GAH!! So much to write about! But I'll take it slowly (never easy for me!), and give a little at a time.
I wanted to share something I'm doing with my fourth graders right now. (I started this in the first week of school.) These are the first students at my school who, as fourth graders, have already had two years of French. I've been their only teacher, so I know them quite well, but I have made it a goal to include even more personalization in my classes this year. So we started the year with a Card Talk around food; on a regular sized piece of paper, students drew two things they liked to eat, and one that they didn't. This allowed for a lot of PQA, sharing, and community building. After a couple of weeks, we finished going through their drawings, wrapping up with some true/false and fill in the blank questions. (See the video of that class here.)
Then I did a Picture Talk, which I've never done. I chose some photos from the book Hungry Planet and made a Notebook file with them. (Some of the photos from the book are in this Time article.) We did a little “geography lesson,” looking at the large world map I have in my room. The first photo I showed the students was the image below.
We talked about what we saw, and then I asked how much they thought the food cost. (This was a fantastic opportunity to bring in big numbers, which are annoying in French!) I taught the the words for "fresh" and "packaged/canned," and we compared which countries had more fresh and more packaged food, how many people. (I'm gone today at the TCI Maine conference, and I left this reading with this chart for the kids to do with the sub.)
NB-Annabelle Allen just reminded me about using Google Maps street view to look at places. I'm going to go back next week and revisit the photos from the book looking at where the families live!
All of this is is in preparation for my FAVORITE activity: Movie Talk!!
(I used the animated short Feast; here's a link to ALL of my resources for the clip.)
There is something to keep in mind about this "unit." I came up with this idea THE DAY BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED. I ditched all of the plans I had created and started from scratch. And it just keeps growing. There's a good chance I'll just be wrapping up right when report cards go out and parents come in for parent/teacher conferences. AND THAT'S OK! CI enables us to be flexible, and that is so liberating.
Again, check back in a couple of weeks to see how it all plays out.
Allison Litten teaches French at the Marion Cross School, a public K-6 school in Norwich, Vermont. This year she is teaching kindergarten and grades 1, 2, 4, and 6.