Tag Archives: differentiation

Voice Thread as an Assessment in the World Language Classroom


Voicethread is a fabulous tool for a world language teacher for several reasons.
1. It is a performance assessment.
2. It can be differentiated to varying levels and needs.
3. The student is the creator and the audience.
4. It can be viewed publicly.

In my French I class, we completed a unit on the children’s story, Il y a un Alligator Sous Mon Lit (There is an Alligator Under My Bed). The students learned the rooms and furniture of the house, prepositions, fears, and how to compose a message before reading the story. Then they listened, read, watched, and acted out the story through various activities. There were many formative assessments along the way to test acquisition of vocabulary, and the summative assessment was to create a unique story based on the format of Il y a un Alligator Sous Mon Lit.

This assessment showed me what the students are able to do with the language. Rather than testing the students for discrete information, in a test or quiz that shows what they don’t know, they took what they learned and produced the best product they could at their proficiency level.

This class is extremely varied in needs and proficiency level and, I was able to modify the requirements to fit each student. Some students had more requirements than others. I provided templates for certain students, while more advanced students were given less direction. I compacted the past tense for one extremely advanced student and she wrote he story using the preterite and imperfect complete with irregular verbs!! Voicethread allows individual needs to be met on both ends of the spectrum!

After the student creates the Voicethread,they were required to view and comment on all of the other students’ Voicethreads. Because they know their project is public and viewed by their peers, the quality is better.

Using this tool in the classroom enables students to become better equipped to use Web 2.0 in a productive and responsible manner.

Below I have included a few examples of varying proficiency levels:


“Why does (s)he get an easy quiz??!”: Fulfilling all needs in a classroom of mixed abilities




It doesn’t matter what road the students take, as long as we are maximizing their growth!








I have a group of French I students that is truly mixed ability: IEPs, heritage learners, students who have taken other languages, students who are repeating, all grade levels.  There are eight students and I often give three different assignments for all activities because it is what is required of me.  A few teachers have asked me how I get away with doing that, meaning, don’t certain students ask why other students are getting easier assignments?  The way I can “get away with it” is through that intangible product of a positive classroom climate.  This class has known and accepted from the beginning of the year that there are many different entry points when learning a language, and everyone will always be at a different proficiency level.  I explained to them that it is up to me to make sure that they are each challenged.  By instilling this in the beginning, continuing to reinforce it, and not let any student take the easy way out, it has come to be a classroom norm.

So that’s the easy part really!  The hard part is developing activities that can assess all learners.  This is where rubrics enter, rubrics that are based on proficiency, requirements, and effort (another discussion all together…).

Here’s an example:

We finished a story-based unit on a fable.  The summative assessment was to choose a moral or lesson and create your own fable using an online comic website, toondoo.com.  All students were able to do this, just at varying levels of proficiency.  Some students had less requirements, and some students had more.  It wasn’t something that I advertised, but it wasn’t something that I would hide either, as already mentioned.  The rubric was the same for every student.  A student who was more proficient in the language would, in most cases, get a better grade, but a less proficient student was still able to be successful.

In this type of learning environment, there are no “wrong” answers.  It’s about what each student is able to do with the language skills he or she has