Guest Blogger: Dr. Jason Bagley, LHS
The past two years I have taken my upper level students to MES to visit with immersion students and to read stories. It was always fun, but there was a missing connection. I think that younger students just didn’t have the vocabulary for conversation or to understand the stories. As a result of these reflections, last year we switched to fifth grade for our one day visit. The enthusiasm of both groups of students, elementary and high school, made me wonder how we could continue the momentum.
I asked my students if they’d be interested in doing something more long term instead of one visit and they were excited about the idea. Next I gauged interest with Dr. Katrinda Scott to see if she’d be willing to do an “adopt a class” partnership this year, and she said yes!
Once we got approval from the principals for the project I began thinking of ways that we could keep momentum going, yet not intrude too much on instructional time. I thought up the idea of having face to face visits about once per month, and then working some sort of online communication in the interim weeks. We just completed our first visit, where we played "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?" in French. MES won the game, and we awarded prizes of t-shirts and candy. Future visits will include cultural celebrations, holidays, and games.
Katrinda and I have been toying with ideas about which platform to use and which apps or software would work. We decided to go with the Google voice chat for periodic video conferences. We have also created a shared Google classroom. HS and ES students have all written introduction blogs and the 4 HS students will be responsible for corresponding and forming relationships with small groups of the MES class.
I wanted to do something that would give students the opportunity to use their language outside of the classroom setting (not always easy with French), and that would allow them to create bonds with younger language learners. They are learning from and are even challenged by the language abilities of their younger counterparts.
We are learning as we go about things that work and things that can be improved upon. I’d love to see this turn in to a yearly thing, and to see other partnerships develop around the district!
World Language Teacher Support Specialist (and Language Enthusiast)