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 Post subject: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Warwickshire
My lazy dd2 was told a week ago she would have a Spanish test today. She told me then she had eight words to learn, I tested her, they were fairly easy.

She told me after school today they had to spend twenty minutes in class writing as many sentences in Spanish demonstrating they had remembered everything they had learned. I doubt very much if she did well (and she didn't deny my comment) because if she had bothered to revise she could only have done better.

She shows no interest, or flair, for French or Spanish, and spends minimum time on them.

However, she was told she'd have a maths test, so she sat in her room practising sums (just mental maths, looked rather like year 6 work to me), and did very well in the class test. I doubt she was top, but who cares - she says she just loves maths. :shock:

I just wish she would try half as hard at everything else. Languages, in particular.

Amber/any language expert, do you have any advice how I can help her learn French? I can't help much with Spanish as I don't know it. Dd2 can hardly conjugate regular verbs, doesn't seem to know any verbs and just is not interested. Or is it all down to carrots and sticks?


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:27 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 8228
Please could you explain it a bit more. She is in year 7, so will not have learned much French or Spanish at all yet, and the test she was set sounds very easy in terms of the 8 words she had to learn and she knew them. So how do you know she is so hopeless at languages? It is very early days. Great she enjoys maths too,but she has been doing that since 5 or less so can probably enjoy her achievement as well as the subject, so it is not a fair comparison at this stage.

Maybe they learned a language at primary school. Ours are taught French but it's not a language I recognise. It is astoundingly badly taught.

Languages can seem a bit dead without a purpose. If you can get involved with the language by booking a short break, or having a family over as part of a cultural exchange and learning the language as a family maybe that could be fun? Find a course with books and CDs that covers holiday language maybe and get trying together?


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:49 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:00 pm
Posts: 95
Post-it notes. Everywhere. And leave them there for as long as it takes her to learn them.

Give DD a dictionary, have her look up and write the name of as many common objects found in the house as you can on individual post-its. Stick the post-its on their corresponding object in the home (you can take this as far as you like – for instance you wouldn't find an aeroplane or a car in the house but there may be a toy one or one in a picture that you can label). Simply seeing the words in context on a daily basis helps to lodge them subliminally in the brain.

Then help the process along the way. Make a short crib list of adjectives (start with colours and size, or take a look at her books and include any she's covered at school so far).

Add to this a crib list of sample sentences to get her doing some basic verb conjugation. You won't need many – just a few sentences will do it. The kind of thing that enables her to say "the table is blue", "the sofa is small", "my brother has three books", "I like this green toothbrush", "do you like this green toothbrush?" or "do you prefer the orange toothbrush?". Use her school exercise or text book as a guide.

Then have her use the samples to make up sentences using the nouns on the post-it notes. Don't overdo it, just a few a day will do the trick – work to her attention span.

Offer her a reward for every so many words of vocab she learns, or a treat for once every post-it has been learnt and removed. You'll be amazed how quickly the vocabulary sticks, and the sentence constructions will be cemented at the same time and quickly feel like second nature.

If it's working, you can incorporate new verbs into this routine, focus on conjugating them etc - take it in whichever direction she's needing the most help. This does wonders for confidence in using the language and "getting" how it works. It also gently makes the point that you have to consciously make an effort to learn a foreign language – it's not enough simply to read a word or grasp how a construction works, you have to find a way of then committing it to memory. The key is in finding quick, fun and effective ways of doing this.

Tablet/ipod flash card apps are also good. You can buy some ready-loaded for each language or your DD can make up her own as and when she covers new stuff at school.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:31 am
Posts: 129
My ds makes his own flashcards - questions and answers, for French, German and Latin. He can either test himself or ask someone to test him. He uses flashcards for other topics, such as science, particle theory and states of matter. I'm learning lots as well!

He has also found a few websites such as
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesi ... rev1.shtml
which help with pronouncing the letters of the alphabet.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
Posts: 3579
Ditto my son in year 8

He uses one particular site, that makes flashcards, and quizzes him on the question/answers he provides, then he can print out the flashcards, and we test him too...if he is not interrupting a good bit of evening telly that is. :evil: why does he never ask before 9pm?
I was v impressed when he suddenly started using it again of his own will, after not touching the site since his year 6 spelling tests.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Warwickshire
Thanks for the advice, everyone. Have made some very simple flashcards so we can all learn, then turning pictures into basic sentences.

I've already put some post its around her room.

I must look at Bitesize, Bromleymum1. Your ds sounds very diligent. Perhaps we'll get there.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 4:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 11, 2012 10:31 am
Posts: 129
Btw, have a look at google translate - my ds says its good for individual spellings/pronunciation, ie, you can write a word in English and it will give you the German spelling and let you hear how to pronounce it, you can also check your spellings, that is write it in German and have it translate the word into English.

Hope this makes sense, but I'm a bit under the weather at the moment!


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:47 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Warwickshire
My dd2 learned a whole paragraph for Drama, she has a photographic memory, after one glance. I could not believe it. It seems to be true as she has recited it to me.

Yet learning French verbs are beyond her. I think she just can't be bothered. It's motivating her that's the problem, for languages - she loves everything else apart from English and PE. She loves Latin (thanks to Roman Mysteries), but French and Spanish? Just will not try.

Dreading that first inevitable detention. :( Or maybe I shouldn't moan because she is working hard in everything else.


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2013 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 am
Posts: 3579
They wil probablyl be lunchtime detentions two days after a test.....to retake said test! Here speaks the voice of experience, ds1 got two of these in 3 weeks at the start of term, and has since cleaned his act up. So don't dread the detention, they do work for most kids I think. Even the threat of an after school detention in year 7 had my goody two shoes in tears....and it was my fault, because I had run out of printer ink. Ha ha ha...revenge for all those zillion, wasted, unproofread colour print outs, was mine :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: Year 7 tests
PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2013 8:02 am 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
Posts: 2439
When my ds had his first parents evening, the French teacher talked to us about learning vocab. Apparently it's not unusual for year 7s to struggle at this. I think it's a case of establishing new routines - remember they have only been at senior school a relatively short time and it's all new to them.


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