Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Foreign Languages K-12 Home go

Class Profile
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French: Chicken Pox
Class Profile
- Jai Scott

A lot of the teaching at this age level starts and ends with songs. That is a way for children to access the language, and one way we teach them to read. Most of the songs we sing in class have text to go with them. By the end of last year, the children had learned the curriculum using over 70 songs.

- Jai Scott

Year at a Glance
Songs; Body Parts; Colors; Numbers
Parts of the Classroom
Letter of the Week (ongoing)
The Farm
Science Unit (buoyancy)
National French Week
Winter Holidays
Winter (clothing, weather, sports)
Journal Writing (start writing)
Black History Month
100th Day of School
Valentine's Day
Spring; Flowers
Prepare for School Performance
Food (fruits and vegetables)
Change of Seasons
The Community and Transportation
The Zoo

School Profile
Jai Scott teaches kindergarten at Ecole Kenwood, a K-8 French immersion school in Columbus, Ohio. At the Kenwood School, instruction is in French, so that the school's 400 students learn to read, write, and speak French as they learn the standard curriculum mandated by the Columbus Public Schools. When students leave Kenwood, they receive two Carnegie Units (high school credits) in French. Students also study Spanish in grades 6-8, for which they receive one Carnegie Unit. The following table shows what percentage of each day students spend learning in French and in English at each grade level:

Grade Percentage of Day in French Percentage of Day in English
K-1 100% --
2 80% 20%
3 70% 30%
4 60% 40%
5-8 50% 50%

Lesson Design
When designing his lessons, Mr. Scott refers to the Columbus Public Schools Benchmarks, which are aligned with the Ohio Academic Content Standards (see Resources). The focus of each lesson is the academic content, with French as the means of instruction. Mr. Scott's students study the same sequence of units studied by all kindergartners in Columbus. However, because his students must understand the content in a new language, Mr. Scott, who is certified to teach elementary school, relies more heavily on visuals, hand gestures, repetition, songs, and movement to make meaning clear than he might in an elementary classroom taught in English. These strategies also meet the different learning styles of his young students and retain their attention during a full-day class.

The Lesson
In this lesson, students studied vocabulary for the different parts of the body while reading a story and singing a song about the chicken pox. Some students knew about the chicken pox from personal experience, and students had learned some of the body parts vocabulary in a previous lesson. Some also knew initial letter sounds in English, which helped them recognize the corresponding vocabulary words in French. The class next moved on to a lesson about the common cold.

Key Teaching Strategies
  • Developing Literacy: In a primarily oral class, the teacher begins to show the sound/symbol correspondence in written alphabetic languages. (In character languages such as Chinese, students develop connections between oral vocabulary and the character with the same meaning.)
  • Storytelling: The teacher communicates the meaning of a story by paraphrasing the text in the target language and showing its illustrations, while frequently checking for learner comprehension and reaction.

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