Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Language Show: Lots to Think About!

I really enjoyed my day at The Language Show on Saturday 16th October, a very productive day which provided me with so much inspiration...

I started the day attending Joe Dale’s session on PLNs. Although I am very familiar with PLNs and Joe’s work, I really enjoyed the session despite what I can only describe as “diabolical acoustics”.

I found the following particularly useful:

• Explore more uses for sites like or The Twitter Times to get a community to engage in a different way

• Potential of ipadio for live podcasting 

• Use tools like Friend or Follow to manage your Twitter following. I also like Twittaquitta, a tool that sends you emails to keep track of who is starting to follow you and who has stopped following you

• Keep an eye on suitable webminars taking place all over the world like this one and podcasts via Twitter

I then went on to listen to Rachel Hawkestalk.
Then again, lots of ideas but I decided to focus on these in particular:

• Develop the idea of “student co-teachers” as a way to promote independence and confidence

• Log target language use on seating plan to justify reward

• Involve some KS4 disaffected students with the community: adults, link primary schools

• Use extracts of Wikipedia in Spanish to provide a Reading Challenge/ demonstrate phonics rules/use of cognates and near cognates

• Consider setting up one-off “Phonics for parents” workshops to enable parents to support learning homework

• Re-evaluate how effective choral repetition is-practise pronunciation to a beat/music as an alternative (this reminded me of another possible use for Songsmith...)

• Use mirror images/ upside down words when focusing on pronunciation

• Investigate Group Talk and how it can be set up with large KS3 classes

• Look at character cards using the Target Language for role-play practice

• Refresh language mat practice-We used to do this! Produce mats with core language to develop student independence. Good CPD is not always about finding new ideas but about reminding you of the good ideas you used to have...

• Using paintings as stimuli to discuss colours, shapes and feelings as well as introducing key structures like hay/ no hay, tiene/ no tiene in Spanish

• Use real school events like a popular residential trip to discuss what students are going to do (future tense) or did (different sorts of past tense), feelings and opinions

Listening to Eva Lamb’s talk, I also found out about the wide variety of LinkedUp projects as well as the fact that all resources from these projects will be shared very soon.

I was also reminded of the National Spelling Bee Competition which focuses on Year 7. Students have to learn key vocabulary in the language they are studying at school. The challenge consists in translating the words into the foreign language and spell them out loud.
Spelling Bee (Go in past events)

In the Show and Tell, my attention was drawn to the following:

• Collaborative stories using mini-vocabulary flashcards with key words like “hier” in French

• Using Wallwisher for homework

• Give students access to podcasts in the Target Languages (extension homework on the VLE?)

• Look at primary practice for inspiration: Use of mini-whiteboards, table set-up, rewards...

• Make more use of Tagxedo (lovely word clouds) and Universed (podcasts, videos, blogs, bookmarks, photos, tags)

• Consider using Xtra-normal or puppets for livening up speaking practice

Last, but not least, I picked up a fantastic free publication on CLIL by The Languages Company

I now need some time to digest and share with colleagues...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

ALL Show and Tell, The Language Show, London, Saturday 16th October 2010

I will be posting more in details about all the great ideas I gathered during the Show and Tell at The Language Show. This is my contribution-a bit ambitious for a 2 minutes chat but I honestly did not go much over 5 minutes!

Sunday, 10 October 2010

The Language Show, Earls court, London, 15-17th October 2010

The Language Show is a free yearly event and will be held 15-17th October 2010 at Earls Court, Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9TA.

This is probably one of the largest events of the year for language teachers with taster language lessons, teacher seminars, world cinema and a large exhibition and much more...

On the Saturday, Joe Dale and Helen Myers will host a Show and Tell during the show ( 4.30 – 5.30) and a social event straight afterwards.

The ALL London Committee has found a function room at The Tournament Pub next to the exhibition venue which will be used for the social event.

To register your interest please sign up on the wiki.

This is a great opportunity to meet languages colleagues and exchange ideas in an informal way. The idea is to get lots of different speakers to talk about lots of different things for about 2 minutes, so no need to be an experienced speaker...

But what if they already know what I am talking about?

Once we know something, we always tend to assume everybody else knows it. Maybe they don’t, maybe they do-and you have just reminded them of it. There is surely nothing wrong with that... so come, be refreshed and inspired and enjoy good company!

More information is also available on the ALL London website

See you on Saturday 16th October!