Category Archives: Secondary school

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price of £19.80. 

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Reluctant reader, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), 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

The story’s the thing

What is the simplest way of getting students who are disinclined to read a book, to read the book?

For some students the chance to get involved with a classic such as Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Jekyll and Hyde, etc, is very welcome.  These are the students who have found the joy of books and who want to read.
 
But, of course, there are those who look at such books – even when they have alluring stories within them that might appeal to their interests – and back away.  They have defined books as not being part of their world.
 
So the question is, how to get these students started.
 
One way of doing this is to give the students an overview of the complete book within a format that they will find acceptable. And that is where graphic books come into their own.
 
Graphic books give students who are unexcited by the opportunity of approaching a complete novel a chance to grasp the story and come to terms with the characters before they start reading.
 
In this way when they do turn to reading the original, everything is already clear to them and they are now able to enjoy the depth of the story in full book form.
 
Hence they are no longer put off by language from an earlier era, a multiplicity of minor characters, or the amount of reading involved.  Everything is now familiar and acceptable.
 
This is why we have produced our series of Graphic Revision Guides.  Five volumes are now available: Jane EyrePride and PrejudiceGreat ExpectationsJekyll and Hyde and A Christmas Carol.

What’s more, the Graphic Revision Guides series is available both as printed books and as e-books, or you can purchase both formats together at a discounted price

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Secondary school, slow reader, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), Teaching Ideas

FREE Les problèmes logiques et latéraux for developing French reading & interpreting skills at KS3 and KS4

This is just one of the activities in the FREE worksheet series from the popular resource, Les problèmes logiques et latéraux. To request your copy of the FREE worksheet series, simply visit www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/pages/render_page/115.

The puzzles in this book are a fun, challenging and engaging way to practise reading French, designed to consolidate and extend French vocabulary on a variety of topics whilst training the participant’s brain to solve problems.

Les problèmes logiques et latéraux is arranged by the main topics that are taught at KS3 and KS4 to make it easy to find a puzzle which fits a lesson objective. The puzzles have been extensively trialled in the classroom, and work well when used as starters, in plenaries and as a homework task.

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 or learner immediate access to the answers, ideal for non-specialists and specialists alike.

Find out more: www.brilliantpublications.co.uk/book/les-problemes-logiques-et-lateraux-796

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, French, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Secondary school

Not when, but how.

A resource showing pupils HOW to use French Language whilst helping to deliver the KS2 Programmes of Study

The older pupils get, it appears there is a shift from wondering HOW they will use the knowledge that they have learned to wondering WHEN they will use the knowledge that they have learned. Yet the former approach to learning is far more proactive, not least because their futures are still unwritten.

Bearing this in mind, Brilliant Publications has produced a French language resource which uses drama to teach French language and thus teaches pupils HOW to use the knowledge that they have learned.

12 Petites Pièces à Jouer contains 12 age-appropriate mini French plays for beginner French pupils in primary school and lower secondary school to listen to and act out. The plays serve as a fun way to practise French, promote fluency, and develop confidence.

What’s more, these 12 entertaining mini-plays use simple, repetitive language, are ideal for use with mixed-ability groups and help to deliver the KS2 Programmes of Study: imitate pronunciation of sounds, recognise patterns in simple sentences, and take part in pair and group work.

The photocopiable book contains scripts, English translations, worksheets to extend the plays, and suggestions for performing the plays. Native French speakers perform the plays on the audio CD included with the book.

There is more information, a sample play and audio file available to download on our website.

A pupil from Yorke Mead Primary School in Hertfordshire having a great time performing the play <<Bobo le robot>> (photo reproduced with permission)

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

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

Dr Jekyll was a nice man, really …

There are two reactions when people know my job; I’ve started to wonder if I’m both Jekyll and Hyde, at the same time.

It is not so much that people ask me what I do, it is rather that when they hear what my job is, they make assumptions.

You see: I’m a publisher.  To some that makes me one of the good guys.  To others I’m evil incarnate.  Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in fact.  Both at the same time.

Dr Jekyll, the old friend, the nice guy, the one who helps people out; I publish books teachers quite like, and indeed, if you fancy writing a book, it is possible I can bring it to the attention of teachers all over the UK.

Edward Hyde, on the other hand, evil personified; he’ll probably take your book, eat it, and then set fire to your house.

Now, to explain….  I don’t think I am suffering from dissociative identity disorder (although on the other hand, if I am, how would I know?) which was the condition that Robert Louis Stephenson was told by others he was in fact writing about.

Stephenson later said he was so appalled at the idea that he was describing an actual medical condition rather than an allegory, he burned the original Jekyll and Hyde manuscript and started again.  (There’s no evidence for this, but it all adds to the book mystique; it was probably dreamed up by his publisher’s head of publicity.)

But no; when teachers send me books to consider for publication I do not burn them.  Not at all.  Never.  Not once.  Really.  Not at all.

No, my colleagues and I read the outlines and if we like the outline and think we could sell a fair number of copies, we ask to see the whole book.  Then if we still like it, we arrange for printing or creating an e-book.  Then we advertise it a lot, all at our own expense, and then we pay the author a fee for each book sold.

Edward Hyde, had he been a publisher, would, I suspect, have killed off each of his writers.  If you are worried about this you can look me up on the police database.  No charges for attempted murder of authors on file.

So that’s my point: we are the good guys – the Dr Jekyll without the propensity for assassinations or personality changing potions.

And indeed as the good guys we have even published a Graphic Revision Guide for The Strange Case of Dr J and Mr H, suitable for GCSE Literature students.

I’d recommend you have a look – although preferably without first dabbling with any strange potions.

And if you fancy writing a book for us, there are details of how to go about submitting it here.

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Filed under Brilliant Publications, English, Key Stage 4, National Curriculum, Secondary school