Category Archives: lesson plans

Faster French with more understanding

What are the two activities that develop pupils’ ability with French far more effectively than any other?

The answer is, as you may already know, through the use of stories and through singing.

Because both stories and songs put the French the children hear and vocalise into a full context, the words become much more meaningful and become learned as part of sets of phrases which are a part of everyday experience.

As a result, the more you can encourage the children in your class to speak French sentences and to sing in French, the more rapidly they will progress.

Which in turn is why Learn French with Luc et Sophie is such a successful approach to the teaching of the language at KS2.

Each part of the course incorporates no fewer than 14 French storybooks written at the appropriate level along with creative teaching ideas to maximise the pupils’ ability to learn to speak the language.

Each story is topic-based using simple sentences based around key vocabulary and language structures.

And then, in addition, each unit contains an original song to reinforce vocabulary.  Because the children will be happy to sing the songs over and over, the vocabulary and grammar becomes more deeply embedded within their consciousness.

Indeed, if you have ever noticed how children can pick up the lyrics of everything from nursery rhymes to popular songs you will appreciate just how incredibly powerful the rhyme and song element can be – especially when, as in this case, the songs are written to fit exactly with the vocabulary being learned.

The Learn French with Luc et Sophie course follows the Foreign Language Programmes of Study in the September 2014 National Curriculum for KS2 and is written with non-specialists in mind.  

Full details of the Years 3 and 4 course can be found here while the Years 5 and 6 part of the course is explored here.  In each case there are sample audio files of the songs and sample materials.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, How children learn, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Teaching Ideas

Practical Foundation Stage science and technology

What is the simplest way of organising and undertaking regular practical science and technology at Foundation Stage?

The answer must be to have available a multiplicity of activities in which the children can participate.

For it is only through participating in science and technology, while being guided by adults, that foundation stage pupils are able to have their curiosity stimulated while their knowledge of what science and technology are about grows at the same time.

In short, the doing of science and technology has to be the basis of learning, while the guidance and direction is also always present.

It is to answer this need to find multiple activities which give foundation pupils the chance actively to participate in science and technology, that we have published a new edition of Science and Technology for the Early Years (2nd edition).

And to show you exactly how we meet this aim of practical activities suitable for children at foundation level we have made an extract from the book available, completely free, on line.  

To see one complete project taken from “Science and Technology for the Early Years (2nd Edition)” please click here You will also be able to review the whole index of 100+ activities included in the book here.

This activity is one of over 100 science and technology sessions that can be undertaken in the classroom, which are explored in detail in the book.   Also provided in the book are multiple ideas for designing resource areas to stimulate purposeful play.

You can order Science and Technology for the Early Years (2nd Edition) on our website either as a PDF for £12.99 or as a hardcopy book for £18.50. There is also the option to buy the hardcopy and PDF together at a discounted price of £22.40.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, Early years, Key Stage 0, Key Stage 1, lesson plans, Science, Teaching Ideas

How did it all start?

Why knowing the origins of human communication helps us find better methods of teaching a foreign language.

There is much debate as to the way in which human language developed as our species evolved.   But many would agree that an early part of the evolution would have been the calling out of warnings of danger.

And it follows from this that the ability to tell stories must have come much later.

However, although as a species we had to wait for the evolution of the ability to invent and tell stories, this ability to tell stories proved to be a major evolutionary step. 

For whereas “Watch out behind you” can save an individual from injury, storytelling can bring a whole group together with a shared understanding.

In short, the few words that constitute a warning helps the individual.  The story preserves the unity of the whole group.

And it is because being part of a group remains so central to our lives that the use of storytelling in learning a foreign language is such a vital tool.   The children who learn French or Spanish with stories as a core part of their learning, can share their new learning and feel part of the group.

This is why our French and Spanish courses for years 3-4 and 5-6 are based around stories.  For just as our ancestors evolved language as a way of telling stories, so the power of the story remains, and enthuses children with the desire to learn a second language.

You can read more about our story based language courses for Spanish and French through the links below…

Learn French with Luc et Sophie 1ère Partie Starter Pack (Years 3–4)

Learn French with Luc et Sophie 2ème Partie Starter Pack (Years 5-6)

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 1a Parte Starter Pack (Years 3–4)

Learn Spanish with Luis y Sofía 2a Parte Starter Pack (Years 5–6)

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, How children learn, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Spanish, Teaching Ideas

The habit of memory

What is the most effective way of helping children learn to use French phrases and grammar without thinking? 

Although it may not seem always to be so, most humans forget very little.  In other words we don’t lose memories; we lose the habit of recalling that memory. 

Fortunately this can be overcome, for when we have a meaningful link for a memory, rather than just an isolated memory, the knowledge in that memory can stay with us for years. 
 
In these ways French phrases and grammar become memorable and instantly available – and if those memories are regularly accessed they become habitual. 

For example, the use of “pas de” in French can seem like just another random phrase to remember.  But there is a simple way of helping children to understand and use the phrase.

What we can do is tell children that when a French person ‘has’ or ‘owns’ something, that person cares about its gender because they are very interested in the things that are theirs.

However, for things that don’t belong to them, they see no point in indicating the gender. That is why, instead of using ‘un’, ‘une’ or ‘des’ in negative sentences, they just use ‘de’.

So they say, “Il y a un chien” (there is a dog), but “Il y n’a pas de chien” (literally, there isn’t any dog).

Here’s another little memory trick that fascinates children – the fact that son = his or her.  Although objects in French have gender,men and women are equal and, thanks to this, there is no difference between ‘his’ and ‘her’ in French.

Unforgettable French is full of tried-and-tested French memory activities based on sound and idea associations that help engage the memory and make phrases and grammatical points habitual.  

You can download our “How French Works” flowchart via our website to see the most logical way of introducing French grammar and vocabulary using the Unforgettable method.

For more information or to order the Unforgettable French 2nd Edition for just £19.99 as a printed book, £13.99 as an e-book or you can order both formats for just £24.19, visit the website. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Primary school, Secondary school, Teaching Ideas

To subject or not to subject?

The one thing about the rules of grammar is that without context they ain’t much help

Now I know “ain’t” isn’t a word that you would want to encourage in a child’s essay – unless, of course, you had a particularly precocious writer in the class who had already developed an understanding of the “voice” of each character in a story.

Likewise there is little to be gained from worrying about the grammatical issues raised by Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy by wondering how the subject of the opening line turned up at the end of the line. 

So what’s my point?

My point is that for me to be able to get away with writing a paragraph consisting solely of “So what’s my point?” starting with a preposition which the rule books say should be followed by “that”, is that we all of us first need to know the rules of grammar before we start taking liberties.

But (and there, I’ve done it again, this time starting a paragraph with a conjunction) rules are always best learned in context.  In the case of language, in the context of how authors use grammar in their writing.

For if one starts from the work of authors, and works from there into the grammatical rules, rather than starting from the grammatical rules themselves, three things happen. The learning becomes context-driven, the lessons are more varied, and the understanding of how language can be manipulated for pleasure is ingrained in the child.

This consideration led Charlotte Makhlouf to experiment with how she taught grammar in her classroom.  And (oh, I’ve done it again, starting with “and”) so Charlotte used her classroom experience (not to mention her experience writing the best-selling series Brilliant Activities for Reading Comprehension) to write a new grammar series which teaches grammar in context.

In Getting to Grips with English Grammar grammar and punctuation skills are taught in the context of themes, rather than in isolation. Each unit starts with an engaging reading passage, so pupils can see how the grammar skill being taught is used in context. Activities link to the themes and provide opportunities for children to apply the grammar skills in their own writing.

Of course, the books also provide activities to stretch the more able or fast finishers, mini-quizzes at the end of each themed section to enable you to check children’s comprehension, and answers to the pupil activities.

Click here to see the contents of each of the books in the series

Click here to order the Getting to Grips with Grammar and Punctuation Series Pack for £95.00 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school

Are your children watching the Europa League Final tonight in Baku?

Football is fun for so many children and it provides rich resources for reluctant readers. No matter who wins tonight, Arsenal or Chelsea, for many people it will the source of fun, discussion and disagreement. Sheila Blackburn has written a series of stories about football specifically designed for reluctant readers in promote schools. As you will know, one of the challenges with reluctant readers is capturing their attention and imagination. Stories about football are one solution to this, particularly when as well written as these ones and at a time when UK teams will win the Europa League and the Champions League.

Sam’s Football Stories are specially written to stimulate and motivate slower learners and reluctant readers. Written by Sheila Blackburn, an experienced primary school teacher, the six compelling stories in Set A, tell the story of Sam, a football crazy boy. Let your pupils follow this dream come true for Sam and his friends. Join in the fun and excitement as they begin training, pick a team, join a league and enter a tournament.

 

These books:

  • provide stimulation and motivation especially for slower learners and reluctant readers
  • have gripping story lines make children want to read the next book
  • are compatible with the Primary Literacy Strategy category of everyday stories
  • are designed to look like books more able readers are reading with attractive covers and black and white illustrations inside
  • have carefully controlled vocabulary and sentence structure for easy reading
  • have an increasing number of words per book as you progress through the series
  • have a clear font and print style

To extend the stories further, use the Teacher’s Guide – Your Chance to Score!, a photocopiable teacher resource linked to the stories in Set A.

Like to try before you buy? Request your free copy of the e-book Football Crazy, the first story in the series, now by emailing info@brilliantpublications.co.uk

Click here to find out more about the books

Click here to see a sample page.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 2, lesson plans, National Curriculum, Primary school, Reluctant reader, reluctant readers, slow reader, Teaching Ideas, textbooks

Do you find logic puzzles fun?

Many children and adults are fascinated by the challenge of trying to understand the puzzle writer’s thinking and solving the puzzle in as quick a time as possible. Debbie Leadbetter has taken this one step further and has written a collection of puzzles in French as a fun and engaging way to encourage children to practise reading French. They are designed to consolidate and extend French vocabulary on a variety of topics whilst training the participant’s brain to solve problems.

The puzzles in Les Problèmes Logiques et Latéraux take French cross-curricular! The puzzles are arranged into the main topics that are taught to children aged 11 to 16 to make it easy to find a puzzle which fits a lesson objective. Whether it is finding out which reindeer is pulling which coloured sleigh, which monkey has eaten which fruit, who won the cycle race or completing sudoku games your students will become expert in French problem-solving.

The puzzles have been extensively trialled in the classroom, and we’ve found that they work well when used as starters, in plenaries and as a homework task. Pupils find the puzzles engaging, challenging and most importantly fun, especially when they are set as a class competition.

This book is a not only a useful resource for practitioners of French, but also for cover teachers, because the easy to use answer section gives the teacher immediate access to the answers.

Love puzzles? Love French? This book is also an ideal book of entertainment for puzzle lovers who can read French, whether sat at home, travelling or on holiday. Why not try it this summer on your holidays? To tempt you, a free puzzle from the book can be downloaded by clicking the link below:

Les Problèmes Logiques et Latéraux is published by Brilliant Publications Ltd. To find out more, click this link: Les Problèmes Logiques et Latérau

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Filed under Answers, French, homework, How children learn, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, lesson plans, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), National Curriculum, Questions, Quizzes, Secondary school, Teaching Ideas