Bitstrips – Incorporating Technology in the Core French Classroom

Using technology in the Core French class sounds like a good idea but, in reality, is fraught with difficulty. Despite a ton of great online resources and programs, I find that in my experience, one of the following scenarios takes place: 1) your classroom (if you’re lucky enough to have one) is not equipped with a functioning computer 2) frequently, the school’s equipment on the whole tends to be unreliable and you end up being stuck with a class of 30 kids waiting as you frantically try to get your program/media to play 3) Core French is not deemed high priority in terms of getting access to equipment such as smartboards and projectors.

This year I really lucked out by booking our Librarian for a two week block of Partner’s in Action sessions and thus gained access to the computer lab in the library. Since we happened to be working on a dialogue, I chose to have them convert it into a comic using the program Bitstrips. They offer a free subscription to teachers and is available at the website www.bitstripsforschools.com.

As with any assignment, you must be careful to properly set it up so that you aren’t left with 30 google translated abominations (chances are, you’ll end up with at least a few of these no matter what). Below are some couple of suggestions that will hopefully be helpful.

  1. Begin with a story/poem/dialogue which can be altered by students using familiar language structures and vocabulary (see attachment of dialogue Vouloir, c’est pouvoir- Addison Welsley).
  2. For those students needing accommodation, I provide them with a copy of the dialogue with certain sections highlighted along with a reference sheet from which they can modify and create their own version. Something else I’ve done in the past is to provide them with a choice of three things written in and they must choose accuratetly.
  3. Provide a sample level 3 text and then, as a class, show how to extend sentences and incorporate more advanced structures for a level 4.
  4. Make sure to provide ample time to complete project (which usually takes much longer than expected) and make sure students are accountable for completing subtasks to keep their project moving along.

In my next blog, I’ll talk about some ideas for what to do once projects are complete and provide some examples so you can see what the students were able to accomplish.

Vouloir, c’est pouvoir text

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Erin.Grewar

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