Saturday, 15 September 2012

Week 2 with iPads

I knew having 1:1 tech would change to way I teach; I just couldn't believe how much until I saw it with my own eyes using it in my classroom.  This week I saw students that refused to speak French last year, take the leap and respond to me en français without any prompting.  It all started with a little bit of time 'playing' on the Living Language App that I have on our class set of iPads.  

You see, this week as review I had my grade 5-8 students get on the iPads and complete the 1st lesson in the Essential French category.  In this levels students review very basic greetings by reviewing flashcards that include audio, popping bubbles, slaying dragons and completing word searches.  

Turns out a lightbulb went off for some of them, where previously they had struggled.  I am not sure if it was the 'play' portion or the kinaesthetic aspect of matching up words or just their high interest in the iPads but what I do know is I have some students who did not speak in my class last year saying:  "Bonjour Madame. Comment ça va?" or confidently responding "Je suis ici!" during attendance without prompting!  I am thrilled and cannot wait to see what other things we will accomplish through the iPads.  

For now, in my Core French classes, we are moving into preparing our audio recordings that will be turned into QR codes, which will be put on these posters that I showed you last week! (You still following?)  I finally decided how to do it.  We're going to use an App called ScreenChomp.  Students will take a photo of their poster, load it into Screen Chomp and record their 'presentations' over it.  They can then easily use the URL provided by ScreenChomp to make a QR code!  

What I am struggling with is if this should just be a normal presentation or if the students should pretend they are interacting with the person listening to it (like a one sided conversation).  Any thoughts?   

I'd love to hear from you!  Have a great 3rd week! 

Friday, 7 September 2012

First Week of School!

Let me start by saying I LOVE MY JOB!!!  I cannot believe the number of times I have caught myself thinking that this week.   I have met all my classes and we have started some pretty fun projects together en français!  My primary students can dress Mr. la grenouille and are starting to be able to tell me what he's wearing with only gesture prompts.  Imagine the cutest group of 5/6 year olds all saying: "Mr. la grenouille porte un chapeau."  Melts my heart I tell you!  They've also learned Je m'appelle _________ and J'ai ____ ans.  Here is a little worksheet I did with my grade 2/3's, so this is review for them, my 1/2s just started some of this sheet today.  

They loved making these and I plan on recording oral presentation of the info to them by adding QR codes to them for our open house.  The kids are so excited to record their 'presentations'.  Never have I had so many kids willing and wanting to give a presentation.   

Next up my junior/intermediate art project which was inspired by a pin on Pinterest.  Students have been having a blast drawing and starting to colour their drawings!  I am again adding QR codes to these posters, students will be introducing themselves and some of their favourite things.  Students in the junior and intermediate grades will have access to iPads in my classroom which we will start to use next week.  They are struggling with the en français rule but I am sure it will improve, they are forgetting and talking in English but I am persisting (one day at a time on this) and addressing them only in French.  The only exception was the day on rules surrounding iPads, I have to be 100% certain that each student knows the school's policies on iPad use.  Here are some great examples of where my students are at right now.  

This student's work challenged me to not correct his art because it wasn't the way I wanted it.  I am really striving to encourage artistic freedom in many of my projects this year and give control to my students in this department.

This young man proclaims to 'suck at art' (I disagree!) and was shocked when I 'let' him give his character dark eyes.

This piece is really coming together!  I can't wait to see the final product! 
I hope you've enjoyed the peak into my first week at school!  What have you been up to in your room?  

p.s. I'm having a sale at my TeachersPayTeachers store!  

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Sound Recognition

In my last post, I showed you my classroom and today I'd like to 'talk' about reading, in particular how we get students to start recognizing the sounds they hear within written text (i.e. the sound 'o' can be eau or au or aux in French).  I think it goes without saying that listening skills and oral production skills need to be the largest emphasis in the younger grades.  After all, we all learned to talk long before we learned to read and then write.

Last year, I started doing 'la virelangue de la semaine' around March break with my primary students.  Students love them and began to find the sounds we were emphasizing in texts around the classroom, in the AIM play and in the books they had access to in my room.  This year, I want to take what students started doing naturally last year and turn it into an activity that they can do with our word wall words, or books.  For this fall, I have made an activity called Les feuilles phonologiques.

As I introduce/review sounds with them I will post trees around the room like the one above that have a letter combination on the trunk.  Students will then be able to grab leaves from a basket on the counter and add new words around the base of the tree.  Each student will also have their own recording sheet for their workbook that they are record their own personal word family trees. 

I am really hoping that students enjoy this activity and that it helps them recognize sounds within words. What do you think of this activity?  Do you have a system you use to teach them sound recognition?