Fun techie & mixer ideas for getting kids to speak in French

Photo credit: Pawel Loj, flickr, used by Creative Commons license

Photo credit: Pawel Loj, flickr, used by Creative Commons license

One of the activities we do to enhance the kids’ language ability is a weekly French Club.  The format for the club this year is to start with a vocabulary-building active/running game for the first 15-25 minutes, followed by a story & group discussion for 10-20 minutes. After the group discussion, we have an activity where the kids are all actively speaking with each other, and then sometimes another group activity at the end depending on the time.   Our emphasis is on oral communication for all of the activities we choose.

For our second meeting of the season, we started with obstacle courses again (similar to the first time around) but with different things to do. After the obstacle courses, we went inside and read Je n’aime pas ma boucle by Hans Wilhelm. I wanted a simple story talking about liking things (j’aime) and not liking things (je n’aime pas). I’ve read the books from this series before and enjoyed them (link to my review here), but I was a bit worried this might be too simple for the 10-11 year olds in our group. I needn’t have been concerned. They enjoyed the book just as much as the younger ones.


After we talked about the book, I gave the kids a mixer activity from this link  (#1 Trouve quelqu’un qui…). The kids went around and asked each other different things that they like and don’t like and wrote down their names beside each item. I still can’t believe how well these simple activities go over with the kids. Even my little darlings who I have trouble getting to talk rattle away with these. Hurray!

The techie part

It’s no secret that kids love electronics. When something is on a screen, the novelty factor is increased exponentially. So, when this idea (#4 On se présente) came across my Pinterest feed, I knew I had to try it. A core French teacher from Toronto set up this Voice Thread example where all the kids in her class recorded themselves answering various questions. She set up the thread such that it could be copied and modified so I did. I tweaked the content a bit to suit our club, and then recorded my own answers to present as an example. I then asked each mom for a picture and screen name for their kids and added those as different “identities” under my own account.



During our meeting time, I gave the kids a copy of the slides to practice with a partner and then they took turns recording with the iPad app for the same site. They all had a lot fun listening to themselves being played back.



The activity took longer than I anticipated it would so we had to defer something else that we had planned, but nobody seemed to mind. Many thanks to Madame Duckworth for presenting this idea on her blog – it was a great way to get the kids talking!

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