Beginnings in Social Justice Instruction

The book Words and Actions: Teaching Language Through the Lens of Social Justice by Cassandra Glynn, Pamela Wesely, and Beth Wassell gave me new insight for when I decided to write an original social justice unit. AF_carles-694x1024After consulting the publication, I chose to write a unit centered around the social justice theme of gender, which I think is a rather easy, entry-level theme. There is an obvious tie-in as this summer, in June and July 2019, the Women’s World Cup is being hosted in France. As such, there are many articles on gender equality in the French press right now, so it was easy to find authentic documents to support the unit that I have decided to call “Le foot est un sport de garçons ET de filles”.

The small steps that I learned from Words and Actions provided great gains. The first was defining a takeaway. When deciding on a theme and essential question, it is advised to define a social justice takeaway, much like an enduring understanding. My theme is “Le foot est un sport de garçons ET de filles” and my essential question is, “How is access to and experience with playing soccer influenced by gender?” So, after thinking it through for a while, the understanding that I wanted my students to have at the end was “Preconceived ideas of gender impact girls’ access to sport”.

AF_daghigh-694x1024As I mentioned, there are currently many authentic documents available on this theme, so I chose a couple ads, an article on a web page, an infographic, a few posters, a clip from a film, a few television reports and a music video, which are all shared with you via the link below. Words and Actions helped me think through how to integrate the posters into my lessons through three steps. The first step “Setting the Stage”, helped me ask students to analyze messages from the culture by paying attention to images as well as words on the posters that promote women’s soccer. Then through the “Critical Thinking and Discussion” step, I learned to have students share their initial impressions and interpretations through discussion of the posters with their peers. I gave my students sentence starters to encourage them to engage with their classmates. For the final step, “Digging Deeper in the Topic”, I was able to have students identify their own messages and make posters themselves.

AF_heidemann-694x1024I am sharing with you all of the activities for the unit in this folder, to inspire you to try this on your own. A good place to start is with the teacher slides presentation. Don’t miss the notes in the notes section. If any parts of the unit work for you or if the whole unit does, please use it. I would love it if you would comment below to tell me what you were able to incorporate.

Story Script for a song you may have missed on restaurant vocabulary

This is my third and final post on writing story scripts for music videos. My intention in explaining story scripts in this blog post and then offering two examples (one in that same post and another here) was to give our community of French teachers a start into the practice.

media.nrj.fr_436x327_2016_02_l-e-j_9207I am hoping you will especially appreciate this third and final example because it is a song with relevant vocabulary for teaching beginning French that you might have missed. La Dalle is a song by L.E. J. that came out in 2015 and was the group’s first original piece. If you aren’t familiar with the group, you might enjoy introducing them to your students because the group’s musical style is so different than the music that our students listen to on their own accord that the song may surprise students and interest them for its uniqueness.

This is the intended order of the activities:

  • Read the story script to your students, stopping after each paragraph for them to draw a picture that illustrates that part of the song in this graphic organizer
  • Handout the story script to the students so that they can read it for themselves and make any finishing touches on their pictures
  • Play the video a first time for the students
  • Students do on Quizlet the matching activity three times each to become more familiar with the restaurant vocabulary in the song
  • Handout the activity that goes with the song and play the song one more time for students to read the words of the song as it plays
  • Ask the students to write a summary in their journals of what happens in the video of the song

You will notice that this technique, that I learned from Kara Jacobs, offers the students multiple chances to interact with the vocabulary from the song. If you want to continue work with it, don’t miss this resource from TV5 Monde.

Please let me know in the comments if you have tried a story script for a song and what has worked for you!

 

Travel like a teacher: Eastern Townships, Quebec

You may have already heard of the Cantons de l’Est, the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Coming from New England, the area has its own unique culture and yet is so accessible and relatively affordable. This year I went with my active twin 8 year old boys. Last time I was with my parents and my daughter. We always have good meals, walk around towns and do some great book shopping for my French classroom. This is a great trip for a weekend or three nights in the Fall or Spring.

I love the trip for the opportunities to be active outside and for the artisanal local products that you will enjoy in the restaurants or take home with you. With my sons, we got out for both a bike ride and a walk in the woods at a marsh. We tried Poutine from the kids’ menu at Café de la Brulerie, which was not really our thing, and buckwheat crepes at Belania d’Amour, which we liked much better. At two restaurants we went to there were wood-fired ovens, which is not surprising given the cosiness that the Quebecois seek out in the cold winter months. My boys liked seeing the large machinery at the ice creamery in Coaticook. And, we returned home with honey, Belgian-style chocolate and Duck rillettes all made right where we bought them.

Here are some hints for getting to know small-town Québec near the US border. Using Mont-Orford as a base, all of these places are nearby in the towns of Magog, Granby and Coaticook.

Mont-Orford
Hotel Cheribourg 
This is a comfortable hotel, even though we stayed in the off-season between snow and summer activities when the dining room is closed. With restaurants nearby, a café and the local supermarket, finding food wasn’t an issue. My boys enjoyed the well-equipped game room and the pool. The rooms are nicely set up and include a refrigerator and a coffee maker.
Steforno Woodfire pizza restaurant and gelato
Belania d’Amour Café with delicious healthy smoothies and buckwheat crêpes
Le Four à Bois d’Orford Wood-fire restaurant for pizza and pasta
Ducs de Montrichard Made-right-there duck rillettes to bring home in jars
La Mie d’Orford Breakfast at a deli-style restaurant with a focus on homemade

Granby
C. A. R. T. H. Y. Bike path
A great outdoor activity in this region, after all the snow activities, is biking. The bike path between Granby and Waterloo is beautiful and well maintained. I would highly recommend a half-day ride on the dedicated bike paths, viewing birch trees and reservoirs. Rent bikes in Granby right on the path at Sports aux Puces VéloGare.IMG_5802
ZooGranby
Excellent zoo. Really high quality in terms of animals and habitats. A place to return to again and again. I was last there in 2009 and have wanted to go back ever since. Please note that in April, the zoo is only open on the weekend.
Librairie Jeunesse Le Repère
A children’s book store with an extensive collection of French-language books. The staff is extremely helpful. My boys loved that her baby was sleeping right at the store while she helped me. They found that to be so intimate and lovely.
Café de la Brulerie easy to return your bikes and walk over for a coffee or a meal

Magog
Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises
A nature center at the marsh with extensive paths for walking. We loved the visitor center even though most of it was in French and my sons don’t speak French.
Chocolats Vanden Eynden Belgian-style chocolates and a window into the factory

Coaticook
Parc de la Gorge de Coaticook
Walk along the deep gorge and dare to walk the long suspension bridge that crosses to the other side.
La Laiterie de Coaticook
Visit the ice creamery to take a look into the factory and have a taste as well.
Miel pur Délice Honey producer and sellerIMG_5865

A story script for a powerful video on Immigration

I have blogged before about Story Scripts.

Immigration is a timely theme in the World Language classroom and I was pleased to be able to address it with my 8th grade French students in March with the help of materials from Catherine Ousselin’s unit Que suis-je et d’où viens-je? Mes origines and mon identité.

In teaching this unit, I wanted to do a new Story Script and thought that a perfect fit would be Chez Nous by Patrick Fiori featuring Stromae. You might need to read the blog I did on Story Scripts to make sense of these resources. Here they are:

To give an idea of what it looks like to draw a story, here is an example from one of my students:Chez nous example 2

 

Thematic Unit: Les fêtes

I consider teaching for proficiency to still be in its youth. While there are some things we have figured out, we still have a long way to go. To that end, I wish that there were more models for French teachers. Online you can see full units on the sites called Madame’s Musings, Ma revolution française and World Language Laboratory. I want to take what I have learned from these teachers and show another example of a unit from my point of view to further the conversation and better support other teachers.

I aim to create units for Middle School students where the theme is at least vaguely of interest to students, with at least a small social justice component, where the unit is centered around authentic resources and there is input before students are asked to speak. In addition, as I want this unit to be for my 8th graders, I wrote it at the Intermediate-Low level. If you are a regular reader, you will see in this unit on Holidays many of the same types of resources that I rely on regularly.

All of my resources are linked below or you can use the link for the folder.

To begin, I chose my theme and essential question:

  • Theme: Holidays and Celebrations
  • Essential Question: In what ways does culture influence celebrations and customs?

These will probably need to be revised later, but it gave me a start. Then, consulting the ACTFL Can Do Statements, I chose some:

  • I can talk with someone about holidays and celebrations.
  • I can describe what is needed for a holiday or a celebration.
  • I can ask and respond to simple questions about dates, times, places, and events on invitations.
  • I can write about a holiday or a typical celebration.

Again, these will need to be added to and revised, but they are a start. Based on these, I wrote a TALK-style assessment for the end of the unit.

As I got started on choosing authentic documents for the unit, I knew that like usual I aim to include a short video, like an ad, that I may do a movie talk for, a song, a simple reading like an infographic or an invitation, an article written for children and some sort of information about a related social justice issue. To use these resources I will want to make slides about me to share new vocabulary, an interpersonal task, a presentational written component where students will make materials to inform other students and a task. I wanted students to sort terms, circumlocute and interview each other. All of these are familiar activities that my students do every unit.

Thank you to the excellent blog French Tool Box for giving me a start to this unit. You will see reference to materials from the blog.

So, here are the resources for the unit:

Jour 1
Start the unit with a Movie Talk, Erste Ad. For more of an explanation on Movie Talk, see my previous post.
Show screenshots and have students predict the story, leaving out the end. Then show students the slide with six pictures from the story. Describe one and they say which one it is. They can numbers 1-6 in their journals and write the letters that correspond.
Students read Erste Ad Script
Show students six pictures and students retell the story in partners
Students predict the ending
Show the whole video Erste Ad, including the ending
Students use the final set of pictures to retell the story

Jour 2
To introduce the vocabulary of the unit, show presentation Vocabulaire Les Fêtes (Edited from French Tool Box) and talk about yourself and your customs.
Includes Minons video Joyeux Anniversaire

With slide, ask Questions Personnelles (Ideas from U of Texas at Austin)
Qu’est-ce que tu fais?
1. Est-ce que tu sors en costume pour fêter Halloween?
2. Est-ce que tu manges de la dinde à Thanksgiving?
3. Est-ce que tu regardes des feux d’artifices le 4 juillet?
4. Est-ce que tu fêtes ton anniversaire avec un défilé?

Quizlet: Les fêtes (Edited from French Tool Box)
Handout Vocabulaire Les Fêtes
Ask students to do flashcards and match

Jour 3
On the third day, I present two holidays, Chandeleur and Eid-al-Fitr and on the fourth day students read about Le 14 juillet. With these holidays and the ones students celebrate, the class will them have enough background knowledge and previewed vocabulary to start talking about holidays themselves with an interpersonal activity.

Presentation La Chandeleur

Presentation Eid-al-Fitr

Interpersonal Les Fêtes

Jour 4
With handout Une liste des fêtes, students sort terms with hand out On which holiday, found on slide 39 of presentation Les Fêtes.

L’actu du jour fete nationale Reading. You will want to make an activity to hold students accountable with this reading.

Questions Les fêtes
Students answer questions for themselves

Jour 5
Give students an index card and have them write a question about holidays on one side and their answer of the other. I have students make two concentric circles and then the inner circle rotates after each question to change partners. The answer on the back is to show the partner if they get stuck.

Reading: Invitation

Circonlocution, found in presentation Les fêtes
This is a variation of Taboo, played as teams. 6-8 words on slides projected one at a time to the class. In the teams, choose a scribe, a describer and the rest of the group guesses. Only the describer is allowed to look at the list. They use circumlocution and gestures if necessary (no English!!) to get the group to guess the list of words. The scribe can guess and also writes down all the words. First team to finish the whole list wins that round. Rotate roles and play again.

Jour 6
Question – Question – Exchange: Print slides 46, 47 and 48 from the Presentation Les fêtes and copy as needed. Cut into cards with one question per card. Make enough for the whole class. Students read off their cards to a classmate and answer the question. They continue the conversation for as long as they have something to say in French. Then they exchange cards and move on to make a new pair with another classmate.

LGS (Le Groupe Swing) – C OKAY song and activity

Play Quizlet Live with Quizlet Les fêtes from above

Jour 7
A natural connection to social justice when teaching holidays is to talk about religious tolerance.

Show slide 50 from presentation Les fêtes to talk about practices and perspectives.

Show students useful vocabulary on the board
Reading: Les actes antisémites, use the first and last page of the reading

Students complete Reading the news handout

Have students do the conversation from the reading, each taking a role

Jours 8-10
Present the project for the unit to the students. There is an excellent free resource online for this if you google “French II Les fêtes et les traditions en France” which is from The Rose Tree Media School District. I didn’t ask for permission, so I won’t share the link.

Return to look at the list of holidays
Have students pick a holiday to research and present to the class

Have students present to their classmates in small groups. Students record information on handout Gallery Walk Les Fêtes

After students are done, they complete Task Les fêtes to show their understanding of holidays.

As a whole class, play Kahoot

Jour 11
TALK assessment — See previous post

While groups from the class are doing the TALK assessment, the rest of the class can do Quizlet Learn, with the link above

 

Thank you, dear reader, for considering this unit. I would love to hear from you either with a like or with a comment below. There very well may be typos or improvements– don’t hesitate to let me know what I can improve. And, if you like part of this resource, please put a comment to say what works well for you!

Movie Talk Update

Still newish to doing Movie Talks, I have been enjoying the milage that I get out of one short video. Movie Talk, if you haven’t heard, is a technique where the teacher shows a video and along with the class narrates the story in the target language, giving students that all-important input.

  • This is the resource folder for this post. You will see it also contains the examples from my last post on Movie Talks.

Take a look here at Rhapsodie pour un pot au feu as an example of how a teacher could talk about a video. I have put in the questions a teacher could ask to get students talking, previewing the vocabulary for themselves and other students in the class.

51919768_10156216260758786_7804609958049218560_o
Photo by Alexandra Lecomte

I use in my classes a version of Movie Talk called Picture Talk, using still pictures, as you saw in my last example. I take screen shots instead of clicking pause in order to narrate the story. As I tend to pick videos that have spoken audio, I don’t want to start and stop randomly during the narration and dialogue. Therefore, it is a better fit for me to take screen shots from the video, gather them in a presentation and have students talk about them.

Please look at this example from Une vie de chat. And, what I am excited to share with you are the other activities that I use to add even more chances for students to get input on the topic chosen for the unit. For this clip, I have a script that students read and a sequencing activity. Students also could be asked to draw the story as they listen to the teacher read the script and they could be asked to rewrite the story with three changes for their classmates to pick out.

You might have caught in an earlier blog post that I shared yet another Movie Talk called Vinz et Lou. Here it is again in case you didn’t catch it and to illustrate yet another way of doing a Picture Talk. In this example at the beginning I show pictures without words and ask students what is happening in the pictures and talk myself about what happens in the story, then I show the clip. If there is a cliff-hanger in the video, I stop discussing the pictures before that point and allow suspense to build, then show the clip. Finally, I read through the sentences that go with the pictures.

I continue to like Movie Talk and am enjoying pursuing this technique further. I can see that many of you read the blog. Please consider, if it is useful to you, liking this post or leaving me a comment to tell me where you are with Movie Talk and / or what resources you have found. In addition, if you want to explore more, click the link “Movie Talk” to the right to read prior posts on this topic.

Story Script for a Music Video

In this blog post I want to share an activity to make authentic songs comprehensible. The idea is not mine– it comes by way of Kara Jacobs. She has created examples of the technique in Spanish and I am hoping I can bring the community of French teachers on board.

Kara writes a script to tell the story of a music video. Well, actually she writes all kinds of stories and one type of story that she writes is from music videos. I find this idea to be ingenious because it is another way to give comprehensible input to your students while sharing a song with them. Songs grab students’ attention and are as such a way to get students to engage with material.

Here are the steps following Kara’s format with the French resources linked to start you out while using the song Rien à vous dire by Jérôme Minière.

  • Give students a sheet with six boxes. Read the story out loud, stopping at the end of each paragraph. Students draw what they hear on the handout.
  • Show the video.
  • Have students read the story. Collect back the story.
  • Have students unscramble the story.
  • Play Quizlet live with blanks for the verbs in the sentences.
  • For homework, students rewrite the story and change three things, including the end of the story. Have them use their pictures to remember what happens in the story.
  • Students read their stories to their group and the other group members need to identify the changes. Group votes on the best story. Teacher reads out loud the best stories and the group members become the actors for the mother, father, boy / Jérôme, teacher and a couple students. Maybe do three stories.
  • Teacher has students underline the verbs in their stories and does a class workshop to correct the verbs. Students hand in stories for teacher to read and respond to content and humor only, not verb tense.

I think that stories from music videos work well with Intermediate Low learners. There is yet another great way to deliver comprehensible input for songs that I think works better for Novice Mid learners and I learned from posts by Elizabeth Barron on Musique Mercredi. Elizabeth write stories about penguins to preview vocabulary from current songs. I wrote a penguin story in the same style. You can see the original Penguin Stories on the Musique Mercredi Music Facebook page. Join the group and search on Elizabeth Barron’s name.