ACTFL 2014 Conference Summary: Language Learning Links

Les amis, I've been wanting to tell you about the ACTFL Conference that took place in San Antonio, Texas, just over a week ago. ACTFL is the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages; their annual conference is oriented towards K-12 teachers of French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Japanese, German, and Italian. This year's conference was the second largest--there were well over 6,000 teachers in attendance!

Here are my favorite aspects of the conference:

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Beginning French Lesson 4: Numbers & Calendars

This beginning French lesson, the fourth in a series of seven, helps students review basic numbers and gain familiarity with vocabulary for the days and months. Allons-y! Let's go! (Here are links to previous lessons onetwo, and three.)

Lesson 4 Goals:

  • Review French names of numbers 1-21; gain familiarity with numbers through 79
  • Learn a song featuring the days of the week in French; gain familiarity with the 12 months
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Beginning French Lesson Plan 3: Alphabet, Spelling, & Numbers

Here is the third lesson for a beginning French class based on a once-per-week 50-minute course for upper elementary students. If you'd like to see earlier lessons, I posted lesson one and two within the past few weeks.

Lesson 3 Goals:

  • Review French greetings and introductions
  • Review and practice French alphabet sounds and corresponding letters
  • Learn to count from 1-21 in French
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Beginning French Lesson Plan 2: Greetings, Geography, & Alphabet

Last month I began teaching a beginning French class to a small group of upper elementary students. If you'd like to follow along on their language journey (or borrow lesson ideas!), here's the basic outline of what we did during our second and third classes. Keep in mind that this is only a once-per-week, 50 minute class, so we spend about twenty minutes or so reviewing and practicing what we've previously learned. (You can find lesson 1 here.)

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Beginning French: First Lesson Plan for Ages 8-12

Last month I started teaching a beginning French class to a small group of upper elementary students in our homeschool co-op. (Most of my current students are around age 10.) Over the next two months I'll post my weekly lesson outlines here for teachers, parents, and those of you who'd like to learn or brush up on basic French skills. I lean heavily towards immersion and emphasize speech over writing, at least in beginning classes. Each class is 55 minutes and meets once per week for six weeks.

These lessons are designed for a small group of students with limited materials--we have no textbooks, workbooks, computer access, or video player in the classroom. We do use a CD player and mini-whiteboards. (You can learn how to make your own set of mini-whiteboards here.)

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When Americans' Ignorance of World Geography is Embarrassing

When my husband and I hosted high school exchange students, they told us about the repeated conversations they had with American students during the first few weeks of school:

American: "So you're an exchange student? That's awesome! Where are you from?" 

Exchange student: "I'm from Bolivia." [or Hungary, etc.]

American: "Really? That's awesome! So . . . where's Bolivia?" 

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Summer Children's Activities for Practicing French at Home

Does it feel like summer to you yet? It's so close here--we have friends visiting from out-of-state, and this is my husband's last week of teaching before his summer break. I've been thinking of simple summer activities that we can do to keep French integral to our days since my family will be spending more time together and we will be conversing more in English (my husband doesn't speak French). Here are my suggestions for simple children's activities for summer fun in French (and most of them can be used to practice another language as well):

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Family-Friendly French (& Spanish) Music for Children: Recent Finds

We normally listen to French children's music in the car, but a few months ago my five-year-old daughter started pleading for English music. I temporary complied, trading Petit Ours Brun for Raffi, but pondered why the French music no longer appealed to her. I theorized that it wasn't the language that mattered, but the music itself. The English music she likes had more complicated lyrics and melodies than the French comptines we'd heard over and over.

My theory was right: Since then, I've found more age-appropriate French children's music, and she hasn't asked for English music since. I'm thrilled to return to French music immersion!

Here's what we're listening to:

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