Category Archives: Speaking

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking

Once you get a hang of the process, creating QR codes to access student recordings is fairly straight forward and students can quickly learn to do it themselves.  There are mays ways to use QR codes in the foreign language classroom.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comOne thing I like to do is make the codes available to parents so that they can listen to their kids speaking the language.  For example, I made this bulletin board interactive so that the students voices can be heard reading their writing assignment.  All it takes is a QR reading app on a smartphone to quickly and instantly hear the student’s voice.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comHere are the steps for recording audio and creating a QR Code.  There are various apps for recording audio and a number of website to create QR codes.  These are simply the ones that I use.

Record on an app like Voice Record (available for free).

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You can use Google drive to upload the audio files or Dropbox .    Create a folder for the audio. Put the audio files into the folder.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comClick on an audio file and select share.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comCopy the URL.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comGenerate a QR link. Use http://www.qrstuff.com/
Paste the URL into the box and QR code will generate to the right. You can download the image or copy the image from the screen.

Using QR Codes to Record and Access Student Speaking (Foreign Language, French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.com

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game)

This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice language structures.  These activities focus on grammar points and are similar to the vocabulary activities in a previous post.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game) French and Spanish wlteacher.wordpress.comStudents can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Grammar Topics (Dice Game)Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and says the correct form of the subject and verb in the box. For more of a challenge players can be required to use the verb form in a sentence.  There are also possibilities for other grammar points such as adjectives, possessive and demonstrative adjectives.

If correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.

Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.

You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.

Spanish Language Structure Activities

French Language Structure Activities

Topics:

  • Regular Verbs
  • Irregular Verbs
  • Present Tense
  • Past Tenses
  • Future Tense
  • Demonstrative Adjectives
  • Possessive Adjectives

Chat Stations in the World Language Classroom

When I read about Chat Stations on the Cult of Pedagogy website and I immediately saw how this could be very beneficial in the world language classroom.  This procedure gives students an opportunity to work cooperatively in the target language while moving around the room and working with different prompts.

Chat Stations in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom. (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comThe types of prompts can be as simple as makings lists for novice learners (fruit, vegetable, clothing, city locations), describing a photo for intermediate learners, or stating and supporting opinions for more advanced language learners.  It is a fairly easy set-up and follow-up as a large group will be much richer once students have worked on the prompts in small groups.  This type of activity is also an effective opportunity for formative assessment and feedback from the teacher as the teacher circulates among the groups and interacts as necessary to clear up any language issues that groups may struggle with. Here is a video from Cult of Pedagogy explaining how to use and set-up Chat Stations.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign Language Vocabulary (Dice Game)

This fun and engaging speaking activity is a great opportunity for students to practice vocabulary.Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each group needs a copy of the game board, one die, and 36 bingo chips.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.worpress.com

Players take turns rolling the die twice. The first number is the vertical number and the second number is the horizontal number. The player locates the box at the intersection of the two numbers and identifies the picture in the box. For higher proficiency levels players can use word in a sentence.

Small Group Speaking Activity to Practice Foreign (World) Language Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.worpress.comIf correct, the player scores the number of points in the box. Once a box is used the player covers the box with a bingo chip and that box can’t be used again. If a player rolls the die and the corresponding box is taken he/she forfeits the turn.

Play continues between players until all the squares are covered. The winner will be the player with the most points once the board is covered.

You can download complete version of these activities in French and Spanish on the topics listed below.  Take a look at this post if you are looking for this activity with more of focus on language structures.

Spanish Vocabulary Activities

French Vocabulary Activities

Topics:

  • Animals
  • Classroom
  • Clothing
  • Colors
  • Fruits & Vegetables
  • Rooms & Furniture
  • City Places
  • Food & Drinks
  • Jobs and Professions
  • Transportation
  • Days, Months, Date
  • Time
  • Numbers 1-50
  • Numbers 1-000
  • Numbers 1-1,000

Language Proficiency and Accuracy in the Foreign Language Classroom

Language Proficiency and Accuracy in the Foreign (World Language Classroom (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comProficiency and Fluency are the natural use of language that occurs when a speaker takes part in meaningful interaction and maintains communication despite inaccuracy. They often require negotiation of meaning and address misunderstandings.

Accuracy focuses on correct use of language and structures.

Activities in the foreign language classroom tend to fall into these two categories.

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 8.41.35 PMTaking the key words from these activity descriptions, we can see that Proficiency-Based Activities focus on meaningful communication, employ strategies to navigate unpredictable language, use language in context, and don’t use dictated structures.  Accuracy-Based Activities focus on small amounts of correct language used out of context, use dictated structures and don’t focus on communication.

Where does this leave us, given that accurate language is needed to communicate in context?  I believe that there is a place for both types of activities in the foreign language classroom. Traditional teaching methods have focused most attention on accuracy of language at the expense of proficiency and fluency. In the communicative language classroom instruction should provide a balanced approach that gives students opportunities to build proficiency, while at the same time tending to the accuracy of their language.

Foreign Language Comprehensible Input and Proficiency Goals

Comprehensible Input is language that a student hears or reads that has meaning.  This does not imply that the learner understands all of the words and structures, but rather that the learner is able to interpret enough of the language to make meaning out of what is being heard or read.  Typically, new vocabulary and structures are presented using comprehensible input and the learner is expected to draw on what is comprehensible to make sense or meaning out of the unfamiliar words or structures.

Foreign (World) Language Comprehensible Input and Proficiency Goals (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comFor example, though a learner does not know how to put a verb in the past tense, he can deduce that the verb in the sentence, “I walked to school yesterday” is in the past tense because he comprehends the words “I,” “walk,” “to,” “school,” and “yesterday.”  With additional comprehensible input and rich examples the learner eventually picks up on the “ed” morpheme that puts the verb in the past tense and will begin applying it himself.  This takes some practice on the part of the teacher to make sure that the language is comprehensible to the learner and includes structures a little beyond the current proficiency level.  A solid understanding of the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines and text types will help in this area.

This works well when students have a wealth of language to pull from, but what about novice learners?  In this case I rely a lot on visuals and eventually use only language that is known by students and supply the visual only for new words.  The goal is always to work toward a higher proficiency level and for students to know what the goal is.  For example, with my 3rd graders, a proficiency goal as a novice-low reaching toward novice-mid is to say what they like to do and what they do not like to do.

IMG_2711The class is conducted entirely in the target language using visuals and gestures as comprehensible input.  Once students have acquired the vocabulary and structure and can state what they like and don’t like to do they place a sticker on the proficiency goal.  They often use the visuals as a guide when speaking, but there is no reliance on the native language since there are no words.  This requires a few classes and diverse activities with the new vocabulary, but 100% target language use is possible.

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Practicing Numbers and Math Vocabulary in a Foreign Language

More practice with numbers in a foreign language, but now it’s time to introduce math vocabulary and have students do some math in the foreign language.  I use UNO cards for this, but you can write numbers on index cards or use regular playing cards (minus the face cards with the ace being  number 1).

Practicing Numbers and Math Vocabulary in a Foreign Language (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comI usually have students work in groups of two and we play on the floor with the cards spread out, face down, in the middle of the circle.  Before beginning, decide what type of math problem it will be, addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.  I usually stick to addition for more novice students multiplication with more advanced students.

Group choose two random cards and writes out their math problem (on a mini white board or piece of paper).  We go around the circle and each groups reads their math problem in the target language.  Once all groups read, they return the cards to the pile, mix them up, and choose two new cards and repeat the writing and reading of the new problem.  At the end of each round, groups add their new total to their previous toal and say what the new total is.  They keep a running total of their points.  The numbers can get rather high, particularly when multiplying.

Students get excited to have the highest number.  When done, the group with the highest total is named the winner.

The Proficiency-Based Foreign Language Classroom

Organic World Language (OWL) foreign language teaching methodology has been instrumental in reframing my approach to teaching.  It has helped me to understand not only the importance of teaching with proficiency objectives, but how to do it.

Proficiency-Based Foreign (World) Language Classroom (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comOWL is “a vibrant, passionate, and active community of educators and students dedicated to working together to establish classroom environments where learners are empowered and engaged. We believe in movement, 100% immersion and an emphasis on the importance of creating community in the classroom. The OWL techniques and strategies align with the National and World Readiness Standards, ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines, the Common Core Standards, IB and AP programs.”

Foreign Language Card Games to Practice Verb Forms and Vocabulary

Students enjoy this communicative activity that gives them lots of opportunities to practice vocabulary and verb forms.  This game is based on the classic French game Le Jeu de Sept Familles (The Game of Seven Families). The goal of the game is to collect the six cards (a half dozen) with the same name. The deck contains 7 “families” which are identified by 7 names in the vocabulary version or 7 infinitives in the verb form version. Each “family” has 6 members (6 pictures or the 6 conjugations of the infinitive).

Foreign (World) Language Card Games to Practice Verb Forms and Vocabulary (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comBegin by distributing 6 cards to each player. The rest of the pile remains face down in the middle. Player 1 starts the game by asking any player if he has a card (picture or verb form) that he needs to complete a family (Half Dozen). The player may only ask for cards for a name that he has in his hands.

If the player asked has the card, he will give it to player 1. Player 1 will ask again. If the player asked does not have the card, he will say “Pioche” or “Recoge” and player 1 will take a card from the pile, and play will continue with the next player.

When a player collects all 6 pictures or all 6 forms of a verb, he announces it to the group and puts the cards down for everyone to see. When there are no more cards in the pile, the game continues without players picking up new cards. The player with the most names completed at the end of the game wins.

You can download full versions of these activities below:

Spanish Vocabulary

Spanish Verb Forms

French  Vocabulary

French Verb Forms

Novice Level Foreign Language Speaking : From Scaffolded to Interpersonal Dialog

Novice Level Foreign (World) Language Speaking : From Scaffolded to Interpersonal Dialog (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comNovice learners are often intimated to begin using a new foreign language that they are learning.  One activity that I do with them begins with the class co-creating a dialog that uses many of the functional chunks, song lyrics and vocabulary words that they have learned.  We purposefully leave out some information that students add in later based on personal information or choices.

Once this is done, groups of 2 students pair up to practice the dialog.  For some added fun I often let them use puppets and they can use a funny voice.  This helps to break down any inhibitions that they.  After practicing with the written dialog for a little while, groups continue working with the dialog without the text.  They then switch partners and continue communication interpersonally without the scaffolding of the written dialog.  The questions and answers often change with each new partner, but communication stays in the target language.