Turn on your Phones!

Very much an experiment, but the mobile phone is a versatile instrument.  It has a stopwatch, a voice recorder, you can send files between phones using bluetooth.  Get pupils to time themselves, who can have the longest conversation.  When practising verbs pupils can record you or the class as you chant them so they can listen again at home.  I want to try and send some sound files to pupils – they have already sent me the Indian Crazy Frog and I feel I should return the favour…

The potential is there, how can we exploit it?

Languages for the Future

http://tobermorylanguages.edublogs.org

This course would have been unimagineable even a couple of years ago.  We were encouraged to try and think of vocational courses for our subjects.  In this course we encourage pupils to work independently and learn languages we couldn’t normally teach.  We are able to offer qualifications in Internet Research and Presentation skills through PC Passport.  The girls are currently teaching themselves Italian using podcasts and websites as a starting point and later we hope to try Japanese or Mandarin.

Cooler than PALE!

How to encourage pupils to listen?  Put the listening on an iPod for some individual listening.  How about some French music for a little music whilst they work (what teenager doesn’t listen to music whilst they work?).  Our iPod work is very much in progress and will be developed more this year as listening is one of our improvement plan targets.

Download and encourage your pupils to listen to the Verbcasts (downloadable from iTunes).  This will encourage verb learning through relaxation techniques and were made by Mark Pentleton.

MP3 recorders

Portable and very easy to use.  Files can be quickly edited using downloadable programmes such as Audacity.

We have used to record talks and post to our blog, or to put onto iPods for pupils to listen to and practise.  Being portable meant it was easy to go out and interview people for our school website.

Next step will be to get Assistant to record some new listening materials to put on website.

Give it a go!

It is easy to set up your own blog.  Some such as edublogs are free, others you need to pay for.

You have to want to do it and think through what you want it to be for and get out of it.  Your blog can be whatever you want it to be, for example if you use it simply to “store” internet links and files that pupils can download and use at home then why not – it’s your blog.  You can use it to blog a school trip, or to set up a one off collaborative project with another school.  The list of possibilities is endless.

A blog is your digital footprint, a chance to celebrate and share good work and good practice.  Pupils and parents can comment and view work from home.  It can take time to embed in your everyday practice but it’s worth a go.

Voyages

Try typing in words such as “vacances” or “voyages” for holiday blogs.  Again good stimulus and sources of reading material.  Some blogs tend to be written in French text language, try getting the class to rewrite in proper French, a great way of practising spelling and working out sounds.

Sporty Blogs

Your boys will love you forever and will think you’re cool when you show such an interest in football even if you’re not (if you’re not, be prepared for the downside when they are intent on discussing last night’s game).

www.eurosport.fr has good blogs – for example during the Winter Olympics they had a blog by a young French skier.

A couple of good football examples are

http://blogs.aol.fr/ebaillysport/Etcestleblooooog

http://leblogfoot.eurosport.fr