Support the right level
This year for the first time language teachers are required to report national curriculum levels at key stage 3, a reasonably straightforward task if you maintain an efficient assessment and recording system.
However, if you are one of the many who find relating national curriculum criteria to what you actually do with the pupils a burden, then this Support File from Heinemann could save much time and effort.
The School Curriculum and Assessment Authority has produced its own assessment tasks, but as these range beyond what most pupils will achieve at key stage 3, wading through them can be daunting. The Support File (containing 90 worksheets) is flexible in that it can be used alongside an existing course for continuous assessment or as a resource for homework, extra practice or cover lessons.
There are five modules: self, family and pastimes; home, home town and area; food, health and fitness; clothes, shopping and eating out; holidays, transport and accommodation. Each module contains listening, speaking, reading and writing activities marked with an appropriate level. As this is a package aimed at the lower end of the ability range, only levels 1-3 are covered. To be really useful for assessment purposes, some level 4 activities for those likely to choose a GGSE option Year 10 might have been included.
The activities are accessible - ticking boxes, substitutions, matching questions to replies, true or false, naming the odd one out. There are also games (not marked with a national curriculum level). Some of the vocabulary will be unfamiliar, for example, branche (trendy) or the abbreviation BD for bandes dessinees, but the vocabulary lists at the back of the file help here.
At Pounds 59.95 this is not a cheap resource, particularly since, in theory, teachers have everything they need with the SCAA assessment tasks plus the worksheets that accompany most new wave French courses. On the other hand, a useful self-contained package (which also contains two tapes) that helps with assessment is always welcome.