Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Alain le Lait

One thing I do a lot of in my classroom is singing.  The catchy tunes and rhyming words help students to remember things like vocabulary, verb conjugations and even grammar.

There is one specific Youtube channel that is my go-to whenever I am looking for songs.  The channel of Alan le Lait has TONS of awesome songs.  They are geared toward kids, so the language is simple and often the words are shown at the bottom of the video.  The songs are all animated as well.

A favorite of my kids is the number song.  It has dancing Jamaican worms that help them remember numbers one through twenty.  It is complete with a Bob Marley looking worm who jams out on the guitar at the end.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Rotation Activity for Interrogative Practice

One of the most important tools in keeping any language classroom in the target language is for students to have the ability to ask questions in the target language.  Question words and question formation are two things I stress heavily in my classroom and practicing these skills is always important.

I came up with an activity to better help them practice their question writing and answering.  For this activity I created six different "postes".  At each poste, there was a sheet of paper with a different short 6-8 sentence story as well as some blanks where students can write questions.  I have this activity go in rounds.  Each round, they end up at a different poste.  Each round (for everyone, regardless of which space they are at) is dedicated to a specific question word.  For example, round 1 was dedicated to "qui".  Regardless of where the students were, they had to write one or two questions about the story that were "qui" questions. 

I gave them roughly three minutes to read the story, look up any words they didn't know, and then write a couple of questions on the poste sheet as well as the packet I provided them.  After the three minutes, they moved on to the next station.  For this round, each group had to write a "que" question.  The next round was "quand".  Eventually they got through each poste and wrote who, what, when, where and why questions.

Once that was done, we started the second set of rounds.  For these last six rounds, they had to answer the questions in the category of the round.  The first round, they actually stayed where they ended in the last set of rounds, and they had to answer the "qui" questions that were written by their classmates.  Then they moved to the next one and answered the "que" questions.  By the time six rounds were done again, they had answered different types of questions at each station.

The kids really liked this activity because it kept them on a "schedule" and got them moving.  Because each round was dedicated to a specific type of question, it really reinforced which question word was which.

One thing I would do differently next time is to maybe give them five or more minutes for the original reading and question writing.  It felt rather rushed to only give them three minutes to do that.  Some of the questions written by students were rather incoherent to their classmates, so I also might split up the two sets of rounds (one on one day, one on the other) so I get a chance to proofread before I have them answer questions. 

To keep them accountable, they also had to fill out a packet as they went along.  There was one page dedicated to each poste where they could record the words they had to look up as well as the questions they asked and responded to.

Interested in a copy of this activity?  Check it out here.