Moodle Blog

Mystery Moodle (MFL) fun

Before working for Moodle HQ full time I taught languages at Our Lady’s High School Preston. In my final few years there however I moved away from the regular classroom to focus on staff ICT training and primary liaison work, introducing Moodle to our ten feeder primary schools so when they came to high school they were already very familiar with it. The first year I began this I was tasked with creating a one-hour session for all the year 5 classes to get them logged into andusing our Moodle. “It can be on any subject you like”, I was told, “as  long as they learn something new and they use Moodle.

Our Lady’s is a Maths and Computing Specialist School and so I suspect they were presuming I’d do a lesson on Maths and Computing. Sadly (for them perhaps) not. I thought – I will stick to what I am used to – I will do languages! But then came the problem: which language? Some of the primary schools were introducing French so if I chose French it might conflict with their plans. My school had recently begun Spanish, but I didn’t speak Spanish. On the other hand, German had just been taken off the timetable and become a popular after-school club, so I thought – I ‘ll do German! Then if they like it, they can join the German club when they arrive in Year 7 and maybe some will  be motivated to take it further.

Except… what if they didn’t like the idea of learning German, a language considered by some as quite difficult? Indeed, what if my school didn’t like the idea of my doing a German lesson with Year 5 when they had presumed it would be Maths or something computery? Solution: Not tell anybody the topic and call the session “Mystery Moodle fun” – and only reveal my true intentions when they were fifteen minutes into the session and it was too late to escape!

So I designed a Moodle course which I worked through during the lesson and used successfully with all the Year 5 classes of our ten primary schools for five years until I left. Its double advantage was that it contained activities and resources they could continue back at their own school so the learning didn’t stop once they said ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ to me, and  a forum in which they could communicate with and get to know the other pupils from other schools, a nice pastoral side that encouraged the more timid youngsters.

How did it work? I introduced the topic by saying they were going to have to guess what we were learning and showed them the famous (to MFL teachers anyway!) Cat and Fish video from Youtube, pausing it at 18 seconds to ask them to guess what happened next. In all the five years I was surprised nobody guessed correctly – but it was a great intro to explaining that, just as the fish survived because he could speak ‘canine’ , learning another language empowers all of us, and not just in a life or death way!

The next stage was to guess which language we were learning. For this I used a Moodle lesson which, with its branching and scoring options, allows you to give or takeaway points according to how quickly they guessed from the clues. (Note to self: football mad pupils guess immediately whenever you show them a country’s flag – I made that the final clue)

So we were going to learn German. But German’s really hard isn’t it? Up the smartboard now for a game of Fling the Teacher entirely in German where all the clues are based on cognates. Wonderful to see them raising their hands (or shouting out) to answer correctly and realising that not only did they know what  a cognate is but they also know German they didn’t know they knew.

But it’s not all about cognates. So time to learn just a few basic greetings , and for this I reverted to songs, having found a sweet little song on youtube which I played for them and then it was back to the board with some more vocab practice games. Not a perfect song (beware the spelling mistakes) but the dog was a winner and the constant repetition proved very effective.

Then as a  contrast from the sweetness of Max and Kaiser, they learned some numbers with the best German number song in the world – Ein, zwei Polizei. I actually did my own version as it’s hard to find a youtube version acceptable to 9 year olds, but this one’s not too bad:

Then it was practising on their own time until the bell, with a variety of games and activities I had made on the Moodle course, which they could the continue at home and back at their own school. An hour later, they left thinking German was cool and German songs were even cooler, and Moodle was a fun place to go and learn. Job done! You can view the course on the Moodle School demo site here but you will need to log in and create an account to actually do it. It uses conditional activities, which restricts access until you do earlier tasks. If you have Moodle 2 , you can download the course to use in your own school here.

Dieser Beitrag wurde am Saturday, 09. November 2013 um 06:49 Uhr veröffentlicht und wurde unter der Kategorie Moodle abgelegt. Du kannst die Kommentare zu diesen Eintrag durch den RSS-Feed verfolgen. Du hast die Möglichkeit einen Kommentar zu hinterlassen, oder einen Trackback von deinem Weblog zu senden.

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