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The art of projection

These are activities I find useful to aid memorisation in modern languages across the age and ability range. The overhead projector remains one of teachers' most flexible, fun-enhancing aids, enabling them to concentrate pupils' attention on what's going on at the front of the classroom.

Present what's to be learned (vocabularywhole textextract) on acetate on OHP. Then read it aloud to the class and encourage them to repeat it to make it familiar and assist pronunciation.

Gradually withdraw the visual support and increase their memories by setting challenges such as: Can you read it backwards? Turn the acetate sheet over on the OHP. Can you read it upside down? Turn the acetate upside down. Can you read it blurry? Adjust the focus knob. Can you read invisible writing? Switch off the projector.

The recognition that not only can they read invisible writing but they can do it in a foreign language too is confirmation to students that memorisation has taken place, and they enjoy the activity. Other five-minute activities include: Through the keyhole. Cut out a keyhole shape on a piece of A4 paper. Place over an acetate of vocabulary to be revised or of pictures showing vocabulary to be learned. Move the paper around the acetate revealing parts of the word or picture only. Pupils have to guess what word or picture is underneath by looking through the keyhole.

Scrabble with a difference. Draw a grid of small squares on an acetate sheet and put a star in each corner. Place a blank acetate sheet over this on the OHP.

Starting in the centre of the sheet write in an item of vocab. The aim is to reach one of the corners where the stars are by building up vocab from the one written in the centre. The first pupil to reach a corner by thinking of an item of vocab of appropriate length wins. This activity can be used to revise vocab on any topic being covered in class.

Christine Harvey, modern languages co-ordinator, Maplewood School, Sunderland

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