Easter 2015

School trip to Spain
This was my target five years ago when I started teaching Spanish for the first time and now I have achieved that goal. We had a fabulous time in Benalmadena , the weather was incredible and the setting beautiful. I booked the trip with European Study Tours and they were very helpful throughout the process. For me the best activity was the Spanish lesson at he language school with native speakers. Those guys are very skilful and to hear my pupils speaking eloquent Spanish accurately about Spanish/English stereotypes was a pleasure.
We visited Málaga for the day and the pupils loved it and fell in love, just the way I did, with this exciting and beautiful city. This is what being a teacher is all about for me, not league tables but sharing my passion for discovering the world.
On our return I received messages of thanks from parents and then stumbled across a review on Trip Advisor revising our hotel and referring to our pupils in such a favourable tone. They were impressed with our pupils and said “they were a credit to their school”. I have shared this with parents and school governors and hopefully they will let us go again, pupils are already got asking to go! Surely a good sign!






Teacher five a day

Now I’m about half way through, according to @martynreah so how am I doing? Well, I’ve probably had one of the toughest starts to a January term I’ve ever had. I couldn’t stop crying, had a throat infection, ear infection, can’t hear, started taking medication and consequently threw up every time I took the stuff! I was also ousted from my base in school so that all I had was a very big bag on wheels! Not ideal and I started to fall apart emotionally. I have had depression in the past and the big black dog is a constant fear. I know how to deal with it and have had practice unfortunately. So, I looked at my teacher 5 a day. Was I still connecting, well, yes I was and better than ever. I spoke to the correct people at work about my issues, kept it private but focused. I’m extended leadership so can’t really talk to many people at work when there is a problem. I told my head what the problems were and what the solutions would be and to be fair to him, he was very supportive and handled me well. It can’t have been easy. I also continued to speak to twitter colleagues who have been amazingly supportive. I also made sure I wrote in my diary and connected with myself.

The next step of my teacher 5 a day was being creative. I needed something I could do which gave me the creat creativity I needed without too much expense and too much time or concentration. I picked up my size twelve needles and used a lovely denim blue chunky wool to make a few very comforting cushions! The stress eased out of me and two beautiful cosy cushions ensued! It was a satisfying creation and boosted my self esteem which needed it at that point.

Now the health aspect was difficult. All I have eaten for a week is fat free yoghurt and a bit of orange. Strangely that is what I craved and managed to stomach. Everything else returned! I managed to stay physically active and did my allocated exercise bike routine although not quite as long as I wanted. I decided to ditch the antibiotics and decided to follow my body’s desire for fruit. I ate oranges, apples and raspberries for a week. I have lost 6 kilos and counting, so my positive slant is that I have done my January detox very successfully and now seem to have turned the corner and started to feel better.

I have loved the volunteer element of my teacher 5 a day and I have been doing a random act of kindness everyday. This has also allowed me to connect with new and interesting people who have helped me so much. I have carried shopping, pushed trolleys, given away bottles of whiskey, baked cakes for a neighbour, delivered a pile of logs to another neighbour who has no idea they were from , given many compliments to strangers and people I know and this has made me so much happier. It is possibly the most instant “happiness hit” of all! Better than any alcohol or drug I am sure!

Next steps eps for me now that I am half way through.

1.continue to prioritise myself as other definitely benefit

2.organise myself, give myself hat extra time to be fully organised

3. keep connecting. I love writing, who knew!

4. a creative project for me and others is at the heart of my well being. I am creative and denying creativity does not support my well being


I look forward to seeing how I develop this routine in my life and now a tool to implement with my pupils and colleagues.

Plan to achieve

How will I achieve my #teacher5aday well being? Well, I need to plan. In my teaching, I have a goal, subject success; I turn my non linguists into speakers of a foreign language. I need to apply the same planning rules to myself.

Bell task

brainstorm issues which will crop up to stop me looking after myself.

  1. me
  2. money
  3. workload
  4. staff absence in my department ..I take on too much
  5. my inability to say no
  6. my own inate laziness


i will think about how good the random act of kindness has started to make me feel. What emotions do I link to it? Joy, love, freedom, closeness to my fellow human beings, lack of alienation, a feeling of lightness and fun, excitement to see how the person will react and what my random act will be that day.


i will now take each issue and build on what I have already achieved.

How can I capture that joy, love, excitement and build it into my daily life. How can I treasure it and myself so that, money, time and laziness are but just poor feeble excuse and not worthy of my attention.

I have a success already with my random acts and I feel energised to continue.

I am connecting very well already with twitter, now to keep up the blogging. (Although I fear I have strayed into Jane Austen speak as I have just RE read PP). I think connecting with friends, old friends and family must also enter into my connect section. I will get in touch with Kate, a former PGCE student who meant the world to me. I will write letters not just the odd text.

Reflection and Review

I am already feeling calmer at the start of term. I feel valued. I am doing to myself what I do to others in my team and my classes. I must model how to look after myself to teach those around me to value me but also to value themselves

Exit ticket

What Went Well….

positive feelings

Even Better If……


I have started my journeyimage

Cheers x

Teacher well being and #teacher5aday


I am going to list my five a day.ive decided that I really need to think about my own well being. I sat in the post office today feeling rough, a bit sweaty, 45 and unfit and I looked at the motility shop…this post office is within a motility shop. There were stair lifts, scooters, commodes, walking sticks and as I sat there I thought about how terrible I had felt on the last day of term in December 2014. If I continued like that I will not make retirement age. The treadmill I am on will simply kill me. My seat in the motility post office was sobering. I have to do something to allow me to enjoy my life and to be a role model to the pupils I teach.

I have to think about my mental health, my physical health, my work life balance, in fact I probably need a good old shake up in every part of my life! I had read Martyn Reah’s fabulous posts about #teacher5aday on twitter and he has inspired me.
So here goes……
I will write my blog at least once a week and I will tweet everyday where possible
Be active
I will walk every day for thirty minutes after school
Take notice
I love taking photos, but I only seem to do this during the holidays, take my camera out with me on my walks and at the weekend, see what I can find
Keep Learning
Attend some teachmeets, I am already booked in for Solihull on 12th Feb and I am excited
A random act of kindness everyday.

I have chosen things I think are achievable and things I will enjoy. I’ll let you know how I get on. image

German versus Yoda

I think Yoda speaks in German word order! well in my head he does. I planned a lesson around this at the end of year nine when some pupils would not be continuing with German. The aim was word order, German word order that is! I started with three youtube clips of Yoda speaking in English. The class had a few tasks to do:
1. Transcribe his speech into English, I gave a gap fill.
2. Listening to the three clips, rewrite Yoda’s speeches into grammatically accurate English.
3. Create a grammar rules guide to “Yodish”
4. Evaluate the rules and creat class guide

Next step
5. Compare Yodish rules to German word order rules
6.Were there similarities? What was different?
7. Listen and work out how Yoda was dubbed in German. (There are some good blogs in this and chat rooms too)
8.Create a speech for Luke and Yoda in German or Yodish act it out rest of class, was it German or Yodish? Explain how you know
9. Plenary/reflection how has Yoda helped your German. Some very imaginative responses from the true Star Wars fans!

Tip, I let the Star Wars fans work together, their work was simply brilliant and extremely memorable! They were not all the same ability in German but this really helped with their “I have desire into the cinema to go” from then on!


Have fun x

What is your favorite prop, gadget or gizmo for teaching MFL?

I asked this question to my fellow MFLTwitterati and here is a list of their responses and mine, of course!

@josephiney83 told me about an App she likes called Bizz Bang https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/bang!-boom!-buzzer-countdown/id502450690?mt=8 …  it costs 69p and could give any MF teacher hours of fun. Use their buzzer sound effects or even record your own. Great for target language practice too.

I use a box of 30 small cuddly toys. I used them for pairs to pass to each other to chant verb endings, or vocab items or Q and A. I gathered the toys from various small children I have.known! The whole class is in pairs. One has the toy and passes it to their partner and asks   

their partner, for example, “je” and the other person catches the cuddly toy, says the verb ending, or the verb, eg suis allé and throws it back. Allows whole class participation.

I also love my light sabres. See previous post!

Dice – how can you live without them! Lots of different ways to use them

My students know exactly where my prop box is in my room. It’s three big yellow boxes full of toys, dice, bubble blowing stuff, poundland treats, masks, scraps of fabric!

I think really, it is up to you to imagine how and what you can use!!

Introducing new vocabulary

How do you do this, I try to us a variety of different methods, apart form the standard, teacher at the front – flashcard type introduction with a flashcard, prop or powerpoint!


Here are a few suggestions:

1 Use a song – Such as Alors on danse by Maestro – excellent for the GCSE topic about relationships.

  • Play the song – pick out words you recognise
  • Play song again- what is it about , hypothesize.
  • Gap fill the song
  • Have the lyrics typed out but cut into strips, reorder the strips of paper to make the song
  • Sing along to the song – optional, will depend on your group
  • Ask opinions about the song

2. If phonics are secure, give students a list of words and create teaching groups. in fours/threes, select a group teacher and start teaching each other the words in any way they wish.

3. Give students a vocab list to learn for the next lesson

4. Create an Xtranormal video, can students work out the new vocab and therefore learn it.

5. I write my own songs to popular tunes or silly very famous tunes (London’s burning), we sing the song over and over, in rounds, as a competition, with actions, then using the new vocab, write your own second verse!

6. Connect 4 and the target language rule, that students must speak TL at all times. We have a huge four in a row game on the board, all of the phrases in English, with new vocab. We play the game in teams but they cannot win unless they ask the new vocab. They eventually have to ask for the new vocab. We play it a few times, then they play the same game in pairs. 

7. Speed Reading. I prepare a text with new vocab. Students read it in pairs. First I read it to them, then they read it quietly to each other. Then we try to read it as fast as possible to each other. The aim being speed and correct pronunciation. IF they make a mistake they have to start again. I have a class set of bells, and each pair has a bell to ding when a mistake is made and a stop watch to time all readings. After ten minutes they know everything!

8. Each pair has a different text, similar them but different new vocabulary. I make sure I have an even number of pairs!!!  Once they have worked out all vocab they then have to find another pair and teach them their new vocab. If they can teach it, they know it!!




Different ways to introduce new vocabulary

There is the standard, stand at the front, use flash cards/PowerPoint/props to introduce lexical items. However, there are a myriad of other ways you can introduce vocabulary. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use a song. Alors on Danse, by Maestro, great intro to the GCSe topic of relationships, by playing the song several times and unpicking the vocab it becomes a great