Stories: Learning and Using Foreign Language

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Middle School Students Learn and Use Foreign Language Vocabulary

In her French classes, Gabrielle uses a method called TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). Her teaching focuses primarily on using stories to learn language through context. Her classroom is also a hybrid classroom and she creates materials for students to access online and watch or read before coming into class.

Gabrielle first used Shadow Puppet to create short videos based on these learning stories from Todd McKay’s TPR Storytelling. Each story usually has a corresponding comic strip and she would take photos of each panel of the comic and then record the narration in French. Her students would watch these videos before they came into class and they’d have that video as a starting point for the discussion and learning.

Tech tools can get unwieldy, especially when you have 30 kids in a classroom. Making videos with Shadow Puppet is just a lot faster and simpler than other ways I’ve made videos. It’s the reason why I’m able to make vocabulary videos quickly and also why my students were able to make great videos in just one class period.”

After several weeks of creating these story videos herself, Gabrielle decided to use Shadow Puppet with her students. She is always looking for ways to get her students to practice speaking aloud—a constant challenge in foreign language classes—and making videos with Shadow Puppet was a great way to get them excited about speaking in French.

Getting students to speak aloud is one of my biggest challenges. Shadow Puppet helped get them excited about speaking. It’s also especially helpful for language learners because you can hear yourself speak. Many students listened back to their video and re-recorded their narration as a result.”

For this lesson, students had to tell their own creative stories including vocabulary from a story they’d previously worked on together as a class. The goals were for the students to practice speaking in French and also demonstrate they understood how to use the new vocabulary in context. Gabrielle created a rubric with some guidelines, and also quickly demoed Shadow Puppet using the projector before they began the activity.

The beauty of Shadow Puppet is that it is simple. It is easy to use and so my students were able to be as creative as they wanted to be. The app did not get in the way of them expressing what they wanted to express.”

The students broke up into groups of three and planned their stories and how they’d use all the required vocabulary. Then they took photos or videos to represent each scene and took turns narrating, each practicing their French speaking skills.

This was a good lesson for a lot of reasons. There was teamwork and collaboration. The students had to manage their time. Each voice had to be heard and so they practiced their speaking. Some groups were very creative with their storytelling and ended up looking up a lot of new vocabulary, which was also great.”

After all of the videos were completed, the class watched the videos together and chose a favorite to appear on the school wide morning announcements.

The students loved it. They already want to make more. Most of them were very creative with their stories and their props. I was really happy with how it turned out, it was as good as I imagined it could be. And the students did really well on the test!”

Ideas for Using Shadow Puppet in Foreign Language Classes
  • Use new vocabulary in a creative story
  • Read a news article in language and summarize it
  • Explain how to conjugate verbs
  • Diagram sentences, explain and read them aloud
  • Practice reading or aloud
  • Make personalized flashcards
  • Describe weekend plans in the language
  • Explain how to do or make something in the language

Want to share your classroom story? Email us at feedback@get-puppet.com!




Middle School Students Learn and Use Foreign Language Vocabulary with Shadow Puppet educational app for iPhone and iPad

Gabrielle Schoppa, French Teacher

Gabrielle teaches 7th and 8th grade French at a public middle school in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Her school has a dozen shared iPads that can be checked out for use in specific lessons.


 

Shadow Puppet educational app lesson ideas for foreign language classes. How to use Shadow Puppet in foreign language classes
Ideas for Using Shadow Puppet in Foreign Language Classes

  • Use new vocabulary in a creative story
  • Read a news article in language and summarize it
  • Explain how to conjugate verbs
  • Diagram sentences, explain and read them aloud
  • Practice reading or aloud
  • Make personalized flashcards
  • Describe weekend plans in the language
  • Explain how to do or make something in the language