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Stuck in a rut

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by sduckworth, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. I teach in an all-boys school in Canada. I teach grades 3 to 5 (8-11 years old). We do lots of drama in French class and they love it. I also use a program called AIM (The Accelerative Integrated Method) which uses gestures to teach vocab. The kinesthetic element really appeals to boys. Here are some videos of my students performing their plays:
    The password for all videos is
    plays
    Gr.3: Le chat et la lune, http://www.vimeo.com/24199926


    Gr. 4: Un jour bizarre, http://vimeo.com/24515344


    Gr. 5, Un frère pénible, http://www.vimeo.com/24312017
    I also had the grade 5's do ICT projects and they really enjoyed that. You can see them here:
    http://projetsdegrade5.wikispaces.com/
    Here is the link for AIM:
    http://aimlanguagelearning.com/
    Sylvia


     
  2. Try thinking of **** lessons - Challenge, Relevance, Audience, Purpose. There is a wealth of Web 2.0 tools out there at your disposal, so start by enlisting your students' help in setting up a blog, or use a social networking vehicle such as www.edmodo.com which is far safer than anything like Facebook.. They can then use tools such as www.voki.com for creating and voicing avatars, www.storybird.com for creating stories supported by high quality professional artwork, www.zondle.com to create vocab games, www.xtranormal.com or www.goanimate.com to make short animated films - I could go on! (Even asking questions becomes more fun if you use the Random Name Generator in www.classtools.net, and boys in particular respond well to anything that randomises production and makes it active, like dice games or Pass the Bomb.)
    The blog will become the showcase for their work, and believe me they will want it to be polished and professional, as the world is the potential audience. The blog is also a great vehicle for peer assessment, which is highly effective in securing greater levels of engagement and motivation. Look carefully at AfL principles, and try to build these in to your daily routines. For wider relevance, tired old topics can be "tweaked" to give a more thought-provoking challenge to students. Have a look at www.clil4teachers.pbworks.com - there is a wealth of cross-curricular materials available to inject greater realtites into language lessons.
    To get a handle on some of the theory behind effective learning, and which approaches yield the greatest benefits to learners, I can heartily recommend Geoff Petty's books, "Teaching Today" and "Evidence-based teaching" (Nelson Thornes).
    Finally, get a Twitter account and jpoin the MFL Twitterati - a community of MFL professionals who will be more than happy to help out - it's like belonging to the best MFL dept. in the world, and provides daily doses of highly personalised CPD. You can get access to Flashmeetings, in which we meet "virtually" from time to time to discuss issues, share ideas and generally support each other through videoconferencing, which you can do in the comfort of your own home, preferably with a good Merlot by your elbow! Nil desperandum, there are no strangers out here in Twitterland, just friends you haven't yet met!
     
  3. Thanks for all your advice and input... It was exactly what I needed.
    I think the comment that things are probably working okay is true as classwork and student feedback tends to be more positive than I anticipate. I think my concerns stem from teaching so many low ability sets (and workingclass white males too!) and finding ways to engage them. The more able sets are coping fine apart from the disengaged minority. Even in my lower sets, I have pupils who enjoy the subject but I am conscious that I could be doing more to inspire the others. I'm not even necessarilly concerned about having incredibly exciting lessons every time but I just feel something is lacking.
    I have looked at all suggestions and am very encouraged. I've already considered using voki and wikis (set up and ready to go) and have used ePals with some of my top sets and realise that there is a lot of potential for great things.I have been reluctant to attempt certain things due to poor behaviour in a number of classes and I think the point about class management is very valid - I would hope that in the coming years I will have established myself enough to have a high level of control and will be able to be rather more ambitious than I have been with certain groups.
    Thanks again for your replies. I am working on setting up a link with colleagues in another school and will have a look at some of the videos suggested...
    By the way, who should I follow on Twitter? I have an account but don't know how to connect with other MFL teachers.

    Thanks
     
  4. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

    A good place to start is the follow the list @joedale/mfl-twitterers - I'm sure Joe will be happy to add you to the list if you let us know who you are on twitter.
     

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