Here are some of the take-aways for me from the World Congress of Modern Languages Conference just held a few weeks ago in Niagara Falls. I wish that I could have attended all of the sessions, as I am sure there are many more valuable resources, strategies and information out there. Here are some of the take-aways from those I was able to attend. I hope you find something you can use.
Denis Cousineau (@deniscousineau) – Virage pédagogique en Langue Seconde
I found Denis to be a really engaging and inspiring speaker. I think that his ideas fall in nicely with the new FSL curriculum in Ontario. Here were some of the key points from his presentation:
- we need to work towards building student competence in the second language – so many students leave grade 12 without being able to speak a lick of the language, we need to change this
- students need to use the language (for example move away from teaching ‘clothing’ and teach students ‘how to shop’)
- we need to work on building oral competencies
- students need to be at the forefront of the learning and speaking, not us teachers – if students are working in groups talking in the target language, teachers have time to circulate, join discussions and take anecdotal notes
- we need to move from thinking about marks and move towards thinking about what students can do in the language (building competence and confidence)
- we need to move away from the ‘Testing Zone’ and towards assessing their capacity to produce in the target language
Lori Peck (@LoriPeck) & Wendy Chan – Lets Us Help you Bring your Core French Classroom to Life
The thing I loved most about this session was all of the resources that they generously shared! Upon leaving they gave people a DVD with the resources to use in their classrooms. I still have to go through it all, but I look forward to finding the time to do so.
They shared some great websites that can be used in French in order to build action-oriented tasks around.
What I found most interesting was they way they incorporated cooking into their classes. They suggested picking around 3 recipes per year (from different Francophone areas). The initial preparation would take some front-loading (getting students to learn the necessary words and expressions in order to be able to use them) but once it is done and put into practice, it is something that could be built on.
Essentially, they would explained that they would use slides for students to follow of the instructions of the recipe. Students would be working in groups to make the recipe. When cooking was complete, the teachers would deliver the food to the students and the follow up classes would be spent discussing the experience and expressing their opinion of the food in the target language.
This is something I have been hoping to try to for a while, but their presentation helped me wrap my head around what it can look like in the classroom and what steps I can take to prepare my students and execute it in class.
Sylvia Duckworth (@SylviaDuckworth) – Web 2.0 vs. Social Media with Sylvia
Sylvia shared her slides here. She is amazing! I don’t know where she gets the time to create and share all of the AMAZING things she does!
To truly gain from the wealth of information she shared, you need to explore the different links and examples she shared from each slide.
Some of the highlights she touched on:
- Twitter – on slide 6 she has links to a variety that is a great starting point for those new to Twitter. I particularly like the ‘How to Use Twitter in Schools: Let Me Count the Ways‘ and ‘Getting Started on Twitter‘
- VoiceThread – on slide 12 she talked about VoiceThread which is website where you can upload pictures and record your voice over top. In addition to including a ‘how to’, she also includes different examples that you can watch.
- Other Digital Tools – on slide 13 she shared a variety of web-based apps that allow your students to create media from within the classroom. Again she shared links and examples. Some that I look forward to checking out are:
- Glogster – an online interactive poster
- Incredibox – change any oral production into a piece of music. Watch the examples she includes to see how amazing it is!
- Powtoon – create animated videos and presentations
- Flipsnack – similar to BookCreator for the iPad, Flipsnack create online books using images or PDFs made into pdf images
Take the time to explore. I especially suggest these if you don’t have access to iPads in your classroom. A lof these are web-based and therefore by the sounds of it (I haven’t had a chance to explore with them yet) will work on Chromebooks. Very cool!
Susanna Beatrice-Gojsic (@sgojsic) & Carole Knezevic – Let Them Speak: Strategies That Maximize Student Talk Time in the FSL Classroom
Okay, their website says it all! You need to peruse!
They shared so many different activities to promote speaking in the classroom (Check out the Strategies pages with the updated strategy list document) . It was exactly what I was looking for. I find I think of ways to get my students talking, but end up adapting the different activities for all of my classes and to use over and over again. I was looking for some inspiration in this regard to liven things up again in class with some new activities that promote oral communication, and I found it here! Thanks for all of their hard work in creating the resources that they shared on their website and presenting their ideas at the WCML 2015.
Tammy Wilson & Brianna Robertson – Connecting, Communicating & Collaborating (Video Chats in the Core French Classroom)
I have also been looking to explore video chats in my core French classroom, but haven’t yet had the time to wrap my head around how this would look. That is until I attended this workshop in Niagara Falls. I loved how they went through their entire process, sharing a variety of resources.
in discussions, they talked about their goal of ‘spontaneous communication’ and how students need many opportunities to practice the skills in order to be successful at this. They shared what the gradual release of responsibility looked like in their classroom in order to prepare students for this (i.e. using morning messages to build vocabulary and to model correct responses in a positive manner and using strategies like ‘fold-the-line’ to practice conversational skills).
Stacia Johnson – Reaping the Benefits of Using Twitter In Advanced Language Learning
Stacia shared a variety of ways people could use twitter in their classroom to improve language acquisition. I love the idea of connecting our students with other people from around the world that can bring that culturally rich experience to them. Here are some of the ways she suggested using Twitter with your students:
- collaboratively create a French story – they did extraterrestres with students from other schools.
- ask for recipes, follow instructions and then present them
- practice difficult vocab
- create a classroom hashtag
- use storify to create a ‘story’ and to curate a hashtag
- reach out to experts
- i.e. astronauts, science experts, people that live in the cultural areas, authors, etc.
- tweet as a character from a novel
- develop point of view
- summary as part of content literacy
- summarize on a tweet what you just read
- twitter quizzes / classroom discussions
- create the classroom hashtag and see ask questions that students have to respond to online
- voicethread – record questions, tweet out, students have to listen to and respond
- could also send pictures
- send link to document that other classes could add to (or google forms) or surveys, questions on blogs for other people to add anonymous comments to
- Create a # based around different CEFR levels (i.e. #CEFRC1Fr)
- need to find a space on twitter for beginning language learners, so they don’t feel overwhelmed looking at advanced language tweets