A couple of weeks ago, I found myself home sick for three days in a row (I don't think I've ever been out that long...I hate to miss school!). Desperate for the students to get pronunciation practice with their vocabulary, and without a French-speaking sub available, I was in a bit of a rut. The only piece of technology that the sub would be authorized to use would be a CD player. I didn't have a CD available with the vocabulary on it, so I decided to make one. My voice was in no shape to record the words, so I enlisted the help of Quizlet, Soundflower, and Audacity.
Audacity is a tool that allows you to record and manage audio. In conjunction with Soundflower, a tool that helps you manage your audio input and output, you can stream and record audio playing on your Mac. This site gives you step by step instructions on how to set it up. If you use a Windows machine, I imagine there are similar set ups to stream through Audacity.
Quizlet, if you haven't heard, is a site that lets you make and review virtual flashcards. My absolute favorite part of Quizlet is that you can hear the vocabulary words pronounced, even in French! The voice that pronounces them is a little robotic, but it's still probably the quickest and easiest way to hear how a word is pronounced in French. I made a set of all the weather terms I wanted my students to practice. Then I streamed the audio of the pronunciation of each term and made an MP3 of it. This was for a listen and repeat exercise.
For the next track on the CD, I kept the audio track of the terms, and added a techno music track (to add a track, go to File-->Import-->Audio and select the track on your computer). To find techno music you can legally add to your file, check out CCMixter. I then left instructions for students to walk in place, listening to the words then repeating them and doing established gestures for each term (for example, for "il fait froid," students pretend to be shivering). Since we had done this before with me leading the class, they knew what to do. Students were selected to stand at the front and lead the class. This is an activity that I previously blogged about last fall.
Overall, students said they enjoyed the activity. It's definitely a little silly (which can be a good thing), so it works best in a class of students with lower affective filters who aren't afraid to get into it.
Do you have a go-to activity you leave with a non-French-speaking sub? Leave a comment!