Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Solo taxonomy and a Year 10 French

Today I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I was looking at my Year 10 French. I saw engaged kids who used their brains although we are studying daily routine which is not very exciting!

When my students leave school I want them to speak French, of course !!!, but I want above all that they open their mind to the rest of the world.
Since Learning At School Conference, I make sure that my students do activities which are high order thinking.

After looking at the life of a child from a 1/3 world country, students wrote a text about their own life, their own daily routine. Today they had to find the consequences of their daily routines on both their life and the 1/3 world country child’s life. What will/could be the impacts of their daily routine on their future lives?

I divided the class in small groups with a “French expert” in each group. I am aware that this activity was extremely challenging as my students have been studying French for only 1 year. After a few minutes, each group was working very hard.

I was of course very proud of each student’s effort but I have to admit that I was even prouder of a struggling student who could help in her group. Although this student has learning difficulties, she was able to contribute in her group with her strength. It was also very interesting to see that each group came up with a different point of view on the consequences of their daily routine. Students who are usually very good did not extend themselves as much as I thought they would, whereas students who are less capable shined during this activity even if their level of language was lower than better students.

Most groups came up with the idea that education takes a major place in life. According to them, one of the massive difference between them and a child from a 1/3 world country would be access to a good education. Students reckon that if you do not have access to a good education, you do not get a good job. If you do not get a good job, you won’t make good money. If you don’t get money you won’t eat good food which will lead to malnutrition and disease.

Overall it was a very good and engaging activity. I will definitely do another activity like this one. What is amazing about this type of activity is that children do not need to be fluent in the language they are using.

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