Does anyone like listening to podcasts ?

As an alternative to the radio on my hour (often more)-long drive to and from work at the university, I have taken to listening to podcasts. There are such an enormous amount to choose from. My particular favourite at the moment is very much work-related. it is called The mfltwitterati podcasts and it showcases lots of what is happening in the area of teaching languages with technology. Some great ideas that are really inspiring – and often the ideas in themselves are really simple. Often the way, isn’t it ?

podcast-4209769_1920.jpg

Image by Tumisu on Pixabay

On a non-work note, my big favourite has to be Gardener’s Question Time or GQT to those “in the know” !! A sign of middle age, when your favourite thing to listen to is a gardening programme !!!

Of course, the priority of the week is, has always been and will always be catching up on The Archers Omnibus. I first started listening to The Archers when my eldest son was a baby and he is about to turn 25 next month so well, 25 years ago !! My my !! But even 25 years ago, the radio soap had been already running for years. It began post-war and was aiming at giving people small-scale farming, land management, gardening advice and all based around life in a small country village in the imagined county of Borsetshire. I have often thought to myself that the village where I live is like a miniature French version of Ambridge with its different characters. It runs for 10 minutes every day with an hour long “catch-up” as the omnibus edition every Sunday morning. So, now that podcasts exist, I just have to download and that is my Monday commute listening sorted !!

snow-650539_1920

Image by David D from Pixabay

Any other suggestions for podcasts I might like, please let me know.

 

Advertisements

Back to school after the festivities are over

SubstandardFullSizeRender

Christmas and New Year are great fun, but once the party is over, the party poppers have all popped and the balloons have all deflated, it is our task, as teachers, to get the students back to work. We all know it is a hard slog to get back into work mode after a two week holiday and I have always found the Christmas holidays particularly arduous as the very nature of the break means we switch out of our usual routine.

SubstandardFullSizeRender_1

As a child, I always ended up in tears on the night of December 25th, having been worn out by the excitement , the hype and the anticipation, the thought of it all being over for a whole year was just too much to bear. Of course, Christmas holidays are not like that for everyone. I did, obviously, grow out of it and I promise I did not cry this year at Christmas – well, not for that reason anyway !!

Back to school for teachers and back to school for pupils. The majority of kids will not have thought about school for two weeks and will have switched out of school mode completely. Our job is to get them back in school mode. Not an easy order !! Especially when we are struggling with it ourselves !!

I always advise my trainees to start off after Xmas as we started in September – brisk, business-like and as you mean to go on. I would advise giving homework from the get-go, as you did in September. This indicates firmly that the holidays are now OVER and it is time to get back into work mode. February half term will come round very quickly and after that, time flies by until the end of the year, particularly in lycées.

You can afford not to start a full-on sequence right on the first day back. Why not take some time to talk about what kids did over the holidays ? Of course, not all our pupils will have been celebrating Christmas, but they have all had two weeks off from school. What did they do ? This is an ideal opportunity to work on the simple past. My collège group, do you remember the Christmas with David Beckham that we worked on ? We worked on a powerpoint with Pat, Rod (or was it Bud) and Astrid. This would be ideal.

Diary Verbs – after the Christmas break could be an ideal time to introduce Diary Verbs. We discussed this in the collège group.

Lycée group – an activity that works after a holiday is Mystery Word – 5 words on the board and the students have to form Yes/No questions to ask you what the words correspond to. You can crank it up a notch by adding some lies into your package that the students have to identify. As a rule, they will be quite curious about your activities – do not feel you have to tell the whole truth. No one will check !! You can then get the students to prepare their own for an extension activity in pairs or groups.

Looking back over 2018 in pictures works a treat with lycée students and particularly the older classes. Great chance to revise V-ED too.  You will find a selection of photos by googling “retrospective 2018” – try this one Photos de l’année We offer the images, the pupils have to comment on them as much as they can. It can be done in groups or in pairs. The pupils could choose their own images for a different slant on the activity.

New Year’s Resolutions : the lycée group worked on this one. We identified a series of language points that could be useful :

I intend to V / I am planning to V / I am thinking of V-ING etc.

Don’t forget the idea of getting the pupils to make resolutions on a piece of paper and hiding them away until June. We have done that – you will be able to open the box in our last lessons before the end of the year.

Check out Audiolingua – see if there are audio files of interest. Here is a link to a B1 level file on New Year’s ResolutionsPaul

Any other ideas to share ? Post up a message on the REMIND group. Enjoy the remainder of the holidays and see you soon.

 

Image result for holly

 

All change !!

time for change

So, the time has finally come to leave the school and the classroom that I have called home for the past 19 years !! 19 years !! Who would have thought it ? I started at this school as a trainee teacher in 1998 at a time when an OHP was considered to be avant-gardiste and students had 6 hours of English lessons a week !!

change

Moving on is going to be exciting and it has been coming for a while. Working part-time in multiple places was never going to work for me long term but has given me the chance to try things out and now I am ready to take the big step into full-time teacher training. It is going to be challenging and doubtlessly, at times I will think I was better off with my stroppy teenagers, but this is a real opportunity to work with future generations of teachers and to add my own little modest contribution.

afraid of change

I am not afraid … I am just very very excited about it all !!

change philosophy

Streamlining and Downsizing

Over the course of summer 2016, I am going to be streamlining my Big English Blog with a view to downsizing a little. It has become too big to handle.

Project-Downsize-550

You may have noticed that a large number of the tabs have disappeared. The information is still here – it has just been tidied up a bit. If you can’t locate what you are looking for, try the SEARCH box.

downsizing cartoon

 

I am also going to be relocating all training resources and information onto the sister blog : http://www.jennylegertraining.wordpress.com

You can find where to go by visiting the FORMATION tab and you will be pointed on your merry way to the correct place.

Any comments or questions always welcome via the CONTACT page.

Enjoy your visit and thanks for dropping by !!

Drive safely

I work with teenagers, lots of whom are learning to drive and who come to me, delighted to say they have passed their driving test. I am also a mum of teenagers who have their driving licence or who are learning to drive. I am also mum to the victim of a road accident. Thankfully it was not with lasting physical effects and there was absolutely no question of alcohol being involved. The mental scars have remained though – perhaps with the mum more than with the victim !!!

This video below is gruesome and I apologize in advance for the graphic nature if I offend anyone. However, this seems to me an ideal opportunity to hit a message home to my students. Drive safely. Never drink and drive. Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking. I am sure all your parents would prefer a “Can you pick me up, please ?” phone-call to a “There’s been an accident” knock at the door, even at four o’clock in the morning.

http://www.thisblewmymind.com/the-most-powerful-drunk-driving-ad-ever/#LI5AXDQgkkYlgxzi.01