Saturday, 4 July 2009

Next Generation Learning Conference

On 26th June 2009, I attended the Next Generation Learning Conference at Cramlington Learning Village with a number of colleagues from school. In order to feedback to my department at school, I have decided to put some of the ideas into practice so... welcome to my blog!

The MFL sessions were run by Chris Harte, Head of MFL at Cramlington and were full of ideas to take away. Click HERE to look at CHRIS HARTE'S BLOG which includes loads of interesting stuff plus links to the presentations he used during the sessions.

Click HERE to access my GLOGSTER poster which gives an overview of the different sessions and the main learning outcomes.

The session's learning outcomes were two-fold: making the content we teach more appealing and incorporating L2L, thinking skills and AFL into our lessons. We are already doing a number of these but here are the main ideas I took away:

AFL marking: Use highlighters to highlight (!) all the good vocab & structures in pupils' work. Draws the eye to what's good and what they should reuse rather than a book covered in red pen where they've made mistakes. Also easier to access than a written description of which structures were impressive.

www / ebi = what went well... / even better if... Also used to give clear feedback (or feedforward!)

3-fold AFL
Assessement for Language Learning (Success Criteria, Feed-forward)

Assessment for Learning (NC Levels)

Assessment for Learning Skills (reflection on how learning)

De Bonos Thinking Hats used throughout the school. Red Hat = feelings. At the end of a lesson, pupils had to write a 'good news message' on a post-it to give to another pupil who they thought had participated well.

Learning Objectives - we had an English vs Target Language (TL) discussion re: objectives and it was generally agreed that the importance for the pupils of being able to discuss their learning in detail was paramount and that TL for this would be a barrier to learning. Here is the structure Cramlington use:

By the end of the lesson, we'll be able to... (skills not content)
In order to do this we're going to... (outcome)
We are doing this because... (link to the bigger picture)
To be successful we... (e.g. will work together well as a group)

Engaging units of work. We talked about how MFL content is not always as 'meaty' as other subjects and how we should also consider making our subject 'product-driven' where students work towards an end outcome e.g. making a podcast. This is something we already do in MFL with our Core Tasks. See below for more ICT-driven ideas.

Some suggested (French) units: Allons en Haiti (pack costs £5, money to Action Aid), film - Au revoir les enfants - being a child during WW2 Europe.

FLIP Lessons - (Flexible, Learner-led, In-time intervention, Personalised). I really like this idea of having cycles of 3 lessons: 2 are 'normal' language lessons, the 3rd (which can come at any point in the cycle) is a chance for pupils to reflect on their learning, catch up work missed, individual / small group help from a teacher on something they didn't get first time round, rehearse language learnt, a whole-class lesson if necessary to input on something which didn't 'click' first time round. At first the pupils obviously need guidance to set their individual objectives for the lesson (proforma also given) but in time, they get more confident in setting their own goals.

Harnessing the Power of Technology to Develop Language Creators in MFL

Some fab ICT ideas for teachers or pupils to use – and all are free (bonus!)
Fab animation software – pupils can create their own animations and add in their voice-overs. There are basic tutorials on the programme but it's really easy to get the hang of by just playing around. The pupils pick it up very easily. See Moodle / French / Year 10 / Madame Walmsley's Group for an example and a basic PowerPoint helpsheet.
Create attractive posters (see my GLOG for conference feedback) – could be used as an end of unit task, oral exam preparation, coursework preparation etc etc...Click here for a basic helpsheet for getting started.

There is also an education page: where you can also create class pages.

Voice recording software – endless opportunities for MFL and can be embedded into podcasts, goanimates etc.

An excellent programme for making non-linear presentations which look great and are a bit more interesting than a standard PowerPoint.
Look at the Prezis from the conference on Chris Harte's blog – click here.
Click here for a helpsheet to get you started making your own Prezi.

This is a collaborative writing tool. Click on the link to see an example: .
Great for group writing and for AFL/Peer Assessment. NB: Pupils can delete each other's work so ethics and being responsible learners need to be discussed.
To create your own etherpad, just type in ............. (after the / , add a name for your pad e.g. The site will tell you if the name is already taken or not. Add yourself as a user, choose a colour and start typing! Simple!
Educational videos.

We discussed how Twitter can be used to get involved in Professional Learning Networks. There are many teachers out there who use Twitter to discuss ideas / share good practice.

I'm a total beginner to Twitter so am not following many people yet but if you want to sign up, my twitter name is catwalmsley so you can make friends with me and then have a look to see who I'm following. They all have lots of contacts and there may be people on there who you are interested in following too.

Thinking Skills in MFL
Click on the link - - to view the presentation from this session.

We did a few reading activities to demonstrate how you can help students access a text but with higher levels of thinking, rather than as a standard comprehension.

The text we used was a standard text with personal information / likes and dislikes in Spanish (I have a paper copy if you would like to see). We did the following activities, all of which access higher levels of thinking:

  • Find the pattern – teacher starts reading a list of words, pupils listen and join in the pattern when they can e.g. teacher reads all the first words in the sentences, all the words beginning with 's', the verbs.
  • True or False activities but need to also say WHY.
  • Fact or Opinion sentences, again saying WHY.
  • Venn Diagrams – read a series of statements and classify in the diagram discussing in a group why the statements go in a particular place – e.g. hobbies / opinions / family
  • Mysteries – from the information given in the text, decide who is Sofia's best friend. A number of pieces of paper given, all giving information about different possible friends e.g. Maria is allergic to hamsters. In groups pupils decide from all the information who is most suited to be Sofia's best friend. In the discussion, pupils also need to decide what are the criteria for a good best friend as well. There is not necessarily one right answer but interesting and in-depth discussion follows.

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