Modern Languages Events

Le Café – Year 9 French play June 2017

Le CafeOn the last Monday of the summer term, Year 9 students who study French all made in the intrepid journey up to the Pre-Prep school to watch an entertaining play performed by two native French speakers from Onatti Productions called “Le Café”. Having done some preparation the week before, the students were ready and waiting to be entertained by the escapades of “Colette” on her first day in her new job as a waitress in a café. When her boss leaves her on her own as soon as she arrives, what could possibly go wrong?! With the help of a few volunteers from the audience, she did manage to survive the day. Thanks go to Laura Smith, Julian Hernandez-Gomez, Luca Craven-Frankpitt and Ellie Sproul for their help in ensuring that everything ran smoothly for the actors and the script, despite Julian’s insistence on trying to trigger the café fire alarm (luckily only trained actors were able to set it off).

Parlez-vous français? March 2016

Blundell’s were delighted to welcome back Onatti Productions Ltd on Tuesday 15th March for an excellent performance of “Parlez-vous français?” Our pupils in Years 7 and 8 were joined by Years 5 and 6 from Blundell’s Prep for the production, which was performed in both English and French and included a great deal of audience participation.

Parlez-vous français?Parlez-vous français?Parlez-vous français?

On the first day of a school skiing trip to France Ben has an accident and is taken to a local French hospital. His French teacher has to leave him for a while and Ben in left alone in the examination room... Using his limited French Ben has to make himself understood by a very stern and unsympathetic nurse who speaks no English! But help comes when he befriends a young French girl...


Les Garçons February 2016

On the first Thursday back after the February half term, all students of French in Years 9 and 10 were treated to another interactive and entertaining performance by Onatti Productions. This time we watched Natalie deal with babysitting two-year-old Bruno whilst her on-off boyfriend Tristan tried to win back her affections. Several students were given the opportunity to get involved and help the couple sort out their differences. All students (and staff) were thoroughly entertained and engaged throughout, and with the benefit of studying some of the play and vocabulary beforehand, most students were able to follow the plot and even understand the jokes. The actors were very obliging in answering some of the students’ questions after the play, and as always we were all very grateful to them for coming and performing for us. It was really useful to have an opportunity to see the language we study every week in the classroom being put to use in a real life scenario.

Les GarçonsLes Garçons

Year 9 French and History Cross Curricular Morning

Cross-curricular workshop, groupCross-curricular workshop, posterThe Year 9 pupils gathered for their second cross curricular event this year. In one workshop, the school gym was turned into a newsroom as pupils worked together to produce a front page of a newspaper, imagining they were reporting on the events of D-Day as they happened in June 1944. Writing in both French and English, pupils reported on the landings on the Normandy beaches, considering a range of views, including imagining what the day must have been like for Polish and German refugees. In the second workshop, using their Maths skills and business acumen, pupils took on the role of oil traders working hard to make a profit amidst the vagaries of the market. All the pupils worked extremely hard and should be very proud of everything they achieved.

French Pen Pal Letters

"How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvellous." Haruki Murakami

The French pen pal initiative continued in 2014/5 with pupils in Year 7 writing to their counterparts at Collège Léon Marie Fournier in Jassans and Year 8 to pupils at Collège Jacques Daguerre in Cormeilles-en-Parisis. Having a pen pal in another country offers a range of benefits including the opportunity to learn about different cultures, foster social skills, practice handwriting and enjoy another mode of communication other than the internet.

"It is really exciting to receive a letter all the way from France and we have all enjoyed writing letters in return. Our French has improved as a result of writing regular letters and it is a fun and interesting way to learn about schools in France." Alice Lilley (Year 7)

"The pen pal letters are a great opportunity to socialise with French pupils of our own age. Everyone looks forward to receiving their letters from our new friends! We have learnt a lot about them over the year and their English, like our French, has been improving the more letters we write." Lara Clarkson (Year 7)

MFL Film Nights

Over the course of the year, pupils from Year 10 upwards had the opportunity to enjoy four MFL subtitled film evenings in the FOBs room. Whilst enjoying pizza and popcorn, pupils were able to hone their listening skills, increase their cultural understanding and appreciate a variety of contemporary cinematic offerings from our European neighbours.

The four films shown were: Banlieue 13 (French), Los últimos días (Spanish), Die Welle (German) and Mientras duermes (Spanish). Mientras duermes, a dark psychological thriller from director Jaume Balagueró, proved particularly popular, with 26 pupils attending the screening in January. The plot and terrifying denouement provoked a lot of discussion and debate.

MFL Film Nights poster MFL Film Nights poster MFL Film Nights poster MFL Film Nights poster
MFL Movie Night posters

Film is a fantastic medium to improve language skills, especially listening which comprises 25% of the final grade at both GCSE and A level. In particular, Sixth Form linguists were encouraged at how much they were able to understand and follow. All major exam boards currently offer A level modules involving film, concentrating on their social, political and historical context which gives pupils a greater understanding of the culture of the countries where their chosen language is spoken. In addition, many universities also offer cinema themed units as part of a Modern Languages degree. A quick internet search revealed that Germanists at Oxford can study German Film 1930 to 1970, Hispanists at Exeter can enjoy Spanish Film Under Franco and Gender and Sexuality in French Film and Italian Crime Fiction and Film are currently offered at Bristol and Liverpool respectively.

The MFL department’s enthusiasm for cinema is set to continue in the 2015/6 academic year, with several dates already in the calendar. I look forward to seeing as many French pupils as possible for Ne le dis à personne in September!


¡Fuera! March 2015

Onatti Productions Ltd returned for a third time this term to perform a Spanish play for Year 9. Most of Year 9 attended, even those who are not studying Spanish, since it was a great opportunity for a cultural experience of both theatre and a foreign language on our own doorstep. The play was about a fractious relationship between Raquel and her little brother Oscar; a theme many of the audience were already familiar with! Audience participation was called for again, and Archie Morris (who studies French and German) coped very well with the instructions and questions thrown at him in Spanish. Oz Kilbride and Ellen Trigger also nobly participated in the play – helping Oscar to move Raquel’s bedroom around. Despite only studying Spanish for two terms, the students were able to follow the gist of what was going on, as well as picking up some new vocabulary and expressions to use in the classroom.


The World’s gone French! February 2015

Onatti Productions Ltd returned with a play especially designed for younger students of French, performed in both French and English. Years 5 and 6 from the Prep School joined Years 7 and 8 in Big School to watch a performance of “The World’s Gone French” in which Nathan discovers that everyone, including his family have all suddenly become fluent in French just after Nathan’s mum gives him a jigsaw with a map of the world, but all the French speaking countries are missing. The students were called upon to go up and help Nathan solve the puzzle and communicate with the French speakers he came across. As always, the performance was very well received and the pupils enjoyed getting the opportunity to ask the actors some questions (in French and English!) afterwards.

The World's Gone French!   The World's Gone French!
The World's Gone French!

The play was great. It was really fun to watch and I liked the storyline. The actors were really friendly and easy to talk to. I liked the way they brought up people and got them involved. It really helped with translating in French. The music was catchy and I loved the onesie Chloe wore. The props were very real and the play was funny to watch. I think that they should definitely come again because we all really enjoyed it. My favourite part was when Mark wore the top. That was very funny. I really liked the way they spoke French and English because otherwise it would have been a bit confusing. Next time I hope that they will come back with a new play and with the same actors because I really liked the actors. All in all I really enjoyed it and I would definitely watch it again. (Grace Chapman, Year 7)

The French Play January 2015

Onatti Theatre productions made a welcome return to Blundell’s and this year performed "Erreur d’Identité" for Year 9 in Big School. The play was performed by two native speakers who underwent numerous costume changes in order to portray several different characters in this hilarious play about mistaken identity and set in a rundown hotel in rural France The students were called upon to participate, with Katherine Walton and Ed Olsen both getting up on stage to help out the characters. The students very much appreciated the opportunity to hear French being spoken in context and they found the experience very entertaining.

French Play   French Play
The French Play

Onatti theatre company performs La habitación de Mateo December 2013

On Tuesday 10th December, the Spanish department welcomed the Onatti theatre company to do a play called “La habitación de Mateo” for all students of Spanish in Years 9 -11. The actors were both native speakers and they put on a very funny performance which involved audience participation. Eddie Gardner (Year 11) was called upon to show Mateo how to do a “sexy walk” and Sam Taylor in Year 9 demonstrated his guitar skills in order to help Mateo find a girlfriend. Bonnie Price and Annabel Chatwin (Year 9) both showed him some dance moves. The students thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to hear Spanish spoken and to see how the language they have learnt can be used in context, as well as learning some new vocabulary and expressions.

La habitación de MateoLa habitación de Mateo