What will students study in French this year?
In Year 7, as not all students have studied French at Primary School, we will start at the very beginning with introductions and family but will be covering a range of other topics, such as house, pets, places in town, leisure activities, weather and future plans. From the beginning, we teach the grammatical structures of the language and the relationship between sounds and spelling. This enables students to become real French speakers as it gives them the tools to manipulate the language for themselves. Lessons use a mix of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Video clips, songs and games help to bring the language to life and impart an understanding of French culture. We offer extension activities for more advanced learners.
Building on the foundations laid in Year 7, in Year 8 students will broaden their vocabulary and learn a wider range of structures, so that they can build extended sentences, refer to past events and future plans and ask and answer questions. Specific topics covered include describing a past holiday, talking about favourite films, TV programmes and books, discussing the pros and cons of modern media, food and healthy living, attitudes to fashion and clothing. Whatever the topic, the aim is to equip students with the tools to confidently form language of their own now and in the future. We will be also learning about cultural aspects such as Mardi-Gras in French-speaking countries, French films, music and cooking.
What are the major assessments this year?
There will be formal end of unit assessments and also three termly assessments that will assess what has been learnt throughout the whole year. Each teacher will set ongoing grammar or vocabulary tests and will regularly assess and give feedback on written work. There will also be initial assessments at the beginning of each unit to corroborate students’ prior knowledge that is linked to the unit that the student is about to start in order to inform the teacher on how to best approach the unit.
What do assessments test?
These assessments will address different skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) as well as vocabulary and grammar.
What are the expectations of my daughter in French?
The course is 5 hours a fortnight for Year 7 and 4 hours a fortnight for Year 8. Homework is set quite frequently at the beginning will focus on learning vocabulary or grammar, and it is important that students see this as essential homework. It may also be a written or comprehension activity. Students’ written work is marked carefully ensuring that appropriate feedback is provided with the purpose of enabling the student to improve their work and their understanding of the subject. We purposely identify the type of error rather than simply writing in the correction. It is expected that students will bring a small French dictionary to lessons.
How can I best support my daughter in French?
Taking an interest in what she is doing and showing that you value what she is learning makes a tremendous difference. It is not necessary for you to know any French yourself, although obviously it's great if you do. Otherwise, asking her to explain what she has been doing in class, testing her on the vocabulary she has learnt, and looking through her book with her will help her consolidate her learning. Do encourage and praise her for her efforts. Quiz her on her vocabulary using her mini whiteboard.
It is good practice for your daughter to spend a few minutes looking through the lesson notes as soon as possible after the class, and then again, a few days later, rather than forgetting all about it until the next lesson! This is particularly true when it comes to learning new vocabulary. It does not need to take a long time but will help to keep the language fresh in the mind. We recommend a range of websites which your daughter can use to help with grammar and vocabulary and to learn more about French culture. We also have a subscription for Linguascope. The details will be shared with your daughter in class.
Whom should I contact for further advice or information?
Please feel free to contact your daughter’s teacher in the first instance but Mrs Lane as Head of French is available on firstname.lastname@example.org or Mr Castro as Head of Modern Foreign Languages: email@example.com