Every day, my students in the Grade 5/6 class, and my students in the Grade 4 class, and I do something we call “Comment ça va ?” This is what I do when I’m setting up my computer to the smart board, so that we don’t have any down time from when I walk in, we’re practicing conversation, and, as an added bonus, I get a pretty good pulse on what’s going on in their lives that day. It’s a way to connect with them, and for many of my students, it’s the part that they look most forward to in our 30 minute lesson. After they’ve said “Bien,” or “Mal,” or “Comme ci, comme ça,” depending on how they are feeling, they will then either say what’s going on in French, or if they can’t say the full thing in French, they will tell me in English, and then we will repeat what they said in French. I began noticing that they were asking me a lot of the same words over and over, like birthday, or weekend.
So, we’ve decided to be proactive about it. When I walk in, they take out their writing books. After someone tells us what’s going on in their lives, we choose a word that we want to put into our mon dictionnaire personnel. Only after a week, this is what the Grade 4 personal dictionary looks like.
I’ve noticed that it has begun working. Today, a student began telling me about his day, and mentioned his birthday was coming up, only he said, “Mme, my fête is coming!”. Hey! Every little bit counts.
I’m most excited about this because I’m getting in on the fun. Today, the students chose the word “scooter” for translation, but I did not know what the real word for it was. Did you know that a scooter is une trottinette? Me neither. I love enriching my vocabulary that way.
While it’s great that we’re always learning vocab that has to do with our units, I think that this is a fun and different way to learning every day words that we’re always trying to infuse in the conversations that we’re having, and it’s being dictated by the students participation, which in an activity like, “Comment …?” is always very enthusiastic. These are the words that they use every day. Why shouldn’t they have it at their disposal this way?