Amazing Pinterest board

Hi everyone!

I hope you’re all having a relaxing summer.  I wasn’t planning on posting in the summer because I’m taking a break from blogging.   I’m planning for a new grade 12 French immersion course, and it’s been really demanding.  I’m trying to balance that with actually getting some rest and spending time with family.  However, a good friend of mine sent me a link to an amazing Pinterest board on technology to support education that I just had to share with you.  This is definitely one you should bookmark!  There is so much there, I haven’t had time to go through it all myself.

According to the board’s creator, Tina Wahlert, the goal is to “…offer educators resources and tools that can be used to help students learn at a more conceptual and authentic level”.

Hopefully, you’ll find this resource helpful.  Thanks to Tina for creating it and thanks to M.G. for sharing!

Please let me know what you think!

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A blog worth adding to your bookmarks

Hi everyone!

As I was doing some research on-line for activities to do with my grade 11/12 Combined Core French class, I stumbled upon a great blog called “France Bienvenue”.   It is specifically made for FLE teachers and it his authentic recorded conversations that you can use in class with the transcripts all done for you!  You would have to create the activities, because I don’t see anything like comprehension questions on the site.  It’s great that there is a blog that has all this work done.  I’m so happy I found it!  It’s too late for me to use this year, but I’m looking forward to using it in the fall.

You have to check out the page labeled “Les photos”.  The pictures are breathtaking and they just make me want to go to Marseille and Cassis.  I’ve also added it to my “Useful Links” page.  Check it out!

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Using magazines

Hi everyone!

I like to use magazines in my senior classes. I base two assignments on magazines articles. The first is an article summary and critique and the other is a presentation based on an article.

For the summary, students choose an article from French-Canadian magazines such as L’actualité, La Presse or Le Devoir. They have to also give their own opinion about the topic raised in the article they’ve chosen. I like this activity because it increases their vocabulary and their confidence. Core French students are reading an article that was intended for Francophones, so they’re very proud of themselves for having read and understood it.  They also familiarize themselves with current events.

Another assignment I have them do is an article presentation. The concept is similar, but it is an oral activity. They need to choose an article, summarize it orally for the class and then ask the class 3 questions based on the article to start a discussion. This is great too because it encourages spontaneous conversations, which is one of my goals. It’s easier to do in the senior classes because they’ve had more exposure to the language. The challenge will be to have simpler spontaneous conversations with the junior classes more often. This activity also helps with a combined class because at least it’s an activity that the grade elevens and twelves can do together. It’s initally difficult to get the grade elevens talking because they’re intimidated by the grade twelves, but I slowly chip away at it, and eventually they get more and more comfortable.

I hope these ideas help you with your combined classes.

À demain!

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PowerPoint presentations

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a restful weekend.

Today we started oral presentations in my grade 9 Immersion class.  They mostly use PowerPoint and Prezi, and a few are using iMovie.  What’s interesting is that last week, as I was driving in my car listening to my local news station, there was an interview with a gentleman who was talking about the fact that we actually don’t need PowerPoint to get our message across and engage our audience.  He referenced studies that show retention of information through a single medium is higher.  Of course, I couldn’t help but think of the presentations that my students were working on using PowerPoint.  He did mention that if we are to use PowerPoint or Prezi, that we need to think about  the audience first and foremost, rather than thinking about the content first.

The first time I gave students this assignment, I gave them a rubric with step-by-step instructions.  However, I got presentations that were not very engaging, lacked organization, PowerPoint presentations with way too much text on each slide, students who were just reading the paragraphs they had typed on to their slides and presenting with their backs to the audience as they looked at the screen.  That’s when I realized that I had to take them time to teach them how to give good presentations.  It is a useful skill that they can use after they leave and move on to university or the workplace.

There is no question that students need to learn how to create effective presentations.  I gave my students clearly defined goals and success criteria for this assignment.  They were to create an organized presentation that was clear, easy to follow and had minimal writing on each slide.   I explained to them that they had to face their audience, use just point form notes on the slides for important information that help the audience follow the presentation.

After I took the time to give them all these tips, the quality of the presentations increased dramatically.  I’m glad I took the time to do that because hopefully, these are skills that they can use in other courses as well.

The presentations continue tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they came up with!

Thanks for reading!



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More grammar…

Hello everyone!

I’m continuing on in my quest to finish the necessary grammar points in my grade 9 Immersion class.  To start the class off, my mise en train was a Tic Tac Toe game I made up, not for the forms of the subjonctive, but for its use.  I had the students play the game and they had to decide whether the expression that was given to them by their partner was indicatif or subjonctif.  I had only given them a short list of impersonal expressions that take the subjunctive, but I hadn’t given them a list of non-subjunctive impersonal expressions.  I did that deliberately because I wanted them to think about what I had taught them about why we use the subjunctive mood and see if they could apply it when faced with making the decision.

Tomorrow I only have about 6 of them in the class because of a huge field trip taking place.  Oh well, I guess I’ll be showing a movie!

À demain!

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The challenge that is the subjunctive…

Hello everyone!

In my grade 9 Immersion class, we’ve finished all the units, but we still have some grammar points left before my students start their presentations next week.  I mentioned this to them last week and I heard moans and groans.  (I obviously haven’t been successful in imparting my love and passion for French grammar with my students.  Such is life…)

Admittedly, a week of grammar does sound quite boring, so I had to come up with ways to make it interactive and interesting.  I started by correcting the homework, which was practice with forming the subjunctive.  Then I explained when the subjunctive is used.     In grade 9, we only focus on impersonal expressions.   After that, we did a quick oral activity about things that would or would not be important for their independence.  For example, the question would say: “avoir une carte de crédit” and they would have to say something like: “Il sera important que j’aie une carte de crédit.”  I got this activity from Voyages 2, which is an older text that was used in the early 90’s here in Ontario, but which I aboslutely still love. We did this as a class, but I always try to make sure that all students get some talking time in class, so for the next activity, I had them choose a partner.  Then I told them to decide who was going to be “A” and who was going to be “B”.  On an overhead transparency, I gave them a set of situations.  They had to use the list of impersonal expressions I gave them to give the other person suggestions.  I found this activity on-line last night and I was so glad that I did.  It worked so well.  I modified it a bit by coming up with some different situations.

To finish the class off, I had them listen to “À ma place” by Axel Bauer and Zazie.  They were to fill in the missing subjunctive verbs as they listened.  I deliberately didn’t show them a video because I wanted them to focus on the lyrics.  Not all of the expressions were impersonal ones, but I used the song anyways so that they could hear the subjunctive being used.  I used Grooveshark to play the song on my laptop which was hooked up to some speakers.  Any song that I’ve needed to play in my classes, I have found on Grooveshark.  It’s definitely my go-to website for music.

Thanks for reading!

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Increasing oral fluency is tough work!

Hi everyone!

I’m trying really hard to give students the tools that they need in order to be proficient in French.  I scaffold all my grammar points and I give them multiple and varied opportunities to see and use the grammar point.  Then I hear them speak or read their writing… It’s as if I hadn’t mentioned the structure in question at all.  For example, I taught “L’ordre des pronoms” in my grade 9 Immersion class and I don’t think that I could have scaffolded it any more than I did.  I took each and every pronoun and explained its use, we practiced replacing them and putting them in the proper place in the sentence.  As I introduced more and more pronouns, we began replacing two at a time until we had finished them all.  Then I hear my students say:  “Je n’aime pas le!”  AAH!  Generally speaking, I don’t like being the grammar police, but I had to say something.  Now, I have to admit, many of my students have incorporated what I’ve taught them into their writing and it’s really exciting to see.  So how do I get to those few who are still stuck in their old ways?

I was doing some reading about fossilized errors and came across this article.  It states that if the student is aware of the error and they understand the grammar point, then correction is needed each time they make the error.  So I can be the grammar police!  Yay!

I’m working on the subjunctive now, so hopefully I can incorporate enough oral activities to help them use it properly.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

À demain!

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