Jane teaches grades 5 and 6 French Immersion math and French language for our board. This was Jane’s first time using Minecraft with her students. Here are Jane’s reflections of her experiences up to now with it. 🙂
Using Minecraft has been an exciting and engaging journey for my students and myself. I began by explaining that I would be getting them to recreate their houses and eventually the simulated village that we use in the classroom as a platform for oral communication. Our village is based on a strategy called “La simulation globale”. A fictional village is created by the students, based in a French-speaking country.
We draw a map on the board and students draw their houses and businesses. We meet regularly as a village to discuss events and situations that arise. They understood that they would be describing and explaining a variety of things in French, using the village as a starting point. We co-created success criteria primarily based around oral communication and the need to speak only French.
We began with students creating their houses and describing them in a video, in French. Most students used Shadow Puppet incorporating images of their house built on Minecraft. The presentations have evolved to include talking about their neighbourhood and places in the town.
We are also beginning to use Minecraft more and more in Math as a way of showing student learning and thinking. The emphasis throughout has been on speaking and listening as they talk about their worlds as they are creating them, interacting with their classmates. The culminating task at each stage along the way is their movies, linked to the place they are talking about on a physical map, using Aurasma.
Since beginning this project, I have seen students having sustained conversations in French for authentic purposes for longer and longer periods of time. Students are very focused on the task, and are also very keen to share what they have created. They work in small groups, which facilitates natural conversation. I feel that their spoken French has improved as they use strategies to avoid the use of English.
There were some challenges initially, as students would find that their world had been destroyed. A little investigating led me to another class, not connected with the project and once it was explained to them, the destruction stopped.
I would like to continue to use Minecraft and expand its use in Math.
Here are some examples of students speaking French consistently during class.