Friday, 9 October 2015

Inquiry Activity: Best tools for French Students

 As part of our review this year, I decided to start my 7s and 8s with a small guided inquiry activity.  I thought it would be a good idea to teach students how to use the resources (tech and not) that are available to them, and get their opinions about which ones they found the most useful. 

I provided them with 4 resources, and small lessons on how to use them:

(An old-school, book-style) Dictionary (or the Word Reference App, free!)
Google translate 

...and they had to find one more tool to compare and contrast.  The question they had was this:

Trouvez un outil qui est indispensable pour un étudiant de français.  Quel outil est-ce que tu préfères? Pourquoi?

I gave the students a list of words to look up in all the resources.  It was great because they sometimes got conflicting translations, and had to depend on their prior knowledge to make sure that the translations were correct.  They were very frustrated!

They were asked to organize their thoughts about the question for our discussion about the best tool.  It was a great discussion-- many students were disagreeing with each other in French.  I had an anchor chart with discussion promtpt for the student to consult and they used them well.   Overall, Google translate lost in this activity, and the students came to this decision themselves.

What I like best about this inquiry activity is that it is short (about 2-3 classes), it is extremely guided, it focuses on thinking about how students think and therefore what tool would help them best, and it makes students have to persuade and defend their opinon in French.  These are all elements needed for an inquiry activity!  

As a added bonus, students found other resources to use, and which not to use. Here are some others that look good: (Not a true dictionary, but cool)

I liked this activity.  It was great to refresh students into using the tools they need in French class.  What inquiry-type activities have you tried so far this year?

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