Learning a second language is not always as easy as we think. Just because we are immersed in an environment that is rich in a second language, does not mean that we will acquire that language. There must be a willingness to learn, time dedicated to learn and more than anything else... struggle! It is my belief that we can only truly learn when we have to put forth effort that, at times, feels uncomfortable. That is the reason why, I do not speak French in class, followed by English. Students learn quickly to tune out the French to wait for English instruction. By only speaking French, students quickly learn that they must focus on what I'm saying, knowing that I will repeat multiple times and almost act out my message, but that I will not be explaining it in English. This helps students learn that they can and should rely on themselves to build knowledge. Students are learning to trust themselves as learners and this is what I believe allows them to grow as learners.
Most days you can find students learning in small groups, building knowledge and understanding together. This helps students to push past what they think they know and demonstrate new much more than they thought they could. In doing this, I know that students will be making grammar mistakes and translation errors. I do not always correct all their mistakes for many reasons. When students learn any concept, multiple skills are typically needed. This takes a lot of mental work and to try to do everything perfectly can slow down the process and even develop feelings of discouragement. In French, grammar is used differently then in English so when students make a mistake, I try to correct the things we have or are learning. Otherwise, too many corrections may leave them discouraged. For example, we have learned a couple of verbs in the present tense, these are the only verbs I would be correcting on paper or in conversation as they have background knowledge and anchor charts to help guide them through that understanding. When your child was learning to speak English and said "ba-ba", I'm sure you did not correct them by saying "No, it's pronounced bottle". You likely celebrated their attempts and you knew that your child would eventually call it by its proper name. I think the same in true in learning. With practice, encouragement and time, your child will put all these French puzzle pieces together when they are ready and be able to read and write in a second language.
If you want to help your child, you can keep their work in a folder and later in the year when more concepts have been learned, you can pull them out and ask them to see if they can catch any of their earlier mistakes. This is growth in learning!
Last week, students and I tested out a few new tech apps and programs. For me, I had used some of them but, only for myself as a teacher, not with students as a learner. As a class, we figured out we did not like to use Chatterpix to demonstrate knowledge. After spending an entire afternoon on it we ditched it for Seesaw... We loved it. As I presented students with new ways to show learning, I too was learning. Some of the apps and tech on the teacher end of things don't always look the same on the student end of things. Sometimes, I didn''t know why something wasn't working and sometimes the computers and ipads were simply glitching. I really appreciated students patience with me as we figured these things out together. I think it is important to model to children that learning isn't always automatic and practice is needed, even for adults. It was perfect timing for me to read an article by A.J. Juliani. It is entitled, "7 Lessons Every Kid Should Learn in School (That Have Nothing to Do with Curriculum)".
In the article, he explains that failure is really the only path to learning and the way that students can begin to believe in themselves as they develop resilinece. AJ also adds that in schools, failure should be celebrated by staff and students by stating, "I’d love to replace those “student of the month” boards with “epic failure/trial” boards. Let’s celebrate the students and staff that are taking risks, trying something new, and coming back with resilience again and again..". I'm again thankful to be able to fail with your child, learn with them and keep on trying new things.
If you would like to read the article, here it is!
We tried Flipgrid last week and for me, this was my first time using it. It's a great way to demonstrate learning. You can ask your child to go to flipgrid.com, enter the code: a01a34 and enter their school email to see their video. Please leave a message for your child about your hope for them this school year!
This week we took time to learn about each other. One of my goals was to help students build a classroom community that will be based on acceptance and respect. In order to do this, we spent time working on collaborative challenges and talking about assumptions, biases and misconceptions. I introduced a tool called "The ladder of inference" to help gain understanding of ourselves and to look at how we think and how we make decisions. Next week, we will continue to work on our classroom well-being and equity through collaboration. Making mistakes is one of the most valuable ways to learning. I want to ensure that students feel safe and respected in order to make lots of mistakes this year, grow as a group and as individuals.