by Kate-Elaine Fazekas, Kaileigh Gobeille, Kimberly Kirby and Molly Wilson
Our teaching tool is an interactive graphic organizer that categorizes, illustrates and explains the different modes and tenses of some commonly-used verbs in the French language. Developed using the cloud-based software program called Prezi, the on-line tool is appropriately designed for secondary school students registered in French Immersion as well as applied and academic Core French classes. The Prezi tool is versatile in that students can access the web presentation for general review purposes, clarification reasons or an introduction to French verbs. The primary objective of the technological tool is to assist students who struggle with comprehending what, when, why and how certain French verb tenses and modes are used in sentences; seeing as proper grammar is important in French reading, writing and oral communication. Perhaps one of the most helpful qualities of the tool is that it contains English translations and thus caters to Core French students who usually experience difficulty understanding and communicating in their second language. From a differentiated learning standpoint, the presentation accommodates students who grasp material visually, textually and kinaesthetically. Firstly, the tool is constructed as a timeline intended to graphically organize the content material in a chronological way so as to help learners visualize the purposes of different French verbs in the past, present and future. Animations and illustrations also contribute to an aesthetically appealing and engaging learning experience. Secondly, there is an abundance of text in both French and English to explain each verb tense and mode in addition to the related examples. Thirdly, the tool gives the user the ability to navigate the interface at their discretion. With full control, the student can zoom in and out of brackets and choose which verb mode and/or tense they’d like to study. Therefore, the presentation incorporates a practical element for those learners who prefer connecting with the material hands-on. To conclude, our innovative educational tool responds to the learning needs of pre-teen and adolescent students in FSL and Immersion programs.
Access our teaching tool here! –> “Les temps des verbes”
Multiliteracies Project: Praxis Paper
Connecting theoretical tenets to practice is essential in order to create and subsequently implement effective and engaging lesson plans -especially when delivering differentiated instruction aimed to meet the various learning needs of students. As is demonstrated by our Prezi presentation titled “Les temps des verbes”, graphic organizers are fundamental learning tools designed to classify and communicate content material ideas in a clear and structured way. In fact, the course textbook Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum consistently advocates the use of graphic organizers to help students grasp material more quickly and easily. As the print resource highlights, graphic organizers such as charts, tables and graphs serve to outline the important information that students learn during a lesson. In particular, the authors state that, “Outlining helps students clarify relationships. Developing an outline is analogous to fitting together the pieces in a puzzle. Think of a puzzle piece as a separate idea and a text as the whole.” (Vacca, Vacca & Mraz 318) For this reason, we decided to format our online project into a Prezi timeline with the objective to illustrate verb tenses and modes commonly used in the French language.
With regard to the learning expectations stated in the Ontario curriculum, our teaching tool would most likely be integrated into a Grade 10 Academic Core French (FSF2D) lesson. However, our timeline of French verb tenses and modes could undoubtedly be used across all secondary school grade levels because it acts as a helpful review tool for all students learning French grammar. While learning the different French verb tenses and modes separately can be difficult and confusing for students (especially in the applied stream), thus our group thought that organizing the subject matter into a visually-appealing timeline would be a more holistic approach. By teaching the verb tenses and modes using context rather than strictly theory, students would better comprehend the concepts.
Furthermore, by incorporating a kinesthetic feature whereby students can zoom in and out of sections, our presentation offers students the opportunity to tangibly explore the different French verb tenses and modes and how they are used; especially with regard to the claim that “the research base for graphic organizers shows that when students learn how to use and construct graphic organizers, they are in control of a study strategy that allows them to identify what parts of a text are important, how the ideas and concepts encountered in the text are related, and where they can find specific information to support more important ideas” (318). Therefore, our Prezi teaching tool is interactive since we combine textual information with visual cues such as pictures and video clips. As it is stated in the textbook, “with new literacies, students have at their command the ability to think and learn with content not only using print but also graphics, sound, and video” (43), and this is precisely what our presentation achieves. Lastly, the presentation moves in a linear fashion that mimics how the verb tenses and modes are used with regard to real time. It is our hope that by presenting the information in this manner, students would better comprehend the material.
To conclude, our teaching tool is not only suitable for educators to use in their classrooms but could also be a public resource for learners whereby students would be given a URL and be able to conveniently access the Prezi presentation whenever necessary.
Here are the links to our formal lesson plan and the two handouts:
Vacca, Richard T., Vacca, Jo Anne L., & Mraz, Maryann. Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum, Eleventh Edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2013. Print.