Tag Archives: performance task

Don’t Beat ’em, Join ’em!: Cellphones Allowed!


Ian Jukescommitted me” a while ago.  We live in a time of exponential change, and education serves our students only if it prepares them to live in the world as productive citizens.  When we think of the real world, we don’t think of an isolated classroom containing barriers with no access to technology, or where its use is prohibited. Unfortunately, many schools are continuing to educate students in this manner.  Often, teachers are burdened with narrowing technology budgets and limited resources.  Most students have access to cell phones, which currently act a lot more like computers than phones. How can we see them as helpful to our classes rather than hindrances?

Take advantage of the fact that you have 10 or more “computers” in your classroom available for use at any moment, no training required!!

Here are are some useful and meaningful ways to use cellphones in the world language classroom:

1.     GoogleVoice: Save time and go green!  As an oral assessment, have students leave you a message by calling your GoogleVoicemail in class responding to a  prompt. Then, text or email back your feedback and score. Read the rest of this entry


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:

Café d’Amour


The past month, I have worked with my French I students on a café unit. We made comparisons between French and American café and restaurant customs, looked at pictures online, previewed and then interpreted menus, and completed interpersonal activities to acquire vocabulary with many formative assessments along the way.

Today was the culminating activity, le Café d’Amour, as chosen by my students. They created the menu offerings and prices, and rotated through, playing the client, the server and the back of the house. This class varies immensely in their capabilities, more than any class I have taught in 7 years, and has quite a few behavioral issues. I was, needless to say, nervous how this would work being an unscripted interpersonal activity.

I was thrilled at how successful the activity was, all students using as much French as they were capable, being kind to each other, and smiling and enjoying the experience. My pleasure came from the fact that they had fun with the assessment, not simply because they were eating (something that all students enjoy..), but because they were using their French!  They all succeeded according to my interpersonal rubric, and all the while hardly conscious of the fact they were being assessed.

This task was effective because they chose the menu, and had stake in the activity. It was also successful because we spent time comparing American and French cafés. When we were setting up the parameters of the activity, I found many of them saying, “Noooo..they don’t do that in France!”  The final reason for the success of this activity was that it was appropriately scaffolded, something I will continue to reference and feel is one of the true secrets to achieving proficiency in a world language classroom!

My students were thrilled to be eating in class, and I was thrilled that they could eat, acquire and apply the language all at once!

Thanks for reading and bon appetit!!