Strictly in Isolation

Strictly Speaking in Isolation

Pilot Languages celebration 

ALLNE has re-shaped the Strictly Speaking competition to be a celebration, still based on the same premise as the original, but tailored for online operation across the North-East region. This activity can be adapted by anyone interested to offer it to their students. The items in red can undoubtedly be dealt with in other ways or omitted.

In a nutshell – Strictly in Isolation

i) Students choose a poem in their Target Language and learn it by heart.

ii) They rehearse and finally perform it; this might be in a film of themselves reciting, or an audio recording of their recital over a version of the text they have made.  

iii) They send their performance to their teacher who forwards it to the ALLNE Strictly in Isolation email address for publication on a YouTube channel.

iv) People view the performances and leave supportive comments.

v) Certificates are awarded. 

More detail: 

i) The original competition targets Y8 students, in the hope of giving them a fulfilling experience ahead of Options. In the 2020 context teachers were welcome to include Y9 also if they wished. Any number (small or larger) of students can take part. ALLNE published as a pdf a short anthology of poems in French, German and Spanish, along with references to video/audio clips of the poems being read / performed. Teachers may wish to offer the whole anthology, and leave the choice of poem, to their students, or select a poem to offer them, as preferred. (If the latter, the offerings may be rather samey, of course!). Students may also choose any other poem, or one in another language if they wish, but will then also need to find their own support. Teachers should please advise students to choose a poem that is not too long – a sonnet is the maximum length (see anthology) – if they choose a longer poem they should extract a suitable section from it.

ii) Students study the poem and find out its meaning by whatever means they wish; teachers may wish to deliver some input on this. Students use the meaning to guide their ideas on how to perform / read the poem aloud. (Ask them to think about the meaning of the words and then how they would express those words when speaking the words aloud, any gestures, etc.?) and then rehearse – the rehearsal is an essential element of this performance (as it is of examinations.) Before preparing their entries students need teacher guidance on school policies around images – if agreements are in place for students’ images to be shared on the Internet then they might film themselves performing; if not they can be guided to make an audio recording and overlay that on the text which they present in a personalized, maybe animated way. Teachers will also wish to advise students about copyright issues relating to music, film and images.Teachers may wish to explore with students in a plenary what strategies they have used to memorise the poem text.

iii) If students are making a film or presentation slides please ask them to use a landscape format for consistency. They may wish to have the text nearby to help if they get stuck, but should not simply read it out. (If you find it useful to share the criteria for the competition version of Strictly, they are to do with Accuracy (of memory), Pronunciation and intonation, Fluency and Star Quality.) We encouraged teachers to view entries and give supportive feedback to all entrants; we also asked teachers to engage families in giving positive feedback. (Feedback was filtered before being published.)

iv) Certificates were sent as pdfs via the link teacher

Reminder: You can find lots of authentic texts, including poems and song lyrics, along with exploitation suggestions and teaching activities here: The wiki is open to all. 

Happy recitation!

Address for contact: [email protected]  

Isolation Anthology