Developing Context: An example from an IPA about the environment for Intermediate French students

environmentAs promised a few days ago, I’m sharing the IPA for my environment unit in today’s post. One of my goals this year has been to create more integrated contexts for my IPAs. As a Novice IPA creator, many of my early attempts could best be described as performance-based assessments organized around a common theme. Thanks to targeted feedback from my peers, I have become more proficient in my writing IPA-writing skills and my recent assessments have been more tightly integrated around a specific context.

Although it might seem counterintuitive, I have found that I can more easily create a context if I have already chosen an appropriate authentic resource for the interpretive reading task. For example, the text for this IPA is an article from a French teen magazine in which students are interviewed about what they do for the environment. After choosing this text, I asked myself why my students might find themselves reading an article like this one (besides for my class!). One possibility might be that they were going to be attending this school as an exchange student and wanted to know more about it. Next, I needed a recorded text that would be relevant to this context. I got really lucky on this one! When I did a YouTube search of the name of the school, I found a video in which students and staff members discuss how they are meeting their goals of being a more environmentally-friendly building. Does it get any better than that?

After the interpretive tasks were created, I needed an interpersonal task related to this context. Under what circumstances would one of my students find herself discussing the information in this article and video with a French teenager? Hmmm, both the article and video mentioned “eco-délégués.” What if one student in each dyad was a delegate who called the American exchange student to interview him about joining this program when he arrives at the school? This context would allow each student to discuss her own personal habits as well as why certain behaviors are important—the targeted structures for this unit.

Lastly, I developed a presentational writing task that would allow these students to synthesize information they gleaned from the article, video and conversation. Since the students will discuss the role of the “eco-délégué,” I decided an authentic writing task would be to write a letter to the facilitator of this group, asking to join. This context will allow the students to write about their own behavior in regards to the environment as well as to demonstrate their interculturality about French educational programs related to this topic.

While I may continue to struggle in fully integrating the tasks on my IPAs, I’m happy with the way this one came together. If you have any hints that have helped you choose appropriate context for your IPAs, please share!

20 thoughts on “Developing Context: An example from an IPA about the environment for Intermediate French students

  1. Mary Kaubris

    Merci, Madame. Very helpful to read your additions to the unit and especially your reflection and renewed perspective on the unit. I like the position the student will take on to communicate and become invested.
    Merci encore, c’est très bien fait.

    Reply
  2. Stephanie

    Sorry to be a Negative Nancy, but when I click on the IPA link I get an 404 File Not Found error. 🙁

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Stephanie. I’m sorry it has taken so long to get back to you–I was away at a conference. I’m not sure why the link wasn’t working, but I’ve re-uploaded the IPA so I’m hoping it works now. (It worked when I tried it.) If it still doesn’t work, please let me know and I’ll ask someone for help!

      Reply
  3. Crystal Cannon

    Madame Shepard, I have a question about completing the IPA’s. My students use each other as a resource when completing the activity packet. I also have seen some of them using their cellphones(!) to look up a word. My question is: do I use the IPA as a test, no talking or cellphones allowed? Or do I treat it as an activity in which they are learning from completing it? I don’t want them to use cellphones, but should I be as serious as “this is a test, no talking allowed, and no cellphones?” which is my usually stance.

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Crystal. In my classroom the IPA is the summative assessment so I don’t allow any resources. Some of the interpretive tasks, such as Guessing Meaning from Context, would become irrelevant if the students were to use a dictionary. Like you, though, I often allow students to work together on the packets and often provide group feedback on the answers. I hope this makes sense! Lisa

      Reply
  4. Crystal Cannon

    Also thank you so much for sharing your work! It has proven invaluable to me and my students, and frankly it has saved me. I tried to make my own activity packets, but they were a far cry from yours! Perhaps this will help me do a better job, but in the meantime, it’s helping me enormously! Thank you.

    Reply
  5. Lana Cuello

    Wow, I just discovered this resource and am in awe. Thank you for sharing! I wish I had found it in the fall when I did the Impressionist unit with my French 3/4 class, as your ideas are inspiring. Do you by any chance teach about the French revolution? I am curious to see what you’d do with that unit.

    Reply
  6. Andrea

    Chère Madame Shepard,
    I am very appreciate of all the materials you have posted here. Any chance you could end me the article from Micro trottoir for “developing contexte: an IPa about the environment for Intermediate French students? Much of it is not clear.

    Merci.
    Andrea Stemple

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Bonjour. Sorry about the poor copies. My scanner was on the blink and I had to use the one at school. I had never used it before so I didn’t realize how bad it was. I’ve uploaded a new document with color pictures that I think will work better. Thanks for your patience while I worked on this!

      Reply
  7. Jennifer R

    Bonjour Lisa,
    I’m reading the text about the éco-délégués, and there are parts that I can’t read – I think that the color version must be in a lighter color of font (specifically, Dylan & Joffrey’s parts). In all your spare time (haha, right!) might you be able to scan a color copy?
    Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful ideas and activities.

    Reply
  8. Mme B

    Merci, Madame! My Spanish teacher colleague and I were just finishing up developing a new environment unit for our Level 3 students when you posted this IPA. The article and video link were a perfect fit! I appreciate the time you put into this IPA and especially that you shared it so generously. Merci mille fois!

    Reply
  9. Denise

    Bonjour Lisa,

    Did you by any chance change the file permissions on the documents on your site? I was trying to access the reading for the IPA on the environment, and I keep getting an error message. I tried opening other word docs on this and different posts & had the same issue. Is there any way you might be able to e-mail me the reading (dwagstaff@melroseschools.com)? I am planning to do the intepretive part of the IPA this week. Merci!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      I’m so sorry that I wasn’t able to respond to this sooner. I haven’t changed anything, so I’m not sure what happened…

      Reply
  10. Ariadne Livaditis

    Thank you for sharing! You are an extremely talented teacher. BrainPop is an amazing resource, however so many of the videos require a subscription. Is that something you have (either personally or via your school?) I found the free videos are limiting. Thank you for your input.

    Reply

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