Thursday, April 25, 2013

What am I?

I'm really in this mode lately trying to encourage vocabulary retention.  My 1s are currently learning about "faire les courses" or food shopping, so I did an activity that not only enhances their vocabulary, it also has them using the target language.  It's an activity called "qui suis-je?".

I made cards for each food vocabulary word and tied string to it.  Each student gets a food item behind them (like a backwards necklace) and they have to ask yes or no questions to their classmates to figure out what they are.  Because they are French 1, we wrote a list of questions we could ask on the board in order to keep them in the target language.  Questions like, "can you buy me at a boulangerie?", "am I red?", "am I a vegetable?", "do I say moo?"...things like that.  They have to go around the room asking their classmates yes/no questions trying to narrow down which food they are.  Once they figured out what they were, they turned the card to their front side.

I found that it worked really well.  They had to rack their brain for the possible vocab words they could be in order to narrow down their questions and then guess that they are.  One class did it perfectly without English, the other got into English a bit.  I tried to do it that if they heard someone speak English, they could take that person's card.  However, I didn't like that.  They ended up fighting and also it then made that English speaker even LESS likely to use French later.  I'm still trying to figure out a fix for that.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Stamp

I realized that I never did my last post in my string of organizational posts, or ways to make your life easier and your students' excuses go out the window.

Often, to save myself the headache of grading 50 worksheets in one night, I will just give my students completion credit, especially at the beginning of a chapter.  At the beginning of the hour, I go through the class and just check that everyone did it, then we would go through it.  However, I found it very hard to keep track of who did the assignment and who didn't.  Often, I'd have kids coming up to me and saying "but I had it done that day!" which was difficult because, unless I specifically remember seeing an empty page, I'd have to take their word for it.

So, I decided to get a little stamp.  When I check for completion credit, if they finished the assignment, they get a little smiley stamp on their paper.  That way if I do make an error, they can prove me wrong.  No stamp means the student never showed it to me completed.  I have yet to have any student try to tell me they handed something in when they didn't.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Do you have what I have?

I saw a post on another teacher blog about a game called "do you have what I have?" to help practice vocabulary.
Basically, you put all the kids in a circle and give them a whiteboard.  Each round, the students pick a random vocabulary word and write it on the board.  After everyone's done writing, they reveal what they had.  You get a point for every match you have.
I played it this way in my first French 1 class today and the kids loved it. But I noticed they were always choosing the easy ones like "une orange" or "une tomate" (the cognates).  Because of this, I decided to mix it up for the second French 1 class.  Instead of getting a point for a match, you get a point if NOBODY matches you.  It encouraged them to dig a little deeper into their vocabulary memory and use some of the oddball ones.
I liked it much better this second way and found that they got much more out of the activity.  They all seemed to love it! They asked if we could do it again sometime.
There are many different variations you can do depending on where they are in the chapter.  In the beginning, maybe they can be allowed to have their vocab sheets with them.  Next step would be no sheets, but maybe some pictures on the board and not so picky about spelling.  Next step would be no pictures, but also not so picky about spelling.  Last step (for the end of the chapter) would be no prompts of any kind and spelling needs to count.
I will definitely be playing this again!