Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Although I agree with many aspects of this article I am concerned that most of the uses for online translators are based on their general uselessness and that learning takes place from their lack of function. I did let students use translators in my class but insisted they use ones that do one word at a time and gave, at least, a brief description of the cases in which you would use each possible translation.

 Although I think that they can be used to show the difference in meaning of direct translations and other creative uses I think that the focus should still be on getting students to use online dictionaries or translators that have some of the function of a dictionary.


I would use an old book like this for students to look up different areas in france and write a response to the authors observations using modern research. I would have them do this in the form of a travel brochure in french that counters some of the old assumptions about areas of france. This can introduce them to the country and compare the historical significance of areas to their role today.

Scenes From French Travel

Monday, 30 July 2012

reading - a response

I agree with the author’s assertion that a text does not have to constitute a novel. This rings especially true when we talk about reading in the L2 classroom. Many of the students I encountered did not have the basic reading level of a second grader in their second language which makes it hard to find interesting texts at their reading level that will help them advance their reading skills.
            I like the idea of bringing in texts that people read every day, even those who claim not to read, like care instructions, commercials or recipes. These are simple texts that allow them to read at their level without using children’s books.
            I would not want to do away with the idea of reading novels, and the importance of that altogether. I think that by reading novels you are exposed to more text and more reading which means that they are likely to develop better skills than someone who seldom picks up a book.

French Music Activity

I would use the following song in an activity where i would blank out commonly used expressions and would have the students fill them in. We would then have a discussion about how to use them and in what context. I think that this song will appeal to students as a way in to french music because it is by an artist they already know from his english songs.

Elle me dit “écris une chanson contente,
pas une chanson déprimante,
une chanson que tout le monde aime”.
Elle me dit “tu deviendras milliardaire.
T’auras de quoi être fier.
Ne finis pas comme ton père”.
Elle me dit “ne t’enferme pas dans ta chambre,
vas-y, secoue-toi et danse
dis moi c’est quoi ton problème?”
Elle me dit “qu’est ce que t’as t’as l’air coincé,
t’es défoncé ou t’es gai
Tu finiras comme ton frère”
Elle me dit,
Elle me dit “c’est ta vie
fais ce que tu veux tant pis
un jour tu comprendras
un jour tu t’en voudras”
Elle me dit “t’es trop nul,
sors un peu de ta bulle.
Tu fais n’importe quoi
on dirait que t’aimes ca.”
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Pourquoi tu gâches ta vie?
Danse danse danse danse elle me dit danse x2
Elle me dit “fais comme les autres garcons,
va taper dans un ballon,
tu deviendras populaire”.
Elle me dit, “qu’est-ce que tu fous sur internet,
ca va pas bien dans ta tête.
Regarde le temps que tu perds.”
Elle me dit “pourquoi tu te plains tout le temps?
On dirait que t’as huit ans.
C’est pas comme ca que tu vas plaire”
Elle me dit “un jour je ne serai plus là
et c’est quand elle me dit ça
qu’elle me dit un truc que j’aime.
Elle me dit, “t’as pas encore des cheveux blancs,
mais t’auras bientôt 30 ans,
faudrait que tu te réveilles.
Elle me dit “tu es toujours un enfant,
tu ne seras jamais grand.
Et moi je suis déjà vieille
Elle me dit “regarde un peu tes amis,
qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire de leur vie,
y’ a de quoi se foutre en l’air.
Elle me dit, “oui un jour tu me tueras”
et c’est quand elle me dit ca
qu’elle me dit un truc que j’aime.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012


I have always thought that culture is essential to a language-learning classroom. In the case of French, for example, culture is a huge part of what we teach students as it provides context for the language and acts as inspiration for the students to learn the language in the first place. I think that you can infuse culture seamlessly by deliberately including authentic sources for students to study from different cultures where the language occurs.

            For example, when I taught a unit on advertising I used a lot of commercials that came from France as examples to show my students. I think that in addition to the language element they learned some things about French culture. For example, there were adds about popular French products and football which prompted discussions on the differences between French consumer products and sports versus Canadian ones. To me the most natural way to introduce culture is through authentic documents and audio files.

            I think that the article is right in that introducing it as a unit here and there will not integrate it into the curriculum but the way I see it, when you are studying a language you have to talk about something. Language does not exist without content and maximizing the amount of culture we introduce in the classroom can be easily accomplished through having legitimate conversations while language learning.

Pixton Tutorial

Here is a youtube video that i made as a tutorial for students to watch at home before a class in the computer lab. This is so that they can learn to use the program at home, practice and then come to class with questions. This way they can get started right away and use all of the class time.

Videos in the FSL Classroom

I liked that the article had a healthy skepticism about the use of video in the classroom. Although I enjoy using YouTube clips or short clips of movies from time to time I am always wary about the amount of added screen time that I am introducing into my students lives.

            One point of the article that spoke favorably about the use of video was the section where they addressed the benefits of video as a model for role-play in other cultures. This is a huge part of why I show clips of videos in my class. I think that it is sometimes difficult to expose students to French culture in BC in an immersive way and the relevance of learning French can sometimes be lost of them because of the physical boundaries between the learners and a truly immersive French speaking area. By showing clips I like to think that I am bringing a bit of that into the classroom and am introducing them to French cultures that they may have never had to opportunity to visit.

            Additionally, I was highly encouraged to use videos in the classroom as a way of introducing a visual aspect to increase understanding. Although I like the idea of using visuals I like to use a range of strategies to introduce visuals for understanding. This goes from video all the way to picture flashcards and, most importantly, miming.

 Video is a valuable tool but I think that it works best if used in small chunks to spark interest or increase understanding of a storyline.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Today we learned how to use Audioboo and other audio recorders. We also got links to sites where we can grab audio clips for listening exercises.

I have created an audio recording of a french text advertisement for an insurance company. I used the text form of this in a grade 11 FSL unit about advertising. I would use this in the classroom by having students listen and find key words. They would write a hypothesis for the meaning and would be given the actual ad after listening to it several times. they would match their understanding of the text in audio file with their understanding of the written text and determine the meaning.

L2 Listening

I agree with the statements made in this article about the struggle to understand if students are improving their listening skills in an L2 classroom. One of the biggest challenges fro me on my practicum was putting in listening activities that were not part of the standard resource set. 

 The students found these tired and too old fashioned to take seriously. I really like the idea of the students describing what they hear to make sure that listening has occurred. I also like the idea of asking students what strategies they are currently using to understand. This makes students think about this more as well as giving the teacher a set of strategies to work off of. 

 I used some listening exercises in my class that used the idea of keeping track of key words and assembling some meaning from those as a main strategy. I also used more authentic texts and tried to find strategies for them to break them down. 

 I think that finding those strategies and working with more difficult audio texts is more beneficial than working off of the slowed down versions from the resource packages.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Hello Gordon Powell :)

Welcome to my blog and i hope you enjoy reading my subsequent posts and embedded works in progress.