¿Qué tal? (very short text / story)

These resources are based on a short story practising ¿Qué tal?, with lots of high frequency expressions.

It really is the shortest of stories, using expressions from the first few lessons of Spanish:

Fred está en el patio del colegio cuando ve a su amigo Barney.
“Hola Barney,” dice Fred. “¿Qué tal?”
“Muy mal,” dice Barney, y se va.
Luego Fred ve a su amiga Wilma. “Hola Wilma,” dice Fred. “¿Qué tal?”
“¿Yo?” dice Wilma, “Regular.” Y se va.
Luego ve a su amigo Greg. “Hola Greg,” dice Fred. “¿Qué tal?”
“Bien, gracias,” dice Greg. “¿Y tú, Fred?”
“¡Muy bien!” dice Fred, y se va muy contento. 

There are 10 worksheets based on the text itself and 6 based on the vocab. These were printed from TaskMagic3 (Mix&Gap and TextMatch) using http://www.dopdf.com , and combined as 2 pdfs with lots of pages using http://foxyutils.com/mergepdf/

French, free time verbs, 1st person (gaps)

Some Text Match stuff based on the following:

1. Je ___ au foot.......................................................................... joue
2. Je ___ de la danse.................................................................. fais
3. Je ___ au cinéma.................................................................... vais
4. Je ___ la télé........................................................................... regarde
5. J' ___ de la musique................................................................ écoute
6. Je ___ du judo......................................................................... fais
7. Je ___ avec mes amis.............................................................sors
8. Je ___ de la guitare................................................................. joue
9. J' ___ la radio...........................................................................écoute
10. Je ___ un film......................................................................... regarde
11. Je ___ à la piscine................................................................... vais
12. Je ___ du vélo......................................................................... fais

Converting your old TaskMagic files to the new TaskMagic3 format

In TaskMagic3, files save as binary rather than text files.

Images and sounds are embedded in the file rather than being kept in a separate folder.

This makes it much easier to use all TaskMagic files over an internet connection, over a VLE etc, whatever the user’s browser.

Files can also be transported, emailed etc without zipping, and you don't have to remember to always copy extra 'pics' or 'sounds' folders along with your exercise file.

TaskMagic3 has a built in batch-convert facility, so that you convert multiple files to the new format. And it converts all file types at once - TextMatch, PicMatch, SoundMatch, Pic-Sound, GridMatch, Mix&Gap, Dialogues and Multi-Choice

It's dead easy to do.

All you do is open the file browser in TaskMagicCreate (TM3) and browse to a folder containing older style TM files. (These are the ones with an uppercase extension and no number 3 at the end: MDL, MDP, MTX etc)

If you browse to a folder containing these older file types (and where no TaskMagic3 equivalent exists) you will see a button with "TM2 > TM3" on it.

Click this, and it automatically converts them all (and keeps a copy of the original file.)

See this quick video which demonstrates how it is done. (NB. There's no audio.)

A bad school day (GCSE French Essay)

The pdfs below are based on 1 GCSE essay about a bad school day in French.

They were printed from the GCSE French Writing Focus software at:
http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk/otherdownloads.htm#gcsefrwr

The free (non-time-limited) demo includes the above essay, broken down into 3 separate parts, plus the full essay (the pdfs are from the full essay).

Each section (the separate parts of the essay and the full essay) has about 40 interactive activities, based on the text itself as well as on selected vocab and structures.

There are 16 essays in total in the full version (which needs to be registered). (So that's over 2500 interactive activities in total, plus 100s of worksheets.)

Download the demo and have a play. It's completely free, and you don't even need to install it (just download it and run it). You don't need to have TaskMagic to access this resource, as it has it's own version of TaskMagic built in.

How should we assess Modern Languages at GCSE?

My suggestions below. (Please stick with it until the end, so you can see where I'm coming from) :

Replace the current GCSE with a 5 paper exam, to include:

a) Listening: all questions in English, requiring answers in English. No dictionary needed as there is no written French to look up.

b) Reading: all questions in English, requiring answers in English. Dictionary allowed. Reading could include an element of translation from the TL into English!

c) Language in Use / Grammar: similar to the papers used in the Cambridge EFL exams. Tests of grammar and vocabulary in context. Manipulation of language and structures. No dictionary.

d) Speaking: assessment by external examiner. No indication beforehand of content. Mix of transactional language, conversation and e.g. describing / discussing a picture. Emphasis on assessing the students' ability to produce spontaneous appropriate utterances in response to aural or visual stimuli. 

e) Writing: by final exam. Dictionary allowed (but use discouraged). Variety of question types and stimuli. e.g. maybe include something like the old-style picture essay. Include lower level questions, and all questions / instructions to be in English. Include some translation into the target language (or something similar based on getting a particular message across in their own words).

(All of the above equally weighted: 20% each)

Maybe combine L + R into one "receptive skills" exam, divided into 2 parts.
Or put Reading & Writing together as one paper, and then Listening & Language in Use together on a different day, as neither of these require dictionaries. (So essentially 2 sessions - a dictionary session and a no dictionary session.)

Now, this may appear old-fashioned, rather than forward-thinking, BUT...

An exam structure like the one above would make a teaching style based on memorising whole chunks of text or set responses to pre-prepared questions obsolete and unworkable. (There would simply be no point in doing this...) The only way to get students to pass exams would be to teach them how to actually use language themselves.

Then the interesting bit (and the forward-thinking bit) would be to experiment with all kinds of techniques which would allow students to become effective learners, users and manipulators of language. 


Exploiting a text for classroom use - French: le 11 novembre 1918, la fin de la « der des der »

The resources in this post are based on an article from 1jour1actu.com about 11th November 1918 http://1jour1actu.com/france/la_fin_de_la__der_des_der_/

There are 12 pdf files all based on the same text.

There is also the TaskMagic3 Mix&Gap file (mtx3) from which the pdfs were printed (using doPDF - http://www.dopdf.com), and which provides access to 18 interactive exercises for use with PCs and / or an IWB. This file requires TaskMagic3. (See http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk/mixandgap.htm for more info about the Mix&Gap component of TaskMagic3.)

The image shows the menu screen in TaskMagic with the 18 interactive exercises represented by a screen thumbnail.