Saturday, 22 May 2010

Year 9 comes up trumps!

After the lessons we did recently on Apollinaire's shape poems - "calligrammes "- I set my lovely Year 9 class the homework of coming up with their own poems - a re-working of Apollinaire's poem Automne (which some of them managed very well) or making a calligram of their choice.

Here are a few of the results on my classroom wall. We used two lessons, we read the Automne poem and analysed it, then discussed how they could adapt it easily to another theme and then we went on to look at more Apollinaire calligammes, particularly the Eiffel Tower shaped poem, which is a rallying cry against the
Nazi invasion of Paris. 
One pupil changed it into a celebration of Paris as the capital of l'amour!

Their homework was to come up with a new poem and/or a calligramme. 
Results were mixed the following week, so I set the classroom out in groups and they took their work and compared it with each others' offerings and decided on improvements - AfL boxed ticked!! 

Katie G did a wonderful figure of Michael Jackson and turned it into a tribute to the singer.

You can see the ideas she included here. Not all of her classmates agreed with her choice but her tribute is obviously heart-felt.

Many other pupils loved the sun shape as it lends itself to short phrases and circular repeating images. Flowers were popular also, with a few very imaginative landscapes. Quality of French improved from one week to the next and pupils happily put their work up in my room.  This class has only one lesson of French per week , as the other one is German - the only way we can get them enough exposure to a couple of languages in no extra time. So WELL DONE 9a1!!

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Sunday, 16 May 2010

MFL Show and Tell at Nottingham High School, Sat 10 July

Last year I went to my first event of this kind and had a really profitable time.  Come to Nottingham if you can - Jose is a great host, the company is fab and the learning you can do in one day is second to none. It is tempting to feel that you may be overwhelmed  and feel you will be unable to say anything - all I can do is encourage you, by saying I had a very warm welcome last year, there are people of every level of experience there and we all learn from each other. Many teachers are real techie experts, presentation experts, Primary experts - all with an open, sharing, friendly presence - here is the link to Jose's site MFL Show and Tell at Nottingham High School   Others are novices and need to go over ground which is familiar to many - don't worry, you are so rewarded for taking the plunge and coming along, regardless of expertise or lack of it. Extremely relevant, up to date, on the ball, challenging, well-tailored and grounded CPD - what more could you want?! See you there.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Controlled Assessment for GCSE

A recent Linksintolanguages meeting brought over 50 concerned teachers out to a meeting at Norton Hill school near Bath to discuss all aspects of the new GCSE controlled assessments. Gosh, we are a worried bunch and real attempts at assessments are not lessening our worries.

Peter Spain MFL Advisor for BANES  spoke in the Plenary and then we broke into Exam board groups.
Discussions covered the how, when, how long and wherefores of the process we deal with now.  We are all struggling with the design of Assessment topics, although I feel we are doing it well. The main angst is caused by the slightly bizarre rulings on management of preparation time - those of you in the middle of Year 10 assessments will know exactly what I mean. Teachers don't like to be rendered incompetent by so much change!

Peter and the team at Norton Hill very kindly put his and other presentations on the BANES wiki - here is the link

The only road to comfort if you are picking up a new class in September is to make sure you understand the importance of teaching the class to build up a bank of useful material as they go along including good paragraphs which you have marked for them. They need to know that everything you cover is important for them but without you betraying what the eventual assessment task will be - "prepare yourself for something you don't know about yet "   - it feels very odd but it's the only way to do it.
Our stronger pupils will cope as they always do but I feel that the new GCSE will make life on the C/D borderline very much harder and lower ability pupils are not coping at all. Do you agree?