Written by Guest Writer – Rose Grech.
Over the past 30 years my role as a teacher has taken on various forms and I’ve had to evolve and adapt to the ever changing curriculum. As a LOTE/Italian teacher and most recently EAL teacher, my main focus has been on oral language.
If students have an extensive vocabulary they are able to use these words to interact with their peers by expressing their ideas and feelings. They learn to listen to and read texts with accuracy and fluency, leading to a greater appreciation of both languages.
Check out my favourite tools for bringing oral language into the classroom. If l can use them…so can you!
The first is Chatterpix, which I used with the year 1 and 2 students to reinforce their learning of colours. Chatterpix allows the student to take a photo of an object or illustration then add stickers, draws a line to create a mouth, records sentences, play it back in order to listen to it, and write short sentences. Students are able to instantly listen for correct pronunciation and intonation of Italian-specific sounds whilst having fun watching an object speak.
Puppet Pals was used to teach the language of greetings. Puppet Pals allows students to create 2 or more puppets by adding selected features and record a greeting conversation. Students can also add different voice overs by controlling the volume button and move the puppets around the screen.
The Book Creator app was used with my small group of EAL students to reinforce their understanding and concept of time. Book Creator also allows the students to write short stories or sentences, draw/take pictures, format the look of the book and voice record. Playing back their voice recordings is beneficial when the focus is on developing oral language, sentence structure and pronunciation of words.
For the older students in grades 3-6:
Screencastify (a free Chrome extension) was introduced so students could record their Italian Profile. With Screencastify, the older students can record themselves reading, listening back for clarity and correct pronunciation and re-record. Screencastify recordings are saved as a video file directly into the student’s Google Drive. You have the option of recording just your webcam, just your screen or a combination of the two.
For the iOS apps (Chatterpix, Puppet Pals & Book Creator) student work can be saved directly to the photo gallery. For me and the students, these apps are concrete evidence of learning, assessment and feedback. The students’ work can also be uploaded onto SeeSaw where parents are instantly informed of their child’s progress.
These apps tie in very well with the Listening and Speaking areas of the EAL and LOTE curriculum. By using the voice recording function, I can hear their pronunciation, intonation, use of correct tense, clarity, expression, and how they converse with their peers in groups and class discussions. They can be used at the introduction of a topic or at the end to reinforce students’ learning. Students are having fun using these apps without realising that they are learning another language.