Remote Learning Assignments for World Languages



This is my second post on remote learning.  Click here to read my previous post.  As I publish this in late May of 2020, I know the school year is just about wrapping up for many of us or may already be over for you.  That being said, with the future more uncertain than ever, I figured there might be some value to sharing this post with you now.  All of these assignments could be adapted for in-person learning as well.

For this first assignment, I blogged about an earlier version of this assignment back in 2016, but I teach things a little bit differently now.  I asked my students to create or find an image of someone doing something that they know how to describe in French.  Then, write a caption for it.  The sentence could be as simple as, "Le garçon danse" (The boy dances), or they could make it more sophisticated, like, "Le garçon danse à la maison le weekend" (The boy dances at home on the weekend).  They then uploaded their result to our LMS.  In previous years, I have done this exact same assignment, and it is simple enough that no modifications were needed for remote learning.  Now did all students do it perfectly?  Of course not, but that's always the case, and after providing them feedback, a number of students re-submitted the assignments with corrections made.





Similarly, after students learned about expressions with the verb "faire," (I introduced them as "Je fais" expressions), I asked them to take or find a picture of themselves doing one of the activities on the list and caption the photo in French.





For this next assignment, I asked students to write a sentence describing something or someone with an adjective.  They had learned (remotely) some common adjectives and how to place them properly in a sentence.  Now, when I did this assignment in person in previous years, I had them pick a masculine noun and a feminine noun to focus on both forms, but I had to simplify this because they would not have as much guidance from me like they would in class.  I used my daily video instruction to explain the assignment and provide examples.  It turns out a lot of students chose to describe their dog!



Last year I had my students write poems about themselves.  This year I had them do it again, but I simplified the instructions a little.  Last year, I had them incorporate nouns and negatives (ne...pas) into their poems, but for this poem, I had them stick to simple "I am" (Je suis) statements.  Again, I used my daily video instruction to explain the assignment and provide an example.




Finally, as an optional assignment, I encouraged students to write a poem for a teacher who has inspired them and send it to them through email.  I have done this in the past, but I changed the format this year to make it, once again, simpler and more straightforward.  This gave me an opportunity to introduce the formal "You are" (Vous êtes).



On all these assignments, I used the comments feature in my LMS to provide feedback to each student.  I have also used quizzes and a practice writing task, which are things I would normally do in class.

What kind of assignments have you been giving remotely?

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These Are Trying Times!



The last time I posted on this blog was in February, before the novel coronavirus became a global pandemic, shutting down schools, businesses, and other institutions worldwide.  Here in upstate New York, My students and I have been engaged with remote learning since mid March and schools are closed in our state through at least the end of April, as of this writing.  A lot of teachers have been graciously sharing resources for remote learning on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, among other outlets.  In this post I will share a few things that have been helpful along the way:

Daily Screencast Videos via Canvas Studio
My school uses Canvas as a learning management system, which has a built in video creator, which includes the ability to screencast.  If you use an LMS that does not have a built in video creator and you want to do a screencast, Screencast-O-Matic is a great one.  I create the content for my screencasts in good old PowerPoint.  Google Slides or another slideshow creator would also work well.  Do I speak 90%+ in French in these videos like I strive for in class every day?  No, sadly, I don't.  This has been one of my biggest struggles in the switch to remote learning.  Not being able to negotiate meaning through gestures and other modalities as well as check for understanding face to face, I've had to rely more on the use of English to ensure student comprehension.  It's not ideal, but unfortunately the classroom experience cannot be entirely replicated in an online setting.  I allow students to leave comments on the video in case they have questions, and sometimes a student will leave some positive feedback saying something was helpful or that they appreciated the video.  I think doing a video every day is nice because it gets students seeing the language every day (ideally, but of course students are free to watch the videos all at once if they choose to).  I also really enjoy making them.  I sort of feel like I'm back in the classroom with my students when I'm recording them!  I will say that I consider myself pretty tech-savvy, so creating these slideshows and videos doesn't take too long.  Don't feel badly if you don't have the time to create a video per day.  Shoot for one a week if you can!  There are plenty of other resources you can share with your students to get them connecting with the language.  Here are some of the things I've done in the videos:
--Reviewed vocabulary or grammar - Ok, so it probably isn't as exciting or engaging as when I do it in class, but I find being able to talk with accompanying text and images onscreen is more useful for students than just reading it.

--Read "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" by Eric Carle in French.  You can find a French version of it here on YouTube.  What I did was, before I began reading it, I told the students I was going to pause after I said each sentence so that students could repeat it at home.  Then I translated the sentence into English.  Afterwards I asked students to leave a comment stating their favorite color in French.  Also, I am extremely disappointed that I left all my children's French books at school!  I did not have the foresight to think that I'd need them, and I would love to read more stories to them!  Luckily there are a lot of resources online, such as this one.
--Taught this two part Impressionism lesson with an optional self-grading quiz at the end asking them to identify the painter of various impressionist paintings (their only choices were Monet, Renoir and Degas, the three painters I focused on in the lesson).
--Took students on a tour of the Musée d'Orsay and Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris, pausing at paintings done by the artists they learned about in the Impressionism lesson and asking them to identify the painter before revealing the answer.  I then linked them to the sites so they could explore them on their own.
--Asked students to answer a question or finish a sentence in French in the comments.  This is a really easy, quick way to get student participation and check for understanding.
--Played "Pictionary."  Basically, I put an image on the screen depicting an action in French, and I asked the students to pause the video, jot down their answer, and then press play again to see if they got it right.  I do this in class all the time, so I figured, why not have them do it at home?
--Read a version of this story about SpongeBob that I wrote.  Normally I do a pretty funny SpongeBob voice (when I say "funny," it's definitely the kind where students are laughing AT me as opposed to WITH me, but hey, at least they are laughing!), but I didn't do it in my video for fear that without the ability to read my lips, it might hinder comprehension.

Taking students on a tour of the Musée d'Orsay

Self-Grading Quizzes with Feedback
Right now I'm treating quizzes like assignments, but I like self-grading quizzes for remote learning because they give the student immediate feedback.  Obviously, they are somewhat limiting in what you can expect of students, which is why they aren't the only kind of quiz I use.  I do my quizzes in Canvas, but there are a number of different platforms for creating self-grading quizzes with feedback such as Google Forms or Socrative.  I keep them short (usually 5 questions), and if a student selects the wrong answer, I leave a comment explaining why that answer is wrong.  In Canvas, you can allow students to retake the quiz, so I have enabled this option for remote learning, with the hopes that students will retake the quiz until they get a perfect score.

Kahoot, Gimkit, and Quizizz Challenges
Like many of you, I frequently play Gimkit, Quizizz and Kahoot in class with my students.  How silly was I that I didn't realize you could assign these games to students to play at home!  If I didn't realize this, I'm thinking that there may be some of you who didn't realize this either.  In Gimkit, you click "Assignments" on the lefthand side, then "New Assignment" to make a challenge, and it gives you a link to provide to students.  In Kahoot, you click "Challenge" next to the Kahoot that you want to use.    For Kahoot, the free version is limited to 100 students, I believe.  If you're like me and have more than 100 students, you'll need to upgrade to the paid version.  Get this though:  right now it's free to educators doing remote learning due to COVID-19, so I didn't have to pay a penny for it.  In Quizizz, you go to the quiz you want to use and click "Assign HW."  For all three of these platforms, you can instruct students to enter their first name and class period so you can actually count it in your grade book.  I did this at first, but going forward, I am making these types of activities optional in an effort to cut down on required assignments and not overwhelm students.

Encouraging Independent Learning
Even before we made the switch to remote learning, I encourage students to develop independent learning habits outside the classroom, as I sure many of you do to.  I even sometimes assign independent learning assignments (you can read about this here, but it's an earlier version of what I currently do), where students have to pick an activity and have a parent sign off that they did it.  Now that students have more unstructured time than usual, I'm continuing to encourage this, and have provided a list to remind them of the various ways they can practice the language outside the classroom.  Some of these activities include using Duolingo, watching a movie or TV show in French or with French subtitles, finding some French music on YouTube, communicating with a friend or family member who knows French, going on Amazon.fr and creating a wishlist of items they'd like (this is great because the photos aid in comprehension a lot and most of them are familiar with the format of the American version of the site), and putting Siri or another voice assistant into French and trying to talk to it.

Keeping Connected with Pen Pals
My students were so looking forward to receiving their second letter from their pen pals in France (you can read more about how I do my pen pal project here), but unfortunately, the school in France had already shut down before the letters could be sent.  Not having an easy way to exchange the letters digitally, the teacher in France and I decided to compile a document with a couple of sentences from each student (one in French, one in English) stating what they are doing these days and what they are looking forward to.  Students can go through the document and find the sentences that their pen pal wrote.  It's not as exciting as receiving a letter, but it's a way to keep them connected in the meantime.

Google Voice
I have been using Google Voice (along with email) to keep in touch with families.  Google Voice is very easy to set up, and the main benefit is that you can call parents from your personal cell phone without revealing your phone number.  Of course this can be accomplished by blocking your number, but many people won't pick up the phone when there's no number, and then you can't provide a callback number.  The number Google Voice assigns you is local, so the person picking up will see that it is a local call.  Another benefit of Google Voice is the "do not disturb" setting.  If you don't want to receive calls from parents during evenings and weekends, you can elect to have incoming calls sent straight to voicemail.  It's nice because you can still receive phone calls from friends and family that know your real number while you have your Google Voice set to do not disturb.  I will say that the app seems a little glitchy (it seems like a lot of people I called went straight to voicemail, but maybe that's a coincidence), but overall, it works well for what I need it to accomplish.  I usually try to use phone calls as the first point of contact with a parent, unless they've emailed me before and I know they are comfortable using email to communicate, so it's great not to lose that capability just because I'm not physically at school next to my school phone.  I've called so many parents, mostly to check in because they hadn't completed any assignments and I wanted to see if they needed any help, and I found that there was some of confusion from students about what was required and how to access it.  With every teacher doing things just a little bit differently, it's understandable that some confusion might arise.  That's why communication is so important!  By the way, Google Voice is a great way to have students do a speaking task.  Just have them call your Google Voice number, state their name, and leave a message in French!  Make sure you have do not disturb turned on or your phone will be ringing off the hook!  You would probably want to do this on a different Google Voice number than the one you use to contact parents because it could get confusing trying to juggle student voicemails and parent phone calls.

Having Some Fun!
Since most of the world has had to switch to remote learning, schools have been taking to social media to share messages of positivity and support to students and families.  Our school is no different.  Here are some photos of me that were shared with students and families via social media:





This was featured in a slideshow of teachers in our building reading, to promote literacy.



This was featured in a slideshow showing photos of staff members in our building holding up signs with words of encouragement.

So, what has worked for you in this age of remote learning?  In what ways are you connecting with students digitally?


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Holidays in the French Class



Holidays are a great opportunity to infuse culture into the classroom, and there are a number of holidays worth exploring in French class.  In this post I will share some of the ways I introduce various holidays to my students.



La fête des rois
La fête des rois, or Three Kings Day, takes place on January 6.  On this day, French families typically eat a special cake called Galette des Rois, or King's Cake.  Inside the galette is a small figurine.  The person who gets the figurine in their slice is the king or queen for the day.  On this day, I usually start out by giving students a little information about the holiday and role play the family scene of passing out the pieces of galette.  I modified this PowerPoint and translated it into French.  Now, with classes of sometimes as many as 31 students, it's not practical to try to divide a galette among so many students.  My colleague came up with the idea of using cupcakes as stand-ins.  We ask two students per class to prepare cupcakes for half the class (this way, if one student forgets, you can cut the remaining cupcakes in half), and stick an M&M or a Skittle in one of them.  The students who get the candy in their cupcake are the king or queen.  Now, as you can see in the photo, we have been using Burger King crowns for the past few years.  It's true that Burger King isn't terribly culturally authentic, but we teachers have tight budgets, and my colleague got the crowns for free simply by asking for them!  Burger King was happy for the free advertising.  You could also make crowns or by simple crowns online.



Mardi Gras/Carnaval
I spend a fair amount of time on Mardi Gras and Carnaval.  I teach students about the customs, history, where it's celebrated, then students make masks in class and we culminate with a celebration featuring student-made dishes such as King's Cake and beignets.  I talk more in detail about how I celebrate Mardi Gras and Carnaval in this post.







Poisson d'avril
Poisson d'avril is the French tradition of April Fools Day, where children stick paper fish on each other's backs.  On this holiday I share the tradition with students, then I give them each a fish to color.  After they finish coloring, we discuss in French what colors each person's fish is.  Then they begin sticking fish on their friend's backs in class.



National French Week
Ok, so I know this isn't a holiday, but it's a great opportunity to promote the study of French in your school.  I usually do three things for National French Week:  At French Club, students decorate the entranceway to the building with flags of francophone countries, and in class, I have a poster contest for students to share why they are learning French, and I have a celebration where students bring in dishes from all over the francophone world.  I go into more detail about these three things in this post.







La Chandeleur
Chandeleur is the French version of Groundhog Day, except there's no groundhog and crêpes are eaten.  Prior to the holiday, I tell students about the customs, as well as two proverbs:  "À la Chandeleur, le jour croît de deux hears" (On Chandeleur, the day grows by two hours) and "Quand la Chandeleur est claire, l'hiver est par derrière; Chandeleur couverte, quarante jours de perte" (When Chandeleur is bright, winter is behind; if it is overcast, 40 days of loss).  On the day of the holiday, I transform the classroom into a café, and students order crêpes to eat in class.  In the past I invited a local restaurant in or ordered the crêpes wholesale, but this year I made the crêpes at home.  Parent volunteers help heat up, fill and serve the crêpes.



Saint-Nicolas
Heavily celebrated in Europe, on December 6, Saint Nicholas or Saint-Nicolas, the patron saint of school children, visits children's homes and leaves goodies in children's shoes.  At the beginning of class, students place a shoe in the hallway.  Then I tell the students about the holiday, and students go out in the hall to find a treat in their shoe.  I also show them this song and this video showing a parade.


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The French Corner 2019 Recap



Well, 2019 is coming to a close, and at the end of the year I usually reflect on what new things I tried and what new experiences I had in the classroom.  Here's what happened with me in 2019.


NYSAFLT
This year I attended the NYSAFLT (New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers) Annual Conference in my hometown of Saratoga Springs.  Conferences are a great way to connect with other colleagues and gather new ideas.  I came away with lots of new ideas and had a chance to connect with other teachers I hadn't seen in awhile.

Martina Bex
The amazing Martina Bex came to my school to talk about comprehensible input in November.  She gave us lots of really great ideas, including one I'll talk about below.


Card Talk
Card Talk is a no-prep, fun activity that Martina led us through in her workshop.  She explains it in detail in this blog post.  In summary, you ask the students a guiding question (such as what is their favorite activity or food) and the students draw their answer.  The teacher shows the class the students' responses and uses it to introduce new vocabulary and prompt a discussion.  This can then be used for a variety of future activities.  I had students draw their favorite food and used it to introduce some new vocabulary at the beginning of the food and meal-taking unit.

IPAs
Earlier this year, after attending several workshops on the topic, I began developing IPAs (Integrated Performance Assessments) for my students.  Each exam consists of an interpersonal task, an interpretive task, and a presentational task, centered around authentic resources.  While there are a great many resources and sample IPAs available online, I ultimately ended up developing them in collaboration with my colleague, because I wasn't able to find any that tied in properly with our curriculum and learning objectives.

Secret Phrase
I started using a password or secret phrase with students as they enter the classroom this year.  It has proven to be a very effective way to reinforce key vocabulary and increase student engagement.  I blogged about using a secret phrase here.

Norming with Students
I learned about the process of norming with students here on Annabelle Allen's blog, and I tried it for the first time this year.  I blogged about it here.  Essentially, norming with students allows the students to take ownership of all the ideals you already wanted them to practice.  I was so encouraged that the norms my students came up with were essentially all the things I was going to tell them anyway.



Positive Notes
I started handing out positive notes to students when they do a nice job on something.  It's a nice way of letting students know I appreciate their efforts.  I usually make out the note right there during class and hand it out.  I also made a note to hand students that are misbehaving to invite them to conference with me, but my students have been so well behaved this year, I haven't needed to hand any out yet!



Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth Book Read
This past fall, my colleague Sarah led a book read on the book Shattering the Perfect Teacher Myth.  Not only did it give me a chance to read a great book and pick up some new ideas, but I got to connect with colleagues from across my building and partake in some great discussions.  Have you ever done a book read at your school?



Poems
For the first time in the spring, I had my students write poems about themselves.  I loved seeing their creativity!  I blogged about it here.



GooseChase
My colleague Sarah introduced me to GooseChase earlier this year.  It's basically an online version of a scavenger hunt.  I had my students look through French books and find images that represented various adjectives in French and then share them for the class to look at together later.  I blogged about GooseChase here.



SuperHero Comic Book Maker
When it seemed all the cool apps I used to use were no longer working, a Twitter user tipped me off to SuperHero Comic Book Maker, a great way to assess students' speaking.  I blogged about the app and shared some examples of student work here.



La main verte
When I was in St. Pierre and Miquelon this summer, I picked up a new book for my classroom called La main verte.  I read it in some of my classes this year, and my students loved it.  They loved how strange it was, and the images accompanying the words made it fairly easy to understand.  Do you have a favorite book that you read to your students?


Well, my 2019 was filled with lots of new things.  Here's wishing you a happy new year from the French Corner!
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5 Uses for Socrative



Full disclosure:  Socrative did not pay me anything to write this article, in fact they did not even ask me to write this article!  I just happen to love their app.

Socrative is an app that works on just about any device and it's a great easy, quick, way to assess and review with students.  I only use it for formative assessment, because I use Canvas (our school's learning management system) for summative assessment, but it could be used for summative assessment as well.  I previously blogged about Socrative here, here, here, here, and here.  In this post, I will recap some of the methods I previously blogged about and add some more.

Stations Review
Before I give a quiz, I often do review in stations.  This originated out of necessity, because before we were 1:1, I had a class set of iPads, but I did not have enough for every student to use.  I ended up keeping the model after we went 1:1, because I like getting students out of their seats and usually one of the stations does not require a device. Usually one of the stations involves the use of Socrative, in the form of a multiple choice quiz.  I don't grade the quiz, but I can see how the students did when their results come in (I let them answer anonymously).





You can allow short answers or multiple choice, but I have tend to prefert multiple choice, because I like how you can provide immediate feedback for it.  With short answer, you can enter in a correct answer, but if the student spells it wrong or leaves out an accent, it is marked wrong. Once the student answers a question, a dialog box pops up telling the student if their answer was correct or not, followed by an explanation.   At the end of class, if time allots, I go over some of the questions that were missed the most. Socrative also allows you to see a breakdown of how many students chose each response.  I reset the results after each class so the breakdown only reflects the current class.  I previously blogged about using Socrative as a review station here and here.

Interpretive Reading Practice
I recently started giving IPAs (Integrated Performance Assessments), and each IPA has an interpretive task, which is usually reading centered around an authentic document.  While I give the actual assessment on Canvas, I make up a mock activity with a similar type of document to practice on.  I prefer to use this over Canvas for the practice because it easily lets me see a breakdown on how students performed on each question.  Below is a sample reading question (the students can click on the document to make it bigger).



Sub Activity Socrative is the perfect activity for a sub if you're 1:1.  The sub doesn't even need to have access to a computer, as long as they write the room code on the board.  This is helpful also when the sub doesn't speak the language - the feedback that you can provide to students after each question helps compensate for that.  I can also check from home and see how they are doing and go over answers the next day if I choose. Worksheet Alternative
I've converted several worksheets to Socrative activities.  It makes it more interactive for the students and easier to go over at the end.  Usually if I'm having students do an activity like this, they are working with a partner.  This is especially helpful if you don't need the students to keep the worksheet - it saves paper!

Open Ended Response
Most of what I do on Socrative is using the "Quiz" function, but there is also a "Quick Question" feature that can be useful. Do you ever have a few minutes left at the end of class and spontaneously decide to have the students respond to a question (or maybe you've planned it)? There is an option that simply allows you to have students respond to a quick question, be it true or false, multiple choice, or short answer. You don't have to pre-plan anything. You can ask them the question orally or write it on the board somewhere. Then, if you have more, time, you can have your students vote for their favorite response (if you chose short answer). This would be cool for a creative writing question. In the question below, I simply asked students to order an item off a menu.  I previously blogged about using the quick question feature here.



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What's the Secret Phrase?



Over the summer, a few of my colleagues got me in on a practice that has been going on for some time now, but which was new to me.  The practice is using a password which students must utter in the target language before entering the classroom each day.  One of my colleagues even lent me a book by Bryce Hedstrom entitled What's the Password?  Requiring a Password to Enter Spanish Class:  The Exclusionary Practice That Builds Inclusionary Community (phew!  That's a long title!).  Even though the book caters to Spanish teachers, there is plenty of information in it of benefit teachers of other languages.  The benefits of using a password in a language class, as enumerated in Hedstrom's book and in conversations with colleagues, are that it creates a sense of community, it gets students speaking the target language as soon as they walk in the door, it allows the teacher to ensure contact with every student and the ability to assess how they're doing that day, and it provides an opportunity to reinforce additional vocabulary.  There are certainly even more benefits than that, but those are the ones I've found to be the most prominent.  In this post, I'll share some information about how I've been using passwords in class this year (which we call la phrase secrète, or secret phrase).


Every Friday, I teach my students the phrase secrète for the following week at the beginning of class.  Although I try to keep my instruction 90% in French, this is usually done in English, because there's usually some cultural background I like to explain along with it.  I often instruct students that they must make some sort of gesture or inflection with the phrase to show they know what it means.  For example, when uttering, "C'est la vie," or "That's life," they had to shrug their shoulders as if resigning themselves to something.  I also write the expression on a whiteboard which is displayed at the front of the room for the week to help.

On Mondays, I stand outside the classroom with the whiteboard to help students remember what to say.  The rest of the week, I expect them to remember it, but they can peek inside at the whiteboard or listen to a classmate say it first.  Sometimes I just tell them what it is and they repeat it back to me.  It's not meant to be a high-stakes situation, so it's not the end of the world if the student forgets.  They have a lot to remember in a language class!  At the beginning of class on Monday I usually recap what the phrase secrète is and what it means because some students will have forgotten over the weekend or have been absent on Friday.

If for some reason I am not able to be at the door when students are arriving in class (had to take a phone call, talking with a student from the previous class, etc.), students are expected to wait out in the hall until I can greet them.  I foresaw this being an issue and a stressor when I first planned to use passwords, but in practice, it happens so infrequently, it's rarely an issue.  On the ultra-rare occasion where the bell has rung and you've got 20 students waiting in line to give you the phrase, I say "tous ensemble" (all together) and they say it in unison.  I think this has only happened once because I keep the passwords short and sweet so that it doesn't cut into class time too much.

Speaking of short and sweet, my personal preference is to not make my passwords long and complicated or require a lot of forethought from students.  For one thing, I teach first year students and that's a lot to ask of them, but also I don't want to lose instructional time because I am waiting for students to say the password.  If you teach upper level students, or see this as a good opportunity to challenge them, you'll just have to budget some class time in for that.

When I first explained this concept to students, I actually had them go out in the hall to practice it.  We all remember things better if we've actually done them!

When a student is late, even if they have a pass, they must say "Je regrette, Mademoiselle" (I'm sorry, Mademoiselle).  I explained that even if they have a pass, it's still the polite thing to say when entering a classroom late, so they are practicing good manners.  They've also started saying this when they forget their homework, so it has become a very useful phrase!  I was worried that shy students would be too timid to say this in front of the whole class, but everyone has complied so far, and I don't have a problem if they say it to me in a quiet voice, as long as they are making the effort.

Hedstrom's book has all sorts of ideas for different types of passwords you can use with your students, but the ones I usually choose are either related to what we are learning (but not absolutely essential vocabulary) or super important expressions that don't really fit in anywhere else.  See below for a list of passwords I've used this year.  Sometimes the passwords aren't really appropriate as greetings (for example "Bonne journée" or "Have a nice day"), but once they've been used as a password, students start using them a lot more.

As I just mentioned, if you want to see a particular word or phrase used more by students, make it a password.  After saying it every day for a week, you will see a huge uptick in how often students use it in their daily conversation.

Here's a list of passwords I've used or will be using shortly this year:

-Bonjour, Mademoiselle (Hello Mademoiselle) - some students still say this before they say the current password
-Student:  Merci mille fois ! (Thank you so much), Teacher:  Je t'en prie ! (You're welcome) - Some students actually say "Merci mille fois" to me at the end of class!
-J'ai mon ordinateur (I have my computer) - Students must hold up their device or point to it
-Bonne journée ! (Have a nice day) - Obviously not a greeting, but students now say it every day as they leave the classroom so it stuck!
-Teacher:  Comment vas-tu ? (How are you), Student:  Je vais bien (I'm doing well)
-Teacher:  Qui est-ce ? (Who is it?), Student:  C'est moi ! (It's me)
-Aujourd'hui c'est lundi, mardi, etc. (Today is Monday, Tuesday, etc.)
-MDR (French version of LOL) - Students had to laugh as they said it
-C'est la vie (That's life) - Students had to shrug their shoulders as they said it.  We've been saying this one a lot in our daily conversations!
-Bonnes vacances ! (Have a nice vacation)
-Bonne année ! (Happy New Year)



Do you use passwords in your classroom?  How do you use them?
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Ways to Reinforce Geography in French Class



Perhaps a better title for this post would be, "Ways to Reinforce Where French is Spoken," since a major part of geography for me is just getting students to realize that French is spoken in other countries besides France.  Here are a few of the ways I do that.



I keep a container full of pens with flags of francophone countries for students who need a writing utensil.  The name of the country is also attached to the flag.

When we're learning about weather, I give students an assignment where they have to describe the weather in a French-speaking city for a week.  You can read more about it in this post.



For National French Week one year, I had my French Club draw flags of French-speaking countries outside the school with sidewalk chalk.  You can read more about it in this post.



Also during National French Week, students bring in dishes from various parts of the French-speaking world, and point to the country that it's from on a map.  Students keep track of what they ate on a sheet and write their favorite item.

When time allots at the end of the year, I do a project with students where they create a short commercial for a French-speaking country or region using Adobe Spark Video.  You can read more about it in this post.

Outside my classroom, there is a bulletin board where I feature student work during most of the year. At the beginning of the year, though, I feature photos taken in French-speaking countries.  The above bulletin board features a map with photos pointing to different French-speaking countries on it, and the below bulletin board features photos I've taken in French-speaking areas.





I have some posters around my room which I created which show off the French-speaking world.  The one above is also the header for my classroom blog.  The one below is one we often point to when discussing where in the world a particular French-speaking country is.





In my post Using Google Maps to Reinforce Francophone Geography, I share how using photos taken in French-speaking countries and then placing them on a map can be a great speaking activity.



Another weather activity I do with students is to create a weather forecast on the iPads using Adobe Spark video.  You can read more about that activity in this post.



Guest speakers are another great way to get students exposed to the culture of countries you may or may not have ever visited yourself.  I've had guest speakers who lived in or were from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and France.  Often times the visit was accompanied by some type of project or activity to tie in to the presentation.



In the front of my classroom, I have flags of French-speaking countries and organizations that use French.  I reference these at the beginning of the year when discussing the usefulness of French and where it is spoken.

So, what ways do you use to reinforce geography with French students?

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