Tag Archives: foreign langauge

French Verb Form and Vocabulary Task Cards

Task Cards are individual cards that offer students opportunities to engage with a particular topic in various forms.  Each typically has a prompt or activity that students complete either individually or in pairs or small groups.  There are usually different challenge levels as well.  Task cards are particularly useful because they provide lots of opportunities for hands-on activities and movement in the classroom.  They also lend themselves very easily to differentiation.

French Verb Form and Vocabulary Task Cards wlteacher.wordpress.comThere are 6 categories of prompts in the verb form task card sets, prompts include:

  • 1 Subject Pronoun, 4 Infinitives, student writes verb forms (cards 1-6)
  • 1 Infinitive, 4 Subject Pronouns, student writes verb forms (cards 7-12)
  • 4 Verb Forms, student writes infinitive (cards 13-18)
    Subject Pronouns and Conjugated Verb, student completes sentence (cards 19-24)
  • Sentence with Verb Missing, students chooses verb and writes form (cards 25-30)
  • Infinitive, student writes complete sentence (cards 31-36)
    These activities can be done in writing (response sheet included) or orally.

French Verb Form and Vocabulary Task Cards wlteacher.wordpress.com

There are 5 categories of prompts in each vocabulary task card set.  Prompts include:

  • Picture with choice of 4 words (cards 1-12)
  • Word with choice of 3 pictures (cards 13-18)
  • Fill in missing letters (cards 19-24)
  • 2 pictures, student writes words (cards 25-30)
  • Picture, student writes a sentence with the word (cards 31-36)

French Verb Form and Vocabulary Task Cards wlteacher.wordpress.com

For additional ideas on using these French Task Cards see my previous post on 10 Ways to Use Task Cards in the Foreign Language Classroom.

The SAMR Model

Technology is all around us and many teachers are integrating various technology tools into their teaching.  Though a new app, website, or computer software may appear (through marketing or other means) to be the “new best thing” you way want to decide this for yourself before using it with your students.  A great way to assess this is through the SAMR model.

SAMR Model: Using Technology in the Foreign (World) Language Classroom. (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comThis model, developed by Dr. Ruben Puentedura, offers a method of seeing how computer technology might impact teaching and learning. It shows a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress through teaching and learning with technology.  It is a framework through which teachers can assess and evaluate the technology used in the classroom. As teachers move along the continuum, computer technology becomes more important in the classroom but at the same time becomes more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning.

The SAMR model explained by Dr. Ruben Puentedura.

Foreign Language Interactive Speaking Activity to Practice Vocabulary and Structures

El Camino/Le Chemin is an engaging and interactive speaking activity that students can do in pairs or small groups. Very quick set-up with no prep needed. Just print out the two pages that make up the game board and students are ready to go.  Students can do this activity in groups of 2 or 3. Each player needs a game piece to move around the board. They can use a bingo chip, a coin or any object of similar size. One die is also needed for the activity.

Foreign (World) Language Interactive Speaking Activity (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comAll players start at “Début” or “Comeinzo.” Taking turns, each player rolls the die and moves the number of spaces rolled. The object is to land on the numbered boxes in the correct order (1-12). They can move in any direction, but they can’t use the same box twice in a turn. They can share a box with another player. The winner is the first player to land on square #12. The game can be made longer by having players return to “Début”  or “Comienzo”and work toward #12 a second time.

Foreign (World) Language Interactive Speaking Activity (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.com

Each time a player rolls the die and moves closer to the next number, he/she must say the verb, number, time, category word, etc. of the square he/she lands on. They can also be required to say a complete sentences.

You can download these activities here:

Foreign Language Speaking Activity, Easily Adapted to Proficiency Levels

This activity gives students a chance to express themselves confidently at their current proficiency level.  It is easily adapted by simply prompting students as to how they should speak (text type).

Foreign (World) Language Speaking Activity, Based onProficiency Levels (French, Spanish) www.wlteacher.wordpress.comTypically I have students work in pairs or in groups of 3. Begin by setting up a sheet with 12 categories on it that are number 1-12.  Provide 2 dice along with this paper.  Give each pair or group a small bag (not transparent) with small slips of colored paper along with a sheet that has a point value assigned to each color. For fun I also include a “Zut” or “Caramba” color which has no points assigned. You could also  put slips of parer with point values in the bag, but I like to keep it more engaging and colorful.  You can project the category sheet that the entire class can reference, but again I prefer to keep the activity centered in the group, so I provide an individual reference sheet.  The plastic frames that can hold a sheet of paper have come in very handy for me with various activities.

Foreign Language Speaking Activity, Easily Adapted to Proficiency LevelsStudents begin by each individually rolling 1 or both dice and attend to the category of the number.  If done correctly (group consensus), the student chooses a colored slip out of the bag and keeps a running total of points.  He/She puts the slip back in the bag.  After a predetermined amount of play time, the “winner” is the students with the highest points.

The teacher can easily adapt the speaking to the proficiency level of the students by using the tasks/functions and text types by ACTFL proficiency level.  You can learn more about these asks/functions and text types on the ACTFL OPI website.  Be sure to download the OPI Familiarization Manual.

If the students are at the novice level, they will give one word answers or short phrases, most likely giving an example of something in that category.  If they are at the intermediate level they can speak using a series of sentences or be required to ask a question of another player about the topic.  If students are at the advanced level they can speak at length in paragraph form.  The categories at this level will need to be more complex in nature, perhaps pertaining to world events or characters and plot in a story.

An Exercise in Foreign Language Circumlocution

The 100th day of school is a very important day in many elementary schools and there are lots of activities to celebrate, all based on the number 100. Each year, I challenge my 3rd graders to list 100 words and expressions that they know in the target language in 20 minutes. I give pairs of students a card with a category and they brainstorm words and expressions. It’s a great way for them to use category words in preparation for circumlocution.

An Exercise in Foreign Language Circumlocution (French, Spanish) wlteacher.wordpress.comWe then write the list. I always hold off on using the words for numbers, unless they are needed to reach 100. We did not need to resort to them this year.  It is all about the context.  Rather than listing words for fruit, ask students to tell you which fruits are their favorite, or to describe the colors.  Instead of asking for examples of verbs, have students tell you what they like to do on the weekends with their friends, and follow it up with when and where.  Once they communicate in context the words and expressions keep coming.

Spanish & French Verb Tense and Sentence Writing Powerpoint Activities

It’s one thing for students to learn verb forms, it’s another for them to know the meaning and be able to actively use them in a sentence.  To help with this, I created these verb tense (form) and sentence writing activities that are interactive.  I use Powerpoint to keep the process moving and engaging.

Spanish & French Verb Tense and Sentence Writing Powerpoint Activities wlteacher.wordpress.comThe teachers begins each slide with a single click that produces a number written in words on the bottom of the screen. Students find the digit in the grid and write the subject and correct verb form based on the column and row of the digit.

A circle appears and begins to disappear (20 seconds for the first 20 slides) during which time students write the subject and correct verb form. They can write this on a sheet of paper or on mini-white boards. The board is covered with a “Fin” square after 20 seconds.

A second click reveals the digit and the subject and verb so that students can verify that they found the correct number and the correct subject and verb form.

After practicing this activity on the first 20 slides, students can then write complete sentences on the next 20 slides by writing the subject, correct verb form and an answer to the question word that accompanies the infinitive. The timer on these slides is set to 30 seconds to allow more time to write the sentences. Students can then read examples of the sentences that they wrote.

Spanish & French Verb Tense and Sentence Writing Powerpoint Activities

The teacher is free to use as many or as few of the subject/verb slides before moving on to the subject/verb/question slides.

You can download over 25 versions of these activities in French and Spanish by clicking the links.

Topics include:

  • Present tense (regular, irregular, stem-change, accent-change verbs)
  • Past Tenses (preterit, present perfect, passé composé)
  • Present progressive
  • Simple future
  • Conditional
  • Subjunctive
  • Reflexive Verbs

Foreign Language Assessment: Knowing about language and doing something with language

Assessments often focus on knowing about the language at the exclusion of what the student can do with the language.  Below are some guidelines to help distinguish these two practices.  Take some time to find the balance of assessing what students can do with the language (context-based) and what they know about the language (minimal context).  I focus on the language particulars more when tasks involve writing and more on what students can do with the language when speaking.

Foreign Language Assessment: Knowing about language and doing something with language (French, Spanish) www.wlclassroom.com

These are some assessment characteristics that show what students know about  language:

  • They assess discrete points.
  • The answers are either right or wrong.
  • They are easily and quickly scored.
  • They test language content: vocabulary, grammar, and culture.
  • They involve the lower-level thinking skills of knowledge and comprehension.
  • They are usually given in formal testing periods.

These are some assessment characteristics that show what students can do with language:

  • They require that students create a product or do a demonstration.
  • They are scored holistically.
  • They are task-based.
  • The tasks are situation-based or use real-world content.
  • They involve higher-level thinking skills of application, integration, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • They are given in both formal and informal testing situations.

Take a look at the tasks and activities that you give students and determine what it is that they are actually assessing.  Are they focused on what students know about the language or what they can do with the language?

Activities that show what students know about language:

  • True/false
  • Multiple choice
  • Fill in the blanks
  • Match
  • Give the correct form of the noun, adjective, verb
  • Change one word for another, e.g. noun for pronoun
  • State the facts
  • Translate
  • Follow the model
  • Repeat, recite
  • Answer the questions

Activities that show what students can do with the language:

  • Complete the sentence logically.
  • State your opinion, thoughts, or comments.
  • Give personal answers.
  • Create a situation.
  • Seek information.
  • Develop a product, e.g. advertisement, brochure, collage, poem, song, essay, video, etc.
  • Demonstrate your knowledge.
  • Summarize, paraphrase.
  • Change the ending.

Find the balance in assessment and make sure that there are opportunities for students to demonstrate what they can do with the language in addition to what they know about it.

Foreign Language Speaking Activities Using Pictures and Photos

An effective way of getting students speaking is to have them describe a picture or photo, but this can a get a little old after a few times.  There are many paired and group activities that students can do with an image beyond a simple description.

Foreign Language Speaking Activities Using Pictures and Photos (French, Spanish) www.wlclassroom.com

I compiled 50 speaking activities using images and photos in the foreign language classroom.  Two of them are are:

  • One student orally describes a picture to a second student who then draws a copy of it.
  • One student orally describes a picture to another student who then is given a choice of pictures and must choose the one described.

You can download the entire document with all 50 ideas by clicking the box below.

These are fairly low-prep activities.  All the teacher really needs to do is find pictures (easily done on the Internet) that represent the vocabulary or topics. Why not involve students in process as well?