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Modern languages

The Easter subject conferences give publishers and suppliers a showcase for new materials.This year, 'TES' reviewers joined modern language teachers, geographers and mathematicians to select highlights: Richard Marsden at Language World, Umist, Manchester.

* SALUT SERGE! Video pack pound;14.99. Activity book by Sue Finnie pound;3.99. BBC Languages. Bookpost, tel: 01624 836000.

This series has already been shown in Scotland and is to be broadcast again on BBC2's Learning Zone later this year. Featuring the exploits of an endearing monkey, it is aimed at primary French pupils but would also be useful at lower secondary level.

The programmes are supported by an attractive pupils' workbook with cartoons, songs, craft activities, and games, all designed to reinforce vocabulary and structures.

VITAL VERBS KIT. French, German, Spanish. By Hilary McColl, Paul Sanday and Susan Thomas. pound;19.90 + VATMiniflashcard Language Games, tel: 020 8567 1076.

This set of cards and dice allows pupils to practise verb endings and tenses.

The dice show pronouns, auxiliaries and so on, and colourful illustrated cards give infinitives. A teacher's booklet provides a wide range of imaginative ideas. Pupils who are reluctant to practise grammar do not realise how much they are absorbing.

France File 3 pound;14.95 Deutschland Direkt pound;12.95 Carel Press, 4 Hewson Street, Carlisle CA2 5AU These versatile materials provide copymasters for charts, graphs, diagrams and all manner of factual information.

They also contain questions for comprehension and futher exploitation. Teachers needing material to stretch the most able at GCSE or for the early stages of a sixth-form course will find plenty to use here.

* SUCCESS AT GRADE A IN FRENCH. SUCCESS AT GRADE A IN GERMAN. By Michael Buckby and Kate Corney. pound;31.99 each. Collins Educational. Tel: 0870 0100 442.

These two publications, which follow the excellent Success at Grade C series, give pupils exactly what they need for examination success. They provide photocopiable worksheets covering the four language skills, with useful hints and study tips. They will be especially welcomed by those seeking materials for able pupils.

* ICT ACTIVITIES FOR FRENCH. ICT ACTIVITIES FOR GERMAN. pound;57.50 + VAT each. Heinemann Tel: 01865

Increasingly, ICT is taught as an integral part of other subjects.

Aimed at Year 7, and designed to stand alongside the Metro French course (although working well as a stand-alone), these CD-Roms offer practice in listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The structures and vocabulary are matched to the key stage 3 curriculum and the activities include, for example, word-processing and desktop publishing so pupils can genuinely improve their ICT skills, rather than just practise their French or German on the computer. There is also the facility to customise files and print them off as worksheets.

Richard Marsden is a writer and advisory teacherl Next year's conference is at the University of York, April 12-14

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