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20 October 2014
Schools - French Language Lab

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Home activities and extension activities

Support from parents and carers can make a big difference to children's confidence, especially with linguistic skills. Surrounded by a sea of English, early progress in MFL learning may seem slow, but there are opportunities to reinforce new language in everyday activities without having to sit down especially to 'learn French'.
  • Ask your child to find examples of French words in everyday life, e.g. café, camembert, Tour de France; translations from English to French on e.g. cereal boxes, shampoo bottles, instruction leaflets.
  • Looking at books in French is a valuable activity and these are obtainable from internet book sites or high street booksellers. However, books published for young French readers are not automatically suitable for English readers, as they may include 'hard' vocabulary or grammar, too complicated for beginners.
  • Using DVDs allows the possibility of watching a French film in English, then French, and swapping between the 2 languages, at the pace of learning or length of concentration appropriate to an individual child.
  • Using puppets allows children to practise new language, e.g. questions and answers, in different situations, without inhibitions, acting out roles and putting on different voices and characters. The scripts in the 'En France' section of the website can be printed and acted out, and puppet templates are provided as a printable activity.
  • Encourage your child to use e.g. 'bonjour' and 'au revoir' to visitors and 'encore' at mealtimes when second helpings are required!
  • Similar cards to those in the printable dominoes and pair games can be used to play other card games such as matching, snap, sets, and pelmanism. Games which depend on spelling, such as I spy (j'ai un petit oeil qui voit une petite chose qui commence par x') may be useful once the written word is familiar.
  • French picture dictionaries can be used for finding new words which relate to children's interests, ( e.g. stick insect, mountain bike). Bi-lingual dictionaries can be a useful tool, but children but may need help in finding their way around.
  • Links with penpals abroad, via email or letters (see NACELL website below) give a real purpose to learning a MFL, even if information is limited, or it has to be written in half-English, half French. Photos and pictures, postcards, maps, diagrams and audio cassettes exchanged with children abroad impart much additional knowledge about the foreign culture and environment.
  • Many Internet sites allow children to explore, with guidance, their own particular hobbies- e.g. French skateboarding or football club sites. The internet can also help children investigate different francophone locations, e.g. Guadaloupe, La Réunion.
  • Children can use IT skills to produce labels in French for different places and objects around the home, (e.g. cuisine, télévision, table).
  • Visiting a foreign country, hearing and beginning to speak the language, is both motivating and satisfying. A small amount of French goes a long way and a child's self-esteem increases when an ice cream or hamburger is the result of a short dialogue. Even 'bonjour', 'merci' and 'au revoir' will be appreciated by the locals!
  • Children can personalise the printable activity sheets, colouring them in before putting them into a 'French folder', to which they may add other material.
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