Language B Final Exam Review

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.
Tronc commun  Relations sociales

The middle school MYP teacher also used Popplet in a similar way with her students.
FRENCH REVIEW GRADE7

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.

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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!

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 🙂

Review with #iPads

**I meant to do this post awhile ago, but it’s been crazy around here.**

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 🙂