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