17th November 2006 at 00:00
Age - any, see below

If I am practising, say, weather phrases, I hold two flashcards behind my back, one saying "Il fait froid," the other "Il fait chaud". A sensible pupil plays La Marseillaise on the CD player and I start to march around the room while swapping the flashcards between each hand. The pupil pauses the music and I stop and ask another child, in French, "What have I got in my right hand?" If they reply correctly, the class shout, "Bravo!" If the answer is incorrect, they all shout: "Oh l... l...!"

I do this with all the flashcards until everyone has answered a question.

There are several spin-offs: pupils hear the French national anthem, they practise speaking, they hear the French for left and right, they learn to congratulate and commiserate with each other. Nobody gets upset, everyone smiles and the teacher gets some exercise.

Suitable for primary and lower secondary as well as children with special needs and also for anyone who likes to see the teacher looking ridiculous! Pupils can also have a go, acting as the teacher

Margaret Riley teaches at Rumworth special school in Bolton and is North-west regional winner of Special Needs Teacher of the Year in the Teaching Awards 2006

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today