Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity
Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.
a. Promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness
Language structure can be difficult especially for Level 2 French students. In order to help students to analyze what they know about the structure of a French sentence, I engage students in creating a Concept Map. To begin, groups list what is included in sentences. Using Smart Ideas with my Smart Notebook software, I start a Concept Map with the students, then with partners, they continue the process on their own using https://bubbl.us/. This year, when students finished their Concept Maps, they displayed them on our class Edmodo Page, so that other students could see how differently the parts of a sentenced could be displayed.
Our food unit is always a favorite for my Level 1 students. In order to practice communication skills, students created videos to recommend their favorite foods to our French partner class. For this unit, students created videos using a Green Screen and iMovie. Working in teams, they decided on their favorite foods and created short videos. I did very little to teach them the technology, but instead, I walked them through the brain-storming process, helped them to write scripts, then let them loose to record. Because they knew they were going to have an authentic audience, they were enthusiastic about making the best choices in their recommendations, but also very careful to use correct grammar. It was fun to see their creativity as they choose the food to recommend, and as they created their videos.
b. Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources
One of the topics that my students enjoy learning about is the French school system. In addition to learning the vocabulary necessary to discuss school, my level 1 students research various aspects of the French school system. We begin the unit discussing similarities and differences between the school system here in the US compared to that of France. Using a few websites, a YouTube video and an example of a student’s schedule, they make an argument about which school day is more rigorous: the school day of an American student or that of a French student. Some of my work in Learning with the Internet involved a collaborative activity that students did to further explore the French school system. Later in the unit, the students collaborated as an entire class to develop a survey on Google Docs. This survey went to French speaking students around the world in order to gather facts and opinions about students’ school day. By gathering information from actual students, my students were more engaged in using their language skills to create the Google form and to develop thought-provoking questions. Due to the fact that they had an authentic audience, the students were engaged in meaningful learning.
c. Promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students’ conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes
In order to teach new grammar concepts, I find that students are more engaged in their learning when they are able to learn in more of an inquiry-based situation. Grammar lessons can be dry, but when cooperative learning is used correctly, 100% of my students can be actively engaged in learning the concept. To teach Interrogative Adjective to my Level 1 students, I used a cooperative learning approach in which students read sentences on a PowerPoint presentation. Individually, they made inferences about the interrogative adjective, which was a different colored text, in each sentence. Students wrote one inference on a slip of paper. Going
around the circle, each person did this. Then as a group they organized the slips of paper in order to create grammar rules. After the groups had organized their inferences, I had each group contribute a statement to a Padlet page. As a class, we looked at each groups’ contributions and decided what to write in our Cornell Style notes.
d. Model collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments
In order for students to participate in more authentic learning, I pair my Level 2 classes with classes in France. We have a Project Based Learning unit focused on the places and people in a French high school. Our essential question for the unit is based around the differences between a French “lycée” and an American high school. We spend some time using Google Earth to find our partner school and to virtually look around the high school. Because of the time difference, our schedules don’t allow us to Skype, so my students post questions for their partner class on our Edmodo page. My students created videos of our school to show our partner school what Francis Howell Central High School is like, and likewise our partner school in Paris made videos of their school. This allowed students to learn first-hand some of the cultural similarities and differences between our schools. Through my communication with the students and the teachers in our partner school, I, too, was learning along with my students. It was so exciting to watch as students read the posts and learned from their partner class.
Example of Edmodo student exchange:
One of the best parts of having a shared Edmodo page with a class in France is the opportunity that it provides for students to quickly learn first-hand from native French speakers. This quick access to “authorities” in the field helps students to learn with relevance. Not only do my students have this opportunity to ask questions about vocabulary and grammar, but they also have the opportunity to find out about French culture. I explain and demonstrate that I use Edmodo groups as a forum to find answers to questions that I have about teaching French, and that they can do the same when it comes to learning about the French language and culture. Having the questions posted on our Edmodo page means that all students can learn when someone asks a question since the posts are visible to the group. And, if the French students aren’t able to respond quickly enough, my own students can jump in, if they know the answer. It takes learning to a whole new level.