Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Guten Morgen Frau Wylie!

You know when it's going well, when your students shout at you in the TL from all angles as they are passing!  This is the language I love!  I also love the language you hear when you least expect it in lessons.  For example, something last lesson made of one my Year 7 pupils say under his breath: 'Das ist nicht fair!".  I giggled inside because I wondered if he had realised he was complaining in German?  When it becomes normality to speak in German in a German lesson and French in a French one, you've got it.  If they are speaking with each other in the TL, that's even better.

Along with all my routines in my lessons, their own use of spontaneous language is rewarded by the giving of small sticky dots, which they collect on a grid in the back of their books.  Once they have 5, they can claim a merit.  There is usually a race at the start of the lesson for someone to ask 'Darf ich meinen Blazer ausziehen?' before anyone else, because they know that copying someone else saying it won't cut the mustard; it has to be spontaneous.  I know it isn't completely spontaneous, but it has that feel of real communication for the sake of actually needing to communicate, rather than learning the words needed for the lesson objectives, then switching to English for the general running of the lesson, which is, in my opinion more false!  It's all about creating the right atmosphere, or as my wonderful and inspiring ex PGCE tutor, James Burch used to say, it's about 'suspending reality'.

Come to think of it, I should be rewarding them for shouting at me in German in the corridor; this is the ultimate example of spontaneous TL.  Pass me the sticky dots...

Friday, 3 October 2014

I love teaching mfl!

Yesterday was one of those days filled with highs and lows. However, the highs definitely outweighed the lows. I have previously blogged about the register routine and pupils asking if they can time etc. When we have done the register and have recorded the time, we then discuss what we thought of the time it took and when the pupils get more adventurous and I feed them more language, or they refer to my language mats, they are able to string together some rather lovely responses. This was highlighted by several pupils in another class in year 8 trying so hard to tell me what they thought of how it went. I have introduced a phrase of the week, which just happened to be 'meiner Meinung nach...' this week. So there were many attempts, which were great but one girl tried extremely hard and had obviously been thinking about this sentence for a while. She let everyone else have their say, then stuck her hand up. When I chose her, she said with real determination and with all the words in the right order: "Meiner Meinung nach war das besser, obwohl es nicht so schnell war.", for which she earned 5 teampoints and an impromptu round of applause from the class - priceless!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Perfect tense through classroom language

I have blogged before about setting up language for future use and at the moment we are using the perfect tense as part of our ever growing register routine. Its logical really and a natural progression. Here's what we do at the start of every lesson: first the pupils ask if they can do the register, points, stopwatch.  Darf ich die Namensliste machen? Darf ich die Zeit stoppen? Darf ich die Punkte zählen? The register is then taken, using @ClassDojo on my tablet, while I take it on SIMS; the time is taken and points are given for pupils saying 'Nicht hier'. Afterwards, we keep a record of who has done what. I have a chart on a smartboard notebook, which is where we record this. I ask 'wer hat ... gemacht?' and at the moment I am getting them to say 'ich habe die Namensliste gemacht' etc.

You might think this takes up precious time at the start of the lesson and it does, but I would argue that this is time well spent. They are using some wonderful language which will stand them in good stead in the future.