At the beginning of the year, I always do weeks and weeks of review with my French 2 & 3 students. I start with a pre-test to see where my students strengths and weaknesses are. I was going to embed these, but they’re too long! French 2 & French 3 pre-tets. Usually the results aren’t so positive 😦
Since I’ve already taught all of this information, I don’t really feel like teaching it again. I put my students in charge of their own learning, making sure they understand that if they can teach somebody else something they are that much closer to mastering it. This year I decided to allow the students to create their lessons using the iPads and Keynote. I’ve used the iPods a lot, but having only 5 iPads doesn’t allow me to use them very often.
**Note: I really enjoyed using iPads for this project and would definitely do it again. We bought Keynote but I think it was worth it. Since this project I have been told about a couple other apps that I think would work great for a stand-alone tutorial although I haven’t experimented (ScreenChomp and ShowMe interactive whiteboard).**
Based on the pre-test and discussions with students, I made a list of review groups. For my French 3 class, these were 1) useful vocab, present -ir & -re verbs and faire; 2) object pronouns; 3) passé composé & imparfait and present tense avoir & être; 4) futur proche & passé récent, reflexive verbs and present tense aller & venir. I randomly drew students names and allowed them to sign up for their desired group. Groups were capped at 6 people (for my large French 2 class) but most groups but most groups had 4-5.
**Note: Next time I would probably put them into groups taking into account their strengths and weaknesses, their ability level and how they work with other students. I would also limit the group size to 3 or 4 instead of 5 or 6.**
After the groups were figured out, I asked students to choose a job. All the students were responsible for finding the information for the presentation (using the textbooks, dictionaries, online textbook and any other sources they wanted). I promoted google docs for collaboration, but its awesomeness doesn’t always sink in. One to two students were in charge of finding the correct answers for a section of the pre-test.
A couple other students (2-3) started creating activities for the class to do after learning about their topic. In order to help them create engaging activities so that the class could use the learned information, we had a class discussion about what type of activities they would be interested in. They were most interested in activities that got them up and moving and involved video. I have lots of kinesthetic and visual learners! Lastly, one person was in charge of creating the Keynote slide show for their lesson. I asked that this person be tech savvy but I did not tell them that they would be using the iPads. 😉 I took these students out in the hallway, gave each an iPad and had them walk themselves through the tutorial provided when you purchase Keynote. Then I had them create their own presentation to mess around with.
**Note: I think it is extremely important to allow students to to play around with the new technology first. After having iPods for a year, I have learned to explicitly teach them how to use new programs and to let them explore before allowing them to create the final product. This takes quite a bit of time up front, but is always worth it in the end.**
The next day, after I allowed them to get started, we created the rubric together. I told them that there were two non-negotiable criteria for the rubric – depth of content and accuracy of content. Then I had them complete an anonymous google form to gather information from them.
Here are some of their responses:
As you can see, many of them had similar ideas. These similarities appeared not only within the same classes, but across classes and levels. This is our final rubric. Lastly, I asked them who they thought should grade each portion of the rubric. With a little bit of guiding from me (only a little!), all classes decided that I should grade on both of the content criteria but that all students should have some say in how creative & original the lesson was and how engaging and educational the activity was. They also decided that the group members should decide on the grades of the other members of the group.
**Note: I had never allowed students input in the rubric and I thought it was a great experience! I was surprised at how similar their responses were. I think they took more ownership of the project and their grades because of the input I allowed them.**
This has been very long winded! Later I’ll be back with how we set up the lessons & activities, how I collected student input for the group grades, final student products & their thoughts on the project and some final notes 🙂