In my district level 3 language students are required to complete a semester project of some sort. I have found that an engaging way for my students to meet this requirement is to write a story and present it to their classmates. Although I have assigned story writing projects during the holidays in the past, I made some tweaks this year that helped my students produce higher-quality stories.
Day 1: I began by preparing my students to read a Christmas-themed story by presenting the story using these Google Slides. This was an effective way to introduce new vocabulary to the students in a contextualized way. As I projected the slides, I asked both content-based and personalized questions using the new words. For example, in slide #1:
- Père Noël enfile son costume rouge. Qu’est-ce qu’il enfile? Tu enfiles un costume rouge avant de partir pour l’école? Non? Qu’est-ce que tu enfiles? Regardez, Qu’est-ce qu’il a déjà enfilé? Oui, il a déjà enfilé son pantalon rouge. Tu as enfilé un pantalon rouge aujourd’hui?
After going through the slides, the students read the actual story and completed a true/false with justification comprehension guide.
Day 2: After discussing the correct responses, the students completed this graphic organizer with the elements of the story. We discussed these story elements and then I explained that while many stories are told in the narrative present, I wanted them to use past tenses to tell their stories. I gave them this guide with some reminders about the two tenses. I then gave them a new copy of the story they had read, but on this copy I have whited out the present tense verbs. I also gave them this handout with both the imperfect and passé composé form of each of the missing verbs. The students worked in small groups to choose the correct form for each blank and then we went over the activity in class.
Day 3: I passed out another blank copy of the story element graphic organizer and the students completed it with the elements of their own original story. After they had completed the graphic organizer, they used the remaining time to begin writing their story according to the requirements given on the back of the resource guide.
Day 4: The students finished writing their original stories.
Day 5: The students created Google Slides that would help them present their stories to their classmates. They used remaining class time to rehearse their presentations.
Day 6: The students presented their stories to classmates using a speed-friending format. Students were arranged in two rows and row A presented to the person seated across from them. Row B then presented. Each row B student then moved one seat over and we repeated the process. I assessed 1-2 student(s) during each 3-minute presentation, enabling me to assess all 18 or so students in each class.
I was very pleased with the language my students were able to produce during this assignment. I have several high flyers that were able to use the correct past tense to narrate their stories. In most cases, I heard a mixture of present and attempts at past tenses with errors. In other words, exactly where these students should be!