Engage them with videos!

It’s no secret that I’ve been inspired by Megan and Kara at Creative Language Class to incorporate more video clips into my daily routine. I just wanted to share a few that worked for me, so that you can use them in your class, too!

The first video I want to recommend pairs really well with the Novice Listening Form by CLC (this is a link to their copy in Spanish – French version is coming soon!) even though there aren’t words. My novices are almost finished with a unit on “Me and my activities” and I think that several of them are really close to Novice High. When I was introducing sports and athletes, I found this really great commercial when Zinedine Zidane (a French football player) plays rugby to promote the Rugby World Cup. After we filled out the form, we talked a little bit about the rules of rugby, and why Zidane was not the ideal rugby player (he’s too short/small/thin, etc). Students loved this video because they’ve never really experienced rugby, and who doesn’t like seeing a crazy tackle or two? At this point, I didn’t make any predictions, but I think that you could, and I plan to in the future.

The next video that I found also didn’t have words, but this was a GREAT review of activities that the dog/his owner like and don’t like to do, as well as descriptions of both of them. By the end of the day, I had questions to guide students in their predictions (Does the dog like to eat? Does the dog like to play?) – they made these predictions while the first frame of the video was showing – it was important for me that students could see the dog before making these predictions. Students were OUTRAGED at the end that this was a commercial for IKEA; I think that in the future, I’ll have students predict what this is a commercial for (dog food, to warn about obesity, etc.) My students also loved learning the word for “obese” when talking about the dog! What an engaging video that reviewed necessary structures!

And, last but not least, I’m trying my hand again at a sort of “MovieTalk” (read more about MovieTalk with a demo courtesy of Martina Bex!) that talked about what other people are like and like to do. I pre-taught some of the vocabulary from the video (playing outside, breaking [something], and setting [something] on fire – kids loved learning these words!) We make predictions during the video; I stop at set points and give my students a choice of what will happen next. As an extension, I think I’ll give students screenshots of the video and ask them to retell what happened to a partner or to put the events of the video in order and then draw illustrations; I haven’t decided which would work best! Students loved that this was short, made by Disney, and the ending was great! Stopping and asking questions during the video really does add intrigue and excitement – my students REALLY wanted to know what would happen next!! This one was not culture, which is sad, but I’m hoping it can further a discussion about hobbies here and in France, and if we think that French people are as addicted to tech as we are!

I’d love to hear how videos are engaging your class or share any other videos that I’ve used – let me know in the comments or on your blog!

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Goals update

Way back in August, I blogged about the two rivet rule and what that meant for changes in my classroom. I’m excited to update my goals for the rest of the year based on that same rule.

Change #1: Standards-based grading

I LOVE standards based grading. It’s been the catalyst for all types of change in my classroom, including not grading everything, having time to give feedback (more in change #2), and focusing on what my students CAN do. My colleague made a standards-based rubric before I was ever in the picture, so a lot of the hard decisions were made for me. I planned on using the rubric for consistency across levels, but I never imagined that it would be as great as it is! I love telling my students why they met the standard or why they didn’t, in simple terms, and it’s been a breeze grading our IPA style end-of-unit assessments. Without worrying about giving a numeric value that students could contest (how exactly is an 89% different than a 90%, in terms of what students can do?), I can focus on the feedback that I’m giving instead of calculating a number that students don’t see past.

Change #2: Meaningful feedback

I’m halfway to where I want to be on this. I definitely need practice on giving feedback, and I’d love to have a “stock” kind of list that I can pull from, similar to Amy’s plus/delta feedback. Plus, by not grading every single assignment a student completes, I have time to give feedback on assessments, and to grade those in a timely fashion. With the exception of end-of-unit IPAs (I have 93 in level one, yikes!) and two other assessments (whoops!) I’ve had all assessments, projects, homework, etc. graded, in the online gradebook, and handed back out the next day. Talk about streamlining! I’d like to give out more feedback on other, non-graded assignments, but that’s coming as well.

So what does this mean for the future?

I’m deciding on new changes to make in the classroom. I’m pushed everyday by my PLC, but at the same time, I feel the need to do ALL OF THE THINGS ALL OF THE TIME, and that’s honestly not where I am as a teacher. (See Melanie’s wonderful post that captured all of my feelings to a T!) I’m working on two new things:

More TL, more TL, more TL! I’m not setting a goal of 90%, but I’m working on speaking more and more. I see some of my students stuck in a proficiency level lower than where they should be, and I have to be honest that I’m the thing that keeps us from speaking the TL most of the time. I’m making an intentional effort to be better about this.

Culture, all day, every day: Like I said in my recent post, I’m inspired by what the ladies at the Creative Language Class are (were?) doing with culture. I’ve created ways to inject more culture into my daily lessons, and I’m loving it so far and can’t wait to talk about it more and more in the TL. I found myself thinking “I wish I had more time for culture, but I need to get through this material,” and that’s when I knew I was going about culture all wrong. I do feel pressure to keep pace with my colleague, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t infuse culture when I can; our current unit is about holidays, and I was trying to leave culture out of it. Silly me.

How are your school year goals progressing? I’d love to hear more about them in the comments or in your own post. Props again to Melanie for being a step ahead of me on this one.