Friday, 10 August 2012

Final Project

I am creating activities for a grade 10 FSL class for a unit on childhood.

Google Form:

I like the idea of using a Google form as a questionnaire for the beginning of a unit. It exposes students to new vocabulary through having to look up words and eases them into using applications on the blog. I would likely ask them to do this at the end of the first class with the help of a dictionary and their classmates. Alternatively I would ask them to do it at home to give them time to look up vocab. I would use the spreadsheet function for the form the next class to show them what their peers answered and as a class we would create the “top 3” of all the categories in the classroom. It is a fun activity that gives them the chance to look at the vocabulary others have found and to get a glimpse into the collective childhoods of the class.


I wanted to use jeopardy as a form of review that they could do in class in groups. If I split them into groups of four they can run their individual jeopardy games with the one I created and they can submit a list of jeopardy winners to me at the end. This way it is not always the same person answering the class jeopardy questions and everyone has a chance to practice the vocabulary in small groups. I like that it can later be posted on the blog for them to refer back to. I would also ask them to lead the jeopardy game in French to get them used to doing different tasks in the target language.

My Jeopardy Template


I wanted to use polyvore as a visual representation for an in-class presentation on childhood. I would want the students to create a visual with lots of different elements that they can explain. This would help them discover vocabulary and would provide visual support that would aid comprehension in their presentations. I would either use this as a visual element for their final project or would encourage them to create this at the beginning of the unit as an inspiration board for the rest of the classes. This would allow them to refer back to their visual Polyvore creation and pick a writing topic or toy from the ones they already chose if they couldn’t think of something. If they used it as a visual element for the final project I would ask them to talk about what each image represents in a presentation to the class.

Mon Enfance

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Cell Phones

I love the idea of using phones more in class. can be a fun hook at the beginning of the lesson and I wished that more students could be encouraged to bring their phones to class so that I cold have used it during my practicum. I like the idea of teaching students about consideration and respect rather than banning the devices all together. The one thing that I do not like about cellphones in school is when students bring them into classes like drama. Although I love phones I don’t allow them in the drama studio because they tend to get stepped on or use inappropriately. I have never asked students to use phones in that class and I think that, unless I ask them to bring them beforehand, they should understand that leaving your phones in you locker is a basic rule of a drama classroom. 


I would use a slideshow like this when teaching grammar to younger grades. I like that it looks like a book that students can leaf through.

Mixbook - Create Beautiful Photo Books and Scrapbooks! | Start your own Photo Books | Create custom Christmas Cards

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


I thought that this article made a good point about some PowerPoint being badly constructed which results in their general pointlessness. During my practicum I noticed that whenever my SA used a PowerPoint all of the students started behaving better. They were quiet., looking at the screen and seemed completely comatose. I tried to find ways to use PowerPoints in a way that kept them awake and actively learning but found it difficult because of the necessity of turning off the lights. It seemed to encourage napping more than anything. I started making them more interactive (guessing vocab games, fill in the blanks etc…), which seemed to help.

I would like to see some more research on whether students actually absorb then information better through PowerPoint or whether it is just a pretty picture in the background.

Google Doc/ Form / Slideshow

My Google doc for a classroom one sentence story that the students would log onto and create in french.

Here is a halloween ppt that i made for a grade 9 class:

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Collaborative Projects

This article and the problems that it brings up reminds me of the Ted talk by the woman who wrote the book quiet. It was about the power of the introvert and she mentions how classrooms are moving away from anything hat requires deep individual though. She says that everything today is done in groups to encourage collaboration and teamwork. Although she doesn’t necessarily see this as all bad she mentions that those who are introverts are being constantly overwhelmed with other peoples chatter and would benefit from more time to think about the problem individually before it is brought to a group. Creative ideas do not always come from a group and individuals should also be encouraged to think, not just the group.

I thought that this related to this article because this article brings up a lot of stumbling blocks associated with group work. They’re not necessarily the concerns that she has but nonetheless involve rethinking group work and formatting it differently. These author mentions that conversation is essential to knowledge but he takes a very broad stance on what conversation entails. I like the fact that he brings digital resources in that allow a certain amount of individual thinking and eliminate some of the group work problems such as clashing personalities.

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Here is a interest account of stuff that may be useful for teaching. I would encourage my students to use a pinterest account for projects where they need to collect images or use sites that are graphics heavy. I think that having the visual will help them communicate their research to their classmates in the target language.

Curate Your Materials

Although I understand the difference between collecting and curating resources, I would definitely consider myself more of a collector at this point in my life. Although I appreciate it when other curate resources at put them on the web I feel that I need to collect resources in quantity so that I can later evaluate them for myself. I do like the idea of curating this material eventually once I have had time to test it out and see what does and doesn’t work in the classroom. I think that you need to have a certain amount of practical experience with the application before you dismiss it as being unworthy of your curated collection.

 The way that I would do this is by doing an activity involving the program with students and seeing if it worked well in the context in which I was trying to use it. This links in well with what the author of the article was saying about students curating these programs. The choose, categorize or dismiss something as being unworthy of a curated collection you need to have fairly in-depth knowledge of the theme or subject area being studied. This could be a good way of putting students in charge of their education by narrowing down what tools are useful to them and what tools might have value for other students.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

French Podcast Intro

This is an intro for a podcast that I would create with a French class. I would have them make their own podcasts and would publish a series of them in the class podcast once a week.


I like the idea of using podcasts in the classroom because it operates under the same principle as having kids post to a blog instead of sending you their work. The work should be better because a wider audience is viewing it. I think that it helps kids think of real-world applications for their thoughts and assignments and gets them out of the bubble that is their classroom.

            I also like the fact that, if they do a good job, teachers in other parts of the world might show it to their classes to teach them a concept. I think that hearing it from someone their own age ads an interesting dynamic to education if the podcasts are done well.

A Discovery of Witches Hits Polyvore

A Discovery of Witches

A Discovery of Witches by muzykak featuring Hudson Jeans bracelets

For my Polyvore i made a representation of a character (Diana) from the book A Discovery of Witches. Although I would not use this particular novel i created this as an example of something they would create for a character in a book they are reading. I could see myself using something like this in a french classroom to make a window display for a character in a book they are reading. I would use this to expand the vocabulary surrounding the character as they would have to look up the terminology for every aspect of the Polyvore to present it to the class. 

Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Although I agree with many aspects of this article I am concerned that most of the uses for online translators are based on their general uselessness and that learning takes place from their lack of function. I did let students use translators in my class but insisted they use ones that do one word at a time and gave, at least, a brief description of the cases in which you would use each possible translation.

 Although I think that they can be used to show the difference in meaning of direct translations and other creative uses I think that the focus should still be on getting students to use online dictionaries or translators that have some of the function of a dictionary.


I would use an old book like this for students to look up different areas in france and write a response to the authors observations using modern research. I would have them do this in the form of a travel brochure in french that counters some of the old assumptions about areas of france. This can introduce them to the country and compare the historical significance of areas to their role today.

Scenes From French Travel

Monday, 30 July 2012

reading - a response

I agree with the author’s assertion that a text does not have to constitute a novel. This rings especially true when we talk about reading in the L2 classroom. Many of the students I encountered did not have the basic reading level of a second grader in their second language which makes it hard to find interesting texts at their reading level that will help them advance their reading skills.
            I like the idea of bringing in texts that people read every day, even those who claim not to read, like care instructions, commercials or recipes. These are simple texts that allow them to read at their level without using children’s books.
            I would not want to do away with the idea of reading novels, and the importance of that altogether. I think that by reading novels you are exposed to more text and more reading which means that they are likely to develop better skills than someone who seldom picks up a book.

French Music Activity

I would use the following song in an activity where i would blank out commonly used expressions and would have the students fill them in. We would then have a discussion about how to use them and in what context. I think that this song will appeal to students as a way in to french music because it is by an artist they already know from his english songs.

Elle me dit “écris une chanson contente,
pas une chanson déprimante,
une chanson que tout le monde aime”.
Elle me dit “tu deviendras milliardaire.
T’auras de quoi être fier.
Ne finis pas comme ton père”.
Elle me dit “ne t’enferme pas dans ta chambre,
vas-y, secoue-toi et danse
dis moi c’est quoi ton problème?”
Elle me dit “qu’est ce que t’as t’as l’air coincé,
t’es défoncé ou t’es gai
Tu finiras comme ton frère”
Elle me dit,
Elle me dit “c’est ta vie
fais ce que tu veux tant pis
un jour tu comprendras
un jour tu t’en voudras”
Elle me dit “t’es trop nul,
sors un peu de ta bulle.
Tu fais n’importe quoi
on dirait que t’aimes ca.”
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Danse danse danse danse elle me dit danse x2
Elle me dit “fais comme les autres garcons,
va taper dans un ballon,
tu deviendras populaire”.
Elle me dit, “qu’est-ce que tu fous sur internet,
ca va pas bien dans ta tête.
Regarde le temps que tu perds.”
Elle me dit “pourquoi tu te plains tout le temps?
On dirait que t’as huit ans.
C’est pas comme ca que tu vas plaire”
Elle me dit “un jour je ne serai plus là
et c’est quand elle me dit ça
qu’elle me dit un truc que j’aime.
Elle me dit, “t’as pas encore des cheveux blancs,
mais t’auras bientôt 30 ans,
faudrait que tu te réveilles.
Elle me dit “tu es toujours un enfant,
tu ne seras jamais grand.
Et moi je suis déjà vieille
Elle me dit “regarde un peu tes amis,
qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire de leur vie,
y’ a de quoi se foutre en l’air.
Elle me dit, “oui un jour tu me tueras”
et c’est quand elle me dit ca
qu’elle me dit un truc que j’aime.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


I have always thought that culture is essential to a language-learning classroom. In the case of French, for example, culture is a huge part of what we teach students as it provides context for the language and acts as inspiration for the students to learn the language in the first place. I think that you can infuse culture seamlessly by deliberately including authentic sources for students to study from different cultures where the language occurs.

            For example, when I taught a unit on advertising I used a lot of commercials that came from France as examples to show my students. I think that in addition to the language element they learned some things about French culture. For example, there were adds about popular French products and football which prompted discussions on the differences between French consumer products and sports versus Canadian ones. To me the most natural way to introduce culture is through authentic documents and audio files.

            I think that the article is right in that introducing it as a unit here and there will not integrate it into the curriculum but the way I see it, when you are studying a language you have to talk about something. Language does not exist without content and maximizing the amount of culture we introduce in the classroom can be easily accomplished through having legitimate conversations while language learning.

Pixton Tutorial

Here is a youtube video that i made as a tutorial for students to watch at home before a class in the computer lab. This is so that they can learn to use the program at home, practice and then come to class with questions. This way they can get started right away and use all of the class time.

Videos in the FSL Classroom

I liked that the article had a healthy skepticism about the use of video in the classroom. Although I enjoy using YouTube clips or short clips of movies from time to time I am always wary about the amount of added screen time that I am introducing into my students lives.

            One point of the article that spoke favorably about the use of video was the section where they addressed the benefits of video as a model for role-play in other cultures. This is a huge part of why I show clips of videos in my class. I think that it is sometimes difficult to expose students to French culture in BC in an immersive way and the relevance of learning French can sometimes be lost of them because of the physical boundaries between the learners and a truly immersive French speaking area. By showing clips I like to think that I am bringing a bit of that into the classroom and am introducing them to French cultures that they may have never had to opportunity to visit.

            Additionally, I was highly encouraged to use videos in the classroom as a way of introducing a visual aspect to increase understanding. Although I like the idea of using visuals I like to use a range of strategies to introduce visuals for understanding. This goes from video all the way to picture flashcards and, most importantly, miming.

 Video is a valuable tool but I think that it works best if used in small chunks to spark interest or increase understanding of a storyline.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Today we learned how to use Audioboo and other audio recorders. We also got links to sites where we can grab audio clips for listening exercises.

I have created an audio recording of a french text advertisement for an insurance company. I used the text form of this in a grade 11 FSL unit about advertising. I would use this in the classroom by having students listen and find key words. They would write a hypothesis for the meaning and would be given the actual ad after listening to it several times. they would match their understanding of the text in audio file with their understanding of the written text and determine the meaning.

L2 Listening

I agree with the statements made in this article about the struggle to understand if students are improving their listening skills in an L2 classroom. One of the biggest challenges fro me on my practicum was putting in listening activities that were not part of the standard resource set. 

 The students found these tired and too old fashioned to take seriously. I really like the idea of the students describing what they hear to make sure that listening has occurred. I also like the idea of asking students what strategies they are currently using to understand. This makes students think about this more as well as giving the teacher a set of strategies to work off of. 

 I used some listening exercises in my class that used the idea of keeping track of key words and assembling some meaning from those as a main strategy. I also used more authentic texts and tried to find strategies for them to break them down. 

 I think that finding those strategies and working with more difficult audio texts is more beneficial than working off of the slowed down versions from the resource packages.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hello Gordon Powell :)

Welcome to my blog and i hope you enjoy reading my subsequent posts and embedded works in progress.