Brookfield conference 27.01.12

January 27, 2012

Just returned from the languages conference at Brookfield school in Hampshire – it was a pleasure to meet with so many of you today.  As promised, I’ve uploaded the slides from my keynote address about motivation.

In the workshop sessions I talked about using the Olympic values and authentic resources;  I’ve also produced a document with links to useful sites to do with the Olympics.

If you are interested in using the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics song J’imagine just be aware that this Youtube video has some spelling mistakes in the French;  however, the images that accompany it are quite striking.   If you do a Google search for the song + paroles or lyrics there may also be some mistakes!!  The French lyrics on this video are more or less correct (although I did spot at least one typo) and it also has the English translation (albeit with one or two mistranslations!).  Of course you could always challenge the learners to spot the mistakes……

The living graph exercise we looked at was based on the life of Rick Hansen, a Canadian paralympian;  this site is in both French and English.  His biography also features on Wikipedia in both English and German.  A Living graph or Fortune line is one of a number of thinking skills strategies, along with Collective memory, which are described in more detail in the National strategies publication Leading in Learning.

The bits of text about Omega watches  in the “triggered” slide came from Wikipedia; if you are looking for text in another language, just look at the “other languages” section on the left hand side…

The Senegalese athlete, Amadou Dia Bâ,  talking about his experience of the Olympics came from the Parole citoyenne website; if you put “olympique” into the “recherche” box there are some more interesting articles on this website.  As I mentioned in the workshop the problems facing African athletes, such as the Congolese swimmers, can be an interesting starting point when thinking about equality (of opportunity) and determination, two of the Olympic values.

We also talked about using Wordles and how to use Audacity to slow down an audio file.


WWW or the wonderful world of Wordle

April 30, 2010


The image above is a Wordle of the importance statement of the MFL  programme of study.  It is a word cloud created by a free online application at  which randomizes text and displays the words according to the frequency of the words used (the more frequent the word, the bigger the word).  It has tremendous potential for use in the classroom in terms of developing language learning and thinking skills:

  1. As a starter – to introduce new vocabulary or topic.    At a simple level pupils can be given a wordle of vocabulary or text  from a new topic area and they can work individually/ in pairs/groups to identify which words they know, which ones they can guess (cognates) and which ones they need to use dictionary skills to work out.  At advanced level learners can be give a wordle of a text which they use as a starting point for a discussion trying  to predict the context.
  2. To apply their knowledge about  language to categorise the words in the wordle.  e.g. nouns/verbs/adjectives or to classify nouns by gender.
  3. As a plenary/tool for AfL – e.g. a wordle created of TL and English words which pupils have to match up or a wordle in the TL in which they demonstrate their knowledge about language  or phonics or their ability to use language creatively.
  4. To demonstrate understanding of phonics by classifying words by their phonemes/letter strings.
  5. As a revision aid – a summary of a particular topic or context or as an aide-memoire.
  6. To help pupils develop presentation and spontaneous speaking skills.
  7. To show the results of a class survey or poll or as a display.
  8. To promote creativity – pupils are challenged to create sentences/stories etc from words on a wordle.
  9. As a tool in a listening exercise – pupils cross out the words they can identify in a spoken text.
  10. To encourage self reflection (PLTS – reflective learners) and to  improve written work – the frequency count in a wordle will highlight words that can get over used e.g. “intéressant” or “lustig”.  A  wordle can also make it easier for pupils to spot their own mistakes (e.g. in the incorrect use of accents) as it breaks up the normal order of words, thus making it less likely that they will simply gloss over their mistakes.

These are just some of the few ways in which a wordle can be used and they are dead simple to create as you can see here:

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