Monday, 29 June 2015

Preparing for the New GCSE - Carpe Diem! Part 1

In our languages department, we are beginning to make preparations and changes to our Y9 schemes of work in preparation for the new GCSE.  There is trepidation, but as @spsmith45 points out in this blog, there is no need to start completely from scratch.  Good teaching remains good teaching. If you want a good summary of key things to consider when preparing to teach, then that is a very good place to start.

I want to talk about opportunities. Yes, opportunities.  Opportunities to open the door to other worlds, opportunities to really revel in the language.  On a more prosaic note, opportunities to help our pupils get to grips with how the language sounds.  As languages teachers, we know that a great song, poem or prose piece can transport the readers, and what better way to give pupils a glimpse of what we all fell in love with? The number of genres that can be defined as "literature" is only as limited (limitless?) as your imagination.  If you need a helping hand, look at ALL's wiki on the subject. Whilst I'm talking about inspiration, this blog is my initial response to some great training on Literature and the use of authentic texts which took place at Newcastle University on 23rd June, led by the ever knowledgeable @rene_koglbauer and @LizblackMFL, and as you can see has many links to what other people are doing.

I teach German, which we start in Y9 as an express course, so time is short.  In terms of our schemes of work, this shouldn't be yet another extra, but a vehicle for teaching.  I'm a strong believer that whichever resource is used should do the heavy lifting, and be used in multiple ways, and should be integrated into the learning. It should give pupils an opportunity not just for comprehension, but also performance of the text and use of the language they have found, either in a creative writing response.

Opportunity no 1 - reinforcing phonics work
Think about this song from the Prinzen "ich wär so gern Millionär".  Here is the chorus:

Ich wär' so gerne Millionär
dann wär mein Konto niemals leer.
Ich wär' so gerne Millionär - millionenschwer.
Ich wär' so gerne Millionär

I love die Prinzen because they sing so clearly, and they have really singable tunes, and this chorus has lots of potential. You can get the pupils to think about the sound of the "ä" because of the strong rhyme. And then you can test your knowledge on the lyricstraining website, a new and exciting discovery, which was recommended to me recently .  This could also then lead to some creative work using "wäre" to speculate on what could happen and be applied to different situations.

Silly rhymes such as the following are also perfect for beginners and reinforce key German phonics:
Eins, zwei, Polizei
drei, vier, Offizier
fünf, sechs, alte Hex'
sieben, acht, gute Nacht!
neun, zehn, auf Wiedersehen!

If you are about to tackle a longer text, it is worth laying the groundwork and making sure pupils can decode the words in front of them. This post from @gianfrancocont9 has some great warm-up ideas for listening, and is well worth a look.

One tip which came from the CPD session to help find sources for quick transcribing which also doubles as something more interesting than simply sentences from last lesson are dictation resources for primary school.  Liz Black gave an example from a Duden book, and I have found a book called "100 lustige Diktate"  which also includes little riddles (one "guess what"? riddle is about a mouse).  I have yet to get my mitts on that little number, so I will follow up and let you know what that is like.  Watch this space!

Well, this was just going to be one post, but it looks like I need another post to finish..