It’s the night before the morning after! Tomorrow I start in a new school in East Anglia, teaching French & Spanish in an 11-16 mixed comprehensive. I’m very much looking forward to it, all mixed in with that apprehensive feeling of starting something new! Part of that, of course, is preparing lessons for classes I don’t know yet, so I’ve got my strategy planned out which will almost certainly need adjusting once I’ve got to know my classes and I’ve identified what their next steps are. So, to get us started, you’ll find below some of the classroom language I’m intending to use in the first week with my French classes. The Spanish visuals will pop up here in a few days’ time. Some of these expressions I probably won’t need in the first week, and some I’m not intending to use, but the chances are a situation will crop up that I need to be ready for.
A couple of points that I will make clear to my classes but which may not be immediately obvious as you look at the visuals:
- Where ‘vous’ appears (or ‘Usted’ in Spanish), it is accompanied by a picture of a crown to remind them that in the contexts in which ‘vous’ appears here, it is a formal form of address. (In a later lesson, we will choose which pupils in the class we will address as ‘vous’ for the rest of the lesson, and they will wear Christmas cracker crowns!).
- I colour-code verb endings that I want to make a big deal of in green, genders in blue or red (masc / fem, respectively), question words in purple and the negative elements (ne…pas) in brown. The pair of glasses drawn around ‘ne’ and ‘pas in ‘Je ne sais pas’ are ‘les lunettes de la négation’, an idea I got from a student at St. Martin’s, Lancaster, several years ago. A brilliant idea to show pupils that a verb must go between the two elements.
- I never put these up on the wall as A4 rectangular sheets – I like to cut round the edges to make a cloud shape. Much more pleasant to look at, I feel.
- All the phrases will eventually be permanently displayed on the wall, but until we’ve used them all (and there are more to come), they go up and come down for each lesson (not as much hassle as it sounds). I keep them laid out on the floor behind where I stand so I can find them easily and they go up on the wall when the situation arises and after I’ve got the class pronouncing them correctly. Many of those situations I engineer to arise, as it were, and others happen unexpectedly.
- I’ve got lots of new classes to meet this week so there is the extra challenge of how to keep track of which classes have met which expressions as the weeks go on….! I’ll tell you how about that in the next post! For now, here are those visuals: