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"Writable plastic folders – so many ways to use them!"

This blog post was written by Esther Mercier.


About the author of the post:

Esther Mercier - My name is Esther Mercier, I am originally from Quebec. I have been teaching MFL in 3 different countries and at all levels, including adults and primary but mainly secondary for the last 34 years. I have taught French, German, and Spanish and done Mandarin clubs at lunchtime. I attended a fabulous 3-week course in Beijing for MFL teachers where we were shown how to teach Mandarin and a variety of activities done in class. I have worked as an MFL AST for years for Lancashire County Council and loved it. We organised lots of events, competitions, and CPD. For the last years, I have been second in department where I organised many trips, clubs, competitions, guest speakers and events in school as well as one day language taster such as Korean. I started my own website to teach MFL when I had to take on GCSE after school, so I needed my pupils to access more material since they had only one lesson a week – after school. This is how grew and now it has a huge variety of activities online and worksheets to print. I enjoy sharing resources on different social networks such as Facebook and X. I have done GCSE marking, speaking, and writing to gain more experience. This is my final full-time year as an MFL teacher but who knows, I might miss the classroom and come back!


I have been using these versatile plastic folders for years now and they are excellent. They will never replace the mini whiteboards of course, but they have their own use which brings a bit of variety to the classroom! We are being told we need to work on the 3 pillars for the new GCSE and these folders can add to our forever growing repertoire of activities to work on phonics, grammar, and vocabulary.

I always start by working with the pupils on one activity then pupils work in pairs or in small teams of three. I love using them for listening where I either change a word in the sentence, add a word or miss a word out. All this is for them to pick up the pronunciation – they of course do not know that, but this is the aim!       

Once I have done it a few times, I move on to no 2 and so on. Then they work in pairs doing exactly the same as I did, but this time they are the ones reading the sentences and I am walking around checking on their pronunciation! I also like using activities where they turn the folders! This is to make sure they are on task, and it makes it different than the usual activities!

An activity I use to bring in pronunciation and a variety of vocabulary and sentences structures (complex structures) is the apartment building listening task. I read the sentence in French or English and they need to draw the line to show me they understood. It is very easy for me to see if they are correct or not when they lift their folders to show me their answers. Once I have done it a few times, they then work two by two, and I walk around checking on their pronunciation. This time though they are building complex sentences by adding connectives, adverbs, infinitive structures, or any other elements we are learning then.

A few weeks before the written GCSE, all my year 11 work on their tenses and I always use this type of activity with the folders. I have one on the IWB where I write a verb in the middle then they need to work out the tenses for that specific verb by writing it in the correct section of the shape. I made sure the verbs that are similar in ending or formation are placed next to each other then we discuss the answers. It works really well in these types of folders.

This type of activity could easily be used for one specific tense, i.e. I have seen the flower conjugation where each petal you have the ending for a specific pronoun. This would work very well in these folders.

I use this activity to guide my pupils improve their sentence structures. I add the words I want them to use then I can whether say a sentence using some of the words from the worksheet and extra vocabulary or I can say it in English, and they have to translate. In this picture they are mainly verbs, but I can add nouns, adjectives then they need to work out the verbs by themselves. This is to improve their vocabulary on a specific topic.

Of course, these plastic folders can be used with texts, translation, tick me quick activities, etc… the beauty of them is that you can save your photocopies for the next group! Pupils like using them and it is for me a great way to see if they understand and got the answer. All they need to do, like with the mini whiteboards, they need to show me their work.

All these activities are on my websites, but they are also so easily done.

Link to where you can get them: Reusable dry wipe pockets


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