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 

Un juego que juegé cuando era joven

Heads and bodies is a game I played all of the time when I was younger or should I just say young! It involved drawing one part of the body, eg the head, then folding over your paper until only the tip of the neck can be seen, the paper is then passed onto the next person, who then draws the neck and abdomen, and so on until the “creature” is drawn. Then it is named, read aloud and the picture is revealed. Cruel and riotous fun ensues!
So I decided I could adapt this idea to practice the preterite and the imperfect
So I devised steps
Con quien
El tiempo
Comida y bebida
Cómo viaja

The categories are up to you.
Each student had to write a sentence for each heading, then folded it over and passed it on. At the end we read the stories, peer assessed and judged our favourites. For homework students have to correct it and write their story up. Very enthusiastic response from my students and I’m going to do it in German and French now too.

Ser and Estar

This is a common difficulty for all no Spanish native speakers, or learners of Spanish, when do you use “ser” and when do you use ” estar”. So this has become my challenge, my lovely Spanish teacher Carmen tried to explain it to me in Spanish, this was incredibly useful. I also then started to look in grammar books and online and I found this great picture on Pinterest. I have decided to re teach the two verbs alongside each other with people and home as the vocab topics, so that descriptions, professions, locations, size, permanent and temporary status’s can be used. John Connor a friend and advisor o has suggested I teach it using Facebook. I have tried this and it worked brilliantly. I used a fake Facebook page which students completed themselves.

http://classtools.net/fb/home/page. This website gave me the “fakebook”.



Well for this of you who know me, I am a French and German teacher, or rather I was. I can now say that I am also a Spanish teacher and I love it. Spanish is such a fantastic language and I love the place, people and culture too.
So how did this come about? Well, we didn’t have a Spanish teacher and wanted to offer it, so I got the job. I have been revising, lean ring, testing myself ever since. That was two years ago and I have just returned from a fabulous LFEE course in Spain, where I spent a week trying to speak Spanish about everything from gin and tonic to Picasso’s Guernica!
I met some wonderful people along the way, a few Scottish Spanish teachers and one from Belgium too. I can definitely say it was a very worthwhile week of my Easter holiday and my Spanish has definitely improved.




Happy new year!

Well the start of the new year and a training day to prepare for! The new Ofsted framework talks about student learning and the focus has really changed to become student ce red. Do the students demonstrate enthusiasm, confidence to experiment and “get it wrong”. Do our student learn and know how to learn independently. I think the whole PLTS or PELTS underpin this theory.

Independent Enquirers
Team Workers
Creative Thinkers
Self Managers
Reflective Learners
Effective Participators
This might be a good starting point.
My main concern is how do I teach my students to learn as ll as my subject when the children in question have already had six years of education, I need to see what primary schools are doing about this.