As many of you know, I relocated over the summer and will be teaching in a new school this year. After spending the last 15 years in a building where August meant mostly reconnecting with my former students (only the Freshmen were new to me each year), in a couple of weeks I will welcome about 150 brand-new faces to my classroom. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to death! As a relatively introverted, somewhat anxious person, the challenge of learning a whole new school culture, finding my way around a humongous new school, and connecting with all of those new students is nearly overwhelming.
While I have pledged to be patient with myself when it comes to finding my way around my school and its policies, getting to know my students simply can’t wait. Therefore, I’ll spend the first few days of school on learning activities that will help me learn more about my students, as well as introduce them to the types of communicative activities I’ll be assigning to help them increase their proficiency. Here’s what I have in mind for each of the classes I’ll be teaching:
French 2 In this class the students will be introducing themselves to the class by presenting a self-portrait.
Day 1 I’ll show the students these self-portraits from TV5Monde. As I project each one, I’ll facilitate class discussion by asking the students questions about what they see, as well as personalized questions using the same vocabulary. I’ve prepared this handout as a reference as I’m not sure whether they will have been introduced to the vocabulary required for these tasks. Next, the students will listen to these descriptions (Darius, Cheryl, Deivan Anastasia and complete this comprehension guide. (I’ve chosen to provide the students with direct links to the mp3 files rather than the TV5Monde website so that they do not have access to the transcripts.) For homework the students will prepare (and submit electronically) a self-portrait (drawing, painting, phone selfie).
Day 2 First the students to write out a script for presenting their self-portraits. As they are writing I will circulate and provide feedback. Next, the students will present their self-portrait to classmates using inside/outside circles. Finally the students will compare self-portraits with a partner and complete a Venn diagram with details they discuss.
French 3 In this class the students will be introducing themselves to the class by presenting 10 things about themselves.
Day 1 The students will work in small groups to read this blog and complete this comprehension guide. Then they will answer the same questions in the space provided. Finally, they will circulate among their classmates, asking questions in order to find a classmate who has the same answer for each question.
Day 2 The students will listen to this video and fill in this comprehension guide. I’ll then play the video and facilitate a class discussion by discussing what Benji says and asking personalized questions based on his information. Lastly, the students will write a script for their own “10 Things” presentation which will be submitted for feedback before being recorded.
French 4/5 In this class the students will be introducing themselves by preparing a presentation on 12 things they have done.
Day 3 The students will write a script for their own presentation of 12 things they have done. They will then trade papers with a classmate who will fill out this feedback form. The students will then revise their scripts, which will be graded according to this rubric. For homework the students will record a video of their own presentation and submit it via Schoology. For the next day’s homework, the students will listen to three of their classmates’ videos and respond to each one with a comment and follow up question.
It is my hope that these activities will help me get to know my new students as create a focus for using the language from Day 1. If you have other suggestions about how you achieve these goals with your students, please share!