• Blaine Pike

Featuring: MFL does #WorldBookDay2021 – Back to school ideas – COVID competition – Could you help make games for MFL? – Read on for more

Image: TheGermanProject.com

Happy Saturday and thank you for joining me for the inaugural edition of this – the MFL Weekly Digest – my revamped weekly blog post.

I had lots of fun sharing the content that was getting the most likes and retweets on Twitter each week. But I also came across 100s of great things for MFL which missed out on the top 10 each week due to a few likes here and a few retweets there.

So, instead, I decided to start sharing the coolest MFL links that I discover each week.

Let's jump straight in!

🌍 MFL x #WorldBookDay2021

Whether you kicked off all your lessons with a starter for #WorldBookDay or planned whole lessons around it (like this fab one), there was certainly something for everyone. But books shouldn't just be brought out for World Book Day. Why not ease your students in next week with some reading? Download some of the resources below for year-round use!

🧚 5-minute animated stories (KS3+)

This site has a fabulous choice of simplified, five-minute animated stories, complete with subtitles, voiceovers, and lots of related activity sheets! You can watch and listen to Little Red Riding Hood in French, German and Spanish, as well as others. These are GREAT, and perfect for a fun lesson all year round! (Thanks to @MadameWhite2017!)

💬 10-minute narrated stories (KS4+)

Similarly, this site has a range of short stories which are illustrated and narrated by native speakers (approx. 10 minutes each). You can read and listen to Goldilocks and the Three Bears and The Three Little Pigs in French, German and Spanish. They may be fairytales, but some of the language is still a little advanced! (Thanks to @mfl_swavesey!)

📖 Free printable books for school

This site has a range of scanned books that can be downloaded and printed out for your school (or classroom) library. It includes short, illustrated stories about friends, free-time activities, picnics, moving house, Christmas... you name it! Stories are available in French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and more! (Thanks to @mflwyedean!)

🏫 How to teach a lesson using a story

Steve Smith blogged last month about the power of stories. He wrote in his article that books can help students learn languages subconsciously, as the students' natural focus is on understanding the plot. His post contains lots of quick, low-prep strategies that teachers can use to plan a whole lesson around a story! (Thanks @tinav_languages!)

🎮 Gaming in MFL – blending theory and practice

The founders of the language journal Ludic Language Pedagogy were interviewed in FLTMag this week. They were promoting the LLP Journal, which encourages "scholarly and practical conversations around the use of play and games in language teaching and learning". Volunteer your support and help make some new projects a reality!

🧙 Tricks and patterns to translate new words

There are countless patterns between languages! Pippa Ward kicked off a great thread this week with lots of these tricks (e.g. initial "é" in French is often "s": ‘épice’ –> spice; ‘étudiant’ –> student). I previously applied these patterns to the AQA GCSE words lists in French, German and Spanish, and ranked all of the results by lexical similarity. Enjoy!

🥊 Fighting the decline of MFL in schools

We know that language learning in UK schools has been in crisis for years. To tackle this, a new group has been set up called The Future of Languages. This new group believes that radical change is needed to address this crisis, and 200 people have already added their names to the group's online manifesto to demonstrate their support.

🦠 COVID makes 1,200 new German words

The pandemic has produced over 1,200 new words in German, including the wonderfully German "der Coronasheriff" (a member of the public who polices the rules). To celebrate this, the Goethe Institute has kicked off a competition. Pupils must choose a new word and submit a piece of artwork, music or writing that expresses it. A creative task for next week?

💝 And finally...

Some food for thought to help everyone stay positive ahead of the return to school next week. (Thank you to @LanguagesAtFGCS for sharing these slides!)

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If you found anything in the above post interesting, do share it with your colleagues! In the meantime, thanks so much for reading and best of luck for Monday!


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