Update your resources on Identity to create a set of lessons for remote learning

When you go back to school in September, it might be smart to have a toolbox of remote learning lessons should you need them. While we hope that we will be teaching in person, there could quickly be a reason due to the pandemic for you to have a few individuals, part of the class or the whole class learning remotely. To that end, let’s address updating your identity unit and make a few changes to produce a set of emergency remote learning lessons.

Let’s start with my example, a set of lessons where I incorporated activities around talking about one’s identity, in a very limited way because of the simple language available to a Novice Mid student. My thinking here is that my students will get a brief introduction in the first months of studying French so that they can then build on it as their proficiency increases.

At the end of the lesson there are two activities to talk about diversity. One is a way for us to acknowledge membership to different groups and to discuss it and the other is a simple poster to read from UNICEF to connect to the value of having an official identity.

I hope there are some ideas here that you can borrow for your teaching. And, more importantly, if you have some additional resources and activities for the Novice Mid learner, share them with your networks and here in the comments so that we can all learn together.

Planning for September: Remote learning lessons on La rentrée

We have made it to the end of the school year. Remote emergency teaching has been challenging at best. The question we are all asking ourselves is, “What have we learned from this experience should we go back to remote teaching?” As teachers we have a lot of hope that we will be back in the building with our students in September. Most of us know what and how we would teach if that is the case. As teachers we are also planners. What can we do now to plan for teaching remotely again?

I am trying to have a few sets of lessons for remote learning should I need them in the Fall. My latest attempt is a set on La rentrée. It fits in nicely after my set on Je me présente. Please tell me what you like about these lessons and what you would change. I need the help of all of you to continue to get ready for whatever may come next!

La rentrée Copy for Blog

My motivation behind putting these on my blog is to share my efforts. If we all share then the job becomes less demanding and we all learn from each other. Please provide feedback or questions if you are able in the comments.

Se présenter, a Remote Lesson

Here is set of lessons on Se présenter for a synchronous class on a platform like Google Meet during which you can share these slides by sharing your screen. After, you can post the slides to a learning management site like Google Classroom, giving each student their own copy. While you are presenting you can do some of the activities together and preview some of the other activities without taking the time to do them. Next, during the asynchronous time, students can work through the activities at their own pace.

There are three simple technology tools that I incorporated into these lessons, EdPuzzle, Quizlet and Flipgrid. EdPuzzle is a platform where the teacher can ask students questions during a video. Create a class so you can see your students’ scores. Quizlet is an online flashcard and vocabulary game tool that gives students lots of repetition with a set of vocabulary. I always tell students which games to play in what order. For this tool as well, create classes so that you can see your students’ progress. Fligrid is a tool where the teacher leaves a video to start a conversation and the students respond via video.

Use Flipgrid at the end of this set of lessons to do the assessment. Post a video where you record yourself doing what you are asking the students to do. Your students will post videos to respond. Then you can enable the comment function and assign students to respond to their classmates. In order to make it fair to all students, there are two key things to do that I learned from Rebecca Blouwolff, the ACTFL teacher of the year. First, make sure to disable the like function to avoid student competition. Second, ask students to respond to someone who doesn’t have a response yet. That way, hopefully at the end of the assignment each student will have one response. Through Flipgrid you will have an assessment for which you can give students feedback. Try to be specific and personal in your comments to try to motivate students.

This set of slides wouldn’t be your full lessons for greetings and leave-takings, it would be just part of the unit and then you can adapt your regular in person lessons to flesh out the rest of the unit. I hope you will get something out of this resource, whether you use it as it is or take inspiration from it to do something else!

C’est délicieux: All the effective components in a simple set of remote learning lessons

The most important piece of this blog post is the example. Here is a set of slides that is written for Novice High Students learning French. It is a week’s worth of remote learning, to be done at home. There are opportunities for live lessons with the teacher, but the set is intentionally simple and streamlined to not include any additional apps or technology tools. If you desire, there is room for you to add in apps like Quizlet, EdPuzzle, Fluentkey, Google Forms, Peardeck and Flipgrid, but I am encouraging you to use this set of slides as is, without additional tools, to keep it simple for you and for your students.

My intention with sharing an example is to show you how to include the components of effective lessons in your remote learning lessons while keeping your lessons simple. To start, when writing remote lessons, we have to draw in students, so the theme has to be specifically targeted to interest students and very relevant to their lives. At the same time we are trying to make it relevant and interesting, we have to build on vocabulary that we have already introduced in our classes and limit ourselves to vocabulary that we are teaching in the unit as we want to give students the building blocks for the tasks we are asking them to complete. Try to make sure your list is not too long and is high frequency language. And then we also have to find creative ways to repeat the vocabulary as repetition allows for students to acquire the language.

I tried to simplify the task of writing remote learning lessons into a limited list of tasks:

  • Determine the length of time and level of your mini-unit of lessons. This will help you choose how many activities to include and what level of can dos to address.
    Choose a theme and an essential question. Make a title slide with the theme expressed.
  • Find 3-6 authentic resources. Enter them into your slides. I like to find a couple readings, most often infographics, and a few videos.
  • Plan what students will be able to do by the end and plan backward to come up with the targeted vocabulary. Take vocabulary from the authentic resources and from the formative assessments you plan to do along the way. Make a slide of the vocabulary.
  • Plan the activities that students will do with the authentic resources as a way to build to the summative assessment, even if it isn’t going to be graded traditionally. Make sure to include the three modes in your activities, Interpretive, Interpersonal and Presentational.
  • Create a summative assessment for the set of lessons so that you can give students feedback about their progress. It is through this feedback that you can motivate students to complete the lessons.

Vary your activities. To respond to things they have read, ask students to answer questions on the material, make captions to match to pictures, order events in a story, sort ideas into categories or check off items on a list. Ask students to respond to questions about themselves or ask them to interview others and then report back. When they listen to a story, ask students to pick out some vocabulary from the story or ask them to identify the characters and the setting. To be clear, these activities are carefully planned for teaching for proficiency.

Try to be clear in your directions. You will notice that for the level that I teach, I have made my directions in English. And, you will also notice that I attempt to highlight in blue where I would like to see students respond.

Your lessons should be the strongest materials that are on topic that will interest the majority of students. And, they are the ones that will be accessible to most students. Limit yours lessons to only the best resources. And, your interactions with students should be as personable as you can make them to try to motivate your students to participate. With proficiency based activities, topics of interest to students, personable feedback and authentic resources, you are making the best attempt possible to draw in students.

Keep remote learning simple 2: Taking a Break

I was encouraged by the response to my last blog post. Teachers want to keep their remote teaching simple for themselves as much as for their students. More students will be able to access your materials if you keep them simple.

Lyoncapavril20

The example that I want to share with you this time is a week-long set of lessons about taking a break. I have included two videos, one is a kids’ cartoon and the other is a children’s book, and then there are three infographics. This lesson is for Intermediate Low learners of French. The theme of the lessons, taking a break, has a strong Social Emotional component which is relevant as we are finishing up the school year during the Coronavirus pandemic and need to practice self-care.

If these lessons would work for your students, I suggest that you post this set of lessons to your students on the School Management system that they use, giving each student their own copy. The students will fill out the responses on the slides and submit them back to you for feedback.

These lessons are self contained and don’t rely on external apps or technology tools, yet if you know that your students are comfortable with some technology, I have a few options for you. You can use EdPuzzle for the cartoon and a Google form to present the video of the children’s book. Yet another idea is that you could make a Quizlet vocabulary quiz using the vocabulary phrases that I gave when I asked students to make their own dictionaries. I think that those are three ways that technology could marginally enhance the lesson.

In addition, I want to show you how you could use Flipgrid and give some hints on how to do some live teaching with this lesson. One way to use Flipgrid is as a daily message to greet your students, briefly present the material you are teaching and then ask the students a question that they will respond to by sending back a video to you. For this lesson specifically one of your Flip Grids could be about how you take a break, using the vocabulary that is introduced in the lessons, and then ask students how they take a break. In your live teaching segment, you could put students in breakout groups to ask and answer the questions of the interview and then you could have a chance to ask students the questions in the class discussion slides. Alternatively, you could go over all the slides with students during your live teaching segment.

Again, I want to encourage you to use these slides just as they are, without the added technology, keeping your remote learning teaching as simple as possible, again both for you and for your students.

Here is the set of slides for Lessons on Taking a Break

Examples:
EdPuzzle of Bernie & Corneil Cartoon
Google Form of video of Children’s Book Rien du tout

Resources:
Questions for Rien du Tout

Simple remote learning lessons for French class

In the move to remote learning this Spring of 2020, it is tough to make lessons equitable when some students may experience technology and connectivity issues. In this blog post I want to show an example of how to keep lessons simple. I will share with you a low-tech yet online solution for providing students with lessons for a week.

My example is a set of slides on Google Drive that serves as lessons that students can work on independently. While the lessons include links to video clips, everything the students have to do is contained in the slides. There aren’t any exterior apps that are used and therefore difficulty remembering usernames and passwords or issues with returning work to the teacher.

You can give each student their own set of these slides by posting to your school management system. They write their answers to the questions right into their own copy of the slides and return them to you in the school management system.

By supplying you with an example of a week of lessons, you can then adapt it to use the technology that you know your students can handle. For example, you can take the videos and post them to EdPuzzle or Fluentkey and make the questions a quiz. You can ask the questions in the lessons on Flipgrid or Voicethread and have students post back to you videos of their answers. You can take my vocabulary list and make a Quizlet out of it so that students can quiz themselves on the vocabulary before doing the activities. Or, with this content, you can have your students respond through a Google Form or a quiz on Canvas. It is my hope that you make this your own but that you also consider using my low-tech version so that it is as simple as possible for your students.

In addition, this lesson has possibilities for live teaching, if that is available to you. The discussion questions that I ask can be questions that students ask and answer. If you use Zoom, you can create breakout groups of four and ask students to ask each other the questions. And, when you come back together into the large group, students can complete a Zoom poll to reflect on their use of the target language. Another option is if you run a live class you can share your screen and go over the slides with the students.

Here is a link on Google Drive to the lessons made around the opening sequence of the film Avril et le Monde Truqué. The theme of these lessons is Science and Innovation. I hope you will find them useful.

I would love to post another set of lessons for you in the near future. To that end, please tell me in the comments what works for you and what would be helpful changes. Thank you.

Resources for the lessons:
French Review Article
Canberra Alliance Française Packet for the Film
Images from the Film

Dear Subscribers,

Thank you for following this blog over the years. I have decided to add to my online presence as World Language Toolbox, wanting to offer support to teachers of all languages, not only French.

To that end, I have created a Twitter handle @WldLangToolbox. And, my new YouTube channel World Language Toolbox can be found at http://bit.ly/WLToolbox.

On my channel you will find videos to train World Language teachers like you in practical tools you can use tomorrow in your classroom. The resources are always free with no strings attached. My next video is called In 15 minutes learn to promote Intercultural Competence through Picture Books and I think it will be powerful as I articulate the relationship between teaching language and culture.

I would love to have you follow my channel on YouTube. Once I reach 100 subscribers, I will be able to have the name of my channel in the URL. Would you please help me get there?

Best,
Mme Moghtader

In 20 minutes, learn to incorporate music in language instruction

There has been great response to my first two videos in this series, “Learn to… in 20 minutes”. Allow me to explain my perspective. World Language teachers have learned a lot of different activities as we have transitioned to proficiency. To further the profession, I want to share the best of these ideas with others. I am especially thinking of teachers who don’t have colleagues because their department is just them, teachers who are new to the profession or teachers who want to hone their skills. You will notice that I am publishing a video a month and these videos together are a forming a World Language Tool Box.

I am passionate about using songs as authentic documents to teach language. From this 20 minute video you will understand how I do this with intention and purpose to instruct language.

I share four ideas to use communication around songs:

  • Opinions and reactions
  • Story Scripts
  • Penguin stories
  • Lyrics as a reading

to make input comprehensible while using songs to motivate students.

Think about what you can make your own. Consider adding your next step in the comments to start a conversation with other teachers. I will be sharing about how to get students talking with art in my next video. Until next time!

Learn to leverage a language instruction circle in 20 minutes

By the end of this instructional video you will be able to:

  • Plan for a circle in your classroom using materials and ideas for activities ready-made for you
  • Build community in circle with your students
  • Engage in supported communication with you students

I first learned about the idea of the circle as community-building through Developmental Designs, a curriculum developed through a non-profit called The Origins Program. The method endorsed daily circles in homeroom or advisory. Using the circle as an approach to build community acknowledged that students can only learn when they feel safe in their relationships with teachers and other students. Developmental Designs tells us that relationship building doesn’t happen unless structures are put in place for it by teachers. Currently, many educators are using Restorative Justice circles. I found that when my students are familiar with sharing in a circle, there is a level of comfort that helps make it work in language class.

Using circle to promote language proficiency has a similar yet different intent. In the World Language community we hear from Stephen Krashen, a linguist, that language is best learned in low-anxiety environments. The community building brought about by circle facilitates trust and feelings of safety. Later, through the work of Darcy Rogers and the rest of the team at Organic World Language (OWL), I saw World Language best practices added to the circle, for example using the target language for instruction. Since OWL started giving workshops in 2009, I have seen other language teachers take the circle and make it their own. There is a lot of support out there for you to build your own practice of a language learning circle. My goal is to get you started and then hooked and next leveraging your own circle!