When we were in Brittany at the beginning of August we spent a most pleasant day in Vannes. I wanted to see the historic town centre (it didn't disappoint), the girls were looking forward to the Aquarium and Jardin aux Papillons, and Mr S wanted a very tasty lunch. We started off at the Aquarium, and made our way to, for us, the star exhibit. The star exhibit is a crocodile. Not any old crocodile, oh no. This is Eléanore the crocodile, who was discovered in the Paris sewers in 1984, when the égoutiers noticed that there weren't as many rats down there as usual:
In true MFL teacher style, I took pictures of all the signs and information in case it comes in useful for a lesson sometime. And this blogpost is about ideas for lessons that approach the usual in an unusual way, from a different angle.
This month Year 7 teachers are receiving into their classes children with mixed experiences of language learning in Key Stage 2, something which can create all sorts of problems. One strategy that is suggested for classes with mixed experience is to go over the same language but in new contexts, so that those who haven't done it before can learn the important language, while those who have done it before won't be bored because the context is different. Eléanore the crocodile could be used for looking at personal identification in a new way, as illustrated by the speech bubble at the top of the page. It makes a change from children writing similar information about themselves or their friends. There must be some other famous animals that can be written about.
This can also bring in some elements of intercultural understanding. How many students will know about Eléanore's former home, Les Egouts de Paris? Eléanore's home in Vannes Aquarium has been decorated to remind her of her time in Paris:
We were so busy being excited about the crocodile that I almost missed the jellyfish corner. There was an interactive display - the sort with lots of buttons for small children to press.
You had to press the buttons to find out what parts of the body the jellyfish has, and in the white boxes a "Non" or a "Oui" plus information and pictures would appear. This would give a new twist to "Parts of the Body".
No concrete ideas, I know, but hopefully some food for thought and some inspiration.
And, in case you're wondering, our favourite thing about the crocodile WAS that she is named after my sister!