"Is it possible to design lessons that sacrifice neither content nor engagement, given the time constraints?"

Mr. Hong was gracious enough to act out a brief skit with me, to introduce the importance of bibliographies:
He enthusiastically told me about the plot and characters of a book he read; but when I inquired about the title, author, date of publication, etc., he unfortunately could not remember. If only he wrote down those key details, then we could both go back to read the wonderful book again! That is one reason why we write down our sources when doing research- so we/others could go back to the same sources if necessary.  

The meticulous details and punctuations in bibliographies could be cumbersome for students- unless some friendly competition is involved! Students worked in groups to write down the bibliography information for a particular website, and then each group was responsible for writing on the board one piece of bibliography information. Other groups had to keep their eyes pealed for mistakes, as both correct answers and corrections for other groups earned the group points!

Lesson Reflections:
  • Group activities are a lot of fun, but it took longer than anticipated (could only cover bibliographies for websites; did not get to bibliographies for images). Is it possible to design lessons that sacrifice neither content nor engagement, given the time constraints? Or does one have to try to balance both and sometimes sacrifice one for the other?
  • Getting students to speak about key points they have learned in the lesson would be a good way to review and wrap up the lesson
Encouraging French oral practice is so crucial; yet how do we engage students in oral practice?

Previously, Mlle. Waddell taught the students the basics of communicating about time in French. We reviewed how to ask questions and give responses about time, and then played a game that helped students to reinforce oral expressions of time.
  • The class was divided into 2 teams, and one student from each team was asked to come to the front of the class by the whiteboard.
  • A PowerPoint slide with various clocks was projected onto the whiteboard.
  • I wrote one of the times (eg. 3h05) onto a mini board to show to the class, while concealing it from the students at the front. 
  • The class had a bit of time to think about how to say the time in French.
  • The students at the front asked the class "Quelle heure est-il?"
  • On my cue, the class responded together "Il est... (eg. trois heures cinq)".
  • The students at the front of the class had to listen for the time in French, and then try to find the corresponding clock. The first student to put their hand on the correct clock earned a point for their team.
  • The competition was on, and students were eager to participate!
Lesson Reflections
  • Communicating the time as a group helped students to not be singled out, yet still have the opportunity to gain oral practice. But it was difficult to monitor who actually spoke and who remained silent; so it was up to students to take ownership of their own learning and oral practice.
  • Students also received listening practice when they were up front, but the activity was mostly geared toward speaking practice.
  • It was great to see students who do not normally volunteer for activities to put up their hand and volunteer to come up to the front!
Do you love hamburgers? But would you eat it in ONE big bite? Of course not! You would not be able to fit everything in your mouth with just one bite. When you write, do you try to cram all your ideas into ONE sentence? I hope not! Your reader would definitely not be able to digest what you are trying to say. Do yourself and your readers a favor- take manageable bites and use manageable (correctly constructed) sentences in your writing.  

How do we use EdTech to facilitate student feedback and participation?

Students were equipped with iPads and asked to use the Google Form here to submit in-class comments, questions, and practice exercises (exercises were explained in class, and based on the "Sample Blog Response" below). Live submissions from students enabled instant feedback and adjustments to lesson.
"Sample Blog Response" (with run-on sentences, to be corrected)

        I think that Mack will explode he will be losing money and getting a bad reputation. Reporters will find out about the claw stick, they will be too scared to talk to Mack directly. Customers will find out about how Stella died, and they will ask the police to start an investigation in honor of Stella, and people will stop coming to the mall. They would not want to spend their money in support of animal cruelty they will walk away. Although everyone will be against Mack, at first he will continue in his ways.

        Mack will discover that he is going bankrupt, he will finally realize that what he did was wrong. Could he change though? I think he can change, anyone can change. Mack will feel very guilty because of what he’s done, and he will want to apologize to all the animals and he will realize that the zoo is really the best solution for them and for him. Selling the mall business is probably a good idea too, it should have occurred to him earlier. Maybe he should become a car salesman, he does have a lot of experience with attracting customers.
Lesson Reflections:
  • Google Forms was a great way to enable more quiet students to participate, and to check for student understanding
  • Instructions need to be given in different ways (eg. auditory, visual) and repeated by different individuals (teacher, student) in order to be understood more clearly by students
  • Using hand gestures (thumbs up, down, sideways) was a great way to quickly poll the class for yes/no questions or to check for understanding
  • The ratio of teacher-talk and student-talk/work time should be carefully monitored (more student-talk/work time is needed)