A week in the life of a visualiser in MFL

Inspired by this post by Dawn Cox I have tried to remember to take screen shots when I have been using the visualiser this week. I don’t think anything I am going to say here is ground breaking, not in the slightest, but I hope it might help to convince some people that it’s worth giving the visualiser a try. NOTE: Not all of the resources that you will see in the images are mine, they are a mixture of textbook, zigzag, weteachMFL and similar.

Firstly though, why do I use a visualiser? For one, it’s a way of getting away from the constant presence of PowerPoint and getting a bit of variety. I like being able to write and point things out live to the class, including their ideas etc. Some can do this well with an interactive board but I don’t have access to one that still has this functionality. Added to this, I then have an annotated copy I can share with absent students (particularly useful right now!) and I can write better on paper than on the board. It also means less planning for me, if I have a pen, the printout and the visualiser I’m ready without needing to create any additional resources.

So, what have I used the visualiser for this week?

A level – Film

My year 12 have only just watched the film for the first time and in class we went through these two activities related to the plot. As we went through the questions and text I annotated extra details that were useful to the students. Doing this on the screen meant that they could write things in the same place as me, see how it related to the text and importantly the information wasn’t transient, it would still be there to copy down in a minute if they needed to catch up.

Annotating vocabulary

In the GCSE textbook there are loads of helpful vocabulary boxes, but I know if my students stick these in their books they won’t look at them again later, or if they do there’s a limited chance of them remembering what things meant. We stuck these in the middle of a page and annotated them together. It gave time for lots of discussion about various elements of what was on there. It won’t be the neatest resource for them to go back to for revision, so in the future I will reconsider how I print this, but I felt that the time spent engaging with the words in this way was better than just giving them a bilingual list to stick in.

Guiding students through a worksheet

I used this printout from Languages Online and talked students through how to complete the exercises. It meant I could leave some hints on the board and refer back to the sheet easily when asked questions – especially useful as I can’t get close to the students at the moment. It also meant I could be really clear with my expectations about how the task was completed and we could easily mark it together.

Breakdown a written text to prepare for comprehension questions

In the two photos above I went through the text with the class both prior to and following the reading activities. I did different things each time, maybe pointing out key things I wanted them to look out for or vocabulary they may not know beforehand. Afterwards I picked out parts and discussed them in more detail, for example looking at grammatical structures.

Live marking written work

This isn’t the best example as it was just a gap fill exercise more or less, but it allowed me to put emphasis on key things, point out things like accents to be remembered and note where small but important details were missing.

Demonstrating exam technique

Here I broke down the bullet points, applying the BUST acronym and discussing the key things that needed to be understood before writing the text with the group. It was a small after school intervention group, but there’s no reason why this couldn’t be done with a larger class.

Anything you really want students to see, understand and take note of!

These final images probably could’ve fitted in one of the previous categories, but I’ve put them here to show you just a few more of the things I used a visualiser for this week. You can see a gap fill completed with year 11, different colours showing the layers that we built up when picking out key vocabulary, impressive structures and the answers. A translation activity completed with year 10, the visualiser was great here to make sure everyone know exactly where I was referring to in the text. Finally a reading text that I used to discuss preterite and imperfect, again using the visualiser helped make this really clear.

So, the visualiser. Nothing ground breaking, nothing you weren’t already doing in different ways. But easier, quicker and more versatile than many of the alternatives.

I’m sure there are more ways to use it than I’ve shown, these are just what happened to come up in my teaching this week.

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