#SCFLTA2012

Today was the 2012 South Carolina Foreign Language Teacher’s Association Conference in Columbia. The theme was “Got Connections? Communicate, Collaborate, and Innovate!” I was lucky enough to be chosen to present a session! This is the first time I’ve presented by myself at a large event. I was super nervous, but I think it went pretty well!

Here is the handout I gave (I also made it available in editable Word & Pages form). Below is my presentation (full of links!). I used Google presentations and my ChromeBook to present. Love this thing! Happy Saturday!

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Assessing Twitter

Last semester my French 1 students tweeted with @idem_in_english (class of @freddav). My French 3 students tweeted with @3eVictorHugo (class of @mister_street). Both of my classes changed at the semester and I now have all French 2 classes. This semester, my block French 2 classes (1st and last class of day) will be tweeting with @idem_in_english (#rvhsidem) and my year long French 2 classes will be tweeting with @3eVictorHugo (#rvhclv).

Although I have a system for collecting what my students want to tweet, I haven’t been very good at evaluating their tweets. So what happens is they submit their tweets and as they are submitting, I’m looking through them and talking to them about what they need to change if it needs correcting. This is difficult when 20+ students are sending tweets in and chatting in class while they do it. It’s not effective. As I was doing this today (and noticing how many mistakes there were – small, but still!) I decided to try something new. On Monday, I’m going to sort my spreadsheet of their responses by their names. I will then print them out and give each student a piece of paper with their responses (wish I didn’t have to use paper, but I don’t think iPods would be a very good tool. Wish I had my chromebooks so I could use google docs!). This way, each student can see what he/she has written and correct it. I’m a big fan of having students correct their own work. As they are correcting their tweets, I’ll be circulating to help them. Then I can collect them and send them to twitter. It will take a little more time and effort, but I want my students to be practicing French correctly!

Happy Friday!!

Second Semester!

Whew! Second semester is in full swing! It’s been a bit crazy here but things are starting to settle down nicely. Last semester I taught French 1, French 2 and French 3. This semester I’m only teaching French 2 (block & year long classes)! I have high hopes for a much less stressful couple of months. Some things to stay tuned for…

*My class will be getting a class set of ChromeBooks soon as part of our district’s 1TWO1 initiative.

*My French 3 class finished up their final projects, so I’ll be sharing more on that soon.

*I also found out that my proposal for the 2012 SCFLTA conference was accepted. In February I’ll be presenting on using mobile devices (phones, ipods, etc) in the classroom.

*My semester French 2 classes are just finishing up their review projects. I’ll have more to share about how it went this time around.

*On a whim (and since my desks were in groups) I experimented with a speaking activity with my year-long French 2 classes today. I think it went decently well but I want to get it down on “paper” for the future.

à bientôt!

F3 Project Proposals

Yesterday my French 3’s final project proposals were due…

After they submitted their proposal, I had individual meetings to discuss their project. Together, we tweeked their ideas so that they didn’t require too  much new vocabulary (I don’t want them to be reliant on a dictionary). We also made sure that they would be able to talk about the past and future. As we met, I edited the spreadsheet to reflect what we discussed. After class, I took screen shots of their final proposals and emailed them to each student.


They have the rest of this week, plus the week that we come back from break, to work on the projects. It is completely up to them if they work on the projects during break…but if they use class time wisely, they shouldn’t have to do too much at home. We shall see what happens!

New #twittclasses exchange!

I was excited when @Mister_Street asked if I wanted to collaborate! My @rvhfrancais3 students were also pretty excited. They were disappointed not to be able to tweet in real time (time zones!) but hopefully they will realize how cool it is tomorrow when they see responses from @3eVictorHugo! Like my French 1 students, they will be filling out a google form using iPods. We will be tweeting from our class account and I will be discussing their mistakes with them before sending them off. Our hashtag is #rvhclv and you can find the archives here.

My French 3 class has been very interesting this year. This is my 3rd year teaching and the 3rd year in a row that I have had 5 of the students. Another 7 of them I have taught previously (French 1 or 2) and only 2 of them this is their first year in my class. This has added an interesting dynamic to the class. They know how I run my classroom and usually all is good in our world (we have developed great relationships!). However I have been struggling with them lately – they’re almost TOO comfortable (with me and each other)! It has also been very interesting for me to hear their opinions – many don’t think going 1:1 is worth the money, they want paper and pencil, they don’t like twitter…. Basically they are resistant to change! They’re only high school students and already so jaded! Part of me is sad that they are a block class so I won’t have them next semester…another small part of me will be ready to let them go.

Review – Part 3

Last post on this review!

After the round robins and activities, we looked at the presentations as a class and talked about if anything was wrong. I changed the slides (as much as I could) before I posted them for the students to see. Then all students took a quiz. My French 2 students took the French 1 final..but I let them work with a partner of their choosing. I wanted to hold them accountable for learning the information from the other presentations. However…weeks and weeks and weeks later, I’m always surprised at how much they don’t know (or don’t care?) 😦

Some of the groups had really great ideas for activities! One group did a variation on the amazing race – in pairs, students had to go to note cards around the room in sequential order and answer the questions. The first pair done, won. A couple groups did scavenger hunts with note cards placed around the room – individually students went around the room searching for answers to questions. One group made a cross word puzzle for groups to complete – puzzle was filled in by correctly conjugating verbs. The two French 2 groups with numbers created activities where students had to count – in one class students had to go around the room counting (un, deux, clap, quatre, cinq, clap, etc). This presented problems because students didn’t listen. In the other class, students got in a circle and threw a beach ball to each other. Students had to say the next number (en français) and were out if they got it wrong. Both activities made me realize that they don’t know numbers! Most of the other activities didn’t really go well or were taken directly from the textbook. One very unconventional activity in my French 3 class was called “Stoned.” A student stood in the center of the room and was asked a question. If they got it wrong, other students threw paper balls at him/her. Luckily they are a very close group and could handle it. However I doubt I’ll be repeating that activity 😉

I put all of the presentations on my website so that students can go back to them throughout the year: French 2 & French 3. Some of the groups used the iPods to take pictures and I transferred them from the iPods to the iPads using the mac computer. This could have been much simpler if we had iPad 2s! I loved the idea of adding pictures though. I think videos would also be pretty cool to add in the future (this would definitely make it more stand alone).
Here are the final notes that I wrote to myself…
*grade presentation & activity separate? that way students can grade it immediately after and not have to try to remember presentation after activities
*make sure to have time for all students to be able to do grades (they used iPod touches and didn’t always have time to finish)
*when students are completing grading forms – make sure to include group number in form
*have written on board – group # with names & topics
*remind students that they are grading the material, not the people
*put groups together based on strengths/weaknesses

More review with #Keynote and #iPads

I was really excited about the review project! I was finally able to use the iPads for something meaningful and students were excited to be using the technology.


I love allowing students to teach each other but I just didn’t know how it was all going to work. I asked my Integration Technology Specialist at the time (MaryAnn) for ideas about how groups could present their lessons. She recommended round robin sessions…genius! I set up my desks in groups of 5 or 6. We used the cases that came with the iPads to stand them up. I gave students the choice to leave a group member with the iPad for a few minutes (to introduce the lesson) or not. Most groups chose not to and I encouraged this because they needed to be traveling around so they could learn from the other groups!

**Note: Next time I would tell students from the beginning to create a stand-alone tutorial. I didn’t like when students had to stay behind and weren’t able to get the most out of the activity**

I gave groups a few minutes to finalize and get set up. Then we rotated every 8-10 minutes. Students took notes at each station and wrote down any questions they had so we could address them later.

After the round robin sessions were over, each group led at least one activity so that students could use the information they had been reviewing. Some were great, others were not.

**Note: The process of presenting and activities took several days. It worked really well in my block class (French 3) because we were able to do all of the round robins and then all of the activities. However my French 2 classes were more difficult to organize because they are only 45 minute classes.**

As I mentioned before, I wanted students to be involved in the grading process and take ownership of the project. For each lesson (Keynote & activity), I asked them to complete this survey…

They also graded each of the members in their group. I asked them to look at the Collaboration Rubric and they completed this form…

I averaged the grades from their peers and created a rubric for each group (in google docs). I then made copies of the group rubric for every student in the group. I shared this rubric with each student individually so that they could see their grades (our district has google apps for education). It probably took more time than if I had used paper, but I hate making hundreds of copies of rubrics that students are just going to throw away 😦

I also believe that teachers need to get feedback from their students about projects and just in general. Of course I gave them a google form to complete!

I was a pretty happy with their answers to the survey. I didn’t make it anonymous which I probably could have. Maybe they would have been more honest. French 2 is periods 3 and 5, French 3 is 6/7 block.

Whew! In total, this project took about 6.5 blocks (95 minutes) for my French 3 class and 11 skinnies (45 minutes) for my French 2 classes. I’ll blog again later with examples of the presentations and activities and my final notes 🙂