Apex Friendship High School
Objective: To give teachers the resources and the confidence to expose their students to grammar, vocabulary, and culture through the use of authentic resources and fluency-based teaching, learning, and assessment.
Visit this URL to access my presentation: tinyurl.com/noscantrons
French Prince: Google Translated
I. Introduction [5 minutes]
II. What is fluency-based teaching, learning, and assessment? [5 minutes]
So I have had the privilege to attend the NC GAFE conference this week to learn about all of the amazing things Google Apps for Education has for us to use in our classrooms. The keynote speaker, Kevin Brookhouser, talked about a really innovative project he does with his classes each year called the 20 Time Project. It's really innovative and really excited, I'm so jazzed to try it in my classroom!
Essentially, the idea was based off of the 20% time policies at Google and 3M in which employees of the two companies can propose to explore a question or interest and receive funding; they are able to explore this interest for 20% of their time at work. At 3M one such project, a failed project intended to create a super-adhesive, resulted in the glorious Post-It note and at Google Gmail was developed! It sounds like this could be a really exciting opportunity!
In his classroom, Brookhouser gave the students free-reign and allowed them to pick a project based on any subject, whatever they wanted. At first, his students felt restricted by the traditional "educational contract" between student and teacher wherein the teacher tells the student what to do and he/she does it, which was obviously violated when Brookhouser refused to tell them what to do. After a failed brainstorming session, Brookhouser decided to do a Bad Idea Factory, essentially an anti-idea brainstorming session. Surprisingly, from that Bad Idea Factory, students ended up coming up with great ideas that led to fantastic 20 Time projects, like one student who said it would be a bad idea to pretend to be in a wheelchair for a month. After his peers said that it was actually a good idea, the student wheeled around for a full month and realized that his campus was not wheelchair-friendly, so for his 20 Time project he built a sidewalk that connected two buildings that were previously connected by a precarious dirt path.
It all sounds like an opportunity for chaos and wasted time in the classroom, but in order to keep students accountable, Brookhouser decided to have students write up a formal proposal, create an elevator speech (30 second explanation of their project), and do a weekly blog post about their progress. It seems like there would be a lot of front-loading and extreme planning, but it really sounds like a great opportunity for students to explore and problem-solve in a way they just can't do in a traditional classroom experience.
There were SO MANY amazing projects that came out of this idea that I have decided to do this in my classroom. I'm struggling a little with trying to figure out how to tie it to my content area, but for now I think I will use this with my Level 3 students and have them write their weekly blog posts in French. We shall see!
I don't know about you, but for me going to a Professional Development conference (an effective one, mind you) in the middle of a crazy semester is like being thrown a life preserver when you are treading water and barely keeping afloat; it gives me an opportunity to stop, breathe, and evaluate what I am doing.
This year at the Foreign Language Association of North Carolina (FLANC) Fall Conference, I was given two amazing opportunities: 1) to go for free thanks to a generous scholarship from FLANC, and 2) to present on a topic that I am extremely passionate about: proficiency-based, technology-driven teaching and learning.
I went into FLANC a little nervous because, while I had presented at a conference before, this was my first conference in which I was actually presenting to peers of my same content area. It's nerve-wracking to get up in front of 20 other amazing educators who are taking time out of their busy schedules to better themselves and are hoping that my presentation will help achieve that goal. While my presentation left much to be desired (hey, it was my first real presentation), it felt wonderful to share this passion of mine with fellow World Language educators.
As a participant, I attended many wonderful presentations that made me really think about how I can be a better French teacher and really teach my kids how to speak French, not just how to memorize pointless grammar. In one of the sessions my idea of interpersonal speaking activities was challenged and turned on its head; I ended up coming straight back to my classroom and tweaking activities that I thought were amazing and making them truly phenomenal. I was even given the opportunity to talk ASW with some veterans of the process, so I feel much more prepared for my own ASW this year.
Each session I attended gave me new and innovative ideas, but my big take-away from the conference was Interactive Notebooks. I have heard of a lot of people using INs, but I have resisted because I thought my way was better until I heard from Carrie Hinson, a first-year teacher who has used INs to make her kids experience the language/grammar in a way that I had not considered possible on paper. Through hands-on activities, foldables, and songs, Carrie has made her middle school Spanish class an inviting, innovative space where real learning occurs. You can email Carrie for her presentation, it's worth it to see how passionate her kids are about learning Spanish because of a few small things that their teacher does to make it interesting; she even has a Pinterest page. I plan to implement Interactive Notebooks in my class next semester, which I think will help to invigorate my teaching and give my students a much more hands-on learning experience. I'm really excited about it, so stay tuned!
So, even though I am in the midst of a coo-coo-cocoa puffs kind of semester, after attending FLANC I feel refreshed and ready to conquer my classroom with some new, innovative teaching and learning.
How to create an effective curriculum
Welcome to my blog where I share tips that I have learned as a young teacher with little to no resources seeking to create a relevant, rigorous French curriculum.
Click on the link to find resources that are useful in the French classroom!
My name is Mme Probst and I am a French teacher who, after years of struggling to find resources without a text, decided to share my resources with the world so that other teachers didn't have to do the same.