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

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