This site is intended for an audience of Year 9 -10 gifted and talented linguists, and to be used as useful reading practice for GCSE students in Year 11.
Why start with Year 9? I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s a difficult year in language learning. Your students now know enough to have forgotten plenty! Too often, students at this stage fall back on the language they learned in Year 7 when the world was new and shiny and you could remember all the French you learned as you hadn’t learned much, and then they fill in the gaps (there are many) with cognates and near cognates. At the same time, these students who are reverting to Year 7 in language learning are beginning to be able to spread their wings in so many other areas of life, and of the curriculum. You will almost certainly feel as I do that for able linguists, the way forward is for them to have much more exposure to the language than the standard school lesson format can allow, and to play to their natural intelligence and curiosity as they become young men and women. This is what inspired this project.
The problem with G+T resources, however, is so often when and how to use them. So how can you use this site? An obvious answer is for students timetabled in an ICT suite, who have completed other necessary exercises. If students can’t access the computer in your lesson, I would suggest that your gifted linguists could keep a log of the work they do on this site as alternative homework (include a paragraph of translation, or a list of facts they gleaned, or feedback, or parental witness statement). Fast workers can complete the standard homework in the lesson if it is core learning, and read at home.
Extension work should be a reward. With this very much in mind, I have not included comprehension questions, although with each task are suggested possible written responses – explain your choice of murder culprit; choose whether to celebrate Christmas in Alsace or Provence. The texts are devised to engage the students, but also to familiarise the student with ‘higher-end’ structures and useful time phrases and conjunctions. Close reading is key, so that regular readers are reminded of modal verbs, post Year 8 vocabulary (trouver, chercher, oublier, réussir etc.), comparatives etc. With this in mind, translation of a paragraph is a frequent suggestion.