French: Mapping Planet Earth
Connect to Your Teaching
Reflect on Your Practice
As you reflect on these questions, write down your responses or discuss them as a group.
- What techniques do you use to help you stay in the target language with your students?
- How do you identify and then teach vocabulary for topics that interest your students?
- When students are unable to answer open-ended questions, how do you help them formulate an answer?
- For teachers of higher grades, how might you adapt some of the activities that Ms. Appel uses?
Watch Other Videos
Watch other videos in the Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 library for more examples of teaching methodologies like those you've just seen. Note: All videos in this series are subtitled in English.
Holidays and Seasons (German) illustrates connections to other content areas and features a teacher without a permanent classroom, and Food Facts and Stories (Spanish) shows older students making connections to science.
Put It Into Practice
Try these ideas in your classroom.
- When teaching thematic vocabulary, use visuals to convey meaning and to help students remember words. Incorporate the visuals into multiple activities; repetition in different contexts helps set words in students' memory. Ms. Appel used a wall map, manipulatives of the continents, a poster of the planets, and actual soil and water samples to reinforce vocabulary. She used these materials in several activities, including full-class and pairs practices, to give students different opportunities to use the words. Illustrated children's books, Web sites, magazines, or even your own creations can provide good visuals. When traveling abroad, plan ahead to collect authentic materials that you can use in class.
- Develop students' language comprehension by directing discussion. When introducing a new topic, let your end of the conversation initially dominate the class. Students can concentrate on absorbing and understanding the material; gradually, their language output will increase. Along the way, create opportunities to check for student comprehension. For example, Ms. Appel used simple, but extended, conversation during her class. When asking questions, she elaborated and paraphrased to provide students with rich input. Students were then allowed to respond with words and short phrases that demonstrated their understanding of the content and the language.
- Introduce and practice vocabulary learning using gestures and facial expressions that connect with the meaning of the words or phrases. Ms. Appel used gestures with students to practice the vocabulary and to assess their understanding of it. Students of all ages can be encouraged to associate gestures with certain words, and can be expected to understand new vocabulary with the help of gestures and facial expressions.