Jane Bland is Assistant Headteacher at Rushey Mead School, and has lead on a DigiLit Leicester innovation project. Her project has developed guidance to support Modern Foreign Language (MFL) staff in the use of technology to support the teaching of French phonics. You can read Jane’s initial project post, creating and sharing resources to teach French phonics and here interim project post – both come with ideas and resources. Here, Jane reflects on the experience of the project:
It is almost 12 months since I learned that my DigiLit Leicester project bid had been successful and this blog post is an account of my journey; creating the phonics schemes of work, sharing the resources and using tablets to enhance my teaching.
The phonics schemes of work came from an idea in how to support our primary colleagues in transition from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 3. I wanted our feeder schools to focus on phonics and pronunciation, rather than a variety of vocabulary at a superficial level. The idea for the ‘Phonic Friends’ came from Jane Somerville who created them initially as part of a LinkedUp project:
I wanted to create a scheme of work that was progressive and cumulative, adding in one new phonic at a time, ensuring that the words learned only included phonemes that had already been introduced.
For each of the 25 phonemes we created a Phonic Friend, a French person with the phoneme in their name, and we made posters to accompany each sound which are displayed in all classrooms:
Click here for a copy of all the posters: Phonics Posters (PowerPoint)
I then made a powerpoint for each sound that introduced words containing that individual phoneme (or others that had already been introduced so they were cumulative).
Clip art images used available under public domain via https://openclipart.org/
Each slidedeck also contains a variety of activities; a song, a rhyme, a tongue twister, a story, a dictation. I wanted this to fit in with the new programmes of study so that a primary school could meet all the new criteria by using this scheme of work.
Click here for example of a slide deck: 4 ch LeTS introduce phonics (PowerPoint)
As we had never taught French phonics in our secondary school before I decided we should trial it with our year 7 students. I hadn’t anticipated quite how successful this would be, and we have now rolled this out to all year groups throughout Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.
The impact on students’ speaking skills has been huge, and we continue to see an increase in their confidence and their French accents. We have embedded the phonics into our year 7 scheme of work, and we have now created more resources to reinforce the phonics throughout year 8 and year 9. We revise the phonics on a regular basis with all year groups, they have access to phonics place mats in class, and they now read new words with accuracy and ease.
Click here for an example PowerPoint to revise the first 12 sounds: Can you remember sounds 1-12 (PowerPoint)
All year groups have benefited from the phonics, and also from the ipads. These are used on a very regular basis throughout the faculty, for French, Spanish and Italian. To read about the key apps we use with students please refer to my previous blog:
Whilst we still have our old favourites we continue to develop our own knowledge and skills and discover new teaching and learning strategies all the time. This week one of the year 11 groups have been practising for their oral assessment using ‘Notes’ to write an example sentence and listen to the correct pronunciation. By the end of one lesson I had begun to see an improvement in their pronunciation and intonation, and they remained engaged and on task for the whole hour.
I have been delighted with the positive impact we have seen in our faculty with our students, but it has also been great to hear from colleagues in other schools who have contacted me to say they are using these resources in their classroom and starting to see an impact on their children.
If you would like more information about our phonics scheme of work, or other MFL support that is available, please do not hesitate to contact me.