jeudi 21 mai 2015


                                                                                                                May 21st 2015

                                                                                            May 21st 2015

Technology in teaching is an integral part of AISC academic curriculum for both faculty and students alike.



I decided right at the start of this year that I needed to incorporate more technology into my classroom both for teaching and student learning. My knowledge of the latest tech tools and platforms being somewhat limited, I knew I needed help from experts. I decided to collaborate throughout the year with Tech integrator Ms. Geetha Venugopal whose patient one to one guidance especially of tech tools new to me, was in line with my style of learning.


My next step was to make technology based learning available to students  at home through Moodle. Blendspace, a tool for creating engaging multimedia lessons, came to my rescue as a solution to curate readily available online video lessons and on specific topics of my lessons. To check how well students understood the various concepts they learnt daily, numerous sites like, and Quizlet were used first for further explanation and  examples and later for online quizzes to test the  skills of reading, writing and listening. For my 6th graders, Duolingo an online language learning platform  was introduced as a way to practice French in a fun way. I incorporated the interactive Moodle Discussion Forum towards the end of the year for review discussions under each unit and even tried my hand at Poodle.


 To assess students at the end pf the year, I brought in a couple of projects incorporating technology for both my French 2 students of high and middle schools. Their  project completed in the first week of May was to create their own fairy tale/ story using two past tenses adding visual supports like photos and sketches and having them to embed their own recorded voices reading the story. The High school French 2 students were also asked to do a final project as Semester 2 Exam on past holidays in a French speaking country and are currently in the process of research, creating electronic brochures and visual presentations.



 GLOWS:  I decided in August to first work on my Moodle page to improve uniformity of fonts as suggested last year. When I look at my Moodle pages today I know I have come a long way. I also worked on improving the appearance and organization of my Moodle pages with different folders.
An informal student feedback survey on my Moodle showed me that most students were satisfied with it and some even added that it is really helpful.
GROWS:  Occasional hiccups in the form of inability for students to access some links at home came up. I realize that I should have incorporated the Discussion Forum earlier in the year and not just as a revision discussion tool. Students also sometimes found the loading process of Moodle page rather slow. Duolingo allowed students to cheat to get points and hence I quickly changed it from a graded homework to merely a practice tool. I had trouble understanding fully well how the online game Classcraft introduced to me by Ms.Hannah Kingsley works due to its complexity and hope to learn to use it better in the future.


GLOWS: Most students enjoyed doing this project and some even drew their own pictures to add to their stories. They presented their end products as using tools such as iMovie, Quick time player and Moviemaker to create stunning versions! I am eagerly waiting to see the electronic brochures of the semester exam project on past vacation.

GROWS: Typing the various French accents while preparing the script using google doc was an  ordeal for students without Mac and corrections of the scripts was even more so for me as a teacher. Further, while doing the story telling project, students first used Power points to record their voices. But when it came to uploading them on google drive the audio did not work. Hence students had to use other means of recording their voices as all students were to read each other stories while listening simultaneously to the audio versions. This technical limitation was a good learning experience!
Despite technical glitches in the form of frequent slow connectivity and above mentioned hindrances, incorporating technology into my curriculum and instruction has been a great learning experience for me and I hope to take bolder steps with it next year!

mercredi 25 mars 2015



Courtesy Google 

Assessing my French students for their writing, reading, speaking and listening skills through formative and summative assessments always enables me to understand their overall learning and retention of concepts. The recent mixed feedback that I received from my students about their routine quizzes inspired me to take a closer look at a couple of quizzes my Level 2 students were struggling with concerning direct and indirect object pronouns.

I recall one of the difficulties which many students faced when I taught them the grammatical concepts of object pronouns in French, which is our medium of instruction. Students who had no prior exposure to any Latin based language were unable to identify what a direct or indirect object was. I thus had to teach some English grammar in English not only to them but to those who spoke communicative English with very little or no knowledge of its grammatical concepts. This does not mean one cannot teach a new language in the language itself. In an immersion  program where time is less of a constraint, teaching French in the language is very possible as I have done in the past quite successfully.

LOOPHOLE IN MY ASSESSMENT: Having reminded myself about the above limitations that many of my students had, yet overlooking the minimal practice of the newly acquired concepts in English, it was little wonder that the formative assessments in the form of  two quizzes on both categories of object pronouns turned out to be unsuccessful herculean tasks for at least some of my students.

CORRECTIVE MEASURES : My next modus operandi was to step back and put on the thinking cap of a student. I gave practice drills in class and called up a few individual students at random to understand their thinking, processing and execution of main ideas. Very soon, weak spots like organizing the thought process and sequences, recalling rules and exceptions, identifying the tense needed and other such grammatical concepts glared in the eye. The idea of scaffolding the assessment through steps to achieve the end result came rushing to mind. I prepared a list of logical steps along with an example sentence and how the steps were achieved. Students were then given a physical copy of this list with which to practice doing other exercises in class on the same topic of object pronouns. The intention was for students to consciously follow the sequences with the support given till they became automatic for them. A re-quiz was given after a few days without any support and the result was that most students not only could easily do well in their written quiz but are now using them while speaking French!

lundi 19 janvier 2015

From the Easel of a French teacher


Teaching French has been a passion for me over 2 decades. Infecting others especially students with love for learning the language- an obsession. This meant a lot of conscious and frequent quest for interesting methodologies, resources and unlimited creativity. The search was certainly on for ways to break the monotony of teaching the same topics year after year...

In my strife to balance teaching  High school students with those of Middle School this year which is a first time for me, I went about planning my lessons and units as per routine i.e sequentially and in an isolated manner. Then came my A-Ha moment! While teaching my High school students one day, the big picture loomed larger than life before my eyes enticing me. I responded as I took  creative, confident, courageous and thoughtful steps towards weaving a credible story by binding the units together with the common thread of relevance and necessity. I was no longer just an artist presenting the finished portrait to my audience. Nearly every stroke of my brush on the Easel of teaching and learning was now being made in consultation with the connected clients in a way that was palatable to them. Only later did it occur to me that I was entwining the 4 C’s of our school Mission.

To lead you to the heart of my story, let me cite an example. While teaching the unit “ LES VACANCES :  AU PASSE ET AU FUTUR , LOGEMENT ET DESTINATIONS TOURISTIQUES "(Vacations : Past and Future,  places of stay and touristic destinations ), I was inspired to bring in a story effect to the entire unit by incorporating relevant topics like means of transport, weather and seasons, directions, food and clothes which would otherwise have been individual disconnected units. 

The outline of the sketches on canvas is now ready. My students will soon add the finishing touches to a beautiful masterpiece by contributing through a project. I just can’t wait to exhibit it!

Miriam Chakko