Monday, 30 September 2013

Personalizing Grammar Lessons in Grade 10 French

This is the first in our series of posts with examples of personalized learning in action. Greenwood's French Instructional Leader, Heather Maxted, explains how she personalizes her French lessons to help students grasp tough grammar concepts.

On the first day of Grade 10 French, I tell my students that I am very proud of them for pushing themselves to continue pursuing French. The Ontario Curriculum FSF2D – Grade 10 Core French course is very grammar-heavy, and students are expected to identify and use a multitude of grammar concepts orally and in writing, and to have the ability to identify their use in print material.

The most challenging of the grammatical concepts is the use of the passé composé and imparfait (past tenses) together. Often the students who have been in French Immersion or who have had extensive French experience are able to use the imparfait tense along with the passé compose orally with ease; however, when it comes to using these tenses in writing they often struggle.


Personalizing Grammar Acquisition


Because of a wide range of abilities in the classroom, especially with regard to this particular grammatical concept, I have personalized the students’ grammar acquisition in Grade 10 French. I have created several lesson cycles that students will progress through at their own pace, as they are ready.

The way these cycles work is that students are pre-assessed both orally and in writing to gauge their strengths with regard to the two tenses. Some students need to start at the basic question, “What is the passé compose?” while other students are able to jump right to the level where they compare the use of the two tenses, while others are able to move straight to narrating stories using the concepts.

Lesson Cycle Structure


Each lesson cycle will ask students to:
  • Complete an oral and written pre-assessment;
  • Complete guided practice (often with an instructional video or a personal/small group lesson);
  • Complete independent practice; and
  • Complete another assessment to ensure they have learned the material prior to moving onto next steps.

Not all students make it through all of the cycles, and that is completely okay. Some of the cycles push students beyond the course expectations, so I ensure that students complete the cycles that are required for the course. Timing and pacing are personalized so that students never feel rushed or hurried before they completely understand the material. 

Heather Maxted
French Instructional Leader

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