Tag Archives: environment

Jour de la Terre (2): Les Espèces Menacées

environment 2In between the endless hours of standardized testing and weather delays, my French 3 students have been working on a unit on the environment. (If you missed the first half of this unit, see this post) While this topic might not be as engaging as others we have studied this year, I think it was important to develop the students’ vocabulary on this subject, as many of them will be enrolled in AP French next year. As those of you who teach AP already know, the environment is an important subtopic for the “Defis Mondiaux” theme that is part of the AP curriculum.

Having completed lessons on global warming, pollution, and preservation, we were ready to move onto the most interesting part of the unit- a series of lessons on endangered animals. I have included a unit about animals in my French 3 curriculum for the past several years and have found that my students, like me, are especially engaged by this topic. While my treatment of the topic was quite simplistic in past years (students chose an animal from Francophone Africa, researched it, and presented it to the class), I wanted to kick it up a notch this year by focusing more on how global perspectives relate to the problem of endangered species.

Here’s the packet of activities that I prepared:Environment Unit – Pt 2

For the first lesson, we watched a Brainpop video about endangered species. I projected the video and played it to the whole class, using the French subtitles for additional scaffolding. I stopped the video frequently to check for understanding and give the students time to answer the written comprehension questions. Although I have previously used English for these questions, we have recently welcomed a new student into our French 3 class who speaks very little English. Having been educated in Rwanda, she is a fluent speaker of French so I am using as much target language questioning as possible. Following the video, the students took the quiz that is included with the video as a formative assessment. The following day, the students read an infographic about poaching and rhinos and completed an IPA-style interpretive task. They incorporated the information in this article into a letter to the government of the Ivory Coast.

After this introduction to some of the causes of animal endangerment, I began preparing the students for an individual research project/presentation on an endangered species. Although I do very little direct vocabulary instruction at this level, I felt that these students would need to develop a bank of shared vocabulary for their upcoming presentations, so I devoted the next couple of days on activities designed to build this vocabulary. On the first day, I gave the students this illustrated vocabulary list:Animal Unit Vocab . I then placed my collection of Beanie Babies on the chalkboard ledge and asked various questions, using the new vocabulary. (Quel animal a une corne? Combien de pattes a l’autruche? Quels animaux ont des griffes? etc.) Next, I divided the class into pairs and gave each pair a Beanie Baby. (If you don’t have a collection of Beanie Babies, pictures of animals would, of course, work just as well.) The students practiced describing their Beanie Baby with their partner for a few minutes, after which I randomly selected students to present their animal to the class for a formative assessment. I concluded this lesson by showing the class the ever-popular Capucine video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RQMVKcNgFw .

I began Day 2 of vocabulary instruction by again placing the Beanie Babies on the chalkboard ledge. This time the students played 20 questions. (Students picked an animal and their partner asked yes/no questions in order to guess which animal they had chosen.) Next, the students completed a pair crossword puzzle communicative activity. For this activity, student A is given a puzzle in which the horizontal answers have been filled in [Pair XW (A)] and Student B is given the same puzzle, but with the vertical answers filled in[ Pair XW (B) ]. (Neither partner has any clues, just a puzzle grid.) The students use circumlocution to provide clues to each other until both students have a completed puzzle. As a follow up to this activity, we played a round of $100,000 Pyramid. For this game I project a Google Presentation on which I have typed four vocabulary words per slide. I divide the class into two teams, and then choose two players from Team 1 to begin. Player A is facing the screen and Player B has his/her back to it. Player A uses circumlocution to give clues to Player B, who earns one point per correct guess in the 60-second time limit.

Now that the students had become familiar with some of the vocabulary they would need to discuss various endangered animals species, it was time to begin preparation for their individual research projects. In order to provide an element of student choice, I downloaded this sign-up sheet (Sign-up Sheet) into a Google Doc that I shared with the class. For homework the students typed their name next to the endangered animal they wanted to research and present. I then gave them one class period to complete the research guide on the front page of this document:Endangered Animal Project. We used the department Ipads for our research, and I circulated among the students to make sure that they were using only French resources. The students will then use this information for the written and oral presentational tasks that are described on the second page of the project document. In order to use my eight classroom computers effectively, the students will be divided into groups and will rotate among these three stations as they prepare for the summative assessments for this unit. Station 1: Students write the rough draft of the written presentational task. Station 2: Students watch a series of videos about endangered animals, which will serve as their interpretive listening grade for the unit (Endangered Animal Videos). Station 3: Students read a series of children’s books about animals. At this station, students choose from several children’s books about animals and complete short interpretive activities designed to further develop their reading proficiency. After each group has circulated among these three stations, they will present the animal they have researched to the class. Lastly, the students will read an article about an endangered animal and complete an IPA-style interpretive task for their unit assessment.

It’s nice to see how much the students have been affected by learning about endangered animals. The decreasing numbers of many of the species really shocked a lot of them and there were plenty who asked about what they could do to help. I felt it was my duty to provide them with resources like the GoFundMe blog which would give them further information on that.

Although the students won’t be presenting for a few more days (more standardized testing!), they’re excited about their work and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

Chaque jour est le Jour de la Terre

earthThis week my French 3 students began a unit on the environment.  This is the first year that I’ve included this unit in French 3, but I thought it was important for the students to learn some of the vocabulary and ideas related to environmental topics before delving into the topic in greater detail next year in AP.  I am also using this unit to introduce the subjunctive to these students.  As with other grammatical topics that I’ve introduced this year, I’m not teaching this structure for mastery.  Instead, I’m introducing the verb forms to the students and creating activities in which these structures will be used.  The activities I’ve developed for the unit are all found in this packet:  environment unit

Here’s how I plan to conduct these lessons:

Lesson 1: Global Warming (2-3 days) I will introduce the students to the vocabulary associated with global warming by showing a Brainpop video.  In addition to being authentic, these videos can be shown with option subtitles (click on the ST button).  Although I would not allow the subtitles if I were assessing their listening comprehension, I think they are valuable when introducing the complicated vocabulary associated with this topic.  An additional advantage to this resource is that the site includes a quiz based on the video which makes a great formative assessment.  Although I will project this video on the screen, it could also be watched individually if students had an appropriate device. After the video, the students will read an authentic magazine article about global warming (Global Warming02072015,  Global Warming 202072015). Although I would have liked to incorporate more current articles for this unit (the magazine is from 2007), I chose these articles because a)I had them, b)They are written at an appropriate level for my students, and c)They lend themselves to the types of extension activities that I wanted to include in the unit.  I have altered the interpretive task so that the students are using French in the supporting detail portion.  My goal is to begin preparing them for next year, when all of their interpretive tasks will be in French only.  After the reading, the students will interview a partner about his/her actions related to global warming.   As a follow up presentational activity, the students will write a note to their partner with suggestions about how s/he can be more ecological.  Before assigning this activity, I will quickly point out the expressions of necessity/wanting and the subjunctive conjugations that I have included at the end of the packet.  After the writing, the students will practice a role play in which a teenagers tries to convince his/her parent to adopt some of the suggestions given in the article.  In general, I like to choose a pair or two to present their role play after giving the class time to practice.  After the role play, I have included two additional videos and a song.  I usually like to project any videos that I have at the beginning of the period, so I will probably use these before the end of the lesson—It just depends how far I get in each class period.

Lesson 2: Pollution (2-3 days) As with the previous lesson, I’ll begin this one with a Brainpop video and quiz, followed by an article (Pollution 102072015Pollution 202072015).  After the article, the students will again interview a partner and then write him/her a message with suggestions.  I am considering having them write these messages as e-mails/google docs, rather than on paper so that their partner can respond (in writing).  Lastly I’ve included another role play and an additional video.

Lesson 3: Preservation (2-3 days) As with the first two lessons, the students will watch a Brainpop video/quiz, read an article (Deforestation 102072015Deforestation 202072015), interview a partner, write a message, and practice and present a role play.

Although I haven’t yet created all of the materials, these lessons will be followed by a series of activities designed to prepare the students for a culminating project on an endangered animal.  Stay tuned for these materials!