Tuesday, 24 February 2015

#ILILC5 is here again!!

I can't believe it's been so long. New Blogpost, new house, new job, new county (really ought to find out if I can change the name of my blog without starting again!), no wonder I haven't had time to blog. Anyway, just a quick one now. Tis that time again when the MFL Twitterati gets very giddy indeed. Yep, #ILILC5 (can't believe it's Number 5!) is just around the corner! Hotel booked, flight booked, presos done (nearly, just about...), outfits nearly sorted and shoes ready. Southampton, here I come! I can't wait to see my old twitter friends and super excited to meet new ones. The programme, as ever, is really exciting and packed! I can already hear the #ILILC5 buzz! If you have not booked your place, there is still time. Just click visit the Languages South East website. Brilliant Keynote speakers Joe Dale and Lisa Stevens and a wide range of speakers including Jane Basnett, Alex Bellars, Vanessa Burns, Gillian Campbell-Thow, Rory Gallagher, James Gardner, Ryan Hoy, Ceri Anwen James, Janet Lloyd, Dominic McGladdery, Julie Prince, Clare Seccombe, Rachel Smith and yours truly.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Post #ililc3 post...

I can't believe #ililc3 was nearly a week ago! What a fab weekend! From seeing a lot of familiar faces at Ceno's on Friday night (and some new ones!) to the mega-madness weekend that followed, I've said it before and will say it again, #ILILC is just the best CPD you can get.
No doubt I will blogging in more details about #ililc3 very soon but for now, here is my web 2 point what? presentation: And the second one: What this is your website miss?

Monday, 4 February 2013

The buzz of #ililc3

I have been meaning to write this post a while ago but I guess life, teaching and the odd cold have got in the way!
I am lucky once again to be speaking at the ICT and Languages Conference (or #ILILC3 as it is known on twitter) at the University of Southampton on 9th-10th February 2013 and I can't wait! The excitement on twitter is everywhere, I have already saved the hashtag #ILILC3 (and un-protected my tweets) in order to follow every tweeps and tweets about the conference.
For those of you who don't know about #ILILC3, it is quite simply the highlight of my CPD calendar, a great place to meet lots of like-minded people, some already part of the #mfltwitterati and some who will soon become part of the best MFL staffroom in the world! 
I received the programme a few days ago, wow! How do I divide myself in 2 or 3! So many great sessions at any one time!

The sessions include:
Mobile technologies  Using iOs android Apps for interactive learning, iTunes, Podcasts and other for personalised learning, designing an MFL App, ‘Animating’ grammar. peer and self assessment through mobile technologySocial Media  Using Twitter and other social media tools such as Edmodo & Posterous, effective Blogging, WIKIs and using online tools to record & share learningMaking the most of Web 2.0 Technologies  A range of workshops to showcase how to get the best learning from Web 2,0 tools such as exploring Google Apps, using Tarzia, Vocaroo, and Voicethread to name but a few The Global classroom  Developing and using international links effectively, eTwinning, using authentic materials, developing ICU through online resources, setting up a WIKI to promote your department, using Edmodo, the changing face of CPDDeveloping Speaking   Explore ways to develop pupils speaking skills through social media, on line tools, A level debating ideas, recording methods and moreClosing the gap  Way to support SEN students using technology, supporting speech and language development, promoting Solo taxonomy, developing Maths skills through MFL, understanding the learning process, subtitling for learning

Personally, I will run 2 sessions, the first called 'Web 2.what?' I remember, a few years ago asking myself the exact same question! Little did I know that 3 or 4 years later, web 2.0 would form an integral part of my teaching day-to-day routine.
The second session is about wiki creation, 'What, this is YOUR website miss?' will show you how to create a wiki for your students, for your colleagues, your school which will, no doubt help you raisde the profile of the MFL department.

''Tried and trusted methods done well, will work..'' Ofsted for MFL

''Tried and trusted methods done well, will work...'' Ofsted for MFL

This session at the University of Sussex, Brighton, was organised by Sara Vaughan from MFL South-East and led by Elaine Taylor HMI, National Adviser for Modern Languages. 

Elaine Taylor is the National Adviser for Modern Languages. Elaine has been an HMI for six years and the National Adviser since September 2011.
Before joining Ofsted, Elaine worked as a senior leader in a school and as a school improvement officer for a Local Authority. She taught French and German for over 30 years and trained modern language teachers through links with initial teacher education, including as director of specialism in a training school. Elaine as someone in the audience said ''is probably one of the nicest Ofsted inspectors on the planet''. She is extremely approachable, she smiles a lot and definitively knows her stuff. The kind of nice, honest person you would actually, wait for it, want to sit at the back of your classroom!
From the beginning of the session, Elaine wanted us to remember her moto : ''Tried and trusted methods done well, will work..''

This session was going to be an overview of the new framework and grade descriptors but more to the point a practical session, to find out what Ofsted can do, to help us.

Here is the outline of the session:
- From the last report, what needed to change / happen in MFL.
- What has changed?
- Using descriptors for self evaluation
- Judging target language use

In January 2011, Ofsted published Modern languages: achievement and challenge 2007-2010. (This was a follow-up to In 2008 Ofsted published The changing landscape of languages: an evaluation of language learning 2004/2007.) This kind of report is usually a 3 yr report, ( achievement and challenge) but not any more, the next Ofsted MFL report should be due early January 2013 but Elaine told us that considering all the changes that are happening / about to happen in MFL, the next report will probably be published a little latter. At the moment, Elaine is trying to get primary and secondary case studies published instead of triennial report. (see more information below)

What were the primary recommendations from the last report?
- build on good work in speaking and listening, including language learning strategies and knowledge about language, to develop pupils' early skills in reading and writing.
- ensure inter-cultural understanding is built in not just in say a one day Spanish day etc... but embedded in school life.

See the  Good practice resource - Everyone a linguist: Cherry Orchard Primary School http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/good-practice-resource-everyone-linguist-cherry-orchard-primary-school

The secondary recommendations were:
  • Target Language (TL), and greater emphasis on regular use
  • Make more use of authentic materials to help develop students' language skills and their inter-cultural understanding.
  • Broaden approaches to T & L to enthuse students and increase their confidence, competence and ambition in MFL 
  • Consider as a matter of urgency, the implications of recent developments in primary languages for their curriculum in year 7 and how they build on students' prior attainment.

See Good practice resource - Talking the talk in modern languages: Wildern School

This example shows how Wildern School uses effective strategies including a Target Language policy to engage students in modern languages, especially boys, and to promote spontaneous use of the target language by all students.

Elaine then shared with us her guidance principles on judging TL, this is NOT an official ofsted document however, it could potentially be very useful. In groups, we had to describe how we felt TL was used by pupils and staff in lessons across the whole MFL department and then make a judgement on the use of TL. I cannot emphasise enough the fact that the document is a draft only, not an Ofsted document!! I will put the document in the #mfltwitterati #dropbox

 The grade descriptors
New grade descriptors because of new section 5
- the new descriptors have been pruned and bulleted and there is a sharp focus on the progress of groups


What does good practice look like?

In one school, the link governor liaises with the community, she has recruited people from the community who come to help and deliver session in their own language. In another school is only using speaking as the tested skill, another skill added in yr. 8 then all 4 in yr. 9.

When she observes a lesson, Elaine talks to children, a lot, and will usually ask them the following questions.
What are you learning today?
Have you done it before?
Is this hard?
Is this too heavy?

Elaine is thinking of writing guidance on what to look for in a MFL lesson so watch this space!

Her tips: 

Give as much information as possible but be realistic! Give your aims, a copy of your mark book, not necessarily a lesson plan.you just don't have time to prepare reams of paper from the 12 o'clock call the day before..She reminded us: you have it all there..
Don't try to pretend / try too hard, just get on with the lesson. Inspectors are looking for evidence to backup SEF. She also mentioned something, in my very important, if CA are planned, don't change your plans, go ahead and the inspectors ought to go somewhere else.

Progress progress progress

It's not what you do it's the impact it has.
Do what you know works. Don't try to do things to please ofsted inspectors
What is the diet that the kids receive? Not what they get on a one-off.
Someone said in the room "You sound like a really nice ofsted inspector" and she was, and she was quite happy to share so much information with us, even her own email address!

Monday, 20 February 2012

Controlled Assessments…

Well, how was I to know that 99p would provide pure bliss! Meet my new friend, Harry the Hedgehog (my daughter decided on the name by the way… I saw it in Asda during half-term and couldn’t resist! So I bought 2! One for my daughter, aka a younger version of all the outnumbered kids and one for my classroom.
I had forgotten about Harry the hedgehog until this morning when my daughter found it in my bag, claiming it was hers…
Anyway, off I went to work, with a full day of speaking CA to look forward to and me recovering from tonsillitis. I put Harry the Hedgehog on the table, for people to help themselves, should they wish to do so, first candidate, took a look at Harry and basically ignored him, second candidate, nothing. I was beginning to think I had made a huge 99p mistake when came in my 3rd candidate! A stress ball, miss you have a stress ball, I never looked back and Harry became a great success story. Today it’s had his hair pulled, his belly pushed, his arms pulled, you name it…But what has Harry, my new 99p pet has done best, is managed to put a smile on a lot of very stressed Yr9 fast-trackers today and has enabled them to be a lot more confident when completing the dreaded Controlled Assessment speaking exam.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I can't wait for #ililc2

Well the countdown has really begun. It doesn't feel like 2 minutes since my proposals for #ililc2 were accepted back in July 2011! But now this is real, today is the 1st of February and #ililc2 is 24 days away! Yes, if you haven't signed up for THE CPD event of the year, the ICT and Languages conference will be held at the University of Southampton on the 25-26th February 2012. Last year's ILILC was probably one of the best CPD I had ever had and this year I feel very privileged, me little me, to be presenting 2 sessions one on the use of web 2.0 in the classroom and one about wikis. If you are on twitter and follow the #mfltwitteratti you will have seen so many tweets about #ililc2 because we just can't wait! Last year, the CPD was great but it was also amazing to meet so many tweeps in really life and this year's conference is going to be bigger and better! 

Sunday, 29 January 2012


I love my new school and my new job, however something that has been slightly niggling me is how quick pupils are to ask questions, even though I'm just in the process of explaining the task, they are just not listening, just concentrating on the question they have to ask and nothing else, never mind if I've actually answered it or not, they just have to put their hand up! I joke about it with my classes and tell them that putting their hand up actually disables their listening skills! I thought, surely that just not me and after discussing it with my staff, you've guessed it, it wasn't! So...we are launching C3B4ME, I heard Chris Harte reminding me about this last year at #ililc and I know it's a great idea. After searching high and low, I have finally found a car template font and created our own car registration C3B4ME template. The idea is that pupils are becoming more independent by using 3 other sources before asking their teacher, (similar to the 4 Bs - Book, Buddy, Brain, Boss). DM me on Twitter for more details.