GCSE Year 10 and 11 – New website to help you revise for your Controlled Writing and Speaking Assessments

Are you taking German, French or Spanish?

Did you know there is a new website to help you memorise and prepare for your controlled Writing and Speaking assessments?

The website: www.textivate.com allows you to write/paste in your assessment and it will generate different activities like word puzzles, challenges, fill in the blanks, flashcards and ordering the text tasks. The website limits you to only entering in 500 words at a time. To get started, see your languages teacher for a free login and password.


Celebrating European Day of Languages

Here at Oakmeeds we are celebrating European Day of Languages today! This Council of Europe initiative takes place every year on 26 September to celebrate and promote the rich diversity of languages in Europe.


Students in Year 7 are taking part in a quiz to work out which language they have been given on a special sticker and to research the country or countries where it is spoken. Entries need to be handed in to their languages teacher by Friday 4th October.

Thanks to Routes into Languages South, we are also offering students in all years the opportunity to take part in a regional poster competition. To enter, students must choose a word relating to the European Day of Languages, translate it into a language of their choice and illustrate their work on an A4 sheet of paper. Entries must be handed in to Mrs Reynolds in D6 by 21st October.

Year 11 students – renew your Kerboodle subscription for the final year of your GCSE

To support you in your GCSE year in languages, we are planning to renew our subscription to Kerboodle. You may recall that this excellent online resource gives access to an online version of the textbook, together with revision and reinforcement exercises in reading, writing and listening (a skill which is particularly difficult to develop at home). We are asking for a contribution of £5 towards this year’s subscription for this resource. Payments can either be made online or through the box in A Block (please ensure that payments are clearly marked with your name, language studied and “Kerboodle”).

Thank you
The MFL department

Year 10 students – Kerboodle online resource to support your GCSE studies

I am sure you will agree that listening to a foreign language is the one skill that is the most difficult to practise outside of school. Therefore we are pleased to be able to offer to all KS4 language students an online facility called Kerboodle which allows access to listening, reading and writing activities for homework and revision anywhere they have internet access. Subscription to Kerboodle also includes access to the online text book for support, as well as an exciting application called Vocab Express, where students can actively engage in learning vocabulary online, something which forms the foundations of success in any language.

The school has now registered with Kerboodle and we are asking each student to contribute £10 to enable them to receive their own registration password.  This payment will cover your subscription for both Year 10 and Year 11. Payment can be made online through the Oakmeeds website or alternatively, please return the reply slip with payment in a sealed envelope to the Box in A Block Reception. For both methods of payment please return the reply slip so that we can monitor payments effectively.  Letters with the reply slip can be obtained from your French, German or Spanish teacher. Deadline for reply slips: Friday 20th September.

Year 8 Berlin trip review

The trip to Berlin gave pupils a chance to practise their German ‘for real’ as we ordered in cafés and went shopping. Every single day was jam-packed with exciting events from having a tour around the Reichstag to something refreshing like swimming. We were all amazed by Berlin’s history and beauty. I know we will always remember the unforgettable four days in bewitching Berlin. If you get the chance to go, don’t think twice about it, just go and have fun as it is sehr gut!

Fiona Greenhalgh, Year 8

German Cafe at Woodlands Meed

On Tuesday the 16th of July, some members of my class and I set off on a trip to Woodlands Meed in order to take part in a German activity with their Key Stage 3 students. Before Tuesday, the whole of our German class learnt not only the German language applied such as ‘What would you like?’ and all the food and drinks like orange juice and chocolate biscuit, we also learnt the sign language so,  the students who usually communicate in signs could understand us. We also made presentations about us so students could recognise our faces and phrasebooks and also all the decorations like bunting and flags.

WM cafe

After we set up, we started serving the key stage 3 students. Obviously their was a range of abilities depending on which groups the children were in but nonetheless, all of the students had a go at the German language and learnt the value of money as well. It was clear that all of the students and teachers had previously looked at our slide shows and learnt a lot of the language to use. I hope that they had fun whilst being able to learn basic language and life skills. However, it was not just the students that took in a lot from the few hours, all the Oakmeeds students did too. We learn language and sign language not to mention being able to interact with Woodlands Meed students.

Overall it was a great day and I am glad that I was able to be a part of it.

Jemma Carpenter, Year 9

Using poetry in Spanish lessons!

Both reading and writing poetry can be a fantastic way to help you learn a language! It’s great to read ‘real’ language rather than something from a ‘text book’! Also, Spanish poetry sounds particularly beautiful!

At the same time, you can be creative yourself and have a go at using your language skills to write a simple poem in a foreign language! It’s not as hard as you might think! Some pupils studying Spanish have had the opportunity this term to experiment with some Spanish poetry and here are some examples:

Year 10

Many year 10 pupils studied this famous Spanish poem called “Instantes’ (Moments) by a famous Argentinian poet called Borges. They read it and gave their own translations while working on the ‘Conditional tense’. Their translations were very good indeed. Here you can read the poem for yourself!

Si pudiera vivir nuevamente mi vida,
en la próxima trataría de cometer más errores.
No intentaría ser tan perfecto, me relajaría más.
Sería más tonto de lo que he sido,
de hecho tomaría muy pocas cosas con seriedad.
Sería menos higiénico.
Correría más riesgos,
haría más viajes,
contemplaría más atardeceres,
subiría más montañas, nadaría más ríos.
Iría a más lugares adonde nunca he ido,
comería más helados y menos habas,
tendría más problemas reales y menos imaginarios.

Yo fui una de esas personas que vivió sensata
y prolíficamente cada minuto de su vida;
claro que tuve momentos de alegría.
Pero si pudiera volver atrás trataría
de tener solamente buenos momentos.

Por si no lo saben, de eso está hecha la vida,
sólo de momentos; no te pierdas el ahora.

Yo era uno de esos que nunca
iban a ninguna parte sin un termómetro,
una bolsa de agua caliente,
un paraguas y un paracaídas;
si pudiera volver a vivir, viajaría más liviano.

Si pudiera volver a vivir
comenzaría a andar descalzo a principios
de la primavera
y seguiría descalzo hasta concluir el otoño.
Daría más vueltas en calesita,
contemplaría más amaneceres,
y jugaría con más niños,
si tuviera otra vez vida por delante.

Pero ya ven, tengo 85 años…
y sé que me estoy muriendo.

Here is a translation of the poem:


(English translation attributed to Ursula
on The Garden of Jorge Luis Borges)

If I could live again my life,
In the next – I’ll try,
– to make more mistakes,
I won’t try to be so perfect,
I’ll be more relaxed,
I’ll be more full – than I am now,
In fact, I’ll take fewer things seriously,
I’ll be less hygienic,
I’ll take more risks,
I’ll take more trips,
I’ll watch more sunsets,
I’ll climb more mountains,
I’ll swim more rivers,
I’ll go to more places – I’ve never been,
I’ll eat more ice cream and less (lime) beans,
I’ll have more real problems – and less imaginary
I was one of those people who live
prudent and prolific lives –
each minute of his life,
Of course 1, I had moments of joy – but,
if I could go back I’ll try to have only good moments,

If you don’t know – that’s what life is made of,
Don’t lose the now!

I was one of those who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer,
without a hot-water bottle,
and without an umbrella 2 and without a parachute,

If I could live again – I will travel light,
If I could live again – I’ll try to work bare feet
at the beginning of spring till
the end of autumn,
I’ll ride more carts,
I’ll watch more sunrises and play with more children,
If I have the life to live – but now I am 85,
– and I know that I am dying …

Year 11

Last term, as a brief break from GCSE preparation, some year 11 students also studied this romantic Spanish poem by another famous poet called Becquer. They read it and gave their own translations while working on the future tense! Here you can read the poem for yourself!

Eternal Love (Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer)

Original Spanish

Amor eterno

Podrá nublarse el sol eternamente;

Podrá secarse en un instante el mar;

Podrá romperse el eje de la tierra

Como un débil cristal.¡todo sucederá!

 Podrá la muerte

Cubrirme con su fúnebre crespón;

Pero jamás en mí

 podrá apagarse

La llama de tu amor.


Eternal Love

The face of the sun may darken forever,

The oceans run dry in an instant of fire.

The axis on which our planet spins may snapLike so much brittle crystal.

Yes, all of that may happen!

At the end, DeathMay cover my flesh with her funeral shroud;

But none of it will reach within my soul and snuff

The bright flame of your love.


Year 8

Some year 8 pupils gave a brilliant translation of this poem all about your house:

Mi casa, mi casa,
mi casa está viva;
mi casa me ríe,
mi casa me canta,
mi casa me mira.

Olor a comida,
olor a jabón,
olor a cocina
y olor a salón.

Olor a lavanda,
olor a jazmín,
olor a madera
y olor a verdín

Mi casa, mi casa,
mi casa está viva;
mi casa me ríe,
mi casa me canta,
mi casa me cuida.

Luz en las ventanas,
luz en los espejos;
luz en los cristales,
luz en los reflejos.

Mi casa, mi casa,
mi casa está viva;
mi casa me ríe,
mi casa me canta:
mi casa es mi amiga.

Silencio en la noche,
silencio seguro,
silencio que anda
sin ningún apuro.

Silencio en mi pieza,
silencio en mi cama;
y en silencio duermo
hasta la mañana.

To read more simple Spanish poems like the one above, have a look at the website called ‘El Jardin de Douglas’

Oxford German Olympiad 2013

The Oxford German Network recently ran a national Grimm Tales contest open to all learners of German from years 7 to 13.

The fairy tales (Märchen) compiled and published by the Brothers Grimm are some of the best known and widely read stories in the world. The competition celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of their publication.

Students were invited to seek inspiration in the Grimms’ tales and enter the Olympiad by picking one of the fairy tales and re-telling the story in a creative way, for example through film or art.

Two students from Oakmeeds entered the competition and, although, they were not among the winners, they received an award for their participation from the organisers. Well done to Emily Goss and Megan Collier, both in Year 8, for their creative ideas!

Oxford German Olympiad

Foreign Language Spelling Bee National Final

On Friday 5th July Jack Cooper travelled to Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge to represent Oakmeeds in the National Final of the Foreign Language Spelling Bee Competition.

The Foreign Language Spelling Bee is a competition for students in Year 7 to practice and improve their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in a foreign language (French, German, or Spanish). It was created by Jane Driver in partnership with Routes into Languages East. It started in 2009 as a regional competition for the East Anglian region, and in 2010 it became a national competition across England. When this year’s competition started in September there were a total of 25,000 students taking part!

Jack earned a place in the Final by winning 1st Place in the South East Regional Competition at Brighton University in April. In the French Final in Cambridge he was competing against 33 other students in the French section and he performed brilliantly, translating and spelling 16 words randomly selected from a list of 200 without making a single mistake! Although he didn’t get down to the final four on the day we would like to congratulate Jack on this amazing achievement and for all the hard work he put into preparing for the Final.

Spelling bee 2013

Oakmeeds Language Leaders teach German to Year 6

A small group of Year 8 and 9 students have been developing their leadership, team work and language skills as Oakmeeds Language Leaders this year. Since applying for and being given their role, they have worked together to produce a video to promote language learning at the college, acted as ambassadors at Open Evening and, most recently, have developed their language learning strategies and skills by learning to teach German to others.

???????????? The Oakmeeds Language Leaders scheme has covered a wide range of topics, including body language, use of voice, learning styles, the structure of a lesson and national curriculum levels. On Wednesday 3 July, they had the opportunity to put all of this into practice by teaching a German taster lesson on pets to Year 6 on Primary Intake Day. They expertly delivered starter and plenary activities, set clear learning objectives and created activities to cater for all learning styles.

language leaders2In order to achieve their Oakmeeds Language Leader Award, the students must keep a record of the training sessions they have attended, events at which they have represented the Languages department, resources they have created, feedback on their Year 6 lesson and their own reflections and evaluations on their achievements throughout the year in a special log book. Well done to Jemma Carpenter, Chloe Hunter, Molly Devine and Phillipa Worsley (Year 9) and Nathan Speck, Fiona Greenhalgh, Kelly Balmer, Emily Jellett, Megan Collier, Emily Goss and Ella Ward (Year 8) for all their hard work as Oakmeeds Language Leaders this year.