Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Reading 6- Podcasting

Some things I like about podcasting is the fact that students become “content producers” rather than“ content consumers”; they are actively engaged in the learning; they are practicing their speaking skills and it allows you to showcase for parents what you are doing in the class without having to invite them in.
Realistically though, I am not sure how successful I would be in implementing this in the class.  It seems like it would take an awful lot of time and I am not sure how manageable it would be with a class full of 8 /9 year olds. 
How I think I would perhaps try a podcast is with their speeches they write for a mini Concours d’Art Oratoire (as this is a school-wide event already in place.) They would need to be short, simple and done individually.  I also like Coley’s idea of incorporating lots of questions to engage the listener.  I could perhaps put this on my blog for parents?  Not sure.  I often have quite a wide range of reading ability levels.  I know some would still struggle with lots of practice and coaching.  I am not sure I want to broadcast this on my blog?  I do think it is possible but it would require some thought as to how to best proceed. 

Bookr Sample

I would use this bookr sample to introduce my Structures unit. I would have the students identify the natural and man-made structures along with looking for geometric forms (such as domes, arches, pyramids,etc..) in the structures. I would then have the students, if possible, make their own books looking for natural and man-made structures.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Reading 5- On-line translators

I think on-line translators can be a useful tool when the student has a clear understanding of how to use them and he/she puts an effort into finding the correct words in the right context.     While on-line translators are not something that comes up with my Grade 3 students, I do have a program that teaches them dictionary skills(starting with reviewing the order of the alphabet).  Some of them are able to understand parts of speech and do go on to use the French-English dictionary successfully.
I think however, it is important to not overly encourage on-line translators.  You want the students thinking in the target language and not spending their time looking up word by word the sentence they wish to express.  As for the lessons on using on-line translators, I found them confusing.  Perhaps this is due to the fact I have little experience with them.  I would be inclined, if there is a need,  to show my students an example of a text that has been badly translated(from French to English), share some tips on how to use on-line translators and then give them time and support in class to practice.  

Ebook example

I chose this particular book as I think it would work well with my structures unit.  I would have students look for examples of natural and man-made structures while reading the story  together.  I would also have them look at the house the dog made and discuss whether it was a solid structure or not.  What could the dog have done to make the structure more solid?  One of the activities in our structures unit is drawing a house on a desert island so I think this would tie in well.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Reading 4

What I liked the most about this article was the practical ideas section as I thought the ideas suggested would be effective in a second language classroom.  However, in the Introduction, Tennant talks about how in some classes students are asked to read out loud turning the activity from a private, receptive activity into a more production-orientated one.  For me, reading out loud in my classroom has always been voluntary.  I do not believe in putting students on the spot.   My suggestion would be to find other types of activities that are production-oriented  that do not involve the students reading out loud.   He goes on to say that in real life we do read things out to each other such as bedtime stories to children, reading a menu at a restaurant etc… but I do believe we make a choice in the items we read out aloud.  I think it is important we offer students a choice, too.   

In Anchor point:2 Tennant talks about the basic level reading is the recognition of words. While this is important, I do think it is imperative not to lose sight of  the need to build the student’s vocabulary.  How often do we see students who can decode a text beautifully but have no clue as to what they have read?  
He does , however, go on to say understanding what we are reading is key.   I do agree it is a complex issue.  I quite like Adrienne Gear ‘s work as she offers some practical ideas in this area.

If I would have asked my students anchor point #3 Why do we read?  I know I would have some students who would say because our parents or teachers make us.  How do you get those students interested in reading?  This can be challenging task. For those struggling readers, how do you make them see there is a purpose in what they are reading?   
 I was interested in Tennant’s comment, “why we are reading something will make a difference to how we read it, and in what depth.  What I took away from this was the idea to offer a variety of material for students to read.  I could include a postcard, letter, tv timetable or set of instructions for making cookies for instance into a guided reading activity instead of relying on fiction and non-fiction books from the book room. Maybe this will give those reluctant readers a purpose for reading? 

In Anchor point:6, I thought Tennant’s point about predicting an important one.  Sometimes students do stop predicting and start reading every word.  This not only slows them down by they often lose sight of the meaning of what they are reading.  I do believe that presenting and practicing predicting skills can help the student become a more confident reader.  You need to also provide a comfortable environment so they are willing to take those risks.  

Music video

I chose a song by a Quebec band called Tricot Machine.  This is a children's song about a young girl who saves a bear from being shot; they develop a relationship and then the bear is shot by a farmer.  This is a complex song but I think one my students would enjoy and relate to.  For my activity, I would present a group of visuals and have them sequence them in order.  Playing the song several times and allowing time for discussion would be important, too.

Lyrics to L'ours :
J'ai sauvé la peau d'un p'tit ours
Pis son coeur, je l'ai pas volé
J'ai tué le chasseur avant qu'il shoote
Et l'ours m'a consolée

Tu es doux et juste un peu farouche
Mais je sais que je t'aprivoiserai
Tu as mordu dans mon coeur à pleine bouche
Et t'y est installé

Les années se suivent et nous rassemblent
Il y a toujours plus à partager
Dans la tanière qui abrite nos confidences
Nous on a hiberné

Puis un jour c'est l'été et c'est dimanche
Et les framboises poussent par milliers
J'ai tâché de fruits rouges ma robe blanche
Et je vais t'épouser

Les yeux fermés, main dans la patte, on avance
Dans l'allée d'un champs d'blé d'inde shooté
Un doux mélange de romance et de démence
Quand le fermier a tiré

Ce matin je me suis faite une p'tite bouffe
Mais à vrai dire ça passait pas vraiment
J'm'étais même préparé un bol de soupe
Et j'espérais te voir dedans

Mais en vain, je l'ai scruté à galops
Aucune trace de toi dedans, de sang
Dis t'es où à présent, mon p'tit ours
Ta fourrure traîne sur le divan

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Reading 3

I must admit I did find the list of questions Tomalin asks a little daunting. While the article seems to be more for an older audience, I do think "making culture happen" is important in any second language classroom. How to address this, I think, can be challenging. Teaching cultural info as oppose to teaching it as a skill made me think of how I would address this in my own classroom. I thought the gentleman who teaches in Japan made an important point as he described some cultural differences in his students and because of his awareness, he was able to address the necessary skills his students needed in his second language classroom.

My Screencast Example

I think this would be helpful in terms of journal writing. I often find myself reminding the students of adding capitals,periods and details to their work.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Reading 2

There seems to be many advantages to showing video in the classroom; it is a little concerning there doesn't seem to be concrete research to back this up. When deciding on a video to show, I do think it needs to be short, appropriate for the student's language level and have an educational purpose. I did wonder however, how to address the fact of "what benefits one group of learners may actually hinder the performance of another". When I think of the visual pictures I use in the classroom to help students making meaning, a suitable video would offer so much more as it gives them the opportunity to put language into context as well as it offers them a glimpse into the culture. Thankfully, there are more opportunities to find an appropriate video to show compared to a decade ago.

Audio Sample

My students really enjoy playing "Qui suis-je?" so I decide to incorporate this into my listening activity. I would explain to the students that they will be listening to a set of clues about one of the planets in our solar system and then they need to try to identify that planet based on the clues. I would use this as a tool to reinforce the material covered in class.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Reading 1

I must admit I am guilty of focusing mainly on reading, writing and speaking in my own classroom(I teach Grade 3 F.I.).  I think one of the reasons I don't focus enough on listening are the challenges with finding appropriate resources in French. The author points to more practice, less testing and I think this is a powerful point as this allows students to develop the necessary skills without the fear they are going to be tested on it.  When Aponte-de-Hanna talks about the listener's conscious use of strategies and the processing that occurs, I realized there is a lot going on and how this could affect those with learning difficulties.  I was interested in the questionnaires as I thought this would be a useful tool.  The SILL, although geared to older students, had some questions I could adapt for my elementary students.  I am not sure I would want to raise their awareness of the types of strategies they use as I think it would lead to confusion but I could see myself taking one or two of the strategies and model ways of using them.