Monthly Archives: January 2018

Le Droit à l’Education: A Unit for Intermediate Mid/High (IB) French Students

Ahhh, it’s finally my turn to get a snow day! My first goal for the day was to share this unit that I did with my IB students before our holiday break.  This is how I addressed the theme of Education with them, click here for the agenda to which all resources have been linked.

Day 1: In order to introduce our first subtopic, Pourquoi est-ce que certains enfants ne vont pas à l’école?, I began this unit by showing a video from UNICEF to the class. The students then read an infographic about access to education in the world and completed a comprehension guide.  Following this interpretive activity, the students completed a “Give One, Get One” interpersonal activity. Lastly, the watched another UNICEF video, for which they completed a comprehension guide.

Day 2: In this lesson the students took notes on a second infographic, using a Six Thinking Hats technique (although I only incorporated five of the hats). Next the students discussed the infographic according to the perspective of the hat they had been assigned. Lastly, they watched a video from 1jour1actu and completed a comprehension guide.

Day 3: The students began by constructing an interactive word wall in their small groups.  For this activity, I print one copy of each document (words and arrows) on cardstock  for each group.  The students place the words face up on their desk and take turns explaining the relationship between two different words and connecting them with an arrow on their desks.  After this activity the students were given an infographic about education in Mali. They incorporated information from this document in a letter to the benefactor of their choice in which they asked for a donation to help children in Mali go to school.  Here are a few examples of word walls that they created (As you can see, I forgot to copy the arrow cards and had to handwrite some at the last minute-oops!):

   

Day 4: On the fourth day, the students took an interpretive assessment over the first portion of the unit.  For the listening assessment, they completed a comprehension guide for a Les Petits Citoyens video and then answered IB-style questions about an 1jour1actu article.

Day 5: We began the second subtopic, Pourquoi est-ce qu’il y a moins de filles qui sont scolarisées?, by discussing a video and an infographic as a class.  The students then annotated another infographic and then discussed it based on their annotations.  (Il est intéressant que…, Je n’ai pas compris…, J’étais surprise que.., etc.)

Day 6: The students first watched a video about the education of girls in Guinea and completed a comprehension guide. Next, they read part of a webpage about educating girls and completed a comprehension guide, which they then discussed with a partner.

Day 7:  The students wrapped up their investigation of the causes and consequences of the lack of education for girls by reading one of two articles and sharing the information with a partner who had read the other article.

Day 8: The students used the information they had gleaned from the authentic texts to participate in role plays between the parent of a girl in Guinea and a UNICEF volunteer.  The students practiced both roles with a variety of partners to prepare them for the following day’s assessment.

Day 9: The students completed an interpersonal speaking and presentational writing assessments on the topic of the education of girls.  For the writing assessment, they wrote an interview between a UNICEF volunteer and a Guinean girl’s parent.  As they were writing, I called up pairs of students for the role play. (Each student performed with a partner other than the ones they had spoken to the previous day.)

Day 10: I began the final subtopic of this unit–Comment est une école idéale? by passing out a blog post about an ideal school to each small group.  The groups completed a graphic organizer with details from their post and then divided the information among their members in order to prepare Google Slides in order to present the ideal school from their reading to their classmates.  

Day 11: The students presented the ideal schools from the blog posts and filled in a graphic organizer about their classmates’ presentations.  After all of the presentations, I had the students vote for the school they liked the best.

Day 12: Although I ended up running out of time, my intention was that the students would write a description of their own ideal school and submit it to a discussion post on Schoology, our learning management system.  They would then have commented on each other’s posts. Although I didn’t have time for this activity, I did assign this interpretive reading assessment as well as an IB practice speaking assessment using their choice of these two pictures.

I hope you’re staying safe, warm and dry wherever you are!

Image Credit:https://pixabay.com/en/school-africa-child-507977/

Making Learning Visible

Thursday evening on #langchat we had a great discussion about what had worked well for us in 2017.  When I shared that I had begun having my students graph their progress toward proficiency, several people expressed interest. So I thought I’d type up a quick post about what we’ve been doing and what I’ve learned from the process.

I began by passing out this document when I returned the students’ first IPA of the year. Although I am clearly evaluating classroom performance in my assessments, it is important to me that my students see their progress in terms of language proficiency, so I use the proficiency rubrics from the Ohio Department of Education for presentational writing and interpersonal speaking. As the directions on the graph document indicate, I had the students place a dot in the appropriate square for each IPA and then draw a line connecting their dots.  I had them use the same graph, but two different colored lines for presentational writing and interpersonal speaking.  Here are a few of the graphs from my French 2 classes:

    

    

There are a few reasons why I consider the simple task of graphing proficiency/performance progress to be one of my successes in 2017.  For one, I LOVED the conversations that I heard among my students as they completed their graphs each time.  It is so much more meaningful to hear “I moved up to Intermediate Low 1” than “I got a B.”  These graphs are also a great visual for my students.  As we transition toward teaching for proficiency (and away from discrete point assessments) some students question “what” they’re learning.  These graphs help students to see their progress in a concrete way.

These graphs also inform my instructional and assessment practices.  Because nearly every student performed lower on the 3rd IPA, I had to take a long, hard look at this assessment (from this post).  My conclusion is that the prompts that I used for the writing and speaking tasks did not encourage the students to stretch in a way that would demonstrate their highest proficiency/performance.  Few students ask the variety of questions that would enable them to demonstrate Intermediate interpersonal communication and most did not include the compound sentences, creativity and cultural competence described in the Intermediate descriptors for the presentational mode. I clearly need to either change these prompts and provide additional direction and targeted practice the next time I teach this unit. I also wonder whether some of the results may indicate a lack of evaluator reliability on my part.  As with most rubrics, there is a bit of subjectivity and I hope to increase my consistency as I continue to use these rubrics.

Image Credit: http://www.publicdomainfiles.com/show_file.php?id=13489790414892

Ma Bonne Résolution: A Unit on Health for Intermediate French Students

 Although this year’s winter break seemed especially short, I managed to fit in some wonderful family time and a short but fabulous visit to California.  Coming home to Missouri’s sub-zero temperatures last night was rough after three days of sunny San Diego! Fortunately, I had a good excuse not to leave the house–a major overhaul of my French 3 health unit.

Since I’ll be starting this unit on January 3rd, I decided to include some aspects of project-based learning by having the students choose a health-related resolution, create an action plan for reaching their goal, and then discuss and document their progress.  I’m hoping that this opportunity for choice and voice will engage these students during our first few days back to school. As they continue working on their personal goals outside of class, they’ll work in small groups to research and present cultural comparisons on health-related topics during class time.  For the remainder of the unit, I’ll repeat some of last year’s lessons about the flu and the Petit Nicolas story, “Je suis malade.”  Click here for an agenda of the new lessons to which all resources have been linked.

Day 1: The students will select the health-related resolution they find most relevant and then take an online quiz to give them some baseline data on the aspect of well-being they have chosen. Lastly, they’ll discuss their resolutions with a classmate who has chosen the same goal. (I’ll seat them with students who have chosen the same resolution for the remainder of this unit)

Day 2: The students will read an infographic or short article regarding the aspect of wellness they’ve chosen to focus on and fill in a graphic organizer to show what they learned. They will then discuss their information with a partner who read a different text on the same topic, adding additional information to the graphic organizer. Lastly, they will write a discussion post on Schoology (our learning management system) in which they share their resolution and reasons for choosing it.  They’ll also respond to the posts of two classmates

Day 3: In order to gather additional information about their health-related goals, the students will watch a video on their topic and fill in the main ideas and supporting details that they understood.  They will then discuss their information with a partner who watched a similar video and fill in a second graphic organizer. Finally they’ll write a SUPER goal. (My attempt at modifying a SMART goal to make it work in French!)

Day 4: Students will write the action steps they believe will help them meet their goal, based on the articles they have read, the videos they have watched and the discussions they have had with a partner. They will then discuss their action steps with a partner and note the information their partner gives them. For “homework” the students will begin implementing some of the action steps they have chosen.

Day 5: The students will begin this class period by interviewing their partner about how the first day’s action steps went and noting his/her responses.  Next, they will individually annotate an infographic about French health concerns in order to prepare them for the cultural comparison project to follow. They will continue working on their action steps outside of class.

Day 6: The students will first write a post on a Schoology discussion board in which they discuss their previous day’s success/failure in completing their action steps toward their well-being goal. I will stop everyone after 15 minutes and give them 10 minutes to respond to two classmates’ posts. Next they will participate in a guided discussion of the previous day’s infographic with a partner. For homework they will continue to work on action steps for their goal.

Day 7: The students will begin by discussing their progress using the same format as Day 5.  I will then assign an aspect of health from the infographic to each group. The students will then research this topic as it related to both Americans and French and fill in a table with relevant information. For homework they will continue working on their action steps.

Day 8: The students will first write a new post on a Schoology discussion board to describe their previous day’s progress toward their health goal. They will then discuss the information they gleaned from their research and fill in a graphic organizer with cultural comparisons related to the aspect of health that was assigned to their group.  They will spend any remaining time in the class period responding to discussion posts and will continue working toward their health goals as homework.

Day 9: After discussing their progress on their health goals, the students will work in small groups to create a Google Slides presentation to support the following day’s oral presentations on the health cultural comparison they researched.  They’ll continue working on their health goals that evening.

Day 10: The students will rehearse and then present their cultural comparisons in small groups as the audience takes notes. After the presentations, I will give a short (open-note) true/false quiz over the information that has been presented.

Day 11: For the summative writing task for this portion of the unit, the students will write a blog post documenting their success or failure meeting their well-being goal.  While they are writing, I will call up pairs of students (from different groups) and have them discuss their achievement (or lack thereof) of their goals as an interpersonal summative task.

Day 12: Having completed the personalized health goal project, as well as the cultural comparison presentations, I will prepare the students for reading “Je suis malade” with a pair of lessons related to the flu.  On this first day, we will take a quiz about the flu as a class and then the students will discuss a cartoon in small groups. Next the students will complete a pair activity in which they discuss information in infographics about colds and flu.  Finally, they will complete an Edpuzzle about the flu.

Day 13: In this lesson the students will individually complete an interpretive activity that will serve as the summative reading task for this unit.  They will also watch a second video about the flu and complete a comprehension guide.

Days 14 – 21: At this point in the unit I will resume last year’s unit (beginning with Day 10).  Thus the students will read the Petit Nicolas story, “Je suis malade,” and complete a series of learning activities and performance assessments related this text.  

While I approached the design of this unit differently than I usually do, I’m looking forward to seeing how my students do with the project-based lessons I’ve prepared to introduce this topic.

Bonne Année!

Note: 1/12/18: I found a song that was a great fit with this unit.  Click here for the document that I created.