Language of Plants

japanese club tree2

Can you learn a new language from a daffodil and a tulip…?

Choosing the colourful blooms around the school, eager Japanese Club students snapped away with the camera to catch the afternoon sun on a variety of plants. Why?

A resource folder was created with photographs taken by the girls around the school,with the idea being to make a welcome brochure for international visitors ( in Japanese and English), who often come to the school.

“What about using the picture of the daffodils and making an origami with it Miss…?”   Great !!


As we know, Mini plenaries are a great way to demonstrate progress during a lesson and to enable pupils to see where they are with their own learning.
There are many different examples of using mini plenaries within lessons, but this week’s teaching tip is from an outside resource that gives you ideas of up to 130 plenaries. The link is as follows:
Thanks to Ceri for supplying this link.

Baguette Bingo







The game begins…. Using French vocabulary and a variety of breakfast foods for inspiraton, the girls were eating into the whiteboards as they drew the pictures and words from the chart, using a BINGO format.  French word cards were drawn out of a special box. As the girls crossed off each square suddenly there was a resounding cry of “BINGO!!”

“Do teachers really eat kippers and icecream for breakfast Miss…?

C’est cool….!”

Inside, Outside

This week’s teaching tip is called “Inside, outside” and is another cooperative learning strategy where the learners have to become actively engaged in their learning.
The instructions are as follows:
  • Ask the students to form pairs. 
  • Working individually, the students answer a question posed by the teacher (or another student.)
  • Students then stand up and one student from each pair moves to form a larger outer circle, the remaining partner finds their partner and faces them forming an inner circle.
  • Students then share one point from their answer / all of their ideas depending on the question set. You could do this by incorporating a different cooperative learning structure, such as a timed pair, share.
  • Students then move around in their circle to form another pair. Once in place, they repeat the process, adding / re-constructing their answer as they go.
  • The teacher can play music, ask students to move a certain number of places etc.
 Did you use the teaching tip this week? If so, how did you use it? Please do let us know.
Many thanks to Nic Walker for supplying this week’s tip.

Holiday Teacher Tip!

The holiday teacher tip comes from a website link I picked up on twitter. Follow the link below to find some good summaries on using Bloom’s Taxonomy in the classroom.
14 Brilliant Bloom’s Taxonomy Posters For Teachers

Five Starters

This week’s teaching tip has kindly been supplied by the MFL department and is the first in a four part series from them! The department have compiled a booklet of Starters and Plenaries, and although the examples are mainly in French, the ideas can be applied across various subjects, and they have kindly passed this on. Over the next few weeks, I am going to share a selection of these. Many thanks to the MFL department.


Five Starters


Starter 1  Find the odd one out


1.    Trousse, crayon, stylo, feutre

2.    Verte, bleu, brune, blanche

3.    Je mange, je bois, je joue, je regarde

4.    Angleterre, allemand, français, espagnol


There can, of course, be more than one correct answer, which allows pupils to give justifications for their choice of word.

(trousse, bleu, je bois, Angleterre)


Starter 2  Jumbled up letters  


1 dhun

2 zatek

3 musa

4 chinnkane

MFL: Bonus point for knowing gender and which letter should be a capital (eg der Hund)

Other subjects: Can they write a sentence with these words in?


Starter 3  Grouping words  


Give pupils a list of words and ask them to put them in groups.

Salon, frigo, douche, baignoire, salle de bains, garage, voiture, canapé, cuisinière, vélo, lit, armoire, télé, cuisine

MFL: Words could be grouped according to gender, rooms/furniture, appropriate places for each item etc.

OTHER SUBJECTS: Pupils can give justifications of the words that they group.


Starter 4

Give pupils a letter and they must find words beginning by that letter in various categories.   This could be played as “Stop the Bus – Arrêtez le bus! etc” where the team which gets all 5 categories first scores a point and each team  can score an extra point if the word they have found is unique. This encourages them to try to find more exotic words.


Eg C


Pays Animal couleur vêtement Fruit/légume
Chine cochon crème chaussette carotte


OTHER SUBJECT: Use this as an introduction to a topic / revision of a topic when considering key vocabulary that could be used.

Starter 5 Wordsearches

Useful to have on the desk to get learning started straight away. They are easy to produce as you can use a table in word. Why not get the pupils to write a sentence that incorporates the words they have found?

Group Work

You may have seen the article in the TES magazine on Group Work.  I don’t think it mentioned anything that we as a school have not already discussed, but it may prove to be a useful refresher article to read. The article covers the following areas:
  • Why use group work
  • What are the risks of group work
  • Creating Groups
  • Classic Activities to set groups up
  • How to capture progress when working as a group.

Beat the Teacher!

(This week’s teaching tip has been shared by Val Rice).

1. Give the students a piece of text covering the subject taught in the previous lesson, the text will have deliberate mistakes in it.
2. Each student has to identify & correct the mistakes in a set period of time.
3. A student reads the text until they come across a mistake – they then correct it; the next student then carries on reading & so on.  This ensures that all the class is engaged in the activity & they will quickly react if a student reading the text misses a mistake.

March 3rd

Interested in finding other resources to help to extend the knowledge of your pupils?
You may have already read this article in the TES magazine on Friday (page 4), “Take a free seat in the lecture hall”. The article discussed open source university-level material that is available on-line and talked briefly about how some teachers are using this within their teaching. The article is available in the staff room, and I will place a photocopy of it onto the Teaching and Learning board.
In case you don’t get chance to read the article, there were some links mentioned that have free resources that could be of interest in some of your lessons. Some of the links that were mentioned are:
The open university open learn
OpenCourseWare Consortium
MIT OpenCourse Ware
Peer 2 Peer University
University of the People

Banana Split

Delicious scoops of Tropical Rainforest, drizzled with warm rays of sunshine, with a generous sprinkling of colour and diversity, ready to enjoy !!


Using the sights and smells around them in the Dining Room, the girls were transported to the jungles of the Amazon to answer questions about the Rainforest. This got the girls thinking about how important this area of the world is to

the environment we live in today.

Banana Splits don’t just taste good, but are good for you !!