Back to Basics

This all started because I was compiling some simple classroom activities from my own archives for a project for work.  Then I realised that it would be even better if I crowd-sourced some ideas and as ever, the #mfltwitterati were magnificent in sharing.

The main aim was to collect those basic, no props required, vocabulary drilling activities.  In collecting them, other simple ideas snuck in, but I decided that was absolutely fine – who’s going to complain!

I’ve separated them into four different categories to make it a little bit more manageable.  There will be errors, I’m sure, and you’ll have your own versions.  In fact, @langwitch has a Lingo Bingo all of her own and she has explained it far better than I can, so hop over to her blog and have a look yourself.

Then there’s always the issue of what to call these activities – I call it one thing in German, another in French, and that’s without regional variations!

But call them what ever you like, you’re more than welcome to them!

No props required list

Board activities list

Flash card activities list

Little prep required list

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Numbered Heads Together

Some people have been dropping hints lately that I should share a few more of my favourite co-operative learning strategies.

OK, OK I can take a hint!

Here’s one called Numbered Heads Together.  To get the most out of it, you need to seat pupils in groups of 4 and of mixed ability.  Each pupil will need a mini-whiteboard, and a pen that works 😉

  • Pupils numbers themselves 1-4 round their table, then teacher asks the question.
  • Using mini-whiteboards, pupils work individually at first to write down their best response.
  • When ready, each pupil gives a thumbs up, then all stand up.  They huddle together, discuss and decide upon the group’s best answer, then sit down.
  • Teacher rolls a die, and which ever number it lands on (1-4), that person from each group must share their answer with the class.
  • Teacher can see errors, ask pupils to explain how they reached their conclusion, ask pupils to explain errors to other groups.

Some examples of how I use this activity:

  • Give the infinitive of an unknown regular verb and ask pupils to give a particular conjugation (ie getting them to apply the rule)
  • Give a sentence in the present tense and ask pupils to put it into the past/future tense
  • Give pupils all the words required to make a sentence, and ask them to unjumble it (very good for practising correct word order in German)
  • Give four or five words or phrases, ask which is the odd one out and why (could be gender, irregular verbs, phrases in different tenses)
  • Give four or five words in the target language (the dafter the better!) and ask pupils to create a grammatically correct sentence using all of the words (they can add other words, but must still use the words you supply) eg Jupiter, hatstand, monkey, George Bush.
  • Ask pupils to write rules for a particular grammar point they have learned (good for starter or plenary).
To help me with classroom organisation, I will often prepare the questions on PowerPoint first, but it’s not necessary to do this everytime.

Rediscovering old ideas!

I’m sure this is familiar to you, but I was searching for a starter to get Year 7 going again after the Christmas break and came across my ‘Question of Sport’ picture boards in PowerPoint, useful for both starters and plenaries.

Year 7  loved it – as they were getting one point for each thing they said about the person hidden, competition was fierce to produce longer and longer descriptions!

Please feel free to take the files if you think they’ll be useful.  I’ve colour-coded the squares for different languages – all you need to do is replace the pictures or text on the slides to whatever is appropriate.

Question of … French

Question of … German

Question of … Italian