Move a Step Up Bloom's Taxonomy with This Vocabulary Activity

Once again I was inspired to use a mind map in my lesson thanks to all the blogs I have been reading that use mind maps (namely Territoires de Langues and Classemapping).  Last week I introduced my students to the classroom expressions we use to keep in the target language. I showed them the video I made with VideoScribe (see my previous post) and we practiced pronouncing the words a little bit, then I had the students sort the words into three categories on a mind map (participation physique/active, participation académique, questions/problèmes) in groups of three.  They were not allowed to use English (they could say things like "parlez...ici ?  Non, ici !" and some of them even said the names of the categories in French).

This was hardly the most exciting activity we'll do this year, but I was pleased with how engaged the students were (speaking entirely in French for the most part), and it was a step up on Bloom's Taxonomy (classifying) from just the normal recall that generally comes with vocabulary when you first introduce it.  The fact that some words could sometimes fit into more than one category was the part of the task that I was concerned might confuse students.  In fact, it actually made it more interesting, because students had to negotiate in French with their partners in order to decide what one was best.

At the end of the activity, I showed them my version of the mind map, but I told them (in French, bien sûr !) that this was just one version and that theirs might be different.

How do you use mind maps in your classroom?  I've started a Pinterest board with mind maps I'm finding all over the internet.

Listening Activity for Novice Learners

I first found the above video from a great blog called FLExporations.  I love it because, while it goes by very fast, there is lots of vocabulary in it that my students already know after barely two weeks of French.  I decided this would be a great listening exercise at the end of class, but I decided it really needed some subtitles - still in French - to help the students follow along.

I went to Amara and subtitled the video in French (except the last bit, which was too fast to bother showing in class).  If you'd like to show this version in your class, click here.  You have to select French as the language underneath the video for the subtitles to appear.

After watching the video, I asked students in French what the names of the teachers of various subjects were, then I asked them to tell me what "grenouille" and "informatique" meant in English.

P.S.:  I was inspired to buy my own Playmobil set to have my students make videos with.  Once I have my students make the videos, I will share them in a subsequent post!

Introducing Yourself to Classmates

I'm sure many of you have your students create some sort of introductory poster at the beginning of the school year to display on the wall.  It's a simple idea but a great way to teach lots of new vocabulary and have students work on something relevant to them.  I had been using the same template for years when I decided to spruce it up this year.  I was inspired by this great post from Territoires de Langues suggesting making this activity into a mind map.  I loved the idea, but given my students' limited vocabulary at this point of the year, I had to give them more guidance.  So this is what I came up with:

Feel free to use it in your class!  Let me know what you like about it or what you might change.  Students are given a list of vocabulary terms to like or dislike and learn how to state their nationality before completing the activity.  In the center goes a picture, drawn or brought in from home.  Here's how they look on the wall:

Teaching Pronunciation Through a Story

It's impossible to try to teach students all the rules of French phonetics in one sitting (nor would that be as useful to them as consistent practice), but I like to do a mini-lesson at the beginning of the year that emphasizes a few of them (including the cadence, with the stress on the last syllable) to help acquaint them with it.

First, I start by writing a few French words on the board that are used in English (an idea I got from Deb Blaz's book Foreign Language Teacher's Guide to Active Learning.  The words I chose were cliché, garage, au contraire, café, boutique, chic, and rendez-vous.  After determining (in French) that these words are in fact French words borrowed by English and what they mean, I ask them to pronounce the sounds a, i, ou, é, and ch, using the words as a guide.  Then, this year, instead of just showing them random words to read that contained the sounds I wanted to practice, I made up a little story.  I showed it in PPT form, and the students pronounced the words in green, while I pronounced the words in black.  After each slide, students said what the words meant in English.  Then I made it into a video with my voiceover to publish to my classroom blog so students could practice at home.

Here is the story:

So, while its hardly a comprehensive review of every possible French pronunciation rule, it helped students learn the cadence of French and introduced them to some of the more frequent sounds.

10 Time Lapse Videos That Showcase the Beauty of the Francophone World

In my last post, I shared videos that showcased the beauty of Paris.  In this post, I will share with you ten videos that showcase the beauty of the francophone world.  As with the last post, you can watch these for your own personal enjoyment or you can incorporate them into a lesson, taking students on a virtual trip or using them for speaking/writing prompts.

Cotonou in Motion (Africa) from Mayeul Akpovi on Vimeo.

Quebec City from Dominic on Vimeo.

Besançon in Motion from Mayeul Akpovi on Vimeo.

TimeLapse Valais Switzerland V2 from fabien valour on Vimeo.

Soma (Featuring Gabriella Moxey) - Tahiti Timelapse from Conlan Normington on Vimeo.

The Maghreb from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

One day on earth project - 11.11.11 - Monaco timelapse from sacha on Vimeo.

17 Videos That Showcase the Beauty of Paris

Being into photography and, to a certain extent, videography, I have come across a large volume of beautiful videos that feature Paris.  Here I share seventeen of them with you.  You can watch them for your own personal enjoyment or you can incorporate them into a lesson, taking students on a virtual trip or using them for speaking/writing prompts.

In my next post, I will share videos featuring places from all over the Francophone world.  I thought Paris deserved its own post, though, due to the sheer volume of videos out there dedicated to it.

Paris 2013 TimeLapse in Motion (Hyperlapse by Kirill Neiezhmakov) from Kirill Neiezhmakov on Vimeo.

Le Flâneur from Luke Shepard on Vimeo.

A day in Paris - Hyperlapse from Youssef Ezzeddine on Vimeo.

Je t'aime from Michael Marygin on Vimeo.

Betty In Paris from Olive Us on Vimeo.

How to Visit a French Bakery from Olive Us on Vimeo.

Paris in Motion (Part I) from Mayeul Akpovi on Vimeo.

Paris in Motion (Part II) from Mayeul Akpovi on Vimeo.

Paris in Motion (Part III) from Mayeul Akpovi on Vimeo.


Le Petit Paris from Enrique Pacheco on Vimeo.

EF - Live The Language - Paris from Albin Holmqvist on Vimeo.

Somewhere in Paris from Vitùc on Vimeo.

Paris, Autumn 2010 from Hershal on Vimeo.

And here's one of my own:

Un jour à Paris from Samantha Decker on Vimeo.

To see more photos and videos featuring Paris, follow my Pinterest board, Paris Magnifique.

C'est la rentrée !

C'est la rentrée !

Well, September is finally here and it's back to school!  I love this picture that I took of my classroom last year because it represents the three great interests/passions in my life:  teaching, French, and photography.  Normally I'm not still at school when the lighting is like this, but when I took this picture I was at school late for the walk through where students come meet their new teachers.  My classroom looks pretty much the same this year so no need for a new photo.

The end of summer means the start of a new year at what I am lucky enough to call the best job in the world teaching 7th grade French, but that of course will mean less posting to this blog and to other social networks.  I'm not disappearing though!  I just won't be online with quite the same frequency as I have been during the summer.

If you're interested in seeing more of my photography, check out my other blog, Through the Glass.

Bonne rentrée à tous !

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