Learning to spell in French

We’ve been working really hard on spellings in French this year. It’s the first year of French and we have been looking at pets. For the topic we learnt eight words for animals, and I challenged them to learn how to spell the words by working together to come up with some strategies.

I was hoping the highers would remember some of them and the lowers would remember one or two. In fact the whole class managed to learn and remember how to spell all 8 words. They employed a range of techniques ranging from using phonics, to word association to full-blown storytelling.

Hamster of course was easy – it’s the same as English. Chien they remembered by saying it in an English way – chi en. For poisson rouge they pictured a poisonous red fish, and for Chat they thought of a chatty cat. Lapin involved a story of a rabbit running laps around a field and winning a pin for finishing first. And then they got really creative…

Oiseau is “oh – I see you” and since Tortue looks like torture they had a story about a tortoise being tortured by having his second “r” taken away. But my absolute favourite was Yoda’s bitter pet mouse: hmmm the mouse sour is!

I’d love to hear about any techniques your class have come up with for learning their spellings so feel free to add a comment in the box below.

Which is which out of le and la?

I love teaching children. Sometimes they’ll come out with something that is blindingly obvious that had never occurred to me before.
On one such occasion a child suddenly piped up in the middle of a French lesson: “It’s easy to remember which is which out of ‘le’ and ‘la’ coz lady starts with ‘la’ and ‘la’ is the one for ladies!”
I like that. I’m going to use it from now on, but I’m also going to add a bit of my own: Lemsip starts with ‘le’. ‘Le’ is for masculine things and Lemsip is for man-flu.
Problem solved.