Let's talk about tech! Specifically, how you can make tech work for your French classroom. Technology is a huge part of education now, and it can be very intimidating for someone who isn't 100% comfortable using it. Take a look below to read about ideas for how you can integrate technology into your French classroom!
You’ve probably heard of a detox before. Maybe you’ve even tried one! But have you heard of the DIGITAL detox? Think about
how often you clean your house. Are you spending the same, or ANY time cleaning up your digital spaces as well? If the answer is no, I’m crying. Just kidding, but if you take ten minutes out of your day to ensure that your digital space is organized, I promise you that your quality of life will increase.
So, what does this look like? Challenge yourself to tackle one of the below tasks:
🗂 Organize Your Google Drive: this is the place where files go to never be seen again. Take ten minutes to colour code your folders and then just start dropping any and all files in the right spots. If you do ten files a day, you’ll be organized in no time!
💻 Your Desktop: if you do not have folders on your desktop, you really need them! Think about this: every morning when you open your computer, all you see is a sea of cluttered files. What kind of tone does that set for your day? If you’re just starting, three folders labelled “Important”, “School” and “Other” are a great place to start.
🗑 Your Trash & Downloads Folders: this one goes out to my MacBook users here. Did you know that by emptying your Trash and Downloads folders, you can speed up your computer? Having lots of big files sitting around that you’re not using can make your computer extremely slow. Take a minute today to sort through those and speed up your computer at the same time!
ENGAGING YOUR STUDENTS 👋🏼 🧠
If you’re passionate about a task or an assignment, that’s pretty great. But if your students are EXCITED too, then you’re golden!
If you are a French teacher, you know that the struggle is REAL. With limited resources and pushback from students, I know you are working extra hard to find things that check all of the boxes: fun, meaningful, rich and engaging.
Here are ways that you can engage your FSL students when it comes to online learning
🎯 Games: The best way to make students love something is to call it a game! Whether it’s a challenge or an independent game, nothing sparks the learning flame like a fun game. Think about it; one of my fondest early day computer lab memories is playing Math Circus! By turning curriculum-based tasks into games, you are guaranteed to have your students learning.
🌍 Real-Life Content: Make sure that the content you are providing your students with is relatable to them! By providing real-life content, they are able to make connections during their learning and apply them to the world they live in. Your tasks don’t need to be crazy elaborate, they just need to be fun and help kids make sense of the world that they live in and the rest will follow.
💬 Make Learning Social: Kids.👏🏼 Love. 👏🏽 To. 👏🏾 Chat. 👏🏿 Whether it’s online or in class, they’re little social butterflies. So why not let them!? In your online community, make sure that there is space for your students to interact. It can get pretty lonely at home as we all have learned, and it’s important that we are helping them continue to build socialization skills even if it is behind a screen. Create discussion board, questions that they can answer and opportunities to respond to their peers. You can do this all within Google Classroom, and I promise it’s a super easy daily routine that you can start right at the beginning of the year!
ESTABLISHING ROUTINES 🌿
Consistency is KEY. And so is checking in your students to see how they’re doing. Here are some of the ways that you can establish routines in your online classroom:
✅ Daily Check-Ins: I LOVE daily check-ins, and there are so many options for you to do this. You can create a Google Form where students can quickly submit a self-assessment. You could also use my French Mental Health Check-In. Overall, a daily check-in is a great outlet for the students and an easy way to get a routine going in your digital classroom.
📣Announcements: Our school did morning virtual announcements during the COVID closures this year and it was HILARIOUS. On Google Classroom, you too can do this by sharing a riddle or question of the day, and having the students post their answers in the class discussion below the announcement. If they are excited about this and engaging with you and their classmates, chances are they will be sticking around to work on some of the awesome tasks you’ve posted for that day or week!
🍯 Making a Plan & Sticking to It: I get it. Sometimes, things change or things don’t work out the way you planned. That’s all part of online learning! But you need to make sure that you are being transparent with your students so they know what’s up. Be honest with them, and let them know you’re trying out something new and together as a class we will see how it works. At the same time, make sure that certain things are consistent and do not change. This year with my Grade 5’s, the rule of thumb was that all materials for the week were always posted on Monday’s. Did the number and type of materials that I posted change as we went along? YES. But nonetheless, the materials were ALWAYS posted on Monday. By being consistent, you are modelling to your students just how important it is to create and maintain consistency in their lives.
USING GOOGLE APPS TO SUPPORT YOUR TEACHING 🖥
Let me start this off by saying that I LOVE the Google Apps. I did quite a bit of PD this year on learning how to use the various Google Apps for French teaching, and what I need to tell you is that there are so many amazing things that you can do for your French students with Google that need to be shared!
Here are some reasons why Google is great and some specific apps for FSL students & teachers:
✅ Assessment & Evaluation: Hands down the easiest way to keep track of your students’ progress is by creating a digital mark book, and also by using the Google apps to create quick assessment tasks. Google Sheets is great for creating a mark book, and I know that recently many teachers have shared their grade-books and even created some that you can get on TPT. You can use Google Forms to mark, create quizzes and to get feedback. You can also use Google Classroom for quiz assignments. The possibilities truly are endless!
🎨 Creativity: As an advocate for the arts, I like that Google provides options for creative outlets for the students. Apps like Google Drawings allow students to create masterpieces, while other apps like Google Slides let them create presentations in their own unique ways. Music Plus Coffee has totally transformed the digital music game by creating some amazing digital resources for music, all of which can be used on Google Slides!
🍎 Appropriate Apps: If your school is operating on Google for Education, you know that your students will have a safe space to interact with each other. Apps like Google Chat and Google Hangouts allow students to message one another, and also give you as the teacher an excellent opportunity to do some digital citizenship work with your students to ensure that they are doing it right.
ENGAGING DIGITAL FRENCH TASKS 🇫🇷
As we enter this new digital age, I think it’s important to embrace the positives like helping our students develop their technology skills (and maybe ours too)!
Here are some examples of engaging digital French tasks for your students:
🌍 Real-Life Content: I touched on this during day one of Tech Tips. It is SO important to teach content that helps students make sense of the world that they live in. That’s why I love digital French journal prompts! You can ask students ANYTHING, and it’s flexible enough that you can tailor the questions to be based off of their interests. You could even make it an activity to have THEM come up with the questions, and feature a student question each week!
🧁 Simple Tasks Are Sweet: For my junior students, I know that they are chatting with each other online and at home, so why not have them do it as part of their weekly work? Have them call each other and have a phone conversation or Google Chat in French, and then come back to your Google Classroom and answer a couple questions about their exciting chat time. I always make sure to provide them with prompts and conversation questions that they can use with their phone or IM buddy and it worked great. By doing this, you are integrating both the digital AND real-life learning!
🌱 Integrate Outdoor Ed & Digital Learning: Just because you are learning at home doesn’t mean that you can’t go outside with your tech! Nature walks, taking pictures, and creating collaborative presentations on Google Slides are one of the many nature-tech activities you can have your FSL students do at home. Even picking a plant, researching on their own and finding a way to digitally show their learning is an awesome and engaging task that students LOVE.
Did you love this and are looking to learn even more? Make to check out my Transforming Your Digital FSL Classroom course!
IF YOU ARE:
🖥 Worried about digital learning in September
😓 Overwhelmed by Google Classroom
🇫🇷 Tired of searching for meaningful and engaging digital French tasks
AFTER THIS COURSE, YOU'LL BE ABLE TO:
✅ Master the tips & tricks of organizing your FSL Google Classroom.
✅ Provide your students with rich French tasks that they will love!
✅ Connect with a supportive community to guide you every step of the way