Tuesday, 7 January 2014

"Je suis un voleur"- Fun Oral Strategy

Even though today was really cold, and we didn't have that many students, we had some really good discussions going on!  Today we tried a new strategy to get the students talking in French.  I wanted them to push the limits of what they knew, and get them use the strategies they learned.  We set up the class as a challenge:  Each student was given 3 popsicle sticks.  The goal was to collect as many stick as you can by the end of the class.  Using the questions and words they knew in French, they had to have a conversation with a classmate.  if they spoke any English, they had to give their partner a stick.  If they made an error in answering a question (that their partner noticed) they had to relinquish a stick. 

It was really great to see the students push themselves to communicate in another way than English.  They were using gestures, facial expressions, and other strategies for speaking!  It was wonderful to see one of my fourth graders (who struggles with French class) have his "A-Ha!" moment when he started to read the resources around the classroom.  It was so rewarding to see that he knew where to find the answers to some of the questions asked.

While the students were having their conversations, I was able to work with my strugglers.  It was great to have the time to work with the small group to help reinforce and encourage them.  All the students were on task and trying hard to keep their sticks. 

After the activity, we had a quick discussion (in English) about what challenges they faced; the strategies they used; how they could be more successful in the activity; and what would they change about playing next time.  The class had some really insightful comments about their learning.  One student noted how some of the strategies came "naturally" when they were trying to communicate.  Another student made a great connection to a social issue: she noted that even though she knew some French the activity was challenging.  She connected her experience to that of a New Canadian trying to communicate after immigrating.  So much learning!

If you want to try this activity, here are the instructions: This activity works best when anchored to a specific set of vocab.  We were using some questions from our "Je me presente" unit as a starting point for discussion.  Each student is given a number of sticks (or counters, something that they can trade for the activity.)  In pairs, they start to have a conversation.  I found that the students were really good about "policing" themselves to speak in French.  I often heard, "ah ah ah, en francais!" while the game was going on. 

The goal is to collect all the sticks from your partner.  I gave the students 3 sticks, so when someone collected 6 the game was over.  With my older students, I have them switch partners and play another round. 

I am already thinking of some adaptations to try this again.  Do you have any ideas?  Suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. I love this game! I want to try it out with my classes!