Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I attempted to do a spread for menswear...Would this interest the boys more when they can see a spread for them? The girls will definitely love this site. This is almost reminiscent of childhood paperdolls or dressing Barbie! In terms of what can be done with Polyvore? Well, I can see potential in creating a self expression project where they choose items that they feel reflects themselves. A good way to introduce their inner self or at least what they want to portray. It has a great end product to embed into the blog for their classmates to see and comment on. This would fall into Mosaique. The other unit is Consommaction. This is the consumer unit so they can definitely learn lots of vocab here, too. Whatever they choose to show, they have to be able to name the item!

Article 6: Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom

 Listening to Themselves: Podcasting Takes Lessons Beyond the Classroom

Podcasts reminds me of the First Nations culture. For them, Oral Storytelling is how they share their history and their culture. This aspect of their life was taken away from them once they were forced into residential schools. To think that decades later, podcasting is the new wave when it was always a tool used by many cultures. It's engaging and it helps people learn.

The best part about podcasting is the ability to be heard worldwide. The students of this generation are not satisfied with their small audience, they want to reach out and share their work with the entire world. This gives them the ability to do that,

"I've received emails from teachers all over the country who have found the site in a link and listened to it," Coley says. "I pass the messages on to the kids, and it keeps them motivated to do their best work."

The students feel the urge to perform their best because anyone and everyone could be listening and giving feedback on their work...

The same is true with Youtube. Chris Anderson in Ted Talks referred to how dance was evolving because of Youtube! It's interesting to see how people from all over the world are motivating each other to do better and challenging one another to improve.

Even though this video may have been more appropriate for the video day, I certainly think it can apply to Podcasts as well. The important message is that Podcasts are a great tool for students to use in various subject areas. In the L2 place, it can help them improve on their oral skills and accents. In other subject areas, it gives students an opportunity to go beyond what is asked of them. Rather than just saying the answer, Podcasts can give them the freedom to explore and go beyond the question being asked. This is also true for L2. I think it will also push students to want to speak more and further develop their skills so that they can carry a conversation.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Article 5: Making the most of online translators in foreign language classes

Making the most of online translators in foreign language classes by Charlene Polio. CLEAR News, volume 12, issue 2, Fall 2008

I laugh every time I see an assignment that used an online translator. Despite our warnings, there will always be some students who try to use the translator and get a way with it. They just think it is so much easier to just plug it in and paste it on the sheet. This is much less work than actually using their brains to think about it. This article does have a point in suggesting using this as a teachable moment. I do agree that if we go over these translated documents then the students would be able to see how they don't correlate. No one really listens when we tell them to not do something...It's better to let them to do it and then brainstorm together why it doesn't work!

It would definitely be a good activity to have different pieces of text to have them all take home and put in an online translator. Then have them post it on their blogs and have them comment on each other's translation to see if they figured out what the translated text means in English. It would be a good laugh to see how wrong this can be.

The article also talks about learning how to use the translator effectively. Simple sentences do work and they can use it to check certain things. So with the activity above, some of the text given to them to translate could be translated correctly via the translator. This way, the class can see how it is useful and when it is not.

Scridb - conjugation

This is a book on conjugating. It is nicely laid out in an easy to read format. The tables are in colour and everything is arranged nicely. Great resource to have for students! Just being able to refer to this table for them for conjugation would be helpful in class. fr_français_conjugaison

Friday, July 27, 2012

Article 4:Reading matters: What is reading?

Reading matters: What is reading?

I enjoyed reading this article. It went over what the importance of reading is and how we teach reading depending on the material we are referring to. The article also gives excellent scenarios or examples of text and how we should teach them.

For L2 learners, it is important to teach them strategies for reading as they do tend to read every word and try to translate word for word and miss the meaning of the sentence. I try to teach them that it is not necessary to read word for word to get the overall meaning. In fact, key words can help us create the gist of the sentence.

I remember being introduced to Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll when I was doing my B.Ed and it was quite interesting to see how it is possible to understand a text without really knowing what it is talking about. I need to remember to try this next time I get a French class for the fun of it!

More importantly, I liked what Adrian Tennant said about how reading impacts our teaching and that we should make our reading materials meaningful and relevant for them in real life:

So, planning our reading lessons is essential, and we need to make sure that our aims are clear and that the text and tasks are appropriate. In many cases we can relate our questions to what we do in real life with the type of text we choose. In other words, what do we read in real-life situations? Why do we read these texts? What is the purpose of the writer and of the reader (us in this case)? How do we read the text in order to get what we need from it?

For me, I think I would have appreciated more instruction on how to read labels, order food, read tables and instructions in French when I was in high school. It was difficult to order food in a French speaking environment because I didn't know what to order or how to order. Certain foods did not make sense to me because I didn't know what they were. Situations like that, I wished I learned it in school so that I could do it in real life. I could read Molière and I could discuss themes and philosophies but I could not chat online in French about every day things. It's not to say that I didn't appreciate learning about Molière, it's just that it would have been nice to know some simple things, too. From that thought, I do agree that it would be important to plan reading lessons well so that we are not only teaching them to read but to also read in real life situations.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Song choice

Chloe Lacasse!

I do like to browse for French music to use in the class from time to time because I like to see what kind of current music there are. It wasn't until today that I realized that I haven't done this in a long time as I haven't been in a French classroom for a while. While skimming through the resource websites, I came across Chloe Lacasse's song, "Tout va bien," and I liked it! It has a nice beat that students can sing along to and there is some interesting background information about her. She recently got famous by a competition called Francouvertes in Montreal. She's Canadian and has a lot of potential! Her song also has a lot of present tense that I can go over with the younger grades (8,9) and there is a lot of "on" that we can discuss about its uses. Here are the lyrics:

Tout Va Bien:

Des teints livides se croisent sur les boulevards
D'un pas rapide d'un pas fuyant vers autre part
Y a, sûrement plus que ça
Quand les écrans s'allument pour cacher nos absences
Un bruit de fond pour masquer notre indifférence
Y a, sûrement plus que ça

On chasse l'inconfort,
On grise nos corps,
On rêve d'ailleurs (on dit que tout va bien),
On chasse le malaise,
On se répète que tout va bien… que tout va bien

J'ai bien essayé toutes sortes de fuites,
Ça ne m'a jamais été bien utile,
Pourquoi ce soir, je n'resterais pas avec toi,
La vie qui passe sans que l'on en profite,
À quoi ça sert dis-moi à quoi ça rime?
Ce soir, j'ai envie de toi, es-tu là… avec moi?

Le soir des étrangers s'entassent dans les bars,
Un tas de solitude qui migre vers le noir,
Y a, sûrement plus que ça,
Et les journées s'enchaînent sans grande différence,
Que du temps qui passe sans grande importance,
Y a, sûrement plus que ça.

On chasse l'inconfort,
On grise nos corps,
On rêve d'ailleurs (on dit que tout va bien),
On chasse le malaise,
On se répète que tout va bien… que tout va bien

J'ai bien essayé toutes sortes de fuites,
Ça ne m'a jamais été bien utile,
Pourquoi ce soir, je n'resterais pas avec toi,
La vie qui passe sans que l'on en profite,
À quoi ça sert, dis-moi à quoi ça rime?
Ce soir, j'ai envie de toi, es-tu là… avec moi?
J'ai bien essayé toutes sortes de fuites,
Ça ne m'a jamais été bien utile,
Pourquoi ce soir, je n'resterais pas avec toi,
La vie qui passe sans que l'on en profite,
À quoi ça sert, dis-moi à quoi ça rime?
Ce soir, j'ai envie de toi, es-tu là? Ohoh…

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Article 3: Making culture happen in the English language classroom

Tomalin raises some important points:

  • Where does culture fit? What discipline does it belong to?
  • Is there such a thing as a cultural curriculum or a cultural syllabus? When should we introduce the teaching of culture in ELT? Whose culture should we be teaching and what should we teach at what level?
  • How do materials address the issue of culture and is it adequate?
  • What are the best audio, text and visual aids for the teaching of culture?
  • What kind of methodology is best suited to the teaching of cultures at different levels?
  • What kinds of activities lend themselves to learning about and appreciating other cultures?

I think that culture goes hand in hand with learning a language as language itself is part of one's culture. For me, the underlying reason for learning a language is to better understand the culture. It's never quite right until you can communicate with the people in their own language. It may not be obvious but it is part of the curriculum. Teaching culture could be as simple as sharing the food, relevant movies, songs, books, magazines, idiomatic expressions, etc. Lots can be said looking at just magazines. The magazines here in Canada would not look the same as those in Japan. I don't teach ESL but in the FSL class, it's important to let the students try a crepe to see what kind of food French people eat. It may not be the same as what they eat but it would open up a conversation about the differences between the French culture and their own. 

There's so much we can do with culture that ties in with learning the language itself that it would be a shame to separate the two. It's like having a body but no soul!

screencast of my glogster sign up tutorial!

Here is my screencast:


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Useful audio clip

Here is my intro for a French class:

Article 2: Practical Aspects of Using Video in the Foreign Language Classroom

Practical Aspects of Using Video in the Foreign Language Classroom

I think that video is effective if we use it correctly like all tools. Any tool can be effective if we can implement it and use its potential. On the flip side, video can be a distraction or "filler" if not used in a meaningful way to motivate students. I don't think the question is whether video is enhancing learning but rather how can video enhance learning. The article talks about the reasons behind using video and suggests things to think about before using video but there is nothing new being said that I did not consider before. Moreover, the suggestions did not come with solutions...

However, I did notice that it mentioned that "[i]ssues of the value of video as a teaching tool are often questioned" I wonder if this is still an issue? With the movement towards the 21st Century technology and all the tools that go beyond just video, I don't think teaching with video is an issue anymore. This article was written in the year 2000. To imagine that these were the issues teachers faced a little over ten years ago. I do remember my teachers using video in class quite often showing us french movies. Video clips were a little harder to do back in the day but it is a common addition to lessons now.

If anything, this article has got me thinking...There is always some tool that is always questioned for its uses in the classroom. Currently the BYOD is a big issue. Do we or do we not allow students to bring their own devices into the classroom? How can those devices make the class lesson more meaningful? How will it help in learning? And in this sense, an article showing the positive support of the BYOD will help change our thinking and reconsider its use in the classroom - such as how this article did back in 2000.

Audioboo using netbook

Here is my audio clip recorded using my netbook:

There is a lot of possibilities with this tool. After watching the Youtube about The Digital Foreign Language Classroom, I feel inspired. I think the students would be impressed with the ability to record their own voice and watch how their oral skills improve (or not improve) during their time in the course. Personally, I think it would be a motivator as they would want to listen to their own improvements. They would feel ownership for their own learning this way!

Embedded Audio

Here is my first audio clip recorded using my phone:

Monday, July 23, 2012

Article 1: Listening strategies in the L2 classroom: more practice, less testing

College Quarterly, Winter 2012 - Vol 15 #1

It's interesting to read that listening was thought of as a "passive, receptive skill" in the beginning where students can absorb the information through listening. It was not recognized as an "active mental process" till a lot later! And like all active skills, students need to be taught how to use it properly. I recall when teaching FSL, the aural component is just as important as the other aspects like reading and writing. In French class, students always whined that they did not understand what I was saying or what the audio clip was saying. It was always like this until we talked about listening strategies and then model how to use it that they suddenly realize that they can understand. We teach kids strategies for listening so that even if they do not fully understand what is being said, they can use their tools to decipher the overall message. I agree that it is important to teach the students listening strategies so that they "become aware of the strategies that work for them" (Mendelsohn, 1994; Chamot, 1985). It is part of the learning process. We all know how to listen as it just happens but we don't really know how to listen well. The article goes on to talk about the steps teachers should take to help the student succeed in listening. I think I already do all the steps outlined by Aponte-de-Hanna although some could be more in-depth.

Actually, as an after thought, I don't recall any mention of the "less testing" aspect of the title...