I’ve struggled to find a really meaningful project base learning style task to use with my French students in years 7 and 8, then I read this great post in Edutopia and thought I’d give it a go!
Inspired by Don’s ‘Menu Project’, I decided to meet curriculum objectives in terms of both cultural and linguistic knowledge by asking students to imagine that they were creating their own school and put together a selection of compulsory and optional tasks designed to encourage comparison and us of target language (French). Having discussed learning standards and objectives with the students, I presented them with the tasks and we discussed ways in which they could interpret the task and challenge themselves. Here’s the basic set of requirements:
As you can see, some are optional and others are compulsory and I’ve tried to include writing in the target language. The task is differentiated by outcome but also by interest. The presetations that I used were presentations about school subjects and opinions that I created myself and others that I found on the TES website. The students enjoyed working in their groups and spent a total of 3 lessons, plus as much homework time as they wanted, on the task.
In class today, the students presented their projects and carried out some peer assessment as well as talked about what went well and what could be done to improve the project.
It was really exciting to see them working in their groups and the quality of their completed work was really extraordinary. Most groups completed the extension tasks and some had also created additional tasks to make their projects more comprehensive. Many of the students had written additional work in French using the help in the presentations and some used French in their presentations. Best of all was the extent to which students listened to their peers and gave insightful and constructive feedback.
Overall, I’m not sure that my little project ‘counts’ as project based learning, but it was an engaging way to learn. I carried out a pre-assessment task and will be conducting a post-assessment task which will be a test of the learning that happened in the lessons. What I know at the moment, based on oral feedback, is that the project helped students to understand more about the culture of France and get a clearer idea of the link between French and other subjects in the curriculum. They also really enjoyed themselves.
I’ll post some feedback following assessment and will upload some of the work that the students produced, but wanted to share the task with you because we had so much fun in class today!
Any ideas for great project based learning in foreign languages will be gratefully received!