Last week, I had a meetings and was out of my classroom for the afternoon. I found myself in a familiar situation where the teacher coming in to cover my class couldn’t speak French (not her fault, its just a result of the shortage of French teachers). I was happy to have someone coming in and thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with others in our board, however it is quite frustrating sometimes when trying to leave the work for the afternoon when the person coming in does not speak French. At any rate, that is what inspired this next activity. It didn’t take me long to put together because my smart notebook slides had already been completed.
My grade 7s are learning how to give and understand directions. We are just starting this unit and beginning to introduce the necessary words and expressions in context. I find it best to introduce the such a big unit in chunks. While I was gone, I wanted them to get started learning the location words, such as behind, beside, etc. by doing activities in small groups. The idea was to get them using the language. But we had not yet started working with the words and expressions in complete sentences.
My smart notebook file had used different pictures of a cat placed in different positions around a box. I had originally wanted the teacher to go over these with the students, focusing on proper pronunciation. But how is this possible if the teacher doesn’t speak French?
Here is how I solved my problem.
First, I screen shot-ed (if that is even a word) my slides and emailed them to my iPad. Next, I used Book Creator (@BookCreatorApp) to create a pretty little book, where I inserted the screen shots of my slides into each page. (This helped me save time by avoiding having to insert pictures and text on every page. ) On a side note, you can download the free Book Creator to try it out, but it allows you to make one book only. For us, it was totally worth the investment to purchase the app. I have used it many times and will continue to use it for a variety of reasons.
Next I recorded myself saying the sentence. These recordings get embedded into the book once it is published. This was the key part! I wanted my students to be able to access the words and expressions in complete sentences, all the while being able to hear the proper pronunciation.
Once I finished recording myself (which literally took 5 minutes to do), I exported the book. Now, there are many different ways you can export the book. I can make a video from it, or export it as an epub file (which opens on several ereaders) or as a PDF.
I chose to export it as an .epub file because I wanted my students to be able to open it on the iPad in ibooks and listen to it.
Once it was uploaded to Google Drive, I posted the book as an announcement on the google classroom stream with instructions for them to download the book and listen to it. I really like this activity because it gave students the chance to learn the expressions at their own pace, they can access the book from home and share it with their parents, they can practice the expressions by repeating the sentences after hearing them. There are tons of benefits in my opinion.
From here we plan on working on activities to students practicing the vocabulary in context in small groups. Until next time!
Here is a how to get started with Book Creator provided by Google.