On course for primary languages
Not long ago the teaching of a foreign language in primary schools was rare. Now, schools are gearing up to 2009 when all pupils aged seven and above should have the opportunity to learn a language. As teachers search for a scheme of work and resources to use, publishers and other organisations are responding.
In the schemes of work here, presented in no particular order, well-known publishers are represented as well as local authorities and a language college.
There is a variety of different models to choose from, some appearing more like a traditional course with teacher's book and pupil workbooks and others which offer lesson plans and use a wide range of authentic resources. Some have a story and characters as a focus, others use ICT as the main method of delivery, and some focus less on content and more on methodology, giving teachers more free reign.
These courses and schemes of work have not been graded according to merit, as many are very different from each other and depend on each teacher's preferred style of preparation and delivery. For example, does the teacher prefer a course based on using the interactive whiteboard, does he or she need a lot of support with the French language or is there a preference for using lots of DVD clips? Courses also vary according to an emphasis on features such as songs, story telling or cultural information.
This survey will seek to identify the salient points of each. What is important is that teachers should look at more than one option before making a choice and find the one which suits them.
Aspects considered here are the ways in which new material is presented and the opportunities for it to be recycled later in different contexts.
The three strands that the key stage 2 framework focuses on will be examined: oracy, literacy and intercultural understanding.
* Is the cultural context significant and does it include other French speaking countries?
* What aspects of language learning does the methodology employ, such as story telling, songs and games?
* What differentiation in terms of ability and learning style exists?
* What opportunities are suggested for a daily input of language?
* How does progression develop? l Are cross-curricular activities highlighted?
* Does the course or scheme come with its own resources or are these to be sourced separately?
* Are they attractive in terms of design and use of colour?
* Are the songs, sounds and moving image appealing to children?
* Does ICT feature in a way that enhances learning?
Guidance for the teacher is vital, in planning lessons and writing schemes of work.
* Does the teacher's book or scheme suggest realistic teaching strategies and activities and are the framework objectives mapped out?
* Are teachers given help with pronunciation?
* Are there time saving devices such as lists of resources and vocabulary needed for each lesson?
What are the overall strengths and weaknesses of this course?
Wendy Adeniji is a languages consultant
French Resource File KS2
£109.95 file for Years 3 and 4, plus partial VAT; File 1 available now, file 2 for Years 5 and 6 available in November
Tel: 01926 887136
Provides lesson plans for each of the six units in the QCA scheme of work, intended to cover Years 3 and 4. Each lesson is aimed at a mixed ability class, is intended to last about 35-40 minutes and is split up into a starter activity and a number of discrete activities. Flashcards, pictures, photos and puppets are used regularly to get meaning across, and opportunities for differentiation and out-of-school learning are highlighted. At least one activity sheet is used in each lesson, such as a wordsearch or writing the correct word next to pictures. Progression is evident and there is a wide range of cross-curricular opportunities.
Contains flipbook pages with illustrations and photographs which can be used to introduce a topic, available in paper and electronic form. Another CD contains electronic flashcards as well as the vocabulary for each unit, read by a native speaker. There are colour photocopiable sheets which can be used as flashcards as well as activity sheets for children to complete.
There is a medium-term plan for each unit, each with a number of lesson plans, which are linked to the national curriculum and KS2 framework.
Lessons are clearly laid out. There is a lot of information here, but it gives much needed support, especially for less confident teachers.
Very clear and easy to use, with lots of good teaching ideas. A major strength is the wealth of ready-made resources and teacher support as well as cross-curricular activities. The lack of a CD of songs is a drawback.
Catherine Cheater Scheme of Work
Teaching and Learning Publications (TLP)
£150 for Year 3 with significant reductions if purchased by an LA.
Schemes for Years 4-6 to follow.
Tel: 01924 373888
Provides 30 lesson plans to guide delivery to Year 3 children through discrete French lessons of no more than 30 minutes duration, plus practice parcels which offer children opportunities to practise the language by repeating some activities. Many of the practice parcels are cross-curricular and there is a lot of emphasis on cultural awareness, through using webcams and traditional songs. Lessons are clearly laid out and follow the same pattern each time. Suggestions of actions for children to accompany songs and activities to make the story interactive are also given. Daily lesson parcels are also suggested for the class teacher.
Accompanied by a CD-Rom with an electronic version of all lesson plans, which can be adapted. There are sound files with an accompanying transcript recorded by a native speaker of all phrases and words, as well as the 12 stories. There are also lists of useful websites and suggested resources.
Four PowerPoint presentations are included, covering Paris, French painters and dictionary skills.
There is a plan for each unit, each with a number of lesson plans, which are linked to the KS2 framework. There is also a list of language input for each lesson, including for each story, and a pronunciation guide.
Suggestions are made about planning, covering aspects such as assessment.
Aims to give children a love of the language and exposure to it through various creative forms. The extra resources suggested are appealing, but must be purchased separately, which will add to the cost .
La Jolie Ronde/Wakefield LEA Scheme of Work
La Jolie Ronde
Two files: one for Years 3 and 4 and one for Years 5 and 6, each file
£175 plus VAT, available in July; Spanish and German equivalents will be available in January 2007
Tel: 01949 839715
Developed by Wakefield LEA, as a Pathfinder authority in primary languages, and has been extensively trialled in the classroom. It is now being published by La Jolie Ronde and includes various new resources. Each lesson is divided into four-minute sessions to give flexibility for different models in each school. Each unit of work consists of identified KS2 framework objectives taken from the strands, a topic area and suggested core vocabulary, suggested resources and detailed lesson notes. The strands of oracy and literacy are favoured and there is less emphasis on cultural awareness or cross curricular links.
Comes in electronic format, so that lesson plans can be adapted. There is also a CD of songs. A whiteboard CD of electronic flashcards, PowerPoint presentations for vocabulary and stories, Smartboard activities and printable OHTs also accompanies the course. There is also a section of "additional lesson plans" covering festivals such as Christmas and Easter.
There is a plan for each unit, each with a number of lesson plans, which are linked to the KS2 framework, as well as a list of language input and resources needed for each lesson. In addition there are sound files with accompanying transcript recorded by a native speaker of all phrases and words.
Clear lesson plans with imaginative games and activities. The inclusion of songs and ICT activities to accompany the scheme is a bonus for busy teachers. Quite a lot of input in some of the lessons.
Monkseaton Primary Monkseaton Language College
£200 per school (covers Years 3 to 6); £125 per school, when an LA adopts the course for all its primary schools or a cluster of schools
works together with their secondary school.
Email: Mike Butler,email@example.com
Tel: 0191 297 9700
Trialled in several schools, this consists of 12 units of work, with each unit containing 13 detailed lesson plans, thus covering Years 3-6. Each lesson consists of a variety of different activities. Many of the video clips and songs from the Early Start course and Pilote are integrated into this scheme. There is a lot of emphasis on the use of ICT with interactive whiteboard activities and websites frequently referred to in the lesson plans. All lessons refer to strands from the KS2 framework and opportunities for assessment are highlighted. Differentiation is clear in lesson objectives and ideas for independent and extension work are given for each lesson.
Comes in electronic format, so that lesson plans can be adapted. For each unit there is a vast array of electronic flashcards, worksheets, PowerPoint and Smart Board activities as well a list of useful websites. As many clips from the Early Start DVD/video and Pilote CD are used, these would have to be purchased separately.
Excellent support training manual with sections such as target language use, using ICT to teach French, writing and playing games. There is also a target language reference section and, for each unit, a file of teacher support materials, with detailed explanations as to how, for example, Smart Board files and games should be used.
A scheme with a huge range of varied resources, and lots of support for the non-specialist. Particularly suited to teachers who like using an interactive whiteboard. Lots of paper-based resources which will need to be photocopied.
For Years 3 and 4 CD-Rom for schools with 300 pupils or over £350, 100-300 pupils £260, with less than 100 pupils £200, resource pack £250. All plus VAT.
Tel: 01242 267275
An interactive whiteboard is a must for the course, as the lessons are all based on the CD. There are 12 units, which cover the first two years of learning French and each revolves around a short animated story featuring three characters, Jake, Polly and Bof. There are clear lesson plans with a starter, a language presentation in which vocabulary is introduced in both oral and written form, activities covering the four skills, sound/spelling activities and a plenary. For each unit there is a fun karaoke-style song performed by the characters. The resource pack extends the course beyond the whiteboard by including big books and puppets.
Printable worksheets are available for further language practice. Teachers can customise lesson plans, which are available electronically. The Resource Pack, which costs an extra £250, is to be recommended for variety, and the puppets lend an extra dimension to the characters on screen. Six big books and an audio CD of the songs and big books are also included.
Non-specialist teachers have access to a range of support. There are also video case studies showing examples of implementation in the classroom, a glossary for checking pronunciation and meaning and a "virtual teacher tool" with video clips of a native speaker - as an optional extra.
A fun and motivating course with excellent teacher support. An interactive whiteboard is essential. Quite expensive if all resources purchased.
Primary French Starter Pack
Primary French Starter Pack £109.70, Pupil book pack of six £44.99, First Time French dictionary £6.99, First Time French Workbook
Tel: 0870 787 1610
Produced in collaboration with a DfES/CILT good practice project. The course is divided into 12 units, with three "sessions" or lessons each. As well as the KS2 framework it draws on the national literacy strategy by encouraging learners to compare French and English grammar and structures.
There is gradual progression and the topics all relate to the context of a French primary school and the same six French children feature throughout.
Each lesson plan highlights objectives, learning strategies and skills, resources required, revision, key language, a cross-curricular link and extra activities. Certain units contain a talking point.
CD recordings are clear and provide native speaker input for the pupils with short listening activities and songs which integrate with the pupil book. The pupil book is a visual support and stimulus rather than a workbook. There are also copymasters of vocabulary lists and worksheets and five posters. The Collins First Time French Dictionary is recommended to complement the course.
There are comprehensive teaching notes and each session consists of clearly numbered steps. This is a complete ready-to-use resource. For non-specialists, the audio CDs contain useful classroom language and the vocabulary and structures for each session, with a transcript.
An easy-to-use resource with good teaching and learning strategies and cross-curricular links. Nice cultural emphasis but little in the way of authentic resources.
Tout le Monde
Online subscription option: schools with less than 150 pupils 1 year Pounds 120, 2 years £220, 3 years £300; schools with more than150 pupils 1 year £90, 2 years £165, 3 years £225; CD option teacher disc £150, pupil disc £150, both plus VAT
Tel: 01865 888123
Level 1 contains five modules, each designed to last six weeks. Each is made up of a collection of different resources, based around a central theme or stimulus. The stimulus material is delivered either as an electronic big book or a cartoon with audio as an available option. There is also a set of differentiated interactive pupil activities for independent learning. It is linked to the KS2 framework and the intercultural strand is portrayed through an actual partnership between a French and an English primary school with videos and presentations.
Assessment tasks are included, which are matched to the Languages Ladder.
The graphics are colourful and vibrant and the activities are fun and motivating with clear language content. The resource can be divided between teacher software with the presentation material and whole class games and pupil software with activities for independent learning in an ICT suite.
Flashcards can be printed off or purchased separately.
Teacher notes explain how to use the resource and different games clearly, and the lesson plans are clear and detailed. There is a resource bank with all the artwork, which can be copied and pasted to create other activities based on the themes. To support assessment, the online product provides a scoring and tracking system.
A visually stimulating resource using a wide variety of activities and cultural references, with excellent opportunities for independent learning and assessment. The yearly subscription is an expensive option.
Early Start French Pack
Starter Pack 1 and 2 each: video edition £64, DVD edition £75
Tel: 01304 362569
Comete Comes in two parts, pack one which is a starter course and pack two, the continuation. Each pack is divided into 16 sections which have many different activities for the teacher to choose for him or herself. Each section could last for around two lessons of 30-40 minutes. The focus is on speaking and listening and very clear lesson plans are laid out. These include references to learning objectives, the video or DVD clip and transcript which is an essential part of this course, suggested activities and games with a focus on sounds. Each section also includes cross-curricular activities and a talking point relating to the life and culture of France.
The video or DVD clips are fun, motivating and give plenty of time for children to listen to the language and absorb the information presented as well as opportunities for active viewing, so that children can call out key words. Each section also has photocopiable worksheets. There is a complementary CD-Rom, with whiteboard activities, small-group games and web-links, for French 1 and shortly for French 2.
The teacher's manual gives lots of guidance and suggestions in terms of language teaching methodology and ways to practise key sounds. There is a list of core vocabulary comprising words, structures and questions used in each section, although no scheme of work at the moment.
The moving image clips used in this course make it very appealing for children; this course focuses less on content of language and more on cultural knowledge and listening and speaking skills.
Pupil's Book £7.50, Workbook £1.60, Teacher's Book £21, Teacher's Audio CD £20, Class Audio CD £37.50, Flashcards
£42, Resource and Activity Pack £52
Comete 1 and 2 form the first parts of an integrated 9-14/16 programme, aimed at easing the KS2/KS3 transition. Comete 1 is aimed at Year 5 pupils and Comete 2 at Year 6. The course follows the story of Neo, an alien who arrives in France from outer space and his adventures with his earth friend Lili.
This course is similar in format to a KS3 course and comprises six units of 10 lessons each lasting around 30-40 minutes. There are step-by-step lesson plans with guidance on materials used, language awareness and skills, cross-curricular links and reused language. There is a strong cultural emphasis throughout.
Well resourced, with a pupils' book, workbook, teacher's book, resource and activity pack, posters, a glove puppet of Neo, an audio CD of listening material in the lesson and an audio CD of useful phrases and key language for the non-specialist as well as a pack of 60 flashcards. The pupils' book and posters are colourful with clear pictures and photos and the puppet can help pupils to speak.
Comete has been written with the needs of non-specialist teachers in mind and provides step-by-step guidance for them, a teacher CD and very clear lesson plans.
This is a solid course for teachers who like to use this type of traditional methodology. It lacks authentic stories and does not cater for ICT aficionados, and the cost of purchasing all the resources could be prohibitive.