Thursday, April 24, 2014

Les adjectifs

Students are continuing to take notes based on my lessons and there is still a mad rush among many to be the first to view my lessons.  I keep uploading lessons and forgetting to click the publish button.  Many are persistent and will check throughout the evening in case there is any change in the status of the video.  The next day they are rewarded with French cash!  Hopefully all will have viewed the video before our next task tomorrow.

Here is the next video on adjective placement.  Normally the adjective is after the noun except for the "Baton" adjectives:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Students engaging in the lesson

If you view this video, there is a spelling error that I made TWICE - instead of typing voici, I typed voice. I don't know why, I never do that normally. However, when I checked my email the night I posted the lesson, I had many notifications from YouTube that students had commented on my video on my error. Another one also thought that my adjective as the passé composé and asked a question about that as well. All in French!!! When they came in the next day, everyone was excited to talk about my mistake and we discussed whether Madame used the word 'fermé' as an adjective, or was it a past participle?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Test results - Imparfait

The results are in from the test.  The students mostly had A's, even when I made the writing tasks harder.  The lowest mark was 60.  I asked if the online lessons helped, and for some it did.  I also did one other thing differently.  I didn't have time to correct all the students work the day before the test, so I posted the answers online and told the students to check it themselves.  Perhaps for some students who wouldn't have otherwise studied, this was an advantage for them.  It kind of forced them to go online to correct their own work and go back to the tutorial if they needed to.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Using the imparfait in context

After flipping the class and doing tasks, it was time to take the learning up a notch and have the students actually using the concept in their writing.  I was taking the D2L advanced course online and creating lessons for imparfait anyway.  I had the students view a picture online and write sentences describing what they saw.

Imagine que tu as un caméra et tu filmes cette scène. Écris 10 phrases à l'imparfait.
Réponds à ces questions: Qu'est-ce que les gens faisaient? Décris les gens. Décris le temps (soleil, température). Décris le décor.

Quand tu as fini, remets ton travail dans le dropbox. Décris cette scène
Si tu ne sais pas comment remettre ton travail, clique ici pour voir le vidéo.

I gave them feedback and had them correct their work for a mark.  They were pretty good at this.  Again I had maybe 5 who didn't take it seriously, or else just wrote their sentences on a piece of paper. 

I was also preparing and oral communication activity - a restaurant review. I also asked them to describe their restaurant setting in the imparfait. This they did on the blog posts in D2L. That didn't go over too well, so they wrote them down on paper and had their peers check the verbs for correct usage and conjugation. I left this up to them to work out and have not yet seen their work.

My third Imparfait lesson

Time for the third lesson came and I was able to create the video without too much problem.  Students had complained that they were unable to view the video - I wasn't sure why.  Maybe because they did not have Windows Media Player?  I was forced to created a YouTube channel.  Everyone can access that.
I sat at my desk while the students were working and one student had finished early.  I asked him if he knew anything about creating a YouTube channel.  He did - I am not surprised and he walked me through it - in French.
Now I had a YouTube channel.  I uploaded my lesson and told the students.  They were thrilled and thought it was so cool.  I told them they didn't have to subscribe, I would just post it on the D2L site.  They WANTED to subscribe.  How awesome is that.

If you are a francophile, you will notice that I made a slight error.  I forgot to put an apostrophe between the je and entendais.  It's difficult to be focused on everything when you are creating these video lessons!
Anyway, the students told me the next day.  Ok, rewards for watching the video and an extra one if you noticed my mistake.
I didn't want any negative parent feedback, so I took the video off the D2L site and replaced it with a Prezi I created for my course which covers the same concept.
Here it is:
I checked the note-taking - all good.  A few students lagged behind and had to view the video at recess - maybe 5 total.  Onto to inclass work.  Very few students appeared to need my help.  My lowest student proudly showed her work.  I'm not sure what is helping her.  I think she gets help from her peers.  In any case, it's more than what she would do if she took it home.

Moving from the 2nd lesson

I gave the students an extra day to view the lesson, so they would have time to do the task and come back with any questions.  I also gave out French money as a reward for those who took notes AND did the task.  I discovered there were students who only did the task and did not take notes, write a date, or title.  Looking at the work this way, it didn't make much sense, even if the student did the work correctly.  I emphasized good note-taking.   It's a good practice.  The kids pointed out that the video was still accessible and that they could view it again.  I pointed out that wifi may not be available and the video might disappear.  At least they would have their notes. 
I might be old-school, but I still think there is a mental process that happens when we take notes, where we are more conscious about what it is we are learning.  Well, it can be for most, anyway.

Imparfait Lesson 2 - flipped

I thought I was the flipping expert by lesson 2!  I already knew how to make a video and post it on D2L.  Amazing!
I created a 2nd lesson for imparfait.  It took me a long time to create.  First, I forgot to capture the screen before recording.  So basically, I recorded nothing the first few times.  I also had to remember about fonts, and changing the keyboard to French before starting.
I finally got it together and posted it onto the D2L site for the following day's homework.  This flipping the class thing requires a lot of organization.  I needed to be able to tell the kids to go on the site that day and actually have something useful for them to view.
I forgot to mention that I have some real keeners in the class.
So, at about 4pm, I get an email from a student asking where the video was, he couldn't access it. 
It's saved to be played with VLC media player, which the students may or may not have.  But last time it was saved with Windows Media player????  How did I do that for lesson 2? 
So as I panicked trying to get the thing saved with Windows Media Player, it just wasn't working.  Good thing I saved it anyway.  Time was ticking by and I had to go home to my own kids.  Hockey night.  I posted a News item in D2L saying that the kids could just forget it - not working and don't worry about the video.  Great.
After dinner, I brought up the file and since I didn't have VLC at home, it saved with Windows Media Player automatically.  I posted it on the site and took off the panick News item and hoped that the students would check that night.
Here is my lesson:

Luckily,I have keeners and most of the students were able to watch the video and do the task.  As it was my fault that others couldn't, I just had them view it at recess.  I did reward those keeners with French money.  Hey, they deserved it for being persistant!!

Parent reaction to the Flipped Classroom

I had informed parents that the homework was going to seem a little different.  Mostly I just wanted to prepare them for the fact that the students were going to use the computer and develop note-taking at home.  I received some responses, mostly encouraging.  Some parents were aware of the Khan academy and supported my taking intiative to do something new.  A few asked questions regarding catching up on homework because they were taking their kids out a few days early before March Break vacation.  Flipping the classes was very handy for that.  The student could catch up while away - wifi is everywhere - or upon return to Canada.  No extra work for me -  the lessons were online, as well as practice because I was also using the material for content in the D2L course.  I have to say, Flipping the Classroom is great for this. 
I did, however, receive one heated email that made me question whether this was worth the bother.  The parent misunderstood my intentions and assumed that I was not teaching the children at all, just posting lessons and assigning tasks.   He threatened to complain about me to the superintendant and the Ministry of Education.  Ironically, I was asked by the 21C inquiry group to do this and it is probably funded by the Ministry of Education.  Fortunately for me, my principal and vice-principal were very supportive of me and we tread delicately with this parent.  The waters were calmed and I was good to proceed.  However, I did learn that although I know education needs major changes for today's world, not everyone is comfortable with it and I have to be prepared for some push-back.
In the end, I decided to move forward.  I know that I would never jeopardize my students' learning and I always put them first. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Flipping French First Lesson

Because we were doing the Imparfait in grammar, and it is pretty straightforward, I decided to flip my first lesson doing this concept.

Here is my video:

It is pretty basic, nothing exciting.  I used the smartboard recorder and typed my lesson in, talking while I went along. 
The next day I found I had a 50% success rate.  I have a French money system in my class, so I rewarded those who went online to learn the new grammar concept and gave the others a second chance to view it for the next day.  I went on with other business we had to attend to and didn't really have time for the grammar lesson anyway.  The following day about 25% more students followed the lesson and did the task (looking for more French money) and those who hadn't seen it, stayed in at recess to do it.
We did our practice sheet according to the flipped lesson, and there really wasn't much to do to help the students, although I was there if they needed me.

Flipping the French classroom

Starting out, it seemed too overwhelming.  At day one of the Inquiry-based in-service, we were presented with the idea of the flipped classroom and everyone seemed to know of many ways to use technology to achieve this idea.  I didn't seem nor claim to know much about it.  I blend student learning but I really don`t have a flipped classroom. 

When I left the in-service, all I knew was that I needed to tape my lessons, post them online, have students view them the night before, ask questions and show task work the day after. 

Also - I needed to be prepared to spend 5 or 6 hours taping my first lesson of 5 minutes.