#AuthRes August

Wow. As I’m staring at that word, August, I’m simultaneously freaking out and jumping for joy at the same time. I bet a lot of you teachers feel the same way.

Last week, Sara-Elizabeth of Musicuentos called us to #AuthRes August, where we share some authentic resources for the world language classroom that our students will love this year.

While I am not going to post 70+ resources like Maris did this morning (Spanish teachers, check it OUT!)  I will share a couple that I’m excited to use this year.

What I’m working on this year is starting the year off with a unit about the Olympics, because it’s current, relevant, and hopefully give my students something interesting and engaging to describe! I plan on using some of these resources:

The olympic website in French – this has a list of the results, athletes, and a link to each of the events/sports that are in the olympics – so much better than just learning basketball and football (American!)

FranceTvSport – This is a French based TV station, so it leans a little more toward the French! You can track the medals won by the team, see a calendar of event days/medal ceremonies, and as a bonus, it has the country names in French! A lot of them are cognates, so it will boost confidence at the beginning of the year.

Speaking of events, there hasn’t been an April Fool’s Day (Poisson d’avril!) that my students haven’t been on spring break. Coincidentally, my birthday is March 31st, so there’s never been a birthday where I’ve been in school. This year, April 1 falls on a Saturday, but I’m thinking about amping up my birthday work day with some fun poisson d’avril stuff! This post looks a little advanced for my novices, but maybe we’ll use it.

I don’t know if we’ll get into all this stuff in my level one class this year, but if you’ve just finished the Keys to Planning Book, my bet is that you’ll try to incorporate the “balanced lifestyle” unit – shoot, it’s already in French! Here’s some supplemental resources for that:

  • An infographic about le goûter
  • An example of a petit déj équilibré
  • Anything from the MangerBouger site – seriously, there are guides to each food group, recommendations for eating better at each age group, recipes, seasonal produce to balance your plate (and wallet) – it is totally worth an hour or two of clicking around!

Last year, I used and LOVED this infographic about habitudes alimentaires. We did an IPA style reading, and then surveyed our class about our own eating habits. We made graphs and compared the data that we found. It was a great reinforcement of the question words and answer in context, too!

I hope this has given you some inspiration to use #authres this coming school year! I plan on posting a few more times on the topic, both on my blog and on twitter! We’d love to have you join us by posting on your blog, or on twitter (or even facebook!) with the hashtag #authresaugust! If that’s too big for your tweet, you could use #authres instead (or both, you overachiever, you!)

Like Sara-Elizabeth mentioned in her post, if you don’t have a public place to share your #authres, I would be happy to share your resources for you – French, Spanish, Latin, German, Japanese – it doesn’t matter, I’m just happy to share! You can leave your ideas in the comments, or tweet at me. I promise that if you use the hashtag, it doesn’t matter if you’re a twitter “celebrity” – someone will see it and benefit from it!

While you’re at it, if you need a public place to share those activities that you develop, you can add to the growing list that Sara-Elizabeth started! Choose your language with the tabs at the bottom!

One last thought: I would not be the teacher that I am today (and I still have TONS of room to grow) if other people hadn’t been kind enough to share their resources with me. I get as many ideas from Sara-Elizabeth, Bethanie, Maris, Amy, Melanie, Megan and Kara, Allison, and Carrie‘s Spanish resources as I do from my French teacher friends! So nothing you share is too small, insignificant, or “imperfect” to help someone else out. Let’s do this – together.


Authres: Hobbies

Don’t you love when you stumble across an authentic resource that NAILS exactly what you’re trying to do with your class? I know that I do! And I can’t take all the credit for this one, my colleague found it, but I wanted to share out with all of you.

We’re reviewing from last year about what activities that you do, and adding in personalized activities for each student. We’re also going to be sharing how often you do those activities, and were hoping to survey students about their preferences. That’s where this beautiful #authres comes in.

It’s an authentic survey that asks students how often they do certain activities. All of the “big names” are there: video games, TV, “radio,” reading, but includes some out-of-the-box things, like if you get an allowance, time spent in a library, and your future activities.

Here’s how I’m thinking you could use this in your class:

  1. Give out a page (or two) of the survey. Have students answer the questions about themselves. Then, make a few copies, or upload them online. In groups of two, students could make graphs about the different questions. Graphs could be things like “How often our class listens to music,” “Our favorite TV shows,” etc. I’m thinking that would be a great level two activity, or towards the end of level one.
  2. Partner activity: each partner would receive a copy, ask their partner a certain number, set, or example questions, and let them check the box that sounds most like their partner’s answer. Again, I think level two is best for this activity.
  3. Cognates practice. Wow, if you ever need an authentic resources where cognates abound, this would be it. You could have student highlight cognates, guess what certain words mean (and give them the corresponding question(s) for reference) or complete the Creative Language Class’ cognates activities (level one, level two)
  4. What we’re planning on doing is using this as a summative interpretive reading assessment. We’re going to check some boxes off, and then follow the questions for an interpretive reading assessment from ACTFL. We’ll have students answer these questions in English, identifying key words, guessing meaning based on context, and asking general understanding questions. I’m toying with the idea of asking students to write 2 or 3 ways they are similar/different to the person who “completed” the survey. This would be for level two as well.

What about you? How would you use this resource in your classes? I hope that you can, and that you’ll share how it went with me on twitter or in the comments!

Resource < Questions

Whew. It’s been an interesting summer, and by interesting I mean I’ve gone into a cycle of being REALLY excited about next year, to curriculum planning, to stopping everything and being terrified of next year, and then not doing anything but binge watching Netflix.

No matter. Today I was able to create a decent (I think?) authentic resource after compiling a lot of the things that I’ve learned from other teachers. I was inspired by this post from both Sra Cottrell and Sra Drew. I’ve never been able to make loogares work for me in French, but while at Camp Musicuentos, another French teacher found and shared a site with me that you can use to rent houses in the country of your choice. It’s like couch surfing, but a lot better, user-friendly, and less sketchy. Not restaurant themed, but really cool for something like planning a trip to a country.

The website that I used is called Air BNB, and I love that you can set both your language preference and your currency preference – so you could choose USD or the currency of the location you’ve selected. You just need to enter the desired location, the dates (irrelevant for my technology-free needs) and it pops up with not only a map of the locations given, but GREAT pictures. Once you click, there are pictures, comments, lists of amenities, and a novice-friendly chart of how many beds, baths, etc. there are.

Whew. Now that I’m done geeking out about this amazing resource, I’ll share with you my dilemma: what questions I should ask. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in the past few months, it’s that your authentic resource is only as good as the questions you ask, and that the questions make it comprehensible for students. I thought about just remaking the questions from Sra Drew’s activity to fit my house-themed needs, but that felt a lot like plagiarizing, so now I’m stuck. I guess I need to figure out the point of the resource before I ask questions about it, so I guess I need to solidify the purpose of this resource within the unit.

What about you – what kind of questions would you ask? What might you change about it?
Here’s the resource; pretty comprehensible even if you don’t speak French.

A plus!


Update: as of July 16th, 2014, Airbnb has redesigned its website, and in my opinion, it makes it even MORE user-friendly and uses more icons/pictures – something that will definitely be a plus for our novice learners!