Made for a MA/LA French GCSE group using elements from the Edexcel textbooks.
Building on using 'je vais' and destination countries with the correct preposition, this series of lessons introduces the use of the near future tense in a controlled way.
It worked well and provided lots of opportunities to test and develop prior learning, leading to a paragraph with 2 tenses.
It’s simple, quantifies the number of impressive features used, and awards a mark. It allows students to best their previous score, whether by overall mark or by specific goals such as using more connectives.
How do you make grammar less dry? Is there a way to test understanding whilst also getting students to focus on simple but important details like the ending of a word?
It turns out there are lots of ways of doing just that; this is one of them. It works really well in any language, and can be easily adapted to different topics in less than 5 minutes.
Each student, or group of students, starts with a set amount of imaginary money and works through the questions to end with more or less. It’s the speed and the competition of it that makes it exciting and helps you to really see who is looking at the detail.
To differentiate, you can simply alter how long you leave each slide on the board. You can even get a student to explain why an answer is correct, so you can broaden the focus a little and offer a little reward such as letting that student (or the group) be first out of the door at the end of the lesson.
This is so versatile and so easy to change that what this resource really is is a template. If you don’t have, or don’t want to use, mini-whiteboards, then simply remove that line of the slide and replace it with your preferred alternative.
For extra fluency, use idioms. But how do we get students to appreciate the meaning behind the sometimes bizarre literal translations? Make the bizarre literal translations the point of the exercise.
It doesn’t take much to work this into your lesson, and you effectively only need to do it once because the students will have a copy of the idioms waiting to be used, whenever they think to use them.
The students only need a dictionary. If you want to make it harder, give them a limit to how many words they can get translated for them (say, 3) and you use an online dictionary to show them what they mean. That way they need to look carefully at the phrases, work out what stumps them most, and get help for the phrases that they are least likely to be able to work out themselves.
The second sheet is the answer sheet.
For the worksheet, there are two tiers of difficulty available, each with distinct aims (LA: find vocab and demonstrate understanding; MA+: adapt vocab to create new language based on tightly controlled tasks).
Each worksheet can constitute the majority of the lesson.
This is based on the content in Module 2A in Zoom Deutsch 1.
The Powerpoints constitute 2 lessons of work and set up the extended reading activity worksheet.
All resources needed for this observed lesson are included.
The focus is on discussing healthy eating and drinking in a lower ability set. The lesson is carefully structured to allow students to notice word order changes when using time phrases at the start of their sentences. It also encourages them to use two simple qualifiers.
To give students an opportunity for feedback on their understanding of word order changes, an activity using word cards is included. For this, they need to follow the model sentences on the board and create grammatically correct equivalents. Where they make a mistake, you should point them to the board and ask them how their answer is different.
The exit cards plenary involved ticking the statements that apply, before testing students ready to go at the end of the lesson. The first option is a trick.
The aim of the lesson is work out the structure of mandatory phrases like ‘se debe’ and ‘hay que’, and also that they are always followed by the infinitive.
The differentiation can come from how the first stage of the worksheet is used. With lower ability groups, I’ve asked them to draw a symbol or sign to show the meaning of the phrase in the large boxes on the first page. With more able students, they can simply translate. If weaker students are to use this exercise, I’ve also picked out some of the key words on the first page, put them on the whiteboard as a starter and got students to look them up in a dictionary so that there is a clear word bank for those students to refer to later.
The single most important resource I’ve ever used, this easy to assemble display means you have instant scaffolding for students of all abilities. Everytime you want them to write something, all you need to do is set a minimum number of connectives to use. Over time, students get used to looking up to find a new one; they also have a way of challenging themselves to use more advanced language because they are colour-coded.
Any writing task I set, I always refer to this display and give students specific targets about how they should extend their French sentences. Anytime we do a speaking exercise, this display forms the backbone.
A lot of the resources I create, including all the French ones I have uploaded to TES, use language taken from this display. This is the key to all those resources.
I cannot emphasise enough how useful a display like this has been in my classroom. I was soon noticing that the best students would note down a few of the better connectives to use when recording their homework, just so that they could make sure they used their best French.
This is a Find Someone Who Can activity, and so needs to be a little interactive. If you’ve never used this kind of an activity, it’s built with differentiation and stretch in mind.
There are 2 levels of ability, each corresponding to a high ability (HA) and middling ability (MA) worksheet. You give each student what you consider fits best, they have a certain amount of time to discuss the translations and at the end they sit back down and mark the work. You could make this quick by providing the answers in sequence on the board, or you could work through each one as a class and then pull out any important lessons about grammar.
The rules are explained on the sheets: you can’t answer all the questions yourself and you can’t rely on the same person to help more than a certain number of times. That way, knowledge circulates and those who are less able have a chance to ask why a particular translation is the best fit.
To add an extra dimension of practice, why not circulate and listen to students try to pronounce their translations to their peers. That way, you can make this into an exercise that deals with pronunciation and fluency too.
This is a complete activity for around 20 minutes of lesson time.
It fits best for GCSE classes, but I have used it with the most able KS3 groups before and they appreciated the challenge.
This is a complete lesson, designed to get students to work out the endings for the imperfect tense and then apply that knowledge in several staged exercises.
It’s not easy because it forces students to look for their own clues. All the answers are in the resources, though, so students should be reminded that they only need to look for patterns.
The differentiation comes from the amount of support the student gets from the teacher, and also from pairings if you choose to use small groups.
I’ve found that this is no better at getting students to remember the endings within the lesson itself, but it has been very useful in ensuring that they can feel confident enough to work with the endings at home as part of any homework. They also seem to retain the endings much longer with an activity like this.
Obviously, if students are rusty with the endings but have been exposed the the imperfect tense before, the exercise where they have to determine which endings match each personal pronoun can be quite quick.
This is another Find Someone Who Can activity, so it needs to be a little interactive.
If you don’t use them, students have a set amount of time to get the answers from their peers. They can’t rely on the same person more than a given number of times (your choice as to the number) and they cannot rely on themselves in the same way. The aim is to get students of differing abilities to circulate, to share knowledge, and to create little opportunities for less confident students to ask why answers are they way they are.
The vocabulary is a little stretching, but it works very well and gives every student an opportunity to access the kind of vocabulary they need to excel.
It’s up to you how you would prefer to check the answers. Sometimes I mark the sheets, sometimes I go through each question on the white board with the entire class, and other times I display the answers for students to check and correct themselves. Sometimes, if students are asked to check and correct, they don’t always have the same eye for detail as I’d have liked, so I make sure my students know that I look out for that when I mark their books.
Yes, this is an activity which requires some cutting out. The good news is that you only need to do it once because the cards can be stored for future years or for spontaneous progress checks throughout the year.
Numbered cards contain a French or English word in each, so each French word has a matching translation. To make life easier, when checking the matches, each card has a number so you can display 2 columns on the board, one for French and one for English, and show the number combinations that make the match.
You might prefer, instead, to get students to suggest the match and then to ask students, as they give their answers, to use the French word in a sentence. If they are correct, they can a bonus point for their extra correct answer.
I laminate my match-up card sets because, well, students are students.
This is great for starters, plenaries and for progress checks during the year. Often, if students are struggling to justify their opinions, I’ll drop one of these envelopes on their desk so they can find an adjective they like. If you do that, you might also want them to translate their sentence so that you know they’re not just picking a French adjective without knowing its meaning.
This is nothing fancy, just bread and butter stuff that makes life a bit easier.
A Powerpoint presentation to introduce weather phrases (from Zoom 1 Deutsch, p73) and includes a brief reference to word order using time phrases with weather conditions where students are encouraged to spot a pattern.
The last activity is error checking based on common mistakes and can be done in pairs, groups or as a class.
The following lesson in the series will build on this by introducing "nicht" and by linking it to descriptions of places.