It was the last day of this current school year with students. Mid-morning, I scanned final grades to insure that there would be no surprises for parents or students. One of my sweet 6th-grade boys’ over all semester percentage showed him to be one point under a B. Completing our last marking period with a… Read More Last Day Reflections – what I learned
Listening to Professor Bill Van Patten’s weekly podcast on L2 (2nd language acquisition) really helps me think correctly about how I plan and conduct my middle school French classes. Van Patten explains that through comprehensible input a mental representation of the target language begins to form in the mind. What qualifies as ‘comprehensible input’? It is language (in my… Read More Kids’ L2 speaking and how it emerges
Pop psychologist Malcolm Gladwell popularized the ‘10,000 hour rule’ for building competency and skill in a chosen activity when he wrote his popular book, Outliers. Recently at the American Council of Teaching Foreign Languages (ACTFL)‘s 2016 annual conference in Boston, I crystallized my sense of how second-language classes in schools should operate. Often these foreign language classes are… Read More What IS the skill involved in 2nd language acquisition?
Yesterday morning I was greeted by a happy surprise. A former student of mine (from 14 years ago in a French 1 class) sent me an audio text with him singing a song from French class. This delightful boy was a joker back then and he has retained his playful sense of humor. The song he… Read More More evidence – the power of music in the classroom
Last week my 6th-grade French students who are in month # 7 of their French language experience individually presented the story of Vercingétorix and Wormetha. Now you might have heard of Vercingétorix, France’s original hero from the first century BC. He united the Gallic peoples against Julius Caesar. But I’m sure you’ve never been told the… Read More Pointing out the not so obvious to my students
When my youngest son came back from Lac du Bois, a French-language summer camp run by Concordia College – French language camp info, I pumped him for information about what they did. As a French teacher, I’m always looking for new activities or insights into how better to hook students and plant the French bug!… Read More Music and Pedagogy
I’ve trained my students to answer this question correctly: Whose fault is it if you don’ t know a French word? The correct answer is ‘my fault’! – that is ‘me – the teacher’ Shocked at first because they anticipated that I would say it was THEIR fault as students, I quickly follow up with… Read More Interesting observation about rates of acquisition