If you want authentic materials for your lesson but don’t have time to search the net, here’s something for you. Topical, engaging news articles and video clips with suggested teaching ideas.
With revision and exams drawing ever closer, the pressures on both students and teachers start to increase exponentially. I'm sure we can all think of individual students whose mental wellbeing is a real concern, under the pressure to perform or to hit their target grades. Similarly, every teacher knows what it feels like to lie awake in the early hours worrying about a particular lesson, class or set of results.
Working day-in, day-out with these levels of stress can quickly become depressing and debilitating. We can't solve all the ills of the system that creates this pressure-cooker, so at the very least we need to find some strategies to manage our own mental health. If we look after ourselves, we will be better placed to care for our students and give them the support they need.
We have put together 20 ideas to improve teacher wellbeing, which may just give you some ideas for small changes that will make a big difference to your school day. We also love the monthly action calendars from Action for Happiness. Each month, they focus on a different theme with suggested daily actions to spread some happiness, improve your relationships and lift your mood.
Even better, they publish these calendars free in about a dozen different languages, from Catalan to Turkish. The French, German and Spanish versions of the calendars would be a great way to create a wellbeing display for your students. You could stick them in the corridor, on your classroom door or on a noticeboard and set students the challenge of working out the daily wellbeing tip.
Finally, a great line from Mark Twain: 'The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up.'
This article from BBC News Mundo ties in perfectly to the topic of technology and social networking. It's packed with percentages so we've created a handy worksheet to help students get to grips with the these social networking trends.
German figure skaters win gold at the Olympic Winter Games
With the Olympics in full swing, you could use this article about a German medal win for either reading or listening practice. The text can be copied or projected and the audio can be downloaded or played from the site www.nachrichtenleicht.de.
You may wish to copy the following questions for use as either listening or reading comprehension (answers provided below).
© Luu (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Los jugadores de rugby que se entrenan con clases de ballet
Bust some gender stereotypes with this short item from www.bbc.com/mundo about the Wigan Warrior rugby team getting stuck in to ballet classes. The whole article is just five sentences long, making this very accessible to younger learners. It comes with a short video clip, which is in English but with Spanish subtitles.
You could try projecting the headline on its own to see how much students can understand. Challenge them to read the rest of the article, and look for cognates. Share these in the class, then ask them to look up three to five new words from the text. How much can they translate as a group?
Show the 1 minute video clip as a reward – or as an extension task for those who want to translate some subtitles!
Having broadcast his new year message in the traditional way on TV, the French president Emmanuel Macron also posted a shorter version on Twitter and Facebook. This version is just over one minute long, with French subtitles making it more accessible for language learners, so why not use this clip at the start of the January term?
You could ask students to summarise his key messages, make a list of all the words they recognise or note some words that they would like to look up. What do they think of his approach? Would they like to see a similar broadcast from Theresa May?
©Gouvernement français [CC BY-SA 3.0 fr (creativecommons.org/licenses/
Apparently Spanish lottery adverts are as eagerly awaited as the John Lewis Christmas campaigns in the UK. Perhaps this is not surprising as this year's full-length 'anuncio de la lotería' was directed by one of Spain's most famous film directors, Alejandro Amenábar, and runs for nearly 20 minutes!
We've just published a worksheet to accompany the two shorter versions of the adverts (3 mins, 30 secs), which would work well as a December lesson for able key stage 4 or key stage 5 students. It comes with comprehension activities, answers and suggested extension tasks.
We published a similar resource last year, so you could introduce both adverts and invite students to compare them or explain which is their favourite.
As we all know, the stress of school can take its toll. Students in Germany are suffering from a range of ailments as a result, from headaches to insomnia.
The online German newspaper www.zeit.de has published an article looking at the impact of school stress on teenagers' health. The use of alcohol, cannabis and energy drinks as well as the importance of breakfast is also considered.
We've created a differentiated reading worksheet to accompany the article, with answers provided.
Which three words would you pick to sum up your life and values? It's an interesting question to put to a class, and this interactive quiz from www.enfenenino.com will help you all decide.
Although the way the test results are worded are aimed at women, the questions themselves could apply to anyone and are very accessible. Your favourite colour, the song that gets you up on the dance floor, where you'd like to go on holiday: these are some of the 10 aspects which will help to decide the three words that define you.
This could be a nice homework task and students could then write their own version of the quiz for a partner to work through.
If you are studying the topic of technology, your students will love Soprano's double-edged love song to his smart phone: 'Mon précieux'.
We love Zaz's catchy songs, many of which are perfect for use in the MFL classroom. Song lyrics are one way to expose students to authentic texts and if you can get them singing along, so much the better!
We've created a listening resource based around Zaz's popular hit 'Je veux', designed to make the lyrics more accessible and encourage some group translation. You can find her video on YouTube and the full song lyrics online.
Relèveriez-vous le défi?
Daredevils among your students may be up for the idea of riding a zipline from the Eiffel Tower. We've created a listening worksheet about the experience to accompany this short clip from the Euronews website. Open for a limited time only, to coincide with the French Open tennis tournament, the idea is to give people a taste of just how fast a tennis ball can go. C'est canon!
What are the most sought-after jobs in Spain? We've just published a resource linking to online infographics which will reveal all. The worksheet questions help make the authentic job descriptions more accessible and answers are included.
Who knows? This could also trigger some career ideas for your students, who will certainly be attracted by the salaries on offer! Surprise, surprise, the teaching profession does not feature in this list of the top 10 most desirable jobs …
We've just published a special resource to go with this short animation on the topic of the environment, so if you're looking to make authentic listening more accessible … job done!
Students can get bored with predictable textbook listening tasks and often perceive listening practice as a test. However, we think this fun animation should help liven up listening, motivate your students and give them a boost – they'll have understood some real French! Also, I can pretty much guarantee they'll pick up the word 'prout' in the process.
Our worksheet has been designed to accompany the '12 solutions des enfants pour le climat' clip which is part of the '1 jour, 1 question' series of videos on YouTube. It includes a pre-listening starter activity and a listening for gist task to help your class get the most out of the native-speaker speed animation.
This is followed by a listening for detail task, which is differentiated into bronze, silver and gold. Translation sentences based on the clip are also included, along with answers and teaching notes.
Basically, it's an instant lesson! The PDF is free! What more could you possibly want?
Tintin has hit the headlines this month, with the launch of the first colour version of 'Tintin au pays des Soviets'. Here's our specially created resource to support your students in reading part of an authentic article about this event on the French website www.culturebox.francetvinfo.fr.
Our 'Tintin à la une' worksheet contains a starter activity to get students thinking about how Tintin titles are translated and some questions about the start of the article to make it more accessible. Answers and links to relevant websites are included with the teaching notes.
Who knows? This could be the lesson to turn your students into true 'tintinophiles'!
Kids United is a group of five children, aged 9-16, whose cover versions of classic songs are taking France by storm. This talented bunch of kids are also ambassadors for Unicef and have quickly become celebrities.
On the Kids United official homepage you will find mini biographies of each of the singers. Students could be asked to find out as much as they can about each of the children.
You will also find their music videos to use for listening material.
On YouTube there is an hour-long documentary charting their rise to fame and the beginning of this could be used for some authentic listening for gist.
The TV5 Monde site offers some interesting resources for language students, with a selection of video clips introducing the lives of four different French speakers.
Each clip comes with a transcript , along with activities for language practice at different levels.
You might find some inspiration for authentic listening activities or invite your students to explore the tasks and clips on offer and report back.
The Spanish website, www.muyinteresante.es, has put together this interactive test to see just how much you really know about healthy food. The format of short questions and responses makes this an accessible quiz for students to do individually, in pairs or as a class.
Find the quiz here.
Six German teenagers, aged from 14 to 17, give their opinions on everything from politics and discrimination to family relationships and technology in this youth survey from Spiegel Online. Scroll to the end of the article to click on the photo of each teen and find out their views.
Tap into the Pokémon Go craze with this article from Géo Ado about both the appeal and the dangers.
Start by asking students to work in groups against the clock to find all the cognates in the first paragraph of the article, e.g. énorme, succès, improbable etc. Groups can compete to find the most words similar to English in the time and then share these as a class.
Set the timer again with a challenge to find the meanings for the most new words from the first paragraph. Again, these can be shared.
Allocate one sentence to each group for them to translate into English. They can then share these with the class by writing them up on a mini whiteboard. Other groups might offer suggestions on how to improve the translations or make them sound more natural by passing the whiteboards around.
How many times do you check your phone every day? Do you panic if you don't have your phone to hand? You might just be suffering from nomophobia!
AS or A level students might just relate to this article about addiction to mobile phones from the site www.abc.es: Así puedes quitarte tu adicción al móvil.
Start by asking students to estimate how many times they check their phone every day. What do they think the average might be for this? Reveal the answer (150 times a day) and discuss!
Read the introductory two paragraphs to the article as a class and then give each student or pair one of the remaining five paragrahs to read and summarise.
Thanks to @MFLCorner for highlighting this environmentally-aware song on YouTube: Recyclez!
Using songs can be a really effective way of helping some students memorise key phrases.
Challenge groups to listen to the clip as many times as they need to in order to note the lyrics or as many words and sentences as they can.
Students could also create their own 'green' song lyrics or write a rap, if given a few rhyming words to get them started.
This article from www.thelocal.es is in English but it's such a great way to get students discussing stereotypes that I'm including it here anyway!
Answers according to www.thelocal.es!
With the Eurovision Song Contest coming up in May, why not play your class the French entry by Amir? You can find the official video here - it's pretty catchy but will it win your students' vote?
Copy and paste the lyrics from here into a Word document.
You could cut up the lines or verses for students to reorder, create a gapped listening task (perhaps taking out all the past participles) or ask them to translate a verse from French to English or vice versa (there are some lyrics in English.)
You can find a version of the video with the lyrics shown here, for students to check their answers.
If you're studying the holidays or free time topic, this promotional video from SNCF is a great way to expose students to some fast, authentic French in a context which will interest them: Disneyland Paris.
Write the figures listed below up on the whiteboard in a random order and ask students to work in pairs or small groups to note them in the order that they hear them. Play the first 1 min 20 secs of the clip. An extension task could be to listen again and explain what each of the figures corresponds to. Answers below.
Les énergivOres (www.energivores.tv) is a great site for the environment topic, with short, quirky, educational animations on a range of issues. Try the clip entitled 'Les incarnés' (1min 43 secs) to show the true cost of our reliance on meat.
Below the video you will find a series of coloured tabs - click on the one entitled 'mini jeux'. The five multiple choice questions will introduce some of the key language, themes and statistics in the clip.
Students could then watch the clip, noting any numbers they hear. Once the group have shared what they heard, ask them to listen again for the significance of each figure, e.g. 100 = Les Français mangent plus de 100k de viande par an.
They could then redo the multiple choice quiz, giving more information about each of the questions from what they have heard in the clip.
This article from Muy Interesante outlining the findings of The Happiness Research Institute (yes, apparently it really exists!) would make a good authentic reading task for AS students.
You could start by asking students to mindmap ideas in Spanish around the idea of 'la clave de la felicidad'. What makes them happy? What do people need to be happy?
Show them the first paragraph of the article - is not using Facebook something that they would link to happiness?
Ask them to read the rest of the article and find out the following:
You could then discuss whether students would be prepared to try a similar experiment!
The French news site www.metronews.fr is asking readers to vote for the best cover version of Adele's new single 'Hello'. With a summary of each singer and a version of the song in French by Sara'h, here are some teaching ideas for year 12 students studying the topic of music. Thanks to @mfelstead13Mark and @OULanguages for mentioning the French cover version on Twitter.
Before the lesson, paste the five short paragraphs from the article which describe the five cover versions into Word and cut them up. These are the paragraphs with the following headings:
Show the class the start of the article, reading through only the two short paragraphs above and below the image of Adele to introduce the topic.
Give each pair of students a set of the five descriptions of the singers and ask them to read through and underline the key words which identify the style of the cover version (e.g. mélancolique, acoustique, énergique etc.).
Without showing them the video clips, explain that you will play the first 10-20 seconds of each cover version for them to match to the five singers, according to what they've read about them.
Students can then discuss in French the version they prefer and why before voting using the buttons at the bottom of the article.
We love these funny anagrams of Paris metro station names from www.thelocal.fr! These could make a fun starter or cultural activity with a twist.
Either print copies of the Paris underground map from here or ask students to find their own copy of this map online (if they have access to iPads).
Project the jumbled metro names one by one from here. Students race to find the correct name on their map. You could help them out by giving clues in French as to which area of Paris (N, S, E, W) or colour line they should concentrate on to find the answer.
Answers (once again courtesy of The Local):
Sales hell -- Les Halles
Ear op - Opéra
Ill beast - Bastille
Rude dragon - Gare du Nord
Get dealers - Gare de l'Est
Misery pad - Pyramides
Quiet, oh bible - Bibliothèque (François-Mitterrand)
Ah, eerie scalp - Pere LaChaise
Slurred vagabonds - Grands Boulevards
Dine Opulently - Pont de Neuilly
Passenger on a tram - Gare Montparnasse
A topless deliverer - Porte de Versailles
Song lyrics are essentially poems and are an engaging way to get authentic literary texts into your lessons. However, it can be hard to find suitable songs, with audible lyrics and appropriate content. Here's a great song from the German artist Xavier Naidoo, also known by his stage name Kobra. Thanks to our German Marketing Executive, Katharina Rompf, for introducing me to this singer!
Copy and past the German lyrics (available with an English translation here) into Word and remove a selection of key words to paste into a text box, depending on the focus of your lesson and ability of the group. For lower ability classes, you could leave the lyrics intact but cut up the verses for students to reorder as they listen.
You will find the YouTube video of the song here.
Students could then write their own simple lyrics or poetry, using the formula 'Du bist … ' + noun and adapting other lines of the song ('Please don't stop … -ing').
This animated video is a tongue-in-cheek look at some of the stereotypes we may have of the French, from what they wear to what they eat.
Ask students to work in groups to brainstorm what comes to mind as 'typically French' for the following categories:
Vêtements / Villes / Monuments / Français célèbres / Alimentation
Play the first 1min 35 secs of the clip and ask students to tick off any stereotypes they guessed correctly and add any more mentioned in the video.
You could then ask students to do the same for English stereotypes, before challenging how accurate these actually are!
The official video of the group Grand Corps Malade has some fantastic choreography to go with their spoken version of an updated Romeo and Juliette story. Great for AS students covering the relationships topic, but could also be used with younger students depending on the task set.
Copy and paste the lyrics from www.paroles.net into a Word document.
Choose several words from each verse to cut from the lyrics, according to the level of your class.
Paste these into a textbox at the bottom of the Word document. This can be folded behind or covered over to allow for differentiation for more able students.
Play the song with strategic pauses to give students time to complete the lyrics with the missing words.
An easier task would be to cut up the song lyrics into sections for students to re-order.
Students could then work on translating a verse each in small groups. There is a suggested English translation under the YouTube video of the song for them to compare their translations.
This short cartoon (2 mins 37 secs) is part of Mexico's campaign against smoking and is featured on the site www.familiaysalud.es. It takes a tragicomic approach to the topic of tobacco, which might appeal to students!
Ask students to watch the clip and make a list (in English or in Spanish depending on their level) of the effects of smoking which are mentioned in the video. The visual clues should help them pick out the key words.
You could also ask them to note the character's catchphrase, along the lines of 'Fuma! No pasa nada!'
Tap into the current interest in The Great Bristish Bake Off with this clip from the French version, Le Meillleur Pâtissier. Thanks to @MLMusings for the link. À vos marques, prêts, pâtissez!
As the French is so fast, try getting students to write the nine words below into a bingo grid to tick off as they go, making this more accessible to younger students.
du partage une grande première en famille
la pression un grand concours national gâteaux
mes enfants techniques chaque semaine
There are lots of interesting, authentic resources for the healthy living topic on the Spanish site www.familiaysalud.es (thanks to @icpjones on Twitter for mentioning this source).
You could use the audio recording on the 10 commandments of healthy eating page and ask sudents to jot down the key ideas for each of the 10 recommendations.
Then download the pdf of the poster which accompanies this for students to check their answers, find key vocabulary or translate the advice.
Plenty of inspiration for students to come up with a similar list for healthy living or exercise or to lead to a speaking task about which of these bits of advice they already/should put into practice.
This round-up of interesting events in September is based around numbers 12 to 2,340,000,000,000! Bite-sized bits of reading on topical news events are linked to different numbers, making this an engaging task for AS or A level German students.
Put the following numbers on pieces of card for students to choose: 12; 31; 33; 50; 67; 81; 135.000; 900.000; 1.400.000; 3.500.000; 13.000.000; 20.100.000; 48.700.000; 2.000.000.000; 2.340.000.000.000.
They then scroll down to find their number and work out the gist of what that number relates to.
If they have time, they can take another number card.
At the end of the allotted time, students share the interesting number facts they have understood.
This also gives good revision of saying larger numbers in German!
Students could then write a similar round up of events that interest them.
Paris sans voiture? Quelle bonne idée!
27 September will be a 'car-free' day in Paris, and although this restriction will only apply to certain zones, it will certainly make crossing the road in the French capital a lot less stressful. For A level students tackling the topic of transport and the environment, this research task could inspire some discussion.
The official website for this event, www. parissansvoiture.fr/fr, is the best place for students to start, with the homepage slider images giving a snapshot of what the capital will be like on this day. They can then head for the 'Notre projet' tab to find out more about the event. Some prompt questions below.
This interesting article about the use of household waste to create fuel in the Republic of Cameroon would make good reading for A level groups studying the energy topic.
Ask the students to create a flowchart using an app or a PowerPoint showing the various steps in the process of this project, dubbed 'Kermit-Ecology'.
For example the first three steps in the process might read:
This article about the healthiest country in Europe is from www.muyinteresante.es and could tie in to the topic of healthy living. Spain may have problems to face, but at least the Spanish have the highest life expectancy in Europe!
Write the title question on the board (¿Cuál es el país más sano para vivir en Europa?), and invite students to give as many suggestions in Spanish as they can.
Next, write the Spanish for Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, France and Sweden around the board and ask students to work with a partner to note these in order of healthiness, with the healthiest country at the top of the list.
Project the answers from the bottom of the article (numbered from 1-6) for them to compare with their lists.
Can students work out the difference between the two ages cited, i.e. average healthy life span vs. total life expectancy?
Ask them to suggest why Spain came at the top of the list. Then scroll up to the third paragraph of the article and see if students can pick out the factors mentioned (a healthy Mediterranean diet, a warm climate, more likely to go for walks).
The summer sales are still underway here in the UK, but not across the channel! France's official website, www.france.fr offers a fascinating insight to many aspects of French life and culture, including fashion. This page dedicated to the summer sales would make interesting reading for fashion conscious bargain hunters in your AS classes. Use it as a starter activity, extension or homework task to encourage students to tackle authentic texts.
Project the article and ask students to find the following information. Answers given below.
1. What is different about the sales in France, compared to the UK?
2. Find the French for: bargains, big chains (major retailers), seasonal sales, start (noun).
3. Explain the meaning of 'les ultramarins' (start of the last paragraph) in this context. Read the whole paragraph for clues (it's not a colour!).
4. Does this seem a good system to you? Explain why / why not in French.
1. The dates of the summer and winter sales are set across the country over a period of six weeks, although there are some slight regional variations.
2. Bonnes affaires, grandes enseignes, soldes saisonniers, démarrage.
3. French departments overseas, e.g. Guadaloupe, La Réunion, Martinique etc.
The Tour de France runs from 4-27 July this year and is an interesting cultural and sporting topic for students to find out more about. As the end of term approaches, why not get students to work in groups and do their own research on the Tour?
This short Paris Match story is about two new entries for the Guinness Book of Records with the world's largest surfboard and the most people on a surfboard. It's just one paragraph long and comes with plenty of pictures, making it more accessible for Key Stage 3 students studying the topic of free time/sport.
42 = the length in feet of the record-breaking surfboard.
11 = the width in feet of the surfboard.
10 = the number of seconds the surfers had to remain upright on the board whilst surfing a wave.
66 = the record-breaking number of people who managed to surf on the board.
The French government anti-bullying site (www.agircontreleharcelementalecole.gouv.fr) has a short film (1 min. 46 secs.) on this topic entitled 'Les injures'. This could be shown to students from KS3-KS5 as the language is marginal to the story and it is interesting to see how the French are responding to the rise in cyber-bullying, which many students may have experienced themselves.
Thanks to @HelenMyers for mentioning this site to the #mfltwitterati on Twitter!
This article from the BBC Mundo site highlights a complaint about the model used in the Yves Saint Laurent advert above. AS students studying the health or media topic might find this an interesting starting point for discussion.
Students can watch a range of German children's TV programmes on www.tivi.de. Here's an idea on how to get them started!
To encourage students to practise reading the programme titles and descriptions, ask them to browse the listings on the Tivi Mediathek page to find the best programme for the following people (possible answers in brackets).
As a homework task, you could ask students to choose one short programme to watch. Ask them to write a short summary of what they understood, what the programme was about and their opinion of it.
Give students the web address, www.la-recharge.fr, without any further clues! Ask them to browse the site and find answers to the following questions (answers provided below). They can find the answers in the order of the questions by clicking on the relevant headers at the top of the web page or by scrolling down the site.
The homepage of the Spanish magazine site www.muyinteresante.es has a slider of eight or nine news headlines with pictures, which are regularly updated. These are ideal for a quick translation activity for KS4-5 as a way to make authentic news very accessible. Check before the lesson that the themes of the news items are suitable for your students before projecting them!
With Iron Man 3 coming to cinemas at the end of this month, it's a good time to tap into the hype and use the French version of the film trailer. Use this as a fun end to a lesson or tie it into the topic of free time. The suggested task below would make this an accessible clip for KS3 or KS4 students.
J'ai une petite amie géniale.
De temps en temps je sauve le monde.
Il faut neutraliser le Mandarin.
Vous ne savez pas qui je suis.
Je dois protéger la seule chose qui m'est essentielle, et c'est vous.
Je vais vous offrir un choix.
Vous n'êtes pas un homme, vous n'êtes qu'un psychopathe.
Vous ne me faites pas peur.
On a besoin de renforts.
Ça, c'est ton problème.
This article on Germany's need for immigrant workers appears on the Deutsche Weller site (Germany's international broadcaster) and an English summary of it is also available on the site. Both would make good reading material for A2 students working on the topic of immigration.
This short French video clip (1m. 42s.) from www.1jour1actu.com makes a good introduction to gender equality for AS level students. The authentic language is fast but the animation helps illustrate the key ideas. The first 33s. can be played as an introduction to the topic, before completing the activity below, which is based on a 30 second extract from 45s. to 1m.15s.
Divide the class in half and ask one group to brainstorm stereotypes (les idées toutes faites) for boys and one group to do the same for girls. They should think about which 'loisirs' and 'métiers' seem to be 'reservés aux garçons / aux filles' in society.
They could complete the sentences below (which are taken from the video clip itself) with several ideas of their own. Once each group has read out their completed sentences to the other, the extract from 45s. to 1m.15s can be played to compare their ideas with those of the video clip.
On a du mal à imaginer que les filles soient fortes en …
ou qu'elles s'éclatent avec …
et que certaines filles choissisent de devenir …
On a du mal à croire que les garçons puissent aimer …
ou s'intéressser à …
et que certains garçons rêvent d'être …
Video clip answers
On a du mal à imaginer que les filles soient fortes en maths ou karaté ou rugby /
et qu'elles s'éclatent avec les jeux vidéos d'action /
et que certaines filles choissisent de devenir pilote de chasse, conductrice de rue, chef d'entreprise, Présidente de la République.
On a du mal à croire que les garçons puissent aimer lire des romans d'amour /
ou s'intéressser à la mode ou faire de l'équitation /
et que certains garçons rêvent d'être instituteur, infirmier, secrétaire, danseur ou homme au foyer.
Deutsche Weller, Germany's international broadcaster, has a photo feature on its culture pages about 10 German terms of endearment, with explanations in English. Here's a suggestion on using these 10 words as a vocabulary / thinking skills starter activity when teaching the relationships topic with GCSE or AS classes.
Put each of the German words below onto cards, with enough copies for each group of four or five students to have one set of 10 word cards:
Challenge the students to work out the one connection between all the words. To do this they should start by working as a group to write an English translation of each word on the cards. They can use (online) dictionaries in a race against other groups / the clock. The first group to correctly guess that the theme is something to do with 'words you might call your girlfriend or boyfriend' wins!
Show the class the 10 photos and explanations of each term of endearment here so that they can check their answers.
This short video clip (1m. 42s.) from www.1jour1actu.com gives a good overview of why Facebook is not suitable for children. The engaging animation supports comprehension and it could be used effectively with AS French students as part of the technology topic.
Play the first 10 seconds of the clip and pause it, leaving the question on the screen: Pourquoi Facebook est-il interdit aux moins de 13 ans? Ask students to work in small groups to jot down as many reasons for this as they can in French. Share all their ideas as one list on the whiteboard.
Play the clip for the first time without pauses, asking students to identify how many of the points which they thought of are also mentioned in the clip. Discuss this at the end, ticking the points which were mentioned on the whiteboard list.
Play the clip again, with regular pauses for students to make notes about anything they can understand, including key words. This is probably best done in English, depending on the ability of the group or of individual students. Although the French is native-speaker speed, the animations do help with the main ideas and some of the language.
Add these ideas to the whiteboard list, translating them back into French as a group if necessary. Ask students to use this list of ideas and take turns in pairs to talk for 1 minute about the title question. More able students should go first, allowing others to re-use the same language (you should make it clear that it is ok to repeat phrases as well as add their own).
Finally, you could ask students to write a brief comment on the topic, in the style of the ones on the site, under the video clip: 'Ecrire un message'. These could then be typed in and posted.
Use the Spanish version of ‘Bailando’ by Enrique Iglesias to motivate students to improve their listening. The whole song lasts nearly five minutes so use the lyrics from just the first 2m 5s to make this a more manageable task.
Copy and paste the lyrics below for the first part of the song into a Word document. Cut the underlined words in bold from the lyrics and paste them in a random order into a text box at the bottom of the Word document, leaving the gaps. More able or advanced students may be able to complete the gaps without the prompt words. Print and copy. Check that you can play the YouTube video in school and, if not, ask your IT department to ensure it is not blocked.
Play the video of the song as the class come in to engage their interest. Explain that listening to Spanish songs is a great way to improve their listening skills and vocabulary.
Hand out the gapped lyrics and play the start of the song with as many pauses as needed. It's best to avoid showing the video again at this point so that students can concentrate on completing the worksheet.
Check answers and play the whole video again. Depending on the age and enthusiasm of your students, you may be able to persuade them to sing along (or at least encourage them to do this at home) as this will also benefit their pronunciation.
Enrique Iglesias: Bailando (Español)
Yo te miro y se me corta la respiración
Cuando tú me miras se me sube el corazón
(Me palpita lento el corazón)
Y en un silencio tu mirada dice mil palabras
La noche en la que te suplico que no salga el sol
(Bailando, bailando, bailando, bailando)
Tu cuerpo y el mío llenando el vacío
Subiendo y bajando (subiendo y bajando)
(Bailando, bailando, bailando, bailando)
Ese fuego por dentro me va enloqueciendo
Me va saturando
Con tu física y tu química también tu anatomía
La cerveza y el tequila y tu boca con la mía
Ya no puedo más (ya no puedo más)
Ya no puedo más (ya no puedo más)
Con esta melodía, tu color, tu fantasía
Con tu filosofía mi cabeza está vacía
Y ya no puedo más (ya no puedo más)
Ya no puedo más (ya no puedo más)
Yo quiero estar contigo, vivir contigo
Bailar contigo, tener contigo
Una noche loca (una noche loca)
Y besar tu boca (y besar tu boca)
Yo quiero estar contigo, vivir contigo
Bailar contigo, tener contigo una noche loca
Con tremenda nota
If your students are struggling with German pronunciation, challenge them to improve by using this web page: 10 German words non-Germans can't pronounce. They may be reassured to know that they can in fact learn to pronounce these words and that Germans also find certain English words difficult to say.
Apparently 'squirrel' is particularly tricky, as a short extract from this entertaining YouTube video (10 Germans try to say the word 'squirrel') will demonstrate. You could play this clip at the start of the lesson and ask students to guess the lesson objective. Equally, most native English speakers have trouble with the German word for 'squirrel': Eichhörnchen. Pesky things, squirrels …
Copy the following 10 words into a Word document and cut them up, making enough copies for each student to have one word card:
Streichholzschächtelchen, Brötchen, Eichhörnchen, Zwanzig, Frucht, Regisseur, Schlittschuhlaufen, Rechtschreibung, Happy, Röntgen.
Ask them to find out what their word means using a dictionary, app or site like www.wordreference.com.
Students should try saying their word out loud to a partner. Get some feedback on how confident they feel about their pronunciation – or not!
Project the web page 10 German words non-Germans can't pronounce and explain that they are going to do some concentrated pronunciation work.
For each of the 10 words given on the site, ask the students who looked up that word to explain its meaning to the class and how they think it may be pronounced. Then click on the word on the site to hear the correct pronunciation by a native speaker. The class can listen and repeat each word until they feel more confident.
As a plenary, ask all students to circulate with their word card from the start of the lesson to play 'quiz, quiz, trade'. They should hold up their word card to another student and ask for the meaning of the word and its pronunciation. They can correct or help as needed. They then do the same for the card held by their partner before swapping cards and finding new partners to quiz and trade cards with.
For a creative homework activity, students could record a video or make an animation of themselves saying tricky German words with their best accents.
Copy and paste the text into Word, enlarge the font, photocopy onto A3 and cut up the paragraphs and four headings.
Ask students to work together in small groups at the front of the class to decide which heading each paragraph should be under. Compare and discuss.
Students can then return to their desks. Give the whole text with the imperative verbs cut out and pasted into a box at the bottom of the document.
The text can then be completed and translated as a group, providing a springboard for work on the imperative.
This multiple choice quiz is designed to work out which sport best suits you, according to your personality and interests. It would make a good reading task for Spanish AS students starting the topic of sport within the healthy living context. It could also be a good homework or extension task for high-ability GCSE students.
Create a QR code for the page above so that students can quickly find the test on their phones.
Introduce the activity using the text below the picture on the first page of the test. Work through each of the eight questions as a class, with students making their individual responses to each question before moving on to the next. New vocabulary can be translated and noted in the process.
When students have completed the multiple choice questions ask them to copy out and translate the personalised advice given at the end. This can then be shared with a partner or the class. What recommendations were they given about the kind of sport which would suit them? Do they agree or disagree and why?
Apparently nearly 50,000 texts are sent each minute worldwide so why not challenge your class to learn how to text in French? This guide to French texting will teach your students some common words and expressions as well as the text abbreviations.
As a starter write a text-style message in French to see if your class can decode (and then translate) it. Direct them to the page ‘comprendre le langage SMS des ados’ to look for what the abbreviations represent. You could try:
Slt koi 2 9? Rdv 2m1 a 18h. rstp! (Salut, quoi de neuf? Rendez-vous demain à 18 heures. Réponds s’il te plaît.)
G bcp d’NRJ today :) (J’ai beaucoup d’énergie aujourd’hui – j’en suis content/e)
The students could then work in groups to write their own French text messages, using the webpage for support and ideas. These could then be passed to another group to decode into standard French and then to the next group to translate the message into English. Alternatively, they could just get their phones out and text each other directly!
The German Post Office, Deutschepost, offers a Christmas Post service so that children can send their wishlist to Santa and get a personal reply. This could be a great stimulus for some festive writing, adaptable for any Key Stage, with the potential for a German letter in response.
Play all or part of the Deutschepost video clip (it runs for 3m. 12s.) which shows children preparing their wishlists to send to Father Christmas and celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Himmelpfort Christmas post service. Can students get the gist of what the clip is about? They could also listen out for what presents German children are hoping for this year.
Students could use the Christmas Post page to find out as much as they can about how this service works (e.g. where should they send their letters and what the deadline is). They could then write their own wishlist of presents in German or their own letter to Santa, which they could actually post if they would like a reply (although the deadline is the 22 December!).
An authentic article about the opening of the world's biggest roller coaster, which is sure to appeal to KS3 and KS4 students studying the topic of free time. Play the video clip (which appears half-way down the article) as students enter the classroom for guaranteed engagement – it's fairly terrifying!
Copy and print the text for students to read (or create a URL code to enable them to access the article on their iPads, if available).
Give each pair of students five cards, each with one of these numbers on: 4, 105, 170, 200, 2017. Students race to identify the significance of each of the numbers in the text, noting this in English (or Spanish, according to the ability of the group). As they do not need to understand every word, this can be a quick activity which makes an interesting text accessible to them.
Answers (in order of appearance in the text):
The abridged version of Julos Beaucarne's poem below would appeal to KS3 students learning countries and nationalities, adjective agreement or possessive adjectives. A powerful and accessible way to celebrate our multicultural society!
Copy the poem below, cutting the nationality words and putting them in a box at the bottom of the page to create a gap-fill activity. Encourage students to think in terms of their grammatical knowledge as well as their cultural awareness when choosing the correct words to fill the gaps.
Students could then use this as a springboard for creating their own poems with a similar pattern, perhaps finding out where their own possessions or favourite dishes originated and doing a 'mon/ma/mes' version.
The little video clip on the bottom right-hand corner of this webpage complements the article about the use of technology in German schools and could be used for AS students. The images support comprehension and more able students can be encouraged to note key German words as well as the English answers if they can. The whole clip lasts 1m21s and is best broken into the segments suggested below.
Possible questions (with answers):
0m – 14s What will be the difference between today's schoolchildren and those of the future?
(In the future children will have lighter schoolbags as they will no longer need heavy books and folders but just a pen, some paper and a tablet.)
14s – 42s What are some other benefits of these changes for students and teachers?
(Students can download books and exercises and learn vocabulary, for example in English. Teachers, like the Maths teacher shown, can create video and animations to demonstrate teaching points and think that it's cool!)
42s – 52s What are the problems with this new technology for schools?
(The gadgets and software are quite expensive and only a few schools can afford them. It would not be very fair if some schools provided the equipment and others didn't.)
52s – 1m05s Would using videos for Chemistry be a good idea, according to this clip?
(Probably not, as students learn better when actively learning rather than just watching a video. Also Chemistry would be boring without real experiments!)
This Spanish interactive multiple-choice test will assess just how addicted your students are to their mobiles. Expect the worst!
If your students have access to iPads, iPhones or computers they could do this activity as part of a lesson on technology or addiction, whether at GCSE level or AS level. It will probably demonstrate quite effectively that most of us are addicted to something!
Students needing more support can use an online dictionary like www.wordreference.com to help them understand the ten questions and translate the personalised analysis at the end.
Alternatively the test could be set as a homework task with a summary of the feedback required as evidence, perhaps with a written reply in Spanish to indicate whether the student agrees with the test results and why.
To enable them to easily access the site, create a QR code for them to scan with their iPad or phone by pasting in the link to the site (http://test.doctissimo.es/test-salud-y-bienestar/test-vida-sana/eres-dependiente-de-tu-movil.html) to a free QR generator such as this one: http://www.qrstuff.com/.
This article from Jeune Afrique about the 'Afrique Stop Ebola' song would be a serious and compelling cultural starter for GCSE or AS French students studying the topic of health. It's a public service announcement with a difference …
Project the first two paragraphs of the article for students to read as they come in to the lesson. Ask them what the article is about: who, what, where, why etc. Key vocabulary to pick out might include: afin de, sensibiliser, conseils, arrêter.
Copy the lyrics below (for the first two minutes of the song only) into Word and delete words of your choice for students to complete whilst listening. If you have time, play the rest of the song (5m37s) so that they can hear the mixture of other African languages (malinké, lingala, bambara, soussou) and some French rapping. The overall message is a positive one: Ebola … nous te vaincrons.
L'Afrique est pleine de tristesse, de voir nos familles mourir.
Ne touchons pas nos malades, ne touchons pas nos mourants.
Tout le monde est en danger, les jeunes et les anciens.
Il faut agir pour nos familles.
Ebola, Ebola, invisible enemy.
Ebola, tu es notre ennemi.
Si vous vous sentez malade, les docteurs vont vous aider.
Je vous rassure, les docteurs vont vous aider.
Et il y a de l'espoir d'arrêter Ebola.
Aies confiance aux docteurs.
Ebola, Ebola, aies confiance aux docteurs.
Ebola ce n'est pas bon: allez voir le médecin.
Ebola ce n'est pas bon: allez voir le médecin.
Ebola fait du mal, il faut voir le docteur.
Ebola ce n'est pas bon: allez voir le médecin.
Ebola, Ebola, invisible enemy.
In France, thanks to a road-safety campaign, the designated driver (who opts not to drink when going out with a group of friends) is universally known as ‘Sam’. The Sam homepage, www.ckisam.fr, has lots of great links for the AS level topic of alcohol or for a light-touch cultural aside to the GCSE topic of health.
On the Sam YouTube channel you’ll find a series of five 30-second videos, each giving one ‘bonne raison d’être Sam’ using a short slogan in the simple future tense. Try using them as a series of starters in which students translate the reason given before watching the clip.
For homework, students can find out more by exploring the Sam homepage themselves and making notes on their own reading/listening and new vocabulary encountered. They could also follow the simple French instructions to personalise a Sam video using a photo of themselves or of a friend.
This German article about the joys and perils of social networking would tie in well to the AS topic of communication technology.
Start with the summary box at the bottom of the article entitled Auf die Schnelle - wichtige Tipps für das Surfen in sozialen Netzwerken. Students could discuss whether they follow the advice and give examples of the problems which can occur otherwise.
To help students access the whole article, you could try dividing the class into three groups and giving each group one of the longer paragraphs to work on. By becoming ‘experts’ in their section of the text (looking up vocabulary and writing a summary in English) they can then share this knowledge with the other groups to get a complete picture of the article’s content.
Taking her love for Twilight character Edward Cullen (played by Robert Pattinson) to extremes, Lauren Adkins has actually married a cardboard cut-out of her idol. This article would make an interesting introduction to the GCSE context of relationships or the AS level topic of marriage/partnerships.
Put the verbs below on the whiteboard and ask students to write them down in the order they think these actions should happen, before discussing their answers with a partner:
Tenir hijos, enamorarse, casarse, encontrarse, admirar, comprometerse, salir, convivir.
Project the image from this news article and invite students to speculate on the content of the story.
Divide the class into two halves and scroll down to show the first two paragraphs of the article.
One half of the class should work in groups to translate the first paragraph into English and the other should do the same with the second, using dictionaries if necessary.
Ask students to stand up and find a partner from the other half of the class to share their translations and the meanings of any words they have looked up.
More able students may like to read the end of the article as a class, discussing what they have understood.
This video would be a good introduction to the French A2 environment topic as it outlines very clearly the causes and effects of climate change. The graphics and labels in the video make this far easier to understand than it might first appear.
Try setting this as a homework task so that students can pause the video whenever it suits them to make notes. You might like to ask different students to focus on any or all of the aspects below when watching it:
Here's an interesting starter for German A2 students studying the environmental topic: a video about the effects of global warming on walruses in Alaska.
Set up the video to play mute on full screen (so the title and commentary doesn't give the game away), making sure you set it up so that it plays after the advert. While it runs, invite the students to speculate about what animals they can see, how many of them they think there are, what might be happening in the video and why.
Answer: 35,000 walruses gathered on the beach due to the lack of available pack ice as global warming has an impact.
Play the clip again with the sound for students to check their predictions and make more detailed notes. The accompanying article could be given for additional reading practice.
This slideshow version of Jérôme Ruillier's book 'Hombre de color' puts the basic vocabulary of colours into a much more interesting context for students. Based on a story-poem passed down from generation to generation in the African oral tradition, this humourous book challenges racism and prejudice.
Show the first slide and ask students to suggest which Spanish colour words they think the story will include. List these on the board and tick them off as you come across each one.
Read out the text of the slide 2 in Spanish and translate it into English yourself. Then read the text on slide 3 and ask students to translate it into English.
Continue in the same way, giving more or less support with the translation of the first slide in each pair depending on the ability of your group. Reading it out with some actions will also help the class.
The students should be able to translate the 'punchline' on the final slide themselves.
This short report about France's first cooperative wind-farm would be ideal for A2 French students studying the environment topic. The extract runs from 1m 42s to 3m 34s of the programme Coup de Pouce pour la planète on TV5.
To practise listening for the significance of various numbers and figures, put each of the numbers below on a card and ask students to listen out for each figure and put them in the order that they hear them. Listen again with pauses as needed so that they can note what each number relates to.
Here are the numbers and their significance in the order they are mentioned:
1,000 = les personnes qui ont investi dans le parc.
€5,000 = la somme investie par la famille Duquet.
10 ans = le projet a commencé il y a plus de 10 ans.
10,000 = les habitants dans le canton de Bégannes.
4 = il y a 4 éoliennes dans le parc.
20 million = de KWH par an sera produit.
4% = l'intérêt annuel que l'investissement devrait rapporter.
20 = nouveaux projets coopératifs sont déjà lancés.
A quick reading activity about an injured dog who learned how to bounce though doors on its back legs as a result! Save the 15 second video showing the dog in action as a reward for your students' efforts at reading.
This could be the perfect way to ensure students give you their total attention – just follow the example of this make-up artist with a difference.
Use this article as a quick and intriguing starter for a lesson on just about any topic (make a tenuous link to nationalites, parts of the body, jobs or TV shows if you must!).
How creative can you get with an ice-cream? This artist's pictures are so good, you wouldn't mind your lolly melting.
1. What can your students find out about this original artist?
2. Ask students to discuss in Spanish whether they like his art and which picture they prefer.
Listen to native speakers from different regions of France (and beyond) answer the same question: D'où est-ce que vous venez?
Play part or all of the clip (full length is 3 minutes 37 seconds), depending on your students' level of ability. Ask them to note down the names of the speakers and their family members, their home town(s) and any other words they understand (e.g. the frequent use of the word 'voilà' at the end of introductions).
The importance of a good baguette cannot be underestimated …
Two fascinating maps of France showing the most popular names by region for boys and girls since 1946. The maps each have a slider along the top to allow you to adjust the date and see how the trends have changed.
Starter: Ask the class if they know last year's most popular names for babies in the UK (Oliver for boys and Olivia for girls) and what they think the most popular names might be this year.
Pre-reading task: Students work in groups to write down as many French first names as they can, perhaps dipping into their textbooks if inspiration is needed!
Maps: Project the maps and show the most popular names in 1946 and 2011 by moving the slider from left to right. Students could take turns to say a date in French while a volunteer listens and moves the slider to the right point.
Reading: Choose one of the paragraphs analysing the changing trends and ask students what they can understand. For example, the paragraph headed 'La mode américaine'.
Plenary: Show the two animated maps at the bottom of the linked webpage, which run through all the changes automatically. Close the screen and ask students to say as many French first names as they can to their partner.
Wish you'd booked your summer holidays in Germany? You will when you read this article about the weather in other European holiday destinations!
Starter: project just the title, subtitle and photos for this article by minimising and resizing the webpage. Ask students to translate or explain what the article is about.
Vocabulary race: students work in pairs to write down as many weather words and European country names in German as they can in a given time. You should do the same and then call out your answers. Anyone who has the same word as you scores one point. Anyone who has written a correct word which you hadn't thought of scores two points.
Photos: click on the link to the Fotos and scroll through slowly (keeping the description of each photo – which below the image – hidden initially). Ask different students to say a sentence about what they can see in each image. They could describe the weather, people, mood, possible location, activities. You could show the photo descriptions to see if they guessed the locations correctly.
Reading: if they'd like to know more about the weather in one particular location, you could project that section of the article and set a short time limit for them to get the gist or write brief notes.
An intriguing video clip about a lake which has recently appeared in the Tunisian desert as if by magic … but with a disturbing twist in the tale.
This 50-second clip gives the story with three short bits of text.
1. Play the clip and pause it at 12 seconds. Ask students to read and translate the first bit of text:
Un lac est apparu comme par enchantement non loin de Gafsa dans le sud de la Tunisie au début du mois de juillet.
Ask them some questions in French about what they can see (the weather, what people are doing etc), elicit their opinions of the lake and whether they would like to visit and swim there.
2. Play the next section of the clip and pause it again at 30 seconds. Ask students to read and give the gist of the next bit of text:
Ce point d'eau en pleine zone désertique fait le bonheur des populations avoisinantes mais inquiète les autorités.
Ask some more questions about why the locals are happy and invite speculation about why the authorities might be worried (in English or in French according to the level of your students).
3. Play the next section of the clip and pause it again at 38 seconds. Ask students to read and translate the next bit of text:
L'eau de ce lac, dont l'origine reste à préciser, pourrait être radioactive, du fait de la présence de gisements de phosphates.
Ask students to explain the problem and give their thoughts on this.
Still want to go there? Maybe not …
Another great reason to go to Spain: they've invented an ice cream which changes colour as it melts and doesn't even contain E numbers! Read all about it here.
Starter: go to the article and minimise the webpage so that just the picture of the flashing ice cream is projected. Ask students to come up with Spanish vocabulary for ice cream flavours, encouraging them to invent some interesting flavours of their own using a dictionary. Ask them to predict what the article might be about.
Reading: expand the projected webpage of the article to include the title and the first paragraph and ask students to give you as many details as they can about this product.
Extension: for more challenge, scroll down the article to include the second and third paragraphs either side of the purple ice cream cone. Possible activities:
Creative writing: ask students to invent a new food product of their own and describe it. They should include its brand name, flavour(s) and USP (Unique Selling Point) and the reaction of those who have tried it.