Adventures in my classroom – my best lesson

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Being a reflective thinker I was driving to visit a friend after school this evening chewing over the week. With my wonderful year 11 groups departed I only have four year groups to choose from. I like to think back over the lessons and consider:

  • What went well 
  • How the students received the activities
  • How did they responded to the challenge
  • Did the students become more confident in an aspect of their language learning
  • Were the students enthusiastic and motivated working through the activities
  • Did the students learn and could they remember it and use it the following lesson
  • What could I have done to make the learning better, clearer and deeper
  • What would have made the lesson even better

Considering all of these factors my ‘best’ lesson this week is definitely the one with my year 7 class closely followed by that with my y10 today. 

Tuesday’s lesson was the first back after half term with my lovely year 7 class. This top flight set are every teacher’s dream, the year group were placed in to sets at Christmas and they truly are superb. I have had a lot of linguistic fun with these pushing them to challenge themselves but also to be confident MFL students who use language creatively. Recent written assessment was a pleasure to read. They are such stars. 

In preparation for a spoken assessment the plan was to revisit phonics work and practice speaking with increasing confidence. We have the fabulous ilanguages planètes phoniques scheme and resources alongside an increasing bank of wonderfully created ‘homemade’ tongue twisters by older students who have previously completed phonics work. The units contain fantastic songs, rhymes and tongue twisters to are bright colourful and fun to use with students to improve pronunciation and intonation. At our school we utterly love this. And the students love it too engaging with this brilliantly. 

Star Wars theme to launch the planète always excites the class, and I, and as we work through the activities we come across a particular song and the students ask me to translate it. We looked for clues to translate this as a team and as an awesome group we got there. I explained that it was a ‘country dancing’ song, the class, the delightful year 7 allstars looked back at me with blank faces. Not one of them knew what I meant! I explained that when I was in primary school in the event of a ‘wet PE’ lesson that country dancing in the hall would be the substitute and still none of them had an iota of comprehension on their faces. I had no choice, I took them outside to the atrium space and showed them some of the ‘moves’ I had learned all those years ago. I had to show them this was contextual learning. We had such fun. 

The careers office is located next to MFL and the careers team were grinning and laughing like never before at my choreographing this very new experience for my class. Year 7 loved it giggling away and throwing themselves in to it wholeheartedly. Two other members of staff came along one looked aghast the other burst out laughing at my singing the French, clapping whilst tapping my feet (in tune and in time !) I continued and the students swirled and squealed singing the French with me, perfectly pronounced. It was superb. No photos sadly as we were so ‘in the moment’ I forgot! 

The singing and dancing came to an end and we went back to class. Surveying the room every year 7 student was grinning from ear to ear, sparkles in their eyes, red cheeks and fire burning deep in their bellies. We continued reading rhymes and tongue twisting away with a renewed confidence, with smiles and with excellent pronunciation. We also produced some crackingly creative tongue twisters of our own which we shared around the class and tried out. When the bell rang for the end of the lesson students sighed and asked to carry on through break time for fun but I managed to get them out after promising we’d do this again. As they left the room there was lots of ‘thank yous’, comments of how it was a brill lesson and some dancing across the atrium. 

This was my best lesson this week. The students were highly engaged, made huge strides forward in their learning, really enjoyed themselves, had some new experiences, took part in some new physical learning and nailed some excellent spoken work in preparation for assessments as well as being fantastic at the same sounds in spoken work today. I love my job, being an MFL teacher is the best job in the world. 

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