An Update on Independent Exploration

Over the summer, I blogged about my revamped version of what I used to call "independent homework," and I now call "independent exploration."  Independent Exploration is an extensive library of resources on various topics that students can explore for their independent assignments.  My previous independent assignments basically encouraged students to watch a movie or TV show of their choosing in French, play a game such as Duolingo, have a conversation with someone they know who speaks French, or teach a lesson to a friend or family member.  Students can still do all those things, but now they have a lot more options, and as a result, a lot more opportunities to get hooked on exploring the language and culture independently, which is the goal!   In the past, I used to have students get a parent signature that they had completed the assignment in order to receive credit.  With the pivot to paperless in the midst of covid, though, I decided to nix the parent signatures (which are sometimes hard for students to scan and upload) and have students submit a short note sharing what they got out of it.  It ended up being far more valuable than a parent signature anyways!  Here's a peek into what they learned and submitted:

A student prepares crêpes with Nutella., as one of the Cuisine options.

A student's beignets, another cuisine option.

A student shares their progress on Duolingo.  Students are allowed to send screenshots for approved apps and games they play.

A student shares items they found in an search.  Students can get credit by visiting and exploring the site, making a "wishlist" of 5 items they'd like, and either copying the product names into a word document, or screenshots of the pages and sending them to me.

A student shares their progress on Duolingo Stories, another approved app.

A student shows what she found by exploring Paris via Google Maps.  If they choose to do this activity, they must submit a description of interesting things or words they recognized.  This students chose to send a screenshot as well.

Here are some of the reflections and observations that students submitted:

Click here to learn more about Independent Exploration and what options I give my students.

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  1. Samantha - I love this idea of Independent Exploration! Is it possible to share the directions that you give to the students? Thank you!

    1. Thank you! These are the only instructions I give: "This is the first of several Independent Exploration assignments you will have throughout the year. To complete it, just visit the Independent Exploration page, pick a category that interests you, and then complete one activity and submit the follow up task that I list for the activity. It may require a file upload (such as a screenshot) or a text entry (such as a list of words you learned). You need to explain somehow which activity you did." In addition to those instructions, though there is an informational video (which you can view if you click on the link in my post to view my Independent Exploration main page), and I also talk to them about it the first time. Each resources or activity listed has a follow up activity with it.


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