As yall know, our school is in the trenches with this 1:1 iPad initiative we are calling ELI (Engaged Learning Initiative). Last year, only half the students had them. Since I teach mixed level classes, I was pretty lost about what to even do with them last year. I’ve made it my goal to be more systematic with them, and our department even made a list of goals too.
One of our department goals is to use the iPads in such a way that allows the students to CREATE something using language. I like this goal because it pushes me to find apps or come up with lessons that get the students working together, thinking, and creating something new. This led my department to find a free app called Puppet Pals, and it was definitely a big hit.
I knew right away that it would be great for my French 1 students. They could choose a fairy tale character (thus not have to perform as themselves) and a cute background. The characters move around, change directions, and can get smaller and bigger. So the assignment was that the students had to choose a character and then have the characters say hello, ask/tell names, ask/tell how they are doing, and say goodbye.
When I modeled how to use the app and what I expected the students to do, I used a funny voice for each of my characters. I didn’t really plan that, but I was glad I did it. Most of the students also chose to use a funny voice and a funny name for their characters- I think this helped take some of the personal pressure off of themselves. I thought I would hear more moans and groans about having to record their voices, but surprisingly, they jumped right in without a complaint! I think it was because “Bippity-Bobbity-Bob” was responsible, not Catherine.
So everyone worked together and created a short little video. Every kid was engaged and having fun, and most importantly practicing their French! (they weren’t allowed to write down anything first- this was purely oral).
I think you can see how much fun the kids are having in this picture!