It’s been a crazy month. We’ve spent a lot of January finishing our Quebec City unit. The concept was that the students had won a trip to Quebec City. We spent two months learning the ins and outs of the touristy stuff in Quebec – restaurants, attractions, winter activities, hotels, etc. I think the hotel part was one of my favourite parts, because it was interesting to surf travel websites and compare and contrast the hotels that were at our disposal. The students found some great deals, and were responsible for finding different types: some with pools, some close to a specific tourist sight, and some that were more expensive or cheaper. The project itself was interesting, and the kids were very successful while doing it. I was incredibly impressed.
Last week, I had my first really big ‘a-ha!’ moment. As a group, we learned to read. And we did this by understanding Les mots amis.
Les mots amis are, in a basic translation, Word Friends. A mot ami is a word in French that you recognize as being incredibly similar to an English word. So similar, in fact, that you can figure out the French word based on the definition that you know of the word in English. So, to try and figure out the texts that we were reading, we broke them up in chunks, and paragraphs. Just a little bit at a time. We read a text that had to do with Remembrance Day – a big text, that I’ve actually used before in French Immersion. We then spent time, breaking down paragraph by paragraph, and highlighted all of the words that were familiar to us. Something like what you see below:
After spending a whole day playing with my classes on Akinator, I need to share it. We had such a great time, and it was an amazing way to practice our French skills.
For the past month, my students and I have been learning various ways to describe our friends. It’s been fantastic, but I wanted a way that we could get together to actually put them into practice, while reading and speaking. We played “Qui suis-je?” together a few times, and the students had fun doing it, but it could only be played for so many rounds together. That’s when I found Akinator.
Akinator, called “the Web Genius”, is a website where a genie asks various questions to try to guess the person that you are thinking of. I’d say that as long as you answer the questions truthfully, he manages to guess it every time. The only time that we ran into problems was when we weren’t quite sure enough of the answer so we guessed – and then although he tried to recover, he couldn’t always figure out who we were referring to. We did it as a class, which was a lot of fun. They have this website in multiple languages, but to practice for Core French, we used the French site. We had a great time doing it, and the whole class participated with a lot of enthusiasm.
I highly suggest using it to integrate technology and reading into your Core French curriculum. It enabled us to practice the various vocabulary that we had been learning about for the past month in a very practical way, because you had to know how to read the question properly to be able to answer it. Even if it’s just to use as a practice for students, it’s well worth it. They’re always amazed by the outcome, and love to try and trip him up (which doesn’t happen easily, trust me).
And hey! They also have an app for iPhones and iPods, which is always a fun activity to have on there. Watch people in amazement as they try to confuse him.
The reading bug, that is. Not to say that I haven’t gotten the actual bug, because I’m sick … again. Seems like at least once a month I catch something, and June has been no exception (although I was hoping it would, what with the nice weather and all). OFF TRACK, sorry. Let’s try this again:
I caught the reading bug.
When I catch it, I fall hard. I live, breathe, eat and sleep reading. I’m usually able to put off doing it during the school year, because I get so consumed by reading that I stay up way too late just living in these other worlds and devouring picturesque words and fascinating details. I picked up a book when I needed something to do Monday night when it was raining. “Quick reads,” I told myself. “You need to train yourself to be able to read and be human at the same time.” That must sound like an easy task. For those who read the way that I do, you know it’s not. So I came up with a challenge for myself: read the children’s literature books that I want to recommend for my students this summer. And this challenge is more fun that I thought it would be.