This post is about a resource I developed in about 2017, and it allowed me to align the way that I teach reading in my second language classes with a series of beliefs that I've held for a long time: Reading is NOT translation. For years, every time I asked students to read something in … Continue reading
12 key questions to build listening skills in a second language
When language learning is divided into its four core skill areas of speaking, listening, reading and writing, listening is often an area where students struggle the most. Listening to an authentic speaker or watching a video in the target language feel overwhelming to them, and they need specific instruction in how to do it. If … Continue reading
Three ways to integrate differentiated listening activities in second language classes.
For the past 4 years, I have been part of a committee in my school district looking at a range of programs from publishers, with a goal of finding a new program for our schools to adopt in our French as a Second Language (FSL) classes. One of the biggest objections to the old programs … Continue reading
On my bookshelf: 3 new French books with First Nations connections.
I've been making a big effort to integrate more non-textbook style reading into my French as a second language classes over the past few years. I vividly remember the moment at which I started to understand French books on my own without translating, and the excitement of having access to new ways of expressing thinking … Continue reading
Six alternatives to oral presentation in second language classes.
I vividly remember what it was like to participate in my first university level French class. It seemed like everyone else was talking easily, having conversations and responding to the professor's questions in French. I, on the other hand, felt totally inadequate. Nothing in my high school French experience had prepared me for this. We … Continue reading
This year I’m working on… developing reader engagement.
I'm in the middle of reading "Disrupting Thinking: Why How We Read Matters," by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst. This is a book that I've been looking forward to, and I'm excited to adapt the ideas for second language reading with my students. Here's the problem I'm working on solving: second language reading … Continue reading
Skill based instruction: A mini lesson on identification
This blog post is a little sample of how I'm changing my instructional strategies for September of the coming school year. I'm working on integrating curricular strategies on a wider scale, because (a) they're the basis of the curriculum, (b) I'm moving to a school that is structured around cross-curricular competencies, and (c) this gets … Continue reading
Cultural celebrations: cheese and chocolate tasting
Full confession - while there is no actual holiday during which everyone gets together and celebrates cheese and chocolate (although... wouldn't that be amazing?), planning a classroom experience like this is an opportunity to showcase certain aspects of French culture that are fun, interesting, easy to compare to others, and very popular with my high … Continue reading
What I’ve learned so far about student translator use.
My two teaching areas are English and French. I haven't taught English for some time, but there are some pretty reliable tools available now to catch incidents of plagiarism. Translator use is considered plagiarism in second language classes, and it's no exaggeration to say that plagiarism is rampant in high schools. Simply put, work completed … Continue reading
Cultural celebrations: La fête des mères and El día de la madre
La fête des mères, or Mother's Day, may not immediately jump to mind as a cultural celebration. I have treated it as such for a couple of years now, and this has become an event that I and my students look forward to every year. I've seen a lot of discussion around students who have … Continue reading