Reflection After a Day of L2 Learning

Today I attended a conference hosted by the Second Languages Intercultural Council (SLIC). The primary focus of the conference was the use of technology in the second language (L2) classroom. I am leaving this conference feeling re-energized to teach FSL this week but also for the foreseeable future. I feel as though I have been tasked with creating a FSL program that is engaging and inviting for the students in grades 5 & 6 and hopefully, makes these same students want to continue taking French in grades 7-12. I am now hoping that I will be given the opportunity to continue creating this FSL program next year also.

There were things presented that I had already used in the “regular” classroom; things like Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Classroom, Google Earth, and Padlet. But I was also introduced to some new applications such as Socrative which I am going to use this week with my students for their avoir and être conjugation quiz. The use of technology has allowed for teachers like Stephanie Jackson in Edmonton Public Schools to gain more student buy in and engagement among her students. Stephanie shared how she uses Google Forms as a method of assessing her students; she also shared Flubaroo which is a Google add-on that will correct her students responses on a Google Forms test that she has created. I can see myself using this easily in my FSL classes. She also shared how she hasn’t taken any marking home with her in 3 years as a result of using Goobric on student assignments. She has been able to do this because as the students are presenting their “plusiers poissons” (fake Plenty of Fish profiles) to one another, she is able to sit and listen to the students and assess them at the same time. Another interesting add-on that I would like to check out is  Draftback . This add-on is used with Google Docs and allows one to view a video of someone creating a Google Doc. This would be good for metacognition.

Stephanie also shared how she uses Screencastify with her students. This gave me the idea to change my students Picasso Art-French assignment from the students writing phrases on slips of paper to describe their physical characteristics to the students doing a Screencastify of the phrases that they would use to describe the things that people can see as well as the things that they cannot see about him/her. This will be more engaging for the students because they are part of a digital world so I am meeting them at their level. Stephanie also shared how she uses Lip Sync Battles in her FSL classes which I thought my students would enjoy immensely. She differentiates the task by having her former immersion or Francophone students doing a harder French song such as a rap while her lower students, those that may be on Individualized Program Plans, do a song that they are familiar with such as a Disney song. The students perform their songs in groups either recording it using Screencastify and/or their phone. The criteria are that the students each lip sync for 1 minute and that the songs do not have any swear words in English (Again, another buy in factor, especially for older middle years students). She also suggested using Screencastify to record sub plans so that the students are receiving the instructions or lesson from their teacher especially if you have a non-French speaking substitute.

Stephanie also shared many, many resources that I am so excited to dive into more even if it is just one thing at a time. One of the ideas she shared was creating playlists on Youtube for Google Translate songs to illustrate for the students how technological apps, although very useful in most situations, make you sound dorky when you try to translate whole phrases etc.  She also shared creating YouTube playlists for Karaoké songs that she then has her students sing when they have a few minutes at the end of a class or she has students listen to when they are done their work ahead of their classmates so that the students can practice their pronunciation. She also shared a Google Drive folder with tons of ideas for music, films and activities. I am so excited to look into this folder further…now to find some time. Haha! These playlists can also be uploaded to Google Drive.

Yet another idea that was shared was having the students create the posters or memes for classroom expressions because as Stephanie pointed out, the students are far more creative than the store bought posters. Stephanie also shared that in order to assess the posters, she creates a table in a Google Doc and inputs the students names into the table. She then has the students upload a picture of their meme or poster and then she is able to assess the students work without having to take 300 posters home! Let me tell you, I heard angels sing over that idea! Nothing worse then having a students’ work be crushed in your bag etc.

Stephanie and her co-presenter, Norman, shared ideas of how to use Google Classroom and other Google applications. Since I have been using Google Classroom since its inception last year, I understood the excitement around its implications for classrooms. I did learn that Google Classroom and Google Calendar are now integrated so that when I add an assignment and due date to Google Classroom, it will automatically add it to the Google Calendar which I can then share with parents. This is HUGE since the only way parents can access Google Classroom is if they use their child’s login information. I also learned that I can now add a co-teacher, such as a sub, to Google Classroom. This saves me having to share documents with this person; I can simply tell them to go into the Google Classroom class and see all of the directions. The last little tidbit I learned related to Google Classroom was that you can add an extension called “share to classroom” which then allows you to push something from the internet such as a video or web link to the students on Google Classroom. Whoa! A few other ideas that Stephanie shared related to Google applications included having the students, as a class, create a visual dictionary using Google Slides. The idea is that you would use adjectives and each student would do one word and create one slide with 4 pictures. I am excited to try this with my students as it would definitely make the learning of new vocabulary far more engaging for the students. also as a

Another idea that was shared was colluding online. Stephanie shared how she has put assignments onto a class blog and then the students upload their work their and classmates write comments in the target language. This works as peer to peer feedback and also as an assessment of individual students’ abilities to use the target language. Got to love dual purpose learning!

I also enjoyed learning that Stephanie and other L2 teachers are using Class Dojo in the same manner that I am. It is always very reassuring to know that one is on the right track when you learn of someone else is doing the same thing.

Now for the area that I am wanting to dive into a little more, Differentiation in the L2 Classroom. I have spoken with Stephanie and am hoping to be able to pick her brain about how she differentiates her lessons. She uses (Universal Design for Learning); I have heard of this however, I am drawing a blank on what it is exactly at this time. It will require me delving into this idea a little more in order to come to a better understanding of its uses. This idea of differentiation is something that I have added to my growth plan as it is something that I want to focus on. I am also going to visit with another colleague this week to see how she differentiates in her FSL classroom specifically at the grades 5 and 6 levels.

It was an amazing day! I am feeling re-energized and excited for teaching FSL!!!

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