Typing With Accents – Quick and Easy Guide

I just created this video to show you how to make typing accented letters quicker and easier in French. I used Screencast-o-Matic to record the screencast, then I imported that into Windows Movie Maker to create and edit the video. Easy!

Bienvenue √† la classe de fran√ßais!

Classroom set up in ”√©tapes”

Just a quick post to reflect on my lesson today with Year 7. It was an introduction to French, after the first part of the year learning Latin. I wanted to take a more inquiry-guided approach for this first lesson, in keeping with MYP principles. I set up a range of ”√©tapes” for the students to move through in groups. The stages consisted of finding out about famous French-speakers (using a QR code link), investigating online translators and watching a video on why French is a useful language to learn. They also worked out how to use a bilingual dictionary, taught each other some basic greetings and discussed what they already knew about France. I then asked them to reflect on the lesson as a homework task here.

I thought the lesson worked well, despite some students not listening to the instructions when they reached the first stage. But they soon got the idea. It gave me the chance to go the dictionary group and explain how to find the words and I was also able to help those teaching each other the words with the pronunciation. There could have been longer on each stage but I wanted to have a quick debrief before the end of the lesson. Some of the students in this class have particularly enjoyed Latin so I wanted to make starting French equally exciting!

For more ideas on introducing new topics / vocab with more of student-guided focus, see this great Google doc – a collaboration between the amazing MFL Twitterati.

Flipping – An Interesting Pedagogy

I’m becoming more convinced that a flipped model of learning could really work for my classroom. I’m committing to doing some further investigation this year after some small steps into this world of turning instruction 180 degrees. At the upcoming Languages TeachMeet, a Spanish teacher I found online from the US, Heather Witten, will be talking via Skype about her flipped Spanish classroom. I’m also going to apply for an NGS scholarship to go and learn all I can about the practicalities of this pedagogy – I’m already on board with the theory!

Not sure what a flipped classroom looks like? Take a look at this infographic which explains it nicely.
Flipped Classroom

Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

A time for games

I have been spending lessons playing games with some of my classes over the last couple of weeks. It feels a bit wrong but they’re learning games! Now that it’s the end of the year and there’s only a week or so left it doesn’t seem so wasteful to have an entire lesson of games. But I realised today that I want to spend more entire lessons doing ¬†just that next year! The students find it highly enjoyable and the games involve everyone and cover a whole bunch of skills. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

– Pronunciation game > Vocab items come up one by one on the screen and students compete to see who can pronounce the most words correctly. I have found this game interests even the most reluctant of learners, especially if a prize is up for grabs.

– Spinning game > I read about this on Danielle Horne’s blog¬†¬†and I’ve used it a few times with different students – they all love it! They play in pairs, linking arms. Someone calls out a word in the language then two pairs race each other to write it on the board. The only catch is one person faces the board and writes one letter, then they spin and the other person writes the next letter and so on. This could make you very dizzy!

– Fly swat game > I heard about this from Veronice Radich at our recent NAFT conference. A random selection of the targetted vocabulary is written all over the board. Two students race to ‘swat’ the correct word that is called out. Props are great!

– Sentence building game > This one requires a bit more preparation as you need to make cards with words and verbs stems and endings beforehand. Basically decide what the focus is for the game – verbs work well. Create about 5 sentences then print them out in a large font size and cut them up. Except the verbs. Only create them in the infinitive and have the endings as separate cards. In class, students are in groups and race each other to form the correct sentence called out by the teacher. This forces them to talk about verbs and make sure that the ending matches the subject. I’ve found this especially successful with Latin grammar.

So, a goal for 2012 – more games for learning!

Jing – Creating a Screencast

I’ve just created two screencasts using Jing¬†to capture me reading through a powerpoint with all the Year 9 speaking questions. I’m going to try and use this more often to start building a repository of content that I can use for a Flipped Classroom model (hopefully starting this soon.)

Last year I had my Year 10 students create Storybird books and then use Jing to capture them reading the story aloud. This worked well although the recording hardware was problematic. Fun though!

Here are the two screencasts I’ve just made. What do you think?
Part 1

Part 2