New Year’s Resolutions

I thought the New Year would be a perfect opportunity for students to start talking about the future and what they ‘will’ do or would like to do; in other words, introducing the future tense in a simple and very authentic way.

Some of you (parents) will have had emails from me this week: I have been using a program called Evernote to record student work – I use the iPad to take a picture of whatever they’ve been working on, and then conference with them for a quick 2-3 minutes so they can tell me about their work. I find it is a great way of record-keeping and documenting student progress. I look forward to being able to look back on student work in a few months’ time so they themselves can see the growth in their learning and identify their goals for future learning. Click on this link for an example of how I use it in my classroom!

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What is the best way to learn languages?

This is a question that has plagued language teachers and researchers for years. Over the years, we have moved from traditional grammar-translation methods to more communicative task-based approaches and language teaching and learning continues to evolve as we learn more and more about the brain and how it enables us to make connections and transfer knowledge from one language to another.

According to this interesting article, the key lies in having a good foundation of grammar and structure in one’s own language. The more a student is confident and has the metacognition of how his own language works, the better he will be able to learn a new language.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think your own knowledge of English and the way you learnt grammar affects the way you learn or speak a foreign language?

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(Lightbown & Spada, 1999)

Using Google maps in the classroom

Our current unit of study is finding our way around places in town, and giving directions so that students can ask and find their way to the supermarket, park, swimming pool, etc. Using our individual iPads, we tapped into the power of Google maps, found our current location and then each student chose a destination that they wanted to get to. Watch the video below to see one student giving directions from the American School to our local supermarket, Carrefour.

Students have been very enthused to see this real-life application of what they’re learning, and at their request, our next week’s activities involve us travelling to Paris on Google Maps and finding our way from the Champs Elysées to the Tour Eiffel, or from the Louvre to Notre Dame. The potential of technology is absolutely amazing and I love seeing how excited and passionate the students get when learning is authentic and meaningful to them!

French song-writing

Singing is a wonderful way to dramatically improve your strategy when learning a new language. I have observed this from my students over the years and found that they will memorize song lyrics almost effortlessly and they can really let go of any inhibitions and anxieties about language learning when music is involved. In our French class, we often sing songs related to the topic we are learning about, and with my current 3rd grade class, we even composed a couple of extra verses for a song that we’ve been singing. It was a whole-class joint construction where the children tried to use as many words as they could from our unit on food. Here’s how it goes, sing along if you can – you’ll find the lyrics below the video link:

 

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Chez Mimi

‘Chez Mimi’ is a great series of episodes produced by Channel 4 about a cantankerous concierge called Madame Mimi and the different eclectic personalities that live in her apartment building. In Grade 3, we watched parts of the episode ‘A table’ and the children loved it! They requested a link for it on the blog so here it is, by popular demand:

Parent-teacher conferences

As you know, parent-teacher conferences are coming up on Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th October. I am looking forward to meeting you and discussing your child’s progress so far this year. I will share you with my goals for your child’s learning in French and some areas for growth. Please sign up for a slot using the sign-up website that was sent out and if you have any questions or would prefer to come in at some other time, don’t hesitate to contact me! Email: stharoo@acst.net

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Using the target language

One of our goals in the World Language department, and something that aligns with our AERO standards, is to try and use the target language exclusively in the classroom, whenever possible. Obviously, this is not always easy to achieve at a Beginner level, but even with these novice speakers, it is remarkable to see how they do comprehend what is going on in the classroom if comprehensible input is used. Watch below to see how comfortably these third graders interact with each other in French and how they can negotiate meaning by using the few words and phrases that they know.

Introductions and descriptions

We have just completed our first unit of the year and I am so pleased with with how the students are progressing! This unit was all about introducing ourselves and using adjectives to describe ourselves and other people. In addition, the children learnt how phrases can be switched to the negative in French using the ‘ne-pas’ sandwich, e.g. je suis grande – je ne suis pas grande.

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By the end of this unit, the students were able to write a short paragraph describing their best friend. Have a look below for some examples of the fantastic learning they showed!

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La Rentrée

Welcome to the first day of the school year 2014-2015! We hope you had a fabulous summer! It was wonderful to see the new children and also some returning students on Saturday at the Meet & Greet. I know it was a long holiday and I imagine you’ve forgotten a lot of the French words we learnt last year but fear not, World Language lessons will start again this week and you’ll soon be back on track. If you have never learnt French before, I look forward to introducing you to this beautiful language, you’re in for a treat! Learning French is fun and the best thing is that French is spoken in Tunisia so you can go out and practice whatever you learnt in class and speak with the people around you.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of images to remind you why learning French is awesome! (Taken from http://ah-bon-french.wikispaces.com):

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Have a great first week back!

Madame Soukeina

World Language Festival – Day 5

Friday brought with it the now familiar smells and tastes of freshly made waffles and crepes under the gazebo. Following this was another spice presentation for the third graders and finally, the closing ceremony of the World Language Festival. It started with a wonderful cello performance by Minso who played a couple of popular Korean folk songs for us.

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Following this was a wonderful Indian Bollywood dance performed by a few Grade 4  students and some teachers and parents. The final performance of the day was the After School World Language students singing a Senegalese song they had learnt and doing a couple of accompanying dances led by visiting choreographer Mr Mamadou. It was a huge success and we had the whole school dancing to African beats in the amphitheater. A very fitting end to a fabulous week!

 

 

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