Languages. Ages 11 to 14
Often we try to overdo things and sometimes lose our pupils along the way. But my reluctant and difficult-to-manage Year 9 class became the most enthusiastic and responsive group I had taught when we played a simple game of categories.
Split the class in groups of four (maximum) and give each group no more than two bilingual dictionaries and one piece of A4 paper. Each group gives itself a French name of their choice, which you write on the board to keep points.
On the board, make a list of categories such as animaux, couleurs, fruits, matieres, transports, legumes, boissons and sports. Randomly choose a letter and give groups two minutes to find one example beginning with that letter in French for each category.
One person in each group writes the answers on their A4 paper. The first group to find the correct answer for all categories stops the clock and scores a point. Check and write their answers on the board and ask for the meaning in English. The dictionary helps everyone feel they can join in.
Ana Anstead teaches French at Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.