Nous sommes la révolution

I can’t believe another semester has already gone by! The fall was much busier than I expected, but it was a good type of busy with lots of rewards and great activities.

I spent most of the fall semester trying to incorporate even more methodology from the Summer Language Institute, and I think the results were very good. The curriculum is fresh and natural, and the student success rate has been particularly high. Read More »

SLI 2015: New Processing Games!

We had a great first week at this year’s Summer Language Institute in Latin! Spreading out the curriculum over two weeks has made the material even more fun and natural for students, and we’ve had so much more time to play processing games and build proficiency with productive language skills. I knew the students were making great progress, but I was still impressed with their ability to retell stories, carry on conversations and communicate information through spoken Latin.

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Taxi is a great processing game that reviews vocabulary and high-frequency phrases and, most importantly, gets every student up and moving.

In this activity, half the students pretend to be taxi drivers while the rest are passengers. The passengers use simple or complex phrases to get the taxi drivers to take them to places around the classroom.Read More »

Là na #Gàidhlig 2015

wp_ss_20150430_0002Today was one of those off days at school – lots of students out of class for one reason or another – so I decided to delve into the Comparisons standard and get us involved in a Twitter event for Là na #Gàidhlig. We talked briefly about the status of Gaelic in Scotland and how social media events like Là na #Gàidhlig help build awareness and strengthen cases for linguistic equality. It’s an easy perspective for my students to understand, given that they’re required to use a second language every day. We also talked about how a few Gaelic expressions appear in English, like gleann “glen” and clann “clan, children”.

Next, I put a list of Gaelic words on the board, along with their meaning in French. The list included some words borrowed into English, some high-frequency words, and some related to popular interests among my students. The students made a picture card for the word of their choice, and then I tweeted their work with the hashtag #Gàidhlig. They really enjoyed watching other Gaelic speakers and learners “favorite” and comment on their work!Read More »

Is there room for tradition in TPR?

A lot of what we do in a TPR classroom is non-traditional. I’ve seen and taught numerous TPR lessons that spent little or no time on activities that are now considered the “great traditions” of a foreign language curriculum, such as InfoGaps and situational conversations. And I’ve seen students achieve more than in courses where those textbook-perfect activities are commonplace.

The question that I hear is, “But what if I want to use these activities in my class? What if I’m required to use them as part of my curriculum or assessments?” Well, the good news is that you can incorporate all kinds of traditional activities as part of a TPR lesson. The better news is that the results are often impressive.Read More »

PAD (Person, Action, Detail)

I noticed some of my students playing a game of sorts the other day. They tear up strips of paper, and each person writes down the name of a person, an action, and a place or other detail, each on a separate slip. They put all the strips in a hat, pull out one strip of each category, and then they have to draw whatever scenario they can come up with based on the words they pulled out. The students were having lots of fun with their game, so I decided to steal the idea for a little extra practice over the Beginner’s French Reader stories we’ve been reading.Read More »