La fête des rois, Hybrid Style

With la Fête des rois just around the corner, before break I knew I had to find a way to somehow adapt this holiday's customs to suit our current hybrid model.  In this post, I outlined how I used to introduce this holiday to my students in the past.  One of the traditions I always did was have students eat cupcakes as a stand-in for the Galette des rois.  Having students consume food in the classroom is a definite no right now, especially when many of them aren't physically there on a given day.  So, here's what I've "cooked up" for la Fête des rois.

-First, as always, we will learn about the holiday with the help of this wonderful PowerPoint available to download on TES, which I then translated into French.

Next, students will watch the video below to see what a Galette des rois looks like (as always, email subscribers will have to view the post on the blog to see it):

Then, I will read "Petit Ours Brun aime la galette des rois."  There is also a version read aloud on YouTube by a native speaker that absents students can watch:

Finally, for "le tirage des rois," I have made a spinner for each class on WordWall.  It kind of looks like a pie (or a galette des rois!), and it will randomly land on a student's name.

The student the spinner lands on will be considered to be the person who had the fève, or figurine, inside their piece of galette, making them king or queen for the day.  If the student it lands on is physically present in the room, I will don a pair of gloves and hand them a crown (provided by Burger King!) to wear.  I will not place it on their head like I have in the past.  If the student it lands on is in the other cohort and thus attending from home, they will get their crown on Thursday or Friday.  And finally, if the student it lands on is a fully virtual student, I will mail them a little certificate (because, unfortunately, a crown is too difficult to mail).

This will take up most of an hour-long hybrid lesson that I will give on Monday and Tuesday, January 4th and 5th.  The 6th is a Wednesday, and since that is our virtual day and classes are only 30 minutes long, I opted to do this in the days leading up to it.  I also have this playlist of related videos in my Independent Exploration collection for students to browse on their own:

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First Steps with Flipgrid!

Flipgrid has been around for awhile now, but I didn't jump on the bandwagon until this year when my colleague Sarah took the time to show me how amazing it is.  Flipgrid has become so important this year, because hybrid learning makes it very difficult to assess speaking.  Assigning students a Flipgrid video gives them an opportunity to practice speaking, and since the videos are private (unless I get their permission to share them), it's a fairly non-threatening environment.

Here's what I love about Flipgrid:

-I can moderate videos, which means I can keep them private.  Some of my students, who are in their first year of French and have fewer opportunities to speak than they normally would, feel self-conscious about speaking, and having all their classmates view their videos would increase their anxiety.

-Students can easily add emojis, filters, and images.  Not only does this add a little excitement to the assignment and make it more fun, it allows students to hide their faces, and for some students, that decreases their anxiety about speaking.  I also incorporated emojis into an assignment where the emojis represented the vocabulary they were using in their video

-It's integrated with Microsoft, so students can use accounts they already have (this is really important in New York State, where everything has to be Ed. Law 2D compliant).

-I can create a sample video for them to view or respond to, as well as written instructions.

-Students can write a script that appears on the screen as they read it.

The only thing I don't love is that it is not currently synced with Canvas, our school's LMS, which means students don't get a notification reminding them if it's overdue, and I don't get a notification on Canvas if a student submits a video.  I have enabled email notifications, but I never seem to get them.  This means, if a student submits a video late, they must inform me so I know to look at it.

The first assignment I gave with Flipgrid was for students to watch my video and answer my three questions.  Here is a sample of the results that I put on my class blog (as always, email subscribers will have to visit the post on the blog to see it):

For the second assignment I gave, I made a sample video acting as a student, and asked students to make a similar video, stating information about themselves and their (real or imaginary) family.   Here is my sample video:

Here are some of the results:

Those of you who have been using Flipgrid for awhile probably know that it was originally designed for students to respond to each other using video.  With my students being first year learners, I just don't think they are ready for this yet, but it's something I may explore in the future.

All in all, Flipgrid has become a valuable tool for hybrid and virtual learning, and I only wish I had started using it sooner!

Do you use Flipgrid with students?  How do you use it if so?

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Hanukkah, Christmas, and Winter in the French-Speaking World

This coming week I will teach one hybrid lesson and one virtual lesson before we leave for holiday break.  I really like to share with my students what Christmas looks like in France, but this year I expanded my lesson to include information about Hanukkah in France as well as Christmas in Martinique and winter in Quebec.  First, on Monday and Tuesday, we will watch portions of the videos in the playlist below (email subscribers will need to view the post on the blog):

I combined the videos and hand subtitled them in English for students.  If you'd like access to the subtitled version, feel free to contact me.  Next, we will examine the lyrics to "Vive le vent" (Jingle Bells) in French and English as an opportunity to explore how translations are typically not done word for word, especially with songs.  Then we will listen to the song, the first video in the playlist below:

The other videos are songs students can explore independently.  At the end of class, students will see what they can remember from the lesson with this Quizizz.  On Wednesday, students have an opportunity to show off (virtually) French holiday dishes, bûche de Noël, gâteau de Hanouka, or Hutzel Wecken if they chose to prepare one, or share a photo if they prepared it in advance.  Then, students will watch this Nearpod video depicting a Christmas market in Strasbourg.  Absent students will be able to complete the activity via EdPuzzle below:

At the end of class, students will play Quizlet Live using this vocabulary set.

Do you incorporate Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter traditions into your lessons?  If so, how?

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Collaborative PowerPoints Part II: More Ideas!

This is my second post about using collaborative PowerPoints in class.  Click here to read my first post, where I discuss the basics of how to set one up and provide a few ideas.  In this post I'll share some more activities I've done with them.

(Email subscribers need to visit the blog to watch the video)

Some of my students' "Qui est-ce ?" projects:

Click here to view more!

Templates for the activities mentioned in the video:

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What's In a Name? Part II

Back in 2016 I wrote this post about the use of French names in the classroom.  While I still agree with all the benefits I proposed for adopting French names in that post, I have since shifted away from having students use French names and in this post I will explain why.

Why I Used to Do It

The main reason I used to allow students to choose a French name because many of them enjoyed it!  Students would often want to know how to say their name in French anyways, so I gave them a list and let them choose their equivalent or closest match or a completely different one.  There are a few other reasons I mentioned in the post, but ultimately it came down to it being a tradition that students enjoyed, and it helped them learn how to pronounce a few French names.

Why I No Longer Do It

Well, to be honest, there are actually quite a few reasons I no longer do this as of this year.  Over the years, I started to notice some things about this practice that felt bizarre or inauthentic.  First, as one person commented on my 2016 post, many students come to believe that everyone has a different name when they travel to a French speaking country.  If I had a student named Jack who went by Jacques in class, it wouldn't be uncommon for Jack to believe that he should pronounce and spell his name Jacques if he were in France.  This is obviously not true, and even though I would explain this to my students, many of them remained confused about this.  When I started my pen pal project with a school in France, the students used their French names at first.  The teacher in France asked me why I did that, and he said the students thought it was bizarre.  In other countries outside the United States, students don't adopt a new name when they study a foreign language.  Then, this post from Spanish Plans sort of summed up a lot of things I was already starting to think.  In the article, the author makes the point that if you make students adopt a new name when studying French, it's like telling them their name isn't good enough for a French speaker.  It also gives students the impression that speakers of the target language only have stereotypical French-sounding names like Jean-Paul or Suzette, when in reality, French speakers have names that originate from all sorts of languages, not just French.  I have had native French speakers as students who did not have French names.  How can I tell them they need a new name in my class?  How can I tell a student named Nathan or Emma that their name isn't French enough when those are two of the most popular baby names in France right now and millions of French speakers have those names?  I also started to realize that if I only allowed students to pick from names that originated from French, I would inadvertently be ignoring a huge population of French speakers in parts of the world where most names typically originate from other languages, such as African languages or Arabic.  I eventually added some Afro-French names to my names list, but ultimately, we know there is really no limit to what kind of name a French speaker can have, and showing students a narrow list of names that only originate from a few languages gives off the impression that a French speaker would not have names from other languages.  

Another point that the post on Spanish Plans makes is that a name is a part of a student's identity.  If we can't use the student's real name, we can't connect with them as well.  Annabelle Allen a.k.a. La Maestra Loca, quoted on her blog Dale Carnegie when he said "The sweetest sound to a person, is the sound of their own name."  Her post about saying students' names as much as possible makes this same point of how important a person's own name is to him or her.  I know this to be even more true this year as I have begun addressing students by their REAL names!  Psychology and interpersonal experts tend to agree that people feel more important and more special when you address them by their name.  This year, with so much reduced face to face time with students (and my inability to greet them at the door like I normally would), I try my very best to address every student by name every day when they come in my class or sign onto Zoom.  Using their real names for the first time after ten years of addressing students by their French names, I feel like I am building a more authentic connection with them, and that is more important than ever this year.

Now one thing I did tell my students this year was that I am likely to pronounce their name with a French accent, especially when I am already speaking French.  I told them that this likely how their name would be pronounced if they traveled to a francophone country.  Figuring some students might be interested in choosing a French names or want to know how to say their name in French, I incorporated a little bit about this into one of my lessons earlier this year.  First, to teach them, how to say "His/Her name is" I created this graphic showing French speakers with a variety of different names originating from different languages (it should be noted that these are stock photos from Unsplash and that I made up their names and ages):

I then shared the following reasons with my students why they would not be receiving a French name:

-Because your name stays the same no matter what language you’re speaking. You don’t translate it when you go to a French-speaking country.​

-Because native French speakers have names that derive from many different languages, so there’s really no such thing as a “French name.” “Emma” and “Nathan” are two very popular names in France, and yet neither of them come from French. In Africa, many people’s names come from African or Arabic languages. Think about it: even though you speak English, all your names don’t necessarily come from English. I have had students with Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese, and Japanese names, for example.​ It’s very possible, even if your name doesn’t come from French, that there’s a native French speaker out there with your name, so who am I to tell you that your name isn’t “French enough”?​

BUT REMEMBER…​ It’s very hard for the brain to switch back and forth between languages, so if I’m speaking French and I call on you, I will probably pronounce your name with a French accent, especially if it’s a name that could already be French. I’ll probably do it without thinking about it!​ This will help you know how a French speaker is likely to pronounce your name. My first name is Samantha, which is not French, but when I am speaking French, I pronounce it with a French accent because it flows more easily.

So where do you stand on this argument?  Do you give your students target language names?  Why or why not?

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Learning About St. Nicholas Day: Hybrid Style

 St. Nicholas Day is coming December 6, and it is a holiday I always teach my students about.  Normally, as I shared in this post, I usually have students leave one of their shoes in the hall, and then "Saint-Nicolas" leaves a treat in each one.  This year that's not really feasible with social distancing and what not, and some of the students learning completely virtually.  After talking to my colleague Robin, who teaches the 8th grade students, we decided on a plan to introduce the holiday that accommodates our hybrid model.  We will teach students about the holiday this coming Monday and Tuesday (we have 60 minute block classes so it takes two days to see all students).  I will be sharing the slideshow below, which is only a part of my lesson for the day [edit 11/30/20:  added a slide to explain the difference between St. Nicholas and Santa Claus] (email subscribers will have to view the post on the blog to see it):

Next, students will watch this video, not so much for the language, most of which is above their comprehension level, but for the visuals it provides (again, email subscribers will have to view the post on the blog to see it):

As for treats, every student who is a hybrid learner only comes into my classroom one day a week.  On the day they come in, they will receive a piece of paper with a clipart photo of a shoe filled with treats (so they don't have to remove their shoes), and a treat.  Virtual students will have their treats mailed to them.  Even though St. Nicholas day is not until Sunday of next week, we have to teach students about it on Monday and Tuesday, otherwise students in the earlier cohort would not understand why they were receiving treats.

Although it's not how I normally do it, I am happy we have come up with a way to continue with this fun cultural tradition and include it in our curriculum.

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How I'm Using Nearpod for Hybrid Learning

I've been using Nearpod for several years now (click here for a post I wrote back in 2015 about it), but since the transition to hybrid learning, I have found it especially useful.  While it's not perfect (I'll share some of its shortcomings here as well), it makes it easy to engage students both in the classroom and at home.

What I Like About Nearpod

I Control the Slides

Being able to control the slides is essential for hybrid lessons.  In a traditional in-person setting, this doesn't really matter because students are viewing the slides on the Smart Board, so of course I control them.  For an all-virtual lesson, if I want to share a presentation and control the slides, I can share my screen.  But the way I'm set up in my classroom for hybrid right now, things get a little tricky, because I've got some students in the room, viewing the presentation on the Smart Board, and then others logged in on Zoom, who can see the Smart Board, but can't always read small print.  For those students, I need to provide them an alternate way to view the presentation.  If I give them a PowerPoint, they could potentially get off track as to what slide I'm on.  Plus, if I have a slide with a question on it and then a subsequent slide with the answer, students could see the answer before I am ready for them to see it.  Using Nearpod and being able to control the slides solves that problem.  Plus, with my new clicker, which works with both PowerPoint and Nearpod, I am moving through slides more easily than ever.

Time to Climb

Time to Climb is a game embedded in Nearpod.  You input a series of questions, students pick an avatar, and then they move up the hill if they get questions right.  It's fun to see their little avatars climb the hill!  It's great to have a game right within Nearpod that doesn't require an additional code, which saves time (although it takes a minute for students to choose their avatars).  Here's a video of it in action (email subscribers must view the post on the blog):


With so many students attending the lesson from home, it's essential to employ comprehension checks that ensure engagement from all students, and the polls and quizzes that you can embed in Nearpod do that easily.  Again, they are already logged into the Nearpod, so it makes using them seamless.  Above, I polled students on what city they were from.  There was no right answer, but in answering they were engaging with new vocabulary.  I love the wheel which breaks down how many people chose which answer.

Draw It

In the years leading up to covid, I had ditched traditional mini whiteboards and dry erase markers because it was so time consuming passing them out and collecting them and the students were constantly doodling on the whiteboards.  Instead, I was having students use the whiteboard app on their school-issued device to draw or write answers to prompts.  Now, again with hybrid lessons, the Draw It feature in Nearpod has become more useful than ever in being able to view all students' responses.  Below, a student's interpretation of "Je ne sais pas !"


Matching is another great way to formatively assess students during a lesson.  I like how you can use images to avoid the use of English.

What I Don't Like About Nearpod

As much as I love Nearpod, there are a few things about it that really frustrate me.

Little Control Over Design

I suppose this could be a nit-pick, but Nearpod is limited in its design options.  You get much more control over font size and choice in PowerPoint, Google Slides, or just about any other presentation program.  Now, of course, you can import PPTs or Google Slides, but that's an extra step if you are creating a Nearpod lesson from scratch and the slides are imported as images so you can't go back and edit the text or placement of other elements.  It just seems strange to me that they allow such little control.


Recently Nearpod has experienced some glitches and downtime.  I've been lucky that none of these have occurred while I was teaching, but it's frustrating when you're trying to work on a lesson and the site is down.

Can't Go Over Time to Climb Answers

The only way to go over the answers to Time to Climb is to exit the presentation and look at it in preview mode.  I find this frustrating.

One of My Recent Nearpod Lessons

I recently used a Nearpod lesson to provide a little comprehensible input to my students.  I introduced (or reintroduced) my students to the characters from Frozen and stated some facts (some of them true to the movies and some that I made up), then students played Time to Climb to review.  Here is the Nearpod (email subscribers will need to view the post on the blog):

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National French Week: A Virtual Culinary Experience

National French Week looked a little bit different this year than it normally looks.  Click here for a glimpse of how I've celebrated the occasion in a pre-covid world.  This year I really wanted to put all my energy into a virtual taste test as a means to introduce cuisine into the curriculum.  At the end of the school year, students always say the opportunities to try new food were the most memorable moments of my class, and I didn't think it was fair to the students simply omit food from the curriculum this year.  Since consuming food in the classroom setting is not feasible at this point, I knew it would have to be done virtually.  First, I provided students with this list of recipes and treats from the francophone world.  I asked all students to either prepare or purchase a dish or treat to consume during class on a Wednesday, which is our virtual day.  I told students that if they were unable to get to the store and purchase something for any reason to let me know and I would provide them with a treat.  On the day of the taste test, I put students in breakout rooms and gave them some guiding questions to discuss their food.  I went around to each breakout room and chatted with the students.  Most of them seemed quite happy to be consuming a treat during class!  I asked students to send me photos of their food.  Here is a little slideshow I made to commemorate the occasion:

In some classes, if time remained, I showed some of the videos in the playlist below:

As a follow up, students were asked to watch the videos in the playlist and then answer the following questions:
-Did you enjoy your dish?  Was it similar to anything you have tried before?  If so, what?
-What's one dish another student brought OR that you saw in the videos below that you thought you might like to try in the future?
-What's one interesting piece of knowledge you learned from the videos?
-Finally, please provide feedback on how the virtual taste test went.  Understanding that having food in the classroom isn't an option right now, is this how you would most enjoy incorporating food into our lessons, or do you have suggestions for improvement or an alternate idea?

Here are some of the comments students left in their follow up:

Students also made some great suggestions for improvement.  A lot of students said they would prefer we did not do breakout rooms because they wanted to see more food.  I had chosen the breakout rooms to encourage students to feel more comfortable sharing and presenting.  One student suggested I make a Flipgrid assignment to accompany it (I've just started using Flipgrid this year and I love it!).

Overall, students said they were pleased with how this turned out and look forward to doing it again, but all things being equal, they'd really love to be able to eat in the classroom again!

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Establishing Norms in a Hybrid Setting

Last fall I blogged about my experience establishing norms with my students (click here to read about it).  The idea came from a blog post by Annabelle Allen, aka La Maestra Loca.  This year I knew I couldn't do the lesson the same way:  having students write on the chalkboards wouldn't work (no sharing of materials and half the students are attending class via Zoom) and students cannot gather in groups in the traditional way.  I still had the students establish norms, but I modified the lesson to suit our school's current hybrid model.  To start with, I made sure my students understood what a norm is.  After all, it's not a term 12 year olds use very often!  Students often struggle with norms vs. goals, so I gave some examples (from another class, so as not to give them too many ideas!)

Students, like last time, first had to jot down their hopes and dreams in a Word document.  In other words, what they hope to accomplish through their study of French.  Then, students in the room were put in breakout rooms on Zoom with students at home to try to devise three norms based off their hopes and dreams.  I was able to come around the room and see how the breakout rooms were going since most or all of them had a member who was in the room.  Most students used the chat feature to accomplish their task.  After awhile, I combined breakout groups and had the larger groups come up with four final norms.  Then, they picked someone from the group to communicate those to the class.  When everyone returned to the main Zoom room, I started a collaborative whiteboard.  The representatives from each group listed the norms on the whiteboard.  Then students stamped their favorite norms.

After the first three classes, I decided the whiteboard was too disorganized, so I switched to Socrative.  Using the Quick Question feature, I told only representatives to type in their norms.  Then I removed answers that were either duplicates from other groups or not really norms.  Then everyone was asked to vote on their favorite two norms.  This made it a lot easier for me to see which norms were the most popular.

After all this, I looked at the votes and stamps and determined what seemed like the four most prevalent norms and presented them to the class and posted them on my Canvas page:

Overall, this worked just about as well as the previous version, although, having students actually interact with each other in person is always preferred.  Ultimately, my experience has been that when you ask students to reflect, their values and goals are more often than not aligned with the teacher's.

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Qu'est-ce que la Toussaint ?

The lesson I normally give for Halloween isn't fully compatible with our school's current hybrid model of teaching, and I am at a different spot in my curriculum than I normally am right now.  Combine that with a bunch of really neat Halloween/Toussaint/Jour des Défunts videos I found on YouTube this summer, and I realized I needed to craft a new lesson.  After ten years of teaching 40-minute classes, this year we have 60 minute classes.  That means that after I accomplish my initial objectives of teaching students about the holidays in the French-speaking world, there is time to just have some Halloween-themed fun.  I am posting this lesson. before I actually teach it in case it gives anyone any ideas they may want to use with their students this year.  So, without further ado, here is an overview of what I will be teaching students in the days right before Halloween:

-First, via Nearpod, students will match up French Halloween vocabulary with images using the matching pairs feature.  Most of the words are cognates, such as "un monstre." or words we learned, such as "un chat noir."  I used to use this as an opportunity to review masculine and feminine noun markers, but we have not tackled that yet this year so that will not be the focus.

-Next, we will watch portions of all the videos in the playlist below.  For the Martinique video, students will be instructed to turn on auto-translated English subtitles so they can follow along (by the way, for email subscribers, you need to visit the post on my website to see the videos):

-Via Nearpod's Time to Climb game (which I will be talking about in a future post), students will answer a series of comprehension questions about the English.  I know the use of English here may be a bit controversial, but sometimes, often with cultural lessons, I feel that students would be missing out on a lot of valuable knowledge if there wasn't any opportunity to discuss the material in English.

-We will sing the song below, but I will have students look at this version with subtitles in English.  It's not culturally relevant, but it's a great way to reinforce the pronunciation of "C'est."

-If time allows, we will also watch this video, which is fun since most of the students have seen the movie:

-For the rest of class we will switch gears (using Halloween imagery) and do a bit of review using a shared PowerPoint, where students can drag and drop text boxes to form sentences on their assigned slide.  They will see a prompt, such as a ghost asking a happy witch "Comment vas-tu ?" and they have to compose the appropriate response.  I talked about shared PowerPoints in this post, but I'll be talking about this particular activity in a subsequent post.

If you'd like more detailed information about the contents of this lesson, feel free to contact me using this form.

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Harness the Power of Collaborative Slides!

Here's a video I made explaining how I've been using PowerPoint this year to encourage collaboration and interaction among students.  By the way, I had some technical difficulties, so it got a little cut off at the end!

Here are some of their "C'est moi" slides hung outside my classroom:

By the way, click here to view some of my students' "C'est moi" slides over on my class blog.

How would you use shared PowerPoints?

Update 10/23/20Click here for a template for the second activity in the video (the text boxes to drag and drop), and click here for a template for the activity I mentioned at the end.

Update 12/13/20:  Click here for a second post with more ideas!

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Getting to Know Each Other...Virtually

It's being said a lot, but this school year is certainly one like no other previously.  Our school is following a hybrid model, so four days a week, I have students in the room and on Zoom, and Wednesday is a virtual day.  The first week of school, however, was entirely virtual.  Most students come to school two days a week (during one of which I see them), but some students are entirely virtual.  With that, I have had to come up with some new, mostly virtual, ways for students to get to know each other, which incorporate both the students in the room with me and those at home.  Here are some of the methods I have used so far:

Zoom Polls

During the first week of school, Zoom polls helped me get a pulse on how everyone was feeling about the new school year.  It's great to have a little tool like this built within Zoom.  Here are some results:

Tu préfères

During the first week of school, I wanted to create an activity that would help students get to know each other, but also provide them with some comprehensible input.  I created a "Which do you prefer" activity, made up of cognates and words that can be easily illustrated with a photo.  I put all the text and images to one side, then saved each slide and used them as Zoom backgrounds (an alternative to sharing your screen which allows you to appear larger on the screen).  View the presentation below:

Open Floor

The first two days of class I actually met with all my students at once on a giant Zoom call.  During this time, I really just wanted them to get to know me and feel more comfortable with French class.  That's why I really just let them have the floor and say or ask anything they want, even if it wasn't related to class.  I made a Zoom background for the occasion:

Informal Comments

On Canvas, I have been allowing students to leave informal (and sometimes a little off topic) comments on announcements I make, or make similar comments in the Zoom chat.  Sometimes students ask each other how their day is going or how they are liking French class, and they respond with comments such as "Très bien !"  I appreciate that they are trying to use their French and I figure it replaces a lot of those informal conversations they would be having in person that build rapport and community, now that they are at home most of the time during class.  If it's slightly off task, I often let it go, and then rein it in only if it starts to get in the way of the lesson.  It's true, I told my students to keep chat to "academic only," but what can I say, I'm a softy!

Virtual Ball Toss

My awesome colleague Sarah first turned me on to this idea.  I have this goofy looking squishy ball that I love to toss around the room to elicit participation.  It's so weird looking and feeling that the hands instantly go up as soon as I pull it out because they all want to touch it.  Well, obviously that's out the window for the foreseeable future.  What I'm using in the meantime is a virtual, imaginary ball.  During the first week of school, I had each student toss a virtual ball to another student, greeting one another with "Bonjour."  It helped them learn each other's names, as well as an important word we use a lot in class!

Breakout Rooms

I've tested the waters with breakout rooms in Zoom.  So far, I've used them twice.  Once, during the first week of school, when we were all virtual, I sent students into breakout rooms to introduce themselves in French.  Yes, I know they probably spent some of the time just chatting, but with students not even being in the classroom at the same time as some of their classmates, I felt it was ok to give them a little bit of downtime to build some rapports.  In our school we use a teaming model, as is common with most middle schools, but students are mixed with students off-team in special area classes, so they generally don't know everyone when they come to class for the first time.  Another time, while students were brainstorming norms (which I will blog about separately), I paired them up with students in their opposite cohort (to the extent possible), meaning that students in the room were paired up with students who were at home.


Students completed a survey on Microsoft Teams, which included questions about their personal interests, learning preferences, and motivation for learning French.  When I read the surveys, I call up their school photo to try to match up a name to a face.  I then wrote an email to each student after I read their survey commenting on what they had written and letting them know I was looking forward to working with them this year.

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