Our IB DP1 Language B French students have just started blogs. The more authentic comments they can get on their writing, the better. It would be wonderful if you could comment (en français bien sur) or share their blogs with other French speakers (teachers, students, etc). See below for a note from their teacher & the links. Merci bien!
Je suis en train de travailler avec mes élèves de DP 1 sur le thème de la Communication et les Médias . Ils ont créé des Blogs pour parler de la télévision. J’aimerais vous demander une faveur, si vous avez un peu de temps, rentrez sur leur Blog et laissez un petit commentaire. Ça fera plus authentique et ils vont devoir répondre à votre commentaire.
Je ne vous demande pas de les juger ou de corriger leurs fautes de langue. Je le ferai moi même, mais ils seraient tellement ravis de voir que d’autres personnes que moi s’interessent à leurs écrits.
Les liens des blogs:
Nicholas – https://cheznicholas.wordpress.com/
Vaibhav – https://chezvaibhav.wordpress.com/
Abeer – https://chezabeer.wordpress.com/
In May I started a draft post after watching Sir Ken Robinson‘s Changing education paradigms TED talk (or watch all 55 minutes). The entire talk (along with his other material) is gold but there was about a minute of it that really got me thinking and brainstorming.
Although I’m not currently in the classroom, my brainstorms usually go to language teaching (specifically French). Inherently, languages are fluid and social. No wonder students learning a second language get so frustrated – the answer isn’t always at the back of the book! But we spend a lot of time teaching languages like they are black and white. Why do we spend so little time allowing our students to actually be social and experiment with the language? [I say ‘we’ because I have absolutely been guilty of this in the past.] World language classrooms are the perfect settings to open up to the actual world that students are learning about. It can be incredibly time consuming and challenging to make it a reality…but aren’t the rewards worth it? Won’t students who understand why they’re learning about culture and language and are able to see the immediate benefits be more likely to be engaged and ‘buy-in’?
“Collaboration is the stuff of growth.”
Robinson focused on collaboration and group work. Although these could (and should) happen outside the classroom, the most logical place to start is within its walls. How could my classroom have looked different if I had done a better job at embracing collaboration and group work?
Skits – We did a fair amount of scripted skits. Although students learning a language need to actually learn and practice, when was the last time you went to another country and acted out a memorized conversation? As students progress throughout the year (and years), I could have transitioned to more realistic skits. The end goal would be to give students a scenario and let them go…more like improv than acting. Students would be allowed to help each other if needed, but only in the target language. Language is a constant improvisation, so I why did I do so much acting in my classes?
Exams – I never did partner or group tests or exams. What if I had given students the choice? Option 1: take the exam individually, as normal. Option 2: take the exam with a partner, however you are only allowed to speak & discuss the test in French. I wonder what students would have chosen and what learning opportunities it would have opened up for them.
Maybe someday I’ll go back to the classroom and be able to experiment. 🙂
p.s. Sir Ken Robinson recently sat down with Thierry Foulkes. He has a couple videos up with French subtitles!
When I brainstormed with the Language B department (Arabic & French) about how they could meaningfully integrate technology (SAMR prof development), they were eager to talk about the (quickly approaching) end of the year. Reviewing with students can be frustrating for both students and teachers. They wanted a way to put the responsibility of the review on their students while also engaging them. Although we came up with several ideas, they were most intrigued by Popplet (some of them had already seen it) and two of our French teachers (MYP & DP) gave it a try.
The teachers signed up for free Popplet accounts. For homework, the students signed up for accounts. Amel, the DP French teacher, created a popplet for each unit. She then created popples for grammar, vocabulary, and sub-topics. Once the structure was set, she invited students to the popplet. It was the students’ responsibility to fill in the popplet with grammer concepts, vocabulary words and sub-topics.
The middle school MYP teacher also used Popplet in a similar way with her students.
It was fun to hear the oohs and aahs from the students when I added a popple from the desktop and it showed up on their screens. The teachers liked that their students could collaborate and that each popple automatically included the creator’s name. Although only the creator can edit a popple, the teachers liked the comment function to help guide students. The ease of adding students to popplets was beneficial for the teachers. The ability to share links to popplets (on their class Edmodo pages) and create images was incredibly useful. The biggest negative? We’re an iPad school – the fully functional free website is flash-based and the app (with ability to collaborate) costs money. Also, you can only create a limited number of popplets (easily solved by saving the image when done and deleting the popplet).
Although this isn’t a “redefined” use of technology, the ability to simultaneously collaborate on a brainstorm with students gives it more oomph than “substitution.” It was a little taster for our teachers and hopefully they’ll be able to build on their experiences next year.
Jeff and I headed to Dubai for the first time last week to attend and present at the Middle East GAFE Summit. It was everything we hoped it would be…and more (I know, so cliché but so true!).
Both of our presentations were on Thursday. In the days leading up to the Summit, I reached out to my PLN to help show the power of global collaboration. Everything went extremely well and I’m incredibly grateful to everyone who attended my session and collaborated on the document with us (feel free to keep adding to it)! I’ve embedded my presentation slide deck below. You can also check out my website for Conjugating Google Docs in the World Language Classroom.
The last session of the Summit was a demo slam. I’ve seen demo slams before but never participated. I found the courage inside (maybe the biggest group of people I’ve ever presented to) and did a slam of Google Story Builder. I asked the crowd to help me create a story and we had fun story written and ready to share in under 3 minutes! If you use this in your classroom, I’d love to see how! The slam was a competition but I wasn’t in it to win it…just wanted to have the experience and do some sharing! The other presenters were a great group and we had fun slamming!
We met a lot of new people – it was extremely refreshing to be in Dubai and hang out with like-minded educators. We also attended several quality sessions. If you weren’t able to make the summit, all the session resources are online and Jeff Genest was kind enough to set up a Google Spreadsheet to collect all the #GAFESUMMIT tweets! The next summit is in Virginia next weekend so be sure to check out the resources and hashtag for more fun stuff.
The last week and a half has been a whirlwind! Last Monday I was asked to take over two French classes (again) for an undetermined period of time. I spent a couple days trying to wrap my brain around that. On my way out of the building on last Thursday, I ran into our superintendent. He informed that they had hired a French teacher…and that she would be taking over classes this week! I taught Sunday and Monday…and now I’m free again! From thinking that I would teach French for the rest of the school year to knowing it was only a couple of days – it’s been crazy. I do have to say I’m relieved that they were able to hire a qualified teacher (she’s from France AND has teaching experience in the Middle East) and that I’ll be able to continue focusing on my job as Technology Coach.
Last week I saw a post on the Google Drive Blog about the Gone Google Story Builder. Google suggested using the Story Builder to write songs or a story. My mind immediately went to the possibilities for education. This looks like a great tool for language teachers! The Story Builder is exclusively for dialogue which seriously restricts students…but that might be a good thing. This could be an option for students in English classes who are focusing solely on dialogue. Students in World Language classes could turn in the text to skits using the Story Builder. In Social Studies, students could create dialogues between historical (or present day) figures.
I played around with it myself a little for a French class. There are two important things to know – you can only create 10 characters and 10 exchanges (2 characters could each speak 5 times, 10 characters could each speak once). This does limit dialogues a bit, but I think it would be ideal for quick in class assignments. Once the story is built, you can choose music (or not) and share the link. Click here to view my story. Enjoy! 🙂
After 2 months of getting used to my job as a technology coach, I’m back in the classroom teaching French. I have taken over 2 of the 3 classes that I taught for 2 weeks at the beginning of the year. Yes I thought I was done…guess I wasn’t! I’m telling myself that I will be in this position until the end of the school year to get my mind right. Like I told the students, the only thing that we can control in this situation is how we react. I’m trying to emulate flexibility for them. I have a lot of work to do to reign the back in and classroom management will be a challenge. But I am staying positive and hoping that I will also be able to be an example to other teachers for how to meaningfully integrate the iPad into lessons. We shall see 🙂
Today is my first school day in just over 3 years that I am not teaching French. Wow…that’s a pretty big statement! Although it feels good to no longer be the short term teacher this year, it’s also a little weird to think about!
Luckily we have a great middle school French teacher who invited me to come into her classroom this morning. Her students are learning how to interact with people they’ve just met. I “surprised” the teacher by popping into her class. We then told the students that I only spoke French (they were a little suspicious when they asked my nationality 😉 and they proceeded to ask me questions and get to know me a little better. It was fun to pretend and an awesome idea on the part of the teacher! The class seemed to enjoy it and I hope it helped them learn a little too. I’ll be going back this afternoon to surprise another class 🙂