Animating the classroom!

What about some fun? What about some animation in your classroom?Image

Let’s GoAnimate our courses! It is interactive, dynamic, and educational.

I decided to use this App with my 6th grade French class. We had been learning the -er ending verbs, and the like/dislike structures. I thought that this would be a good opportunity to implement the content into an animation project.

Firstly, I created a sample video for my students so that they could visulize what I wanted for them to do:

Video Les Animaux font les devoirs

Secondly, I provided the instructions and rubric:

GO_ANIMATE_SHORT_VIDEO_PROJECT

GOANIMATE_PROJECT_RUBRIC

Then, I gave my kids 3 days to complete the assignment. As the instructions indicate, the first day I did not let them use the computer. I have found that when using a technology tool my students get so excited that they want to start working on it straight away, not focusing enough on the basis of the assignment. Because of this reason, I have found that scaffolding the activity in little pieces makes it clearer, and provides a much better final product.

goanimateSo, after the first day of writing and script designing, students started to customize their GoAnimates. I made very clear the fact that I wouldn’t be checking their scripts before-hand.

After posting their videos in our Schoology page, students had to complete the last assignment for this project. They were required to watch at least 3 of their peer’s videos, and comment in each of them. The comments had to be questions regarding the storyline. They had to post the questions in French (metacognition, brain-research). The students that received questions about their videos also had to respond in French. This last stage was the aftermath of the entire project. It was interesting to see students virtually interacting in the target language. This was a great way to share our projects, and to find some educational purpose to the project share. Not just watch and relax, but watch, relax, and ask questions about what you saw = In-depth reflection = High order thinking.

The final result will showcase your students writing and pronunciation skills. As you know, our students’ creativity and imagination are limitless. I assure you that the videos will amuse you, entertain you, and show you one more time the countless possibilities that technology provides us with. I think that this was a great way to assess speaking skills, so I highly recommend this App for the World Language courses. But, obviously, it could be integrated into any course.

GoAnimate 2

** This is not a free App, BUT for some reason Schoology was providing a 30 day trial on the App. I used the trial period, and it worked wonderfuly. They might still be providing the free trial, you can check it out here:  GoAnimate for Schools or in the Schoology App Center.

Do not hesitate it, it’s worth it. GoAnimate your class.

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Flipping the classroom

I did it. I created my first flipped lesson. It was so exciting to see the video once completed. There is a problem with flipping the classroom; it is addictive!

ImageI used the super simple, cute, and incredibly user friendly Ipad App Educreations.

The video was created amazingly easily! I created a lesson on ser versus estar divided into 3 videos.

So far, Educreation provides me with all the features that I am looking for when creating a video for my courses. One flaw; once you make a mistake you cannot erase it, you need to rerecord from the beginning. This is the only one down side that I see in this app.

My first flipped lesson took place in my class. Yes, I flipped my classroom in my classroom! I decided to have my students watch the videos while I was absent. I always go crazy about my substitute planning. I never have the substitute teach the content because, between other reasons, I never know if the substitute will master the content that I teach. Therefore flipping the classroom for substitute lesson plans has been a very convenient idea to implement. Now it will be less hard to plan whenever I have to be absent!

Students also loved it. They were able to watch my explanation over, and over. Parents were also able to watch the explanation (I posted the videos in Schoology). So they were able to assist their kids with their questions, or at least they found out first hand what the lesson was about.

Next week I will be flipping the classroom again but, this time, it will be the real flipping. My students will be watching the videos for homework, and then practicing the Passé Composé in class with me, let’s see how that goes. I am sure that it will be a success!

Do you want to watch my recordings? Here they go:

http://www.educreations.com/profile/3647422/

Let’s keep flipping!

Cultural Nuances Through Images

Surfing on the net today I stumbled upon an incredibly witty blog created by artist Vahram Muratyan. It looks like a lot of people already knew about him, and about his blog. It became so well-known in the online world that the author came up with a book, and it has been a major success.

This blog is titled Paris vs New York. It consists of a bunch of designs about different daily subjects. In these designs both cities are very cleverly compared/contrasted. The images are really outstanding since, with no words, Vahram is able to show the cultural differences between these two beautiful cities.

Surfing the Web, I later stumbled upon another quite similar blog. In this case, the title is Spain and the World. The concept of this blog is quite similar to the Paris blog. However, in this case the author compares Spain with other countries of the world.

So, after reviewing these graphics, I obviously thought about my Foreign Language classroom. I straight away thought about how to use this information in my course. These are a few of ideas that came to my mind:

– Do the same as the blog author’s did! What about having them research some cultural aspects of the target language culture? Once research is done, students can create little postcards or posters showing in an image the cultural nuances of both countries.

– We can do a similar activity but the opposite way. This is, show them the image first, and have them come up with their conclusions based on the image. The feedback can be provided orally or in writing. In the target language, if possible.

– TPRS style. Image is provided, students make up story based on the image. The story must, obviously, incorporate the cultural content shown in the image.

– Team game. Classroom is divided in two teams. Teacher gives one cultural aspect per student. One team will be showcasing the American cultural in their drawings while the other team will focus on the target culture. Once students work on their designs, they have to find a peer in the opposite team that has an image showcasing the same cultural aspect that they were.

Our students are so creative! I am sure that their designs would have nothing to envy to these creative blog authors. Want to try it? I certainly will! And I will keep you updated on the outcome.

To read the Paris vs New York blog click here or here

To read the Spain and the World blog please click here

Cool Ipad apps for educators

I got an Ipad. Cool! And, now what?

There are so many apps out there, that it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the information. Having 1,000 apps installed in our Ipad won’t be a great help (if you are an organization freak as I am). That is why, after a bit of research, I am putting together a list of the most useful apps that every educator should have in their Ipad. Most of these apps are useful for any teacher, but some of them will be particularly interesting for Foreign Language/ESL Teachers. I hope you find it useful. Happy download!

For the teacher:

TED Talks – some of them can be shared with the classroom

Educreations – browse or create your own tutorials

NearPod – create your lessons with this app, or upload them from a power point and interact with your students

Projects:

Puppet Pals – Storytelling

Toontastic – Storytelling

Lino: http://en.linoit.com/ Could also be used for reviews

Red Stamp – for ecards

Flipboard

Dragon Dictation – Currently just in English. Convenient for the ESL classroom.

To keep you or your students organized:

Wunderlist – super user-friendly, and pretty convenient

Dropbox

For the French teacher:

Le Monde – You are able to download their magazine and then stream it anywhere, anytime.

Reading:

Free books – Copyright free book to be downloaded in the Ipad