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Planning a sequence of activities. Ideas?

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Janna5, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone!
    I'm a PGCE student teaching French. My first placement was very good, great school ,Department and Mentor.
    I'm starting my second placement soon.Very excited about it :)
    I would like to have some advice on planning a lesson or to be more precise on planning a sequence of activities in a lesson.
    I know <u>it is</u> supposed to take you ages when you start teaching but the thing is, sometimes it does get ridiculous ...like 2 or 3 hours for one lesson (I was at 4h two months ago ;-P) .
    I really enjoy planning but I would like to be more efficient at it, and creative.
    So I would like to ask the French teachers to share examples of sequence of activities used in order to promote the four skills? Or at least 3 out of 4?
    For instance if you are introducing new vocabulary and you do three stage questioning with IWB first, then say a matching up activity from the IWB what would you do next?
    I know that each lesson will be different but I think that if several teachers share their sequencing of activities we could end up with a real treasure. Thank you!
  2. noemie

    noemie Occasional commenter

    I think it is a myth that you have to have all four skills in a lesson in order to teach successfully. My PGCE mentor always used to say that we needed to be very clear about what we wanted students to be able to do by the end of the lesson, and that every single activity we then did needed to support that - never mind if the textbook has different activities and things to do. For instance, I have just planned a Y8 lesson to introduce the perfect tense. Two weeks ago we revised the full conjugation of "avoir" in the present tense so that it would be fresh in their minds. My aim for my students in the lesson tomorrow is to know how to make a regular perfect tense with avoir.
    As a starter, I have given them some phrases in English and their French equivalent (all -er verbs only), and will ask them in small groups to formulate a hypothesis as to how the perfect tense is formed in French, then present it to the rest of the class. Which of the four skills is this? Vaguely reading, possibly writing, it just doesn't fit nicely in a category. Depending on how well they understand, I may then move on to a miniWB reinforcement activity, or straight into a reading exercise centered around the perfect tense, then a recap at the end. Has my lesson failed because I didn't have all four skills nicely packaged?
    Having said all this, the PGCE is about learning steps and no matter how irritating or time-consuming they may be, you will need to go through the hoops to show you are able to structure your lesson carefully. So I'd say follow the advice given by your mentor and uni tutor (they are the ones who will pass or fail you!), and then decide what to keep and what to throw away.
    Best of luck, I'm glad it's going well so far! The time-management does get better (she says, as she looks at the clock and realises it's another early night FAIL!)
  3. rosaespanola

    rosaespanola New commenter

    To reduce the time you spend planning, set yourself a time limit on how long you're allowed to faff with a powerpoint! Write down the info you need to put in it on Word first, so you can't get sucked into messing about with font colours and layout, and then transfer it to powerpoint as quickly as possible. Also don't worry about finding too many pictures - this can take ages! If you have a topic you need pictures for, find a resource on TES that you can pinch the pictures from even if you don't use the resource itself. If you click on my name and then 'Type' (on the left) and choose posters, there are quite a few sets of posters there for different topics that you could use for pictures if they're any use.
    Which brings me to another point...don't create any resources yourself until you've looked on TES to see if there's anything already there that you could use or adapt! There are hundreds of things - whenever I'm starting a new topic with a group, I have a look at the resources section and download anything I think will be useful, then I have them saved to use if I want to. I find that more efficient than looking for a specific thing just before I need it.
  4. Hello Noemie!
    It's been a while!:) I survived SE1 yaay lol
    Thank you for ur input, you are right; I will need to focus on what I want them to be able to do by the end of the lesson!
    I used to think that 5 or 6 activities are better than 2 or 3 but the truth is that quality and purpose are more important than variety !! So I will not be too hard on myself if I do not make them practice all skills everyday, seriously...it was driving me nuts lol
    Remembering that should cut my planning ;-P

    Hi Rosa, you are right TES is so useful
    I will definitely check before I prepare something.
  5. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    I think that so much depends on what the specific topic is that you're teaching.
    As others have said, don't be too concerned about a rigid division into 4 skills. A lot of the listening in a lesson may be the class listening to your questions in the TL (for example), or to other students' answers - i.e. it isn't just about listening to a listening passage. Similarly, speaking can be students responding to your questions, or choral repetition, or individual repetition, or weaving questions and answers around the class, or oral drills, or pairs games, etc.
    There are a lot of things that you can do to cut down your workload too. Think about all the different ways of exploiting a single resource - the same text can be used for presenting new vocab (in context), lots of possibilities for grammar focus, reading comp, writing (which can include things like finding vocab in the text, or adapting existing structures etc, or writing words or chunks of text in the correct sequence), listening, dictation, etc etc. Experienced teachers get used to making one resource go a long way and doing lots of different things with it, rather than having to come up with a dozen totally separate activities / resources for one lesson.
    As an example, have a look at these resources on family / brothers and sisters in French, based on a short text and a few vocab items. Obviously, you wouldn't use all of these resources, but the point of the post is to show how easily a short text can be exploited to create a range of activities. See lots of similar blogposts which give examples of exploiting texts in French and Spanish.
    And of course, you don't have to present vocab in the same way all the time. This post gives a simple example of presenting vocab in context. This is just one idea. I noticed on Twitter recently that Chris Fuller has a Google doc somewhere with lots of suggestions for presenting vocab other than in the traditional way (ie. from the front). Maybe someone else on here has a link to it?
    All of the above links are based on TaskMagic3, which requires a windows PC or laptop, and works great with an IWB or projector. There's also a free version available to PGCE students (works until the end of July 2012). If you're interested in getting this, contact me via the contact email on the TaskMagic website.
  6. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    ... and remember that each class will have a different profile of how the majority like to learn.
    Example: I teach y8 set 4 French. They have very low literacy levels in English (ie are scared of chunks of text) and very poor social skills (ie squabble all the time).
    I have also discovered that they behave far better and therefore learn better if they follow a routine.
    So, when we introduce new vocab we have a pattern which we always follow and which works for them:
    <ol>[*]L. Obj - to learn up to x new vocabulary items about y[*]write in book how many you think you will be able to learn (before they know what the words are!)[*]very simple ppt: 10 slides with illustrations of the vocab on for listen and repeat[*]10 further slides with the words on for the class to copy onto a prepared picture vocab sheet (the same images, but all on one A4 sheet with space to write[*]a wordsearch, crossword or gapfill to reinforce spellings/meaning of the new vocab (as appropriate) [www.puzzlemaker.com][*]mini plenary - how many do you think you have learnt by now?[*]Splat - pix on board (ppt in slidesorter mode [slides with writing temporarily deleted] - 2 teams - 1st to splat the right picture gets the point for their team)[*]plenary - how many do you think you know now?[*]homework: learn the words</ol>next lesson
    <ol>[*]l obj[*]start = vocab match/anagrams/code breaker/missing letters for same set of words[*]splat (very short - just to refresh)[*]listening[*]reading ex from book[*]guided writing ex from book[*]final plenary: how many of the x words do you now know after 2 lessons?</ol>However, I also teach y9 top set French and they would be rioting if I repeated a sequence like this for them as they need to feel challenged and pushed and they love variety.
    As the others say, 4 skills in 1 lesson is too much: there isn't time to do any of them in a meaningful way. I ask my dept to ensure that in KS3 they cover 4 skills in the 2-week rotation, but most of us cover 4 in a week (2 lessons)
  7. Hi

    build up a repertoire of activities, especially for KS3. You will soon realise that you very often do the same kind of activities when you introduce a new topic/new vocab.
    Look at the resources/slides you create and think how one slide can be used for several activities.

    Example : let's say you have to introduce "pets" (10 words) You have already created your one by one slides to introduce each word individually. On the following slide, put all the pictures with a number underneath. (1 to 10 or higher numbers if you want to make them revise higher numbers).
    1st activity : listening : say " un chien, c'est quel numero?" "c'est deux "
    2nd activity : listening : say 4 words and ask pupils to write down the numbers associated to each word you say on a piece of paper or ex.book. When you are finished, ask them to do the addition. One pupil gives you the 4 numbers he got as well as the result in French.
    3rd activity : speaking/listening : make sure they have practised the vocab really well. write down the words mixed up at the bottom of your slide or clone the existing slide and put the words under each picture (it takes 2 minutes to do) Ask them to do activity number 2 in pairs.
    4th activity : Reading : write down a text on a worksheet and give a copy to the pupils. Ask them to write down the numbers of the pets some people in the text may have (or may not have if you have also practised the negative)
    5th acitivity : writing : using again the same slide. Ask them to write down some sentences in which they combine different numbers. (e.g : write down a sentence with word 3 + 5). Here, you have opportunity to extend by asking them to add some connectives (et/mais) and some negative sentences.
    6th activity : clone your slide , remove the numbers, keep only 9 pictures and re-assemble the pictures in a nought and crosses grid. (you have a nice plenary! )
    Add a wordsearch or a double puzzle for re-inforcement ....et le tour est joué !
    Hope this is helpful ! .............don't spend ages preparing it is worthless !
  8. Random175

    Random175 New commenter

    You can print off the same pictures and laminate them to create matching flashcards which gives you a stimulus for yet another huge number of activities - just store them well and they will last for years and you can probably use them for two languages.
  9. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    Hello janna5. You might find it useful to read thorough my section on lesson planning at www.frenchteacher.net. It's only one view, but it is based on experience.
    After a while you will take far less time planning lessons. Do take advantage of existing resources and don't re-invent the wheel. Clich&eacute;, but true.
  10. whizzbangbang

    whizzbangbang New commenter


    Try teacheractivities.co.uk - it has a compendium of over 200 lesson activities that can be tweaked for any lesson. Hope this helps.

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