Pronunciation Practice When the Teacher's Absent

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!


  1. I found myself up a creek this winter with a week of laryngitis and 4th and 5th grade students who don't have enough language to do much independent work yet. Thanks to the iPad, I was able to use educreations to go over the words on my vocab sheets and record them for future playback, then I linked them to my website. I have now done it with all of my vocab and it's been such a help! and click vocabulary lists to see.

  2. Another site that students can use is Language Perfect - - here students can independently work through lists of vocabulary that can be taken from textbooks OR created by the teacher. This way you have control over differentiated learning.
    The online vocabulary tool allows students to learn vocab on 4, progressively more challenging, levels
    1. Target language to English (where the word appears on screen and they hear it in the target language and have to translate)
    2. English to TL (where they see the word on screen and type it into the TL, then hear the sound byte)
    3. Spoken TL (no visual cues, only sound byte) to TL
    4. Spoken TL to English.
    its fantastic for students of all ages. I have used it with primary and secondary classes. It taps in to the boys' competitive sides!! absolutely phenomenal!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...