Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Combining technology and AP standards

Today the CollabLab welcomes guest blogger Kirsten Fletcher, a French teacher at Elk Grove.  She can be reached @MmeFletch

One of the standards for the new AP French test requires students to listen to authentic texts. While searching for comprehensible texts this summer during an AP conference, I came across a project created by an elementary teacher in France called “Photo de classe."

This project contains several videos interviewing elementary students on a variety of topics: their families, immigration, languages they speak, racism and what it means to be “French.” In addition, each student created their own video talking about themselves. It seemed to me this fit in perfectly with the AP theme “QuĂȘte de soi,” or Personal and Public Identities.

So the question became, how to use this amazing resource in class? We began by listening to the videos posted on the site. Since it is authentic language (not created for Americans), students were exposed to grammatical structures and vocabulary that they would not otherwise have seen. After watching parts in class, students went home and watched videos to see what individual French students had to say about themselves. The next day, they summarized what they had seen in small groups. We brainstormed what elements we had seen in the videos that we could use to talk about ourselves.

Then I assigned a video self-portrait. We took the elements that we had determined constituted “identity” and students had to include many of them in their project. First, they made a PicCollage as a starting point for their self-portrait. Then, they wrote out their presentation in a Google Doc and gave me permission to edit. After revising based on my suggestions, they recorded their 2 minute self-portraits. I gave them the option to use apps such as ShowMe, Educreations and Explain Everything. I also graded them based on the AP rubric, so they had to pay attention to vocabulary, grammar, formal register, sentence structure, and organization.

So far, the videos have turned out to be amazing. I’m thinking about posting them in some kind of public format just like the teacher whose classroom we observed did.

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