September 14, 2016

Fomenting Revolution

IMG_4922.JPGI am blown away by the engagement this year in creating these One Word Images.  I truly chalk it up to the artists’ work.  It is such fun to turn the easel around after the OWI has been discussed for about twenty minutes or so and see the invisible object that we imagined become visible!

My French One class (seventh graders)  is loving the One Word Images.  In fact, they are loving them SO MUCH that we tend to get a little overwhelmed by all the excitement.  If only I could show the kids in class in these videos, you would see them bouncing, almost falling out of their seats, yelling, gesticulating wildly – sometimes I fear a bit for my life in there!  Thank goodness for the Professeurs 2!   Yes, we have two of them now.  Ben Slavic is, to me, endlessly creative and inventive, and the student jobs he has developed over the years are so foundational to my success in CI teaching, and the Profe 2 is, for me, in the top two jobs.  (The other one is his newly-created Story Driver)

We have had to assign two Professeurs 2 – one male and one female.  As you will hear in the video, the boys were quite upset that the female Professeur 2 was making all the calls.  (It is kind of funny because just statistically, the girls make up 75% of the class and only 25% boys!) So now we rotate, so one gets to decide one detail and the other gets to decide the next one.  It is a testament to the interest generated by these images!  You can hear the boys fomenting revolution during the turn and talk time.

Speaking of turning and talking, I never did these L1 turn and talks in my language classes till this year.  However, my nine years in English Language Arts and Social Studies were chock full o’ turn and talk.  I am experimenting with them as I think it helps us to focus better when we are communicating in L2.  Simply listening with the intent to understand is so taxing.  I really noticed that at iFLT listening to Linda Li teach Mandarin!  Listening is rigorous work and a little L1 processing seems to be improving the focus.

Part one:  We are talking about the calendar (and learn that the teacher is not perfect…but presque parfaite…LOL) and an absent student’s birthday.
Part two:  Pick this up at 4:15 as it repeats part of the first video.  Or if you want to see where the One Word Image starts, pick it up at 7:00.  At the end of this video we really start to do some negotiation of meaning, which is fine, but I think that part of class could have been smoother and required less stress for us all .  The students did not understand that I was asking about the color of normal pigs.  It took about three minutes to establish that fact in French.  Looking back, I see that I should have POINTED to “normal” the first time I said “normaux” but failed to do so because I thought that the kids would get it.  After all, it is a pretty string cognate.  But I was saying “normaux” which sounds very different, and oftentimes we see cognates and the kids do not.
Part three:  The iPad’s memory filled up and cut us off but you can see us working further with the OWI of the eggplant-pig.  And you can hear more revolution being fomented by the garçons in this class of 75% filles.  Do not fear, order was restored the following day with the addition of our Professeur 2 masculin.

Second-year French will soon be doing stories using the Invisibles.  Today they had a ropes course field trip so the half of class who was left behind spent the period drawing characters.  Some of their characters were adorable and I cannot wait to feature them in stories.  They are already trained and ready to do stories because we started last February when I started helping Ben Slavic pilot the work with telling stories that use emergent language, not pre-planned target structures/words.


Leave a Reply