Tag Archives: sharing


On Wednesday 17th June a group of MFL teachers got together @DowneHouse1 to connect, share ideas and learn from each other.  As I said on the night, if there was ever any doubt that Modern Language Teachers are passionate about what they do then this TeachMeet proved otherwise.  There were about 60 linguists (and representatives from other subject areas) from all sectors and all stages of education.  There was a real buzz and four days on that buzz is still there for me and the colleagues in my department.

Our CPD kicked off in style with Mark Anderson @ictevangelist providing our keynote.  Mark judged our needs perfectly and talked to us about the power of TeachMeets and sharing ideas.  Mark told us that ‘languages are a force for good’ and none of us would disagree with that.  Mark took us through some tools that we can use to develop language skills.  Tools such as Ivona.com text to speech tool, Tellagami for motivating students to speak, Post-it Plus app which has many uses not least  assessing learning.  (Read more about this app here).

@GemmaLaundon summed up the Keynote as follows:

https://twitter.com/GemmaLaundon/status/611214013997953024 I could not agree more!

However, the TeachMeet did not end there.  We were treated to a number of excellent presentations.  Jane Bradbury showed us the wonderful La Maison Claire Fontaine which looks like a fantastic place to experience French in situ.  Cheng-Han Wu (@wu_lao_shi) treated us to a two minute presentation entitled More of the Same vs Higher Order Thinking Skills.  It’s amazing what can be achieved in such a short time.   Cheng’s message was powerful and pushed home the importance of practice.

Mary Wood, @stbarts3, who wowed us all last year with some of her classroom teaching ideas and her use of memrise.com, came back to tell us about new features on this language learning website.  Setting up a department area seems like a good plan and one that we will be following through.

Then @basnettj shared her love of @GetKahoot.  It did not take long for the audience to pick up the benefits of this tool.  Before long there was a good bit of competition going on and colleagues could see that not only does this online tool bring an element of fun and competition to the class it also provides some excellent feedback. You can read more about GetKahoot here.

The perennial problem for language teachers is getting students to speak spontaneously.  Fortunately, Ali Quick, @MFLmissquick, had a few ideas to combat this issue.    Ali’s De Bono’s thinking hats and her lovely colourful mats were an instant hit.

The first half was rounded off by a virtual presentation.  Unable to make it in time from the Isle of Man Rachel Smith kindly recorded a video for us on sketchnoting.  @lancslassrach is a keen sketchnoter herself making great use of Paper by Fifty Three. Sketchnoting with classes is not something that many of us had considered but Rachel’s presentation certainly gave us all some food for thought.

Philip Montague, @get_sme,  from Microsoft,  got the second half off to an amazing start.  He spoke to us about Digital Foreign Exchange and enlisted the help of his son via Skype.  We all know the power of minecraft but seeing a young boy picking up a few words in a foreign language whilst working his way through a minecraft maze was pretty special and certainly drove home an important message for us all.    There are so many ways that this tool could be successfully exploited for use in MFL.

We then heard from @this_islanguage, @befluentBFIN, @leVocab and @vocabexpress all took a couple of minutes to talk about the opportunities provided by their online language learning tools. If you do not know them then do check them out!

Gemma Laundon, @GemmaLaundon spoke to us all about spontaneous writing activities.  Getting students to write spontaneously is always quite tricky and Gemma reminded us of some good games we could play.  Consequences definitely seems a good one to get them writing.


We were then really grateful to Anna Comas-Quinn, @AComasQuinn from the OU for sharing her knowledge and expertise on Open Educational Resources and Creative Commons. Teach Meets are all about sharing great ideas so it seems right that Anna talked to us about sharing resources.

The evening drew to a close with three great presentations.  The first from Kirsty de Groot, @phrancophilly  talked us through some fabulous ideas for the MFL classroom for use with all age groups even.  Google classroom and Edmodo are just some of the tools Kirsty mentioned.  Clearly her students are really well prepared for secondary school.

https://twitter.com/GemmaLaundon/status/611238611091095554 Kirsty’s ‘sell a teacher on ebay’ idea went down a treat.

Next up was Joe Dale, @joedale is a master at using technology in the MFL classroom and thus it was no surprise that he created a personalised talking photo story right there at our TeachMeet.  The audience were duly impressed with his brilliant Book Creator photo stories and his ideas about sharing them using Padlet.

Our evening was rounded off in style by Crista Hazell, @CristaHazell.  Crista reminded us of the need for creativity in MFL so that we can enable pupils to access the language they are being taught.

https://twitter.com/leVocab/status/611242308470734848 Crista gave us so much to think about and consider our minds were buzzing with ideas.  She talked about keeping the sparkle in our students’ eyes and gave us ideas on how to achieve this.  Crista managed to put a sparkle in our eyes too! https://twitter.com/wu_lao_shi/status/611245740053168129

The enthusiasm from Crista and all the presenters was infectious.  We proved that MFL Rocks (and so do MFL Teachers!).

We can not wait for our next MFL TeachMeet  -#DHLang15 – and have decided to break up the long wait with a multi-discipline TeachMeet in November.   If you would like to sign up for #EduDH15 you can do so by clicking on #EduDH15

We look forward to seeing you.

You can access the presentations here: Cheng-Han Wu: MOTS & HOTS Ali Quick: Be spontaneous! Rachel Smith: Sketchnoting Gemma Laundon: Spontaneous writing skills Anna Comas-Quinn: Open content and pedagogy Crista Hazell: Creativity in MFL


#DHTM ~ 4 Plenaries


So, what have I learnt this week?  Ideally, I should take just a couple of minutes to write  a few lines to sum up for you.  However, there were such a lot of good ideas that it is going to take more than just a couple of lines.  So here goes…in brief…

Best mistake?: We started with this very easy plenary.  Ask your pupils what is the best mistake they have made today and what did they learn from it? 

Tabou: With a partner or in a group of three or four play tabou.  For example if the focus has been on learning about the Great Fire of London give a description of it without mentioning the name of the event itself.

One thing you learnt: As pupils leave the class they must say one thing they learnt in the lesson.  In languages this works particularly well because you can get the pupils to formulate sentences with their new vocabulary or grammar. 

Post it note: This is one that I picked up on the twittersphere.  post itCreate some  categories or questions and display them on the board. Give pupils 2 – 7 minutes depending on your time limitations and ask them to respond to as many of the questions as possible or to supply as many key words as possible for each category.   They should write their answers on a post it note.  The winner is the person with the most correct post it notes placed on the board.  Colour post it notes are quite helpful here to highlight who has been doing the writing.  Don’t forget to get your pupils to write their name or initials at the top of the page.

Teaching Channel.org :This is an excellent website which allows you to select your specific areas of interest and your subject area.  You do need to subscribe but this takes seconds and once a week they send you ideas for your selected areas.  The ideas are handily explained via short videos.  You just need about two minutes a week… The idea that we watched was…

Stop Light Note: On the wall or board place a set of three circles (green, amber, red – hence the Stop Light Note title).  As pupils leave they should put a post it note on the green circle explaining what they learnt that day, on the amber a note that explains what they would still like to know and finally on the red circle a note which highlights what stopped them from learning.    There will be some  ready made Stop Light Notes (circles) coming soon courtesy of @vallance_ian

Answer the question: This one does what it says on the tin.  Pupils are not allowed to leave until they have answered the question.  Go further? ~ Split the class in two; questions or answers.  Those who have been allotted questions must create a question to ask a pupil in the other half of the class.  Naturally, the questions must relate to the topic of the lesson.

hindsight_poster1Hindsight board: Pupils must supply the lesson objectives to put on the board at the end of the lesson hence summing up what had been covered in the lesson.  Go further?  ~ Extra questions could be asked.  For example, is there anything else we should do on this topic for tomorrow?  Did we miss anything?  How do we build on this next time?

Odd one out/missing word: Each pupil has a short quiz on their desk to answer asking them to fill in the missing word(s) and find the odd one out.  This is particularly useful if you only have one lesson a week and time is of the essence. 

Get Kahoot : This is one we have come across before however it is worth a second look.  It is a fabulous online quiz that the pupils love and is a great way to test what they have learnt. It has the added benefit of giving you detailed feedback about your pupils’ achievements in the quiz.  Pupils need access to a tablet device or a computer to play this game.  If technology is not an option good old Show Me Boardsare also very popular and successful in providing a quick assessment of what has been attained.

Play your cards right: Provide pupils with four answers – each one on a separate card.  Ask some questions where the answer is on one of the four cards that the pupils have in their hands.  Pupils must hold up the right answer.  

Blockbusters: That well known popular quiz from the 80s.  Templates for this are readily available and the questions can be as complex or as simple as you wish. 

Jenga: Although this could be a bit time consuming it is a great game to play in the middle of a double before moving on to build on the knowledge acquired in the first lesson.  Write definitions or key terms and words on each jenga block.  Play the game of jenga in the normal way but blocks are only allowed to be re-placed when the term has been explained or defined.   Go further? ~ Get pupils to write the key terms on as many jenga blocks as possible in the last two minutes of the lesson.

Ok, so not very brief but hopefully very useful.  Do you have any more that we can add to this collection?  Let me know by leaving your response below.