I have just put the finishing touches on my 1st quarter grades – they are due tomorrow. I have been experimenting with weighting grades. I-Cue, our grade program, has a system where you set up categories for your grades. I have tests, quizzes, classwork (I have been too chicken to assign homework so far), grammar & mechanics, and participation. I can make certain grades “count” more – hence the weighting.
In case you are a new reader, I am a French teacher who has been assigned to teach my foreign language with a software program called Rosetta Stone. You may have seen ads for it on late-night TV or in the airport. It was originally created to teach travelers and business people another language, I think. Now, they are marketing big-time to home schoolers and apparently to public schools.
So far, my class is virtually paperless. I have workbooks, but the students cannot write in them. (Of course, they still do…) I started out by having them write out the exercises on paper, but we all knew that I wasn’t going to grade those. One of my fellow teachers told me about Quia – a website for teachers. She is using it for Spanish.
There, I am able to make games for my students – cool flash games like Battleship, Rags to Riches, Hangman, Concentration, Word Searches, Scavenger Hunts, etc. I haven’t made my own games yet, but I have chosen games from other teachers to use in my French class. I created a class page, and entered in all of the workbook pages from Rosetta Stone. Now, my students just type in the answers and they are automatically graded for me! I also made up reading comprehension quizzes for the Student Study Guide, Rosetta Stone’s very dry grammar book.
Right there, I have about 20 grades for my class! Rosetta Stone keeps track of the students’ progress, too. I can generate reports on all of the units and quizzes they have completed. Those grades have to all be over 80 or the student has to retake the test. That makes 30 grades per unit, plus a unit test.
I also plan on making use of E-Pals, a website where you can give your students a monitored e-mail account. I plan to use that to find correspondents for my students in various francophone countries. So far, schools from France, Belgium, Martinique, and Guadeloupe have agreed. I have used E-Pals before, but this is 5 times the scale I am used to.
Other sites I might use this year (along with my notes):
Free French Lessons Online – kind of goofy
There is a video of differences between France and U.S.: – Students can make a Venn diagram with comparisons, which range from: 24 hour clock, backwards month and day, titles, both hands on the table, bread on the table (not on the plate), not much ice, no free re-fills, nring a gift for dinner, no right turn on red, etc.
This is a site from a British school – too complicated – but cool options for reading, fill in blanks dictation
This is awesome! French in Action on streaming video. This is an old series that uses TPR and only French to teach the language. Show on projector?
BBC series Ma France – really cool – with grammar and activities. Videos have French and English subtitles that can be turned on and off.
French Steps – beginner course
travel videos – short – have France, Belgium, Switzerland, Quebec – Spain has a neat video of the Andalusian School of Equestrian Art
The Travel Channel – search for French video clips – yes! Accessible by school computers! France, Vietnam, Morocco (?), Cambodia, Tahiti, French Polynesia, St. Martin (11 videos, incl. French food)