had a quick peek through the last few days worth of social media and responded thusly:

A slightly obfuscated post for sure, so here is a bit more detail.

How Children Learn: Portraits of Classrooms Around the World

Just a fab series of photographs taken around the world, including the UK and on many other continents, of what classrooms and children look like. There are many things the same and some striking differences. What struck me? Several countries’ school uniforms look distinctly military to me. How interesting.

Dom’s MFL: Venn Diagrams and Thinking Skills

I’m a big fan of Dom’s MFL page. He’s a languages teacher with some interesting ideas. He blogs quite infrequently, but when he writes something the post is always worth reading. His idea of using Venn diagrams is awesome. It can be done with very little preparation, can be done on mini whiteboards, (une ardoise (ie a slate, also used in the French phrases around having a tab in bar) in French – what is the German for them?) good for thinking skills and as a plenary in that it gets students to show you what they have understood.

ClassDojo

Class Dojo is an awesome website I am itching to try with students. Little monsters represent your class on the board and you can use it to give them positive and negative behaviour points. Pretty cool just like that. For me it will help me learn names; for them it will help reinforce my classroom rules. Best of all? You can log into it simultaneously with your whiteboard and your mobile phone, and allocate points to students as you go around the class.

Zondle.com

Zondle.com is a website for playing games with vocab lists. You can set a learning homework for students to go and play games. You invite them using their school email addresses and you get a record of how often they have played the game. Once you have taught the website a vocab list, you can play any of a number of games with that one list, so students can choose the games to suit them. There are stereotypically boy games and stereotypically girl games as well as more neutral types, and because the students choose, it’s up to them whether they stick to stereotypes or not.

Ideas for teaching and practising telling the time

This is not from a blog I read, but from a link from the MFL Resources Yahoogroup, a fairly high volume mailing list of MFL teachers with some awesome ideas and a lot of help and support. (In the last few days there has been a great deal of mutual support about GCSE results that have been less than expected, and which is stressing out many practitioners)

The blog post itself has over a dozen ideas for teaching telling the time, which is one of those topics which is important but that isn’t immediately easy to make interesting.

A few wider points

1) I have wasted a lot of time on the internet in my summer holidays. But lots of good teaching ideas are going into my mind too!

2) I think increasingly it isn’t so much about making resources as building up places to look. TES is an obvious one (albeit with lousy search). MFL Twitterati and the MFL Resources list are also great.

3) MFL Twitterati 10 minute challenge. Click the link. Spend ten minutes a day/week looking at what other practitioners are doing. Something there will surely inspire you. If you are inspired, join in the conversation and share your own good practice.

4) There’s no way I will be able to keep up with these groups and soc med practices in term time! Bank your good ideas now.