New Beginning: Getting to know you

Classrooms are repopulating this month. Thursday I will have my students back in the classroom together. My students have been in two cohorts in the hybrid model and don’t know each other, so I will be introducing the students to each other.

I will start with some pair work to keep the interactions less stressful for the students. My seating chart was made with some smart pairing in mind and I will have these students get to know each other through asking and answering questions. I appropriated the slides I have used in the past for playing Maitre d’. I have decided to play this game in a new way, taking Social Distancing into account.

Ask students to sit on their desks so that they maintain three feet of distance. Pair students with a person near them and have them ask and answer four questions before they get matched up with a new partner. One hint for this kind to work is to ask students to respond with everything they can say in French and when they are done to fall silent. When the teacher hears they are done, the teacher will advance to the next slide. In addition, cue the student of the pair who is closest to the door to start and then alternate.

Once students have gotten to know three other students through questions and answers, I plan on having them use what they have learned by doing a Kahoot class trivia game. I got the idea from Señora Chase’s blog.

And finally, we will play a few interactive games that are able to be played while still maintaining social distancing. The games are explained on these slides. The games are fun and a good way to get to know each other and they also promote proficiency at the Novice level.

I wish you well as your students return to the classroom!

Further Jamboard Ideas

In hybrid and remote learning, we no longer pass out sets of manipulatives for our students to match or sort and we don’t set up images around the room for a gallery walk. Jamboard is an opportunity to bring these back to the classroom. Let’s allow our students to return to matching, gallery walks and sorting.

In a unit about food, I do a Movie Talk from Petit Nicolas on the cantine. To give you some context, here are the slides and here is the script I use. One of the activities you can do with a Movie Talk is to ask students to match pictures with captions. On Jamboard, give each student a copy of the pictures and captions. They drag the caption to the matching picture.

Gallery Walk
A gallery walk allows students to react to different items posted around the room by leaving their commentary on a sticky note. Comments can be anonymous or color coded. With Jamboard, you can share one presentation for the whole class to edit and students can leave stickies on each board. In this example, we had just listened to one minute of five different songs. The students then posted a sticky about their opinion of each song.

Sorting 1
This next activity was made in collaboration with teachers at the Middle School level in Brookline, Massachusetts. I would like to thank them for their help. You can give students categories for sorting as a way for them to show their understanding of the categories. In this example, student sort foods into the different words that describe the tastes.

Sorting 2

In teaching for intercultural competence, we frequently have students compare their own practices to those in a different culture. The example of this activity is done based on a reading. Students sort practices into the Venn Diagram to show what the student in Dakar does, what we do and the activities that are done by both. (Please note there is a second page to the Jamboard. You can use this page to do a guessing game about the people featured in the article.)

For a version of each of these activities, click on the underlined heading above each section. To use my example, you will have to make a copy first. Then you can post the copy to Google Classroom for your students. How you share it is based on how you are going to use it with your students. For most of these, share a copy for each student. For the Gallery Walk, allow all students to edit the same Jamboard.

This post is a continuation of my last post, so if you missed that one please take a look for more Jamboard guidance. And, thank you for all the warm responses. I love hearing from you, so please keep the comments coming by letting me know what you think you may be able to use.

Jamboard: a tool for the World Language Toolbox

With 20 years of teaching Novices, I am still understanding better each year how to support them in acquiring language. Let’s unpack what Novices are doing to improve their proficiency. During World Language class we are having them communicate on high-interest topics by having them negotiate the language to express meaning to others. While Intermediate students create with language, Novices use practiced and memorized language to express themselves.

Let’s look at how the tool Jamboard can be used for students to take phrases and combine them into sentences. On this Jamboard I ask students to group and order the stickies to form sentences to describe their activities. This is a first step to eventually talking with their classmates about activities that they do every day. Coach them to delete stickies they don’t need and to add in new ones with their own phrases.

To build their language skills further I then devised a way for students to order sentences before they write about the activities of their routine. This is a start to building from writing sentences to writing paragraphs.

In this current unit students also speak about the times of the day they do different activities. I have been stumped about how to give my students practice telling time in an engaging way. So, I came up with the idea to use Jamboard as a game that would encourage practice. I made a Snakes and Ladders game board and added pawns the students will move around the board. Students read the time on a Quizlet flashcard and if they get it right roll the die to move around the board.

Have one student run the flashcards on their device and the other represents both themselves and their opponent by operating the die and moving the pieces on the game board. 

The next activity is for a different unit, one on clothing. I want to address how to support Novice students when asking them to read an article on a controversial and timely topic and then express their opinion in one sentence, more of a fit for Novice-High students as this is definitely a higher skill level. My students read an article on dress codes, with a lot of help from me. Then, they moved stickies that I had written mostly using language from the article to show what they agree and disagree with. This step allows them to process the input from the article and prepares them to participate in a conversation.

You can make copies of my Jamboards to use right away with your students. Then, you only have to share them on Google Classroom as assignments giving each student their own copy.

Les phrases

Ma routine

Serpents et échelles

Tenue correcte

My message to all teachers as we teach our last few days before break, we are all better for the new tricks we have learned during remote and hybrid teaching. Please remember to share your strategies with those in your network and to leave a comment here if any of these ideas might work for you!

Curriculum of thematic units for remote and hybrid learning

This post is a summary to help you navigate my site better and to encourage you to revisit some earlier posts. You will note that each unit has authentic documents that include music videos, infographics, articles and clips from television shows. I use technology tools like Quizlet and EdPuzzle and give you links to ones that are ready to go. 

We are fast approaching our winter break. Teachers are tired and need more than ever the support of collaboration. Please share my resources and your own wide and far. Let’s help each other through the winter months of the pandemic. Below these seven themes work together to form a French 1 remote or hybrid curriculum. It is my hope that you will find at least some of these materials to be helpful in your teaching.

Je me présente

La rentrée

Mes origines

Les loisirs

À l’école

Pour se reposer

C’est délicieux 

À l’école: Mini hybrid / remote unit on the school day

I am teaching two remote classes and three hybrid classes, so I develop activities to be delivered electronically. The activities can be posted on a School Management Site and the slides can be used for visuals while teaching live in the classroom or via screen share in virtual meetings. To share them with you, I put them in this Google Drive folder. Please take note of the Lesson Plans document, where there are explanations, sequencing, reference to which slides to use when and links to the activities.

I am repeating myself here, but I want to yet again highlight the importance of sharing materials during this time. My materials may have typos that I have missed or be incomplete in some way, but I hope you will find value in them as a start to planning your own lessons. I have found teachers to be tired and full of anxiety. I am sharing this mini-unit to try to help my virtual colleagues and I encourage you to share where you can, whether it is in your school with a close friend or on the Internet. We all need each other now.

I like this topic, the school day. Schools are places where students are coming together whereas for the rest of their time they are isolated and away from their friends. Rally your class around the topic of the school day. Hear from them about their experience. And, encourage them to talk to their classmates, all on the topic of the school day.

Having fun with students during remote classes: a mini-unit on Les Loisirs

Tonight I quickly put together a Jeopardy game for the end of a very short unit on Les Loisirs. It came from a strong desire to do a fun activity with my students. I like, as my readers know, the format for Jeopardy games on, but even though I have mentioned it before, I am recommending that platform a second time for remote learning. Over Zoom the teacher can screen share the game and students take turns playing for their team. I think you will find it fun too.

So, here is a set of slides for a mini-unit on Les Loisirs and here is the promised game. As I just completed it in a hurry tonight, let me know if there are any mistakes and I will correct them. And, it’s a crazy world out there, so I hope you find some fun in your teaching. And, as always, I would love to hear where you find that fun in the comments below.

P.S. If you like Jeopardy, here is one more for you, one that I wrote with the help of a colleague a while ago.

Screencast Video Tools in the World Language Remote Classroom

I have been hearing a lot about the importance of establishing relationships with students. Students learn from teachers who value them. And, they feel supported by teachers who allow themselves to be known by their students. In September when I return to the classroom I will be teaching in a hybrid format. I am concerned that teaching with a mask and teaching through the computer will put distance between me and my students, so I intend to make some videos from home with my mask off.

I want to tell you about using Screencast-O-Matic to make videos for your students because it could be useful while you are creating World Language lessons for remote learning or for live lessons when you have a mask on. The tool is free if you limit yourself to 15 minute videos. I have upgraded because I use it to do pre-recorded webinars for teachers, but you don’t need to.

There are so many benefits to filming yourself. A video is, first of all, a close-up view of the teacher and it can be clearer and more succinct than an in-person interaction. Students can watch a video over and over if they are having trouble catching something you said. When you film with Screencast-O-Matic you can show your slides and show your face so that students benefit from both. For these reasons, this is a tool that I will continue to use for years, even after the pandemic.

To try to get you thinking of what you could record, in this post I want to address the idea of recording personable brief pieces about yourself which are opportunities for students to get to know you better. And, I want to show you how to use these pieces as that “teacher talk” that you do in your classrooms to introduce the material that students can expect to learn in the unit and that you are modeling for them to use the material themselves at the end of the unit. To this end I have three examples for you.

Each of these three examples are just that, examples. Obviously, you can not use my videos because they are for my students to get to know me. By the way, it is really hard for me to share these with you because they are personal and not perfect, which is exactly the point. We film ourselves not to seem perfect but to be who we are. The lighting isn’t perfect, we stumble on our words, I am not a native speaker and yet I share these with others and I didn’t even do my hair and makeup for the session. You get the idea. I am a flawed human and I model that for my students every day and hopefully it makes me more personable and allows them to take more risks.

Here is the first video. Maybe you want to try one like this. I will show this to my beginning students the first day of class. It is a video of me introducing myself speaking all in French.* I ask the students to listen to it to see what they can understand and not to worry if they don’t get everything. Then, afterwards, I ask them to share with the class the strategies they used to try to understand. This sets us up for the year to try to learn how to take a breath and understand new language.

In this second video I am doing something that I am sure you have done before. To teach school supplies, I show the students my bag, take out the supplies that I have and comment on them. I do this at the beginning of the unit as an introduction and then the students see authentic videos where school supplies appear. My video is the easiest and most accessible of the ones they will see. I go slow and repeat, but I use full sentences and natural rhythms of language so that they hear real language. Afterwards, I post the video to Google Classroom with some true false questions about quantity and color of the school supplies for students to answer. For example, I don’t say “True or false, this is a pencil.” but instead ask, “True or false, Madame has three pencils that are yellow.”

While those two videos were for Novice speakers, my third video is for continuing language students. In this video I am sharing the activities I do during the pandemic before I ask students to share with me what is possible for them to do when social distancing. I will show the students the video and then ask them true false questions to see what they remember.

Thank you for reading my blog posts. I have really enjoyed the appreciation and the comments I receive. Would you please consider leaving a comment to say what topics you film or are going to film?

If you want to see more ideas for Teacher Talk videos, see my YouTube playlist called Teacher Talk.

*Please note: the presentation about me is an excellent idea from Creative Language Class.

Movie Talk for Remote Learners

Many of you rely on Movie Talks to tell stories in collaboration with your students. It seems it has become as popular as TPRS stories once were. And now that many of you have tried remote teaching, I am sure you have experience of how to do Movie Talks virtually. I would love to talk with others about their techniques.

So the other day, I wrote out my ideas and sent them to a trusted friend and the following lesson plan is the result. Please take a look to see if you can benefit from any of these ideas and then leave a comment below to tell me what you have found that works.

Can do statement: I can narrate events.

To do a Movie Talk with remote students, you can use the screen share function to share the slides and ask students to work in their “journal” (their composition notebook).

Unmute students.
Rhapsodie pour un pot-au-feu Movie Talk
Show the slides and ask students the questions. Students will use the pictures to try to answer by predicting what happens in the story. (If this doesn’t go well because all of the students are trying to talk at once, you can mute the students and take suggestions in chat.)

Mute students. Watch the video of the story Rhapsodie pour un pot-au-feu — linked in the slides as well.

The last slide has six pictures. The teacher asks the students to take out their journals and number one to six. Then the teacher describes one of the pictures and the students write the corresponding letter.

Unmute students
Rhapsodie pour un pot-au-feu Group Reading
Ask students to read the captions for the pictures out loud to the class.

The last slide has six pictures. Put students in breakout groups of four. The students tell each other what is happening in the pictures and write the descriptions down in their journals. Students prepare for everyone in the group to be able to give the answers. After three minutes, the teacher reunites the group and calls on individual students to volunteer to say what is happening in each picture.

Students will need to have a copy of the slides to see the pictures while they are in breakout groups. Post the Describing Pictures to Google Classroom. Having them write in their journals while working with their peers, helps them stay focused in breakout rooms.

Rhapsodie pour un pot-au-feu Questions
While this looks like a quiz and the students can see what they get right and wrong, it is a disguised reading activity. The purpose of having the questions is to hold the student accountable for reading and working to understand the information.

Rhapsodie pour un pot-au-feu Presentational
Show the students the sentences with the verb endings highlighted. Read the sentences to the students. Ask the students to take out their journals and write the sentences paying attention to the verb endings. Check work with the slide that has the answers.

In their journal, students write a paragraph starting with, “La mère veut que la famille soit à table, mais c’est très difficile parce que…,” and ending with, “À la fin, la famille…” Students are to add 5 activities that different family members do. Students can put their answers in this Google Form.

Update your resources on Mes origines 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 Mes origines 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 origins, 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.