During this infamous year of remote learning, teachers have found increasingly creative ways to make use of technology to engage learners from a distance. As a student teacher working with middle school French classes, I have explored a variety of programs and websites designed to enhance second language acquisition by harnessing the sudden influx of technology. Below are some of my favorite materials.
The first step in learning another language is establishing your motivation. This website and activity are designed to help students connect with the language on a personal level and identify their individual motivations for learning French. How will it benefit them, now and in the future?
This activity uses Jamboard to let students create their own notes/study boards. Rather than associating French vocabulary with the direct English translation, students select images that represent the word best to them and teach their peers about their category (i.e. fruits, vegetables, etc.).
One of the best ways to use technology in a second language is to connect students with the culture of the target language. Even before COVID, opportunities to see and hear Francophone culture in person were almost non-existent. With the internet, students can watch videos of native French speakers, take virtual tours of French cities/monuments/museums, and (as shown in this activity) mimic the experience of shopping in a French grocery store. What are some differences, how much do things cost, and do they have sufficient knowledge of the language to do everyday grocery shopping?
This French-class take on “Find Someone Who” serves many purposes. Firstly, it can be used as a great way for students to get to know one another better (and the teacher, if they participate). Additionally, this organizer prompts students to discuss and communicate in both past tenses, differentiating between the two. It also ensures students are able to share their personal experiences with others and inquire about past events.
This activity uses Book Creator to let students tell a story about something from their lives (such as a memorable vacation, event, or experience). It’s an excellent way for students to practice using the two past tenses, but could also be used for other units in the present or even future tenses. Visuals and personal relevance help to reinforce the learning and students’ presentations to one another expand their listening comprehension as well as speaking and reading.