Rose Couture

Aspiring teacher. “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward


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Final Learning Project Assessment

As the semester comes to an end, many projects are due and the majority require reflections and assessments on the acquisition of knowledge. For my ECMP355 learning project, I chose to learn the Italian language. I planned on doing so with the help of a Google App named Duolingo, in addition to trying to connect with others online to find more resources. For the most part, I used the application weekly and went through the learning units like a “good” student would. I cannot say that I have learnt how to be fluent in Italian or that I  know how to have a conversation with someone, but my vocabulary is broader than it was when I first began and I can pick up words and general meaning when listening to Italian “conversations”. With Duolingo, I learnt:

  • To conjugate a total of 48 verbs from andare (to go) to volere (to want);
  • 56 markers of dates and time such as: months (dicembre, gennaio, febbraio), days of the week (domenica, lunedi, martedi, mercoledi), seasons (primavera, l’estate), hours (ora), time of the day (mezzogiorno, mezzanotte), etc.;
  • 82 words that have to do with food, including how to say lunch (pranzo) and dinner (cena);
  • A total of 28 animals, my favourites are penguin (pinguino) and turtle (tartaruga);
  • 28 words to describe clothing so that I can now say: Io porto un capotto e i guanti a l’inverno (I wear a jacket and gloves in the winter);
  • 26 preposition words, 13 question words (che, come, perché), 13 colors (arancione, giallo, grigio), 13 conjunctions as well as 12 common phrases (arrivederci, grazie, ciao)
  • For a total of 375 words

I have learnt quite of bit of vocabulary with Duolingo, but I realized at the end that I needed to “hear” it more. Yes, the lady recited the sentences as many times as you wanted, in addition to giving you the correct answers/translations, but they were for the majority short sentences that always had the same structure. I read that one of my classmates Ashley also had a similar dilemma (she was learning ASL) where she learnt a lot of vocabulary, but not enough sentences and/or discussions. One of my readers suggested that I look online for Italian radio stations where they play the “typical pop music”, but where all the commercials and dialogues were in Italian. I made a quick Google search on these Italian radio stations, but did not find anything right off so I decided to stop digging. Bad move. Today, while I was summarizing what I learnt with Duolingo, the vocabulary discussion question came to me and I remembered the comment from my reader. So I went and looked again for Italian radio stations, in addition to Italian podcasts, BINGO! This is when I fell upon this News in Slow Italian website, which I really wish I would have found way before today (I made a post about it too) as it seems to be an incredible learning tool. Maybe after listening to conversations for a while and increasing the speed, I will be able to finally watch a movie in Italian without thinking about how fast they are talking and how I cannot understand anything.

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I was the most happy to have completed my Prepositions unit, as this was my biggest challenge and I did have to dig on YouTube to find additional resources to completely grasp the material that was making me flustered. I completed a total of 16 units like the ones in yellow you can see above, that were made of a total of 73 lessons. I had to try each lesson at least twice, if not more in the difficult ones to unlock the following lessons, which in turn unlocked the following units. One of the things I liked the best was that I was able to practice the lessons as much as I wanted to if I did not feel confident with the material, and I was able to learn at my own rhythm, without fearing a test or having someone quizzing me on the spot about Italian expressions, words or verbs. It was not a stressful experience and this is one of the reason why I will continue learning the language so that I can achieve my dream to one day visit Italy and its thousands of treasures!


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Pet Peeve: Italian Prepositions

Last week, I learnt about Italian conjunctions and prepositions. Let me tell you, this is not an easy task. I thought I could manage pretty well, but I ended up having a really hard time learning the prepositions. The conjunctions part went pretty well and I am now able to combine phrases with words such as: e, ed(and), perché, ma(but), se(if), (either…or), o(or), oppure(or, otherwise, or else), che(what) and finché(as long as, while, until). 

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Prepositions are another story. I have a little difficulty matching the right preposition when the sentences/phrases are longer than three or four words. I thought it would be easy if I thought in French first, before translating to English in my head, but it is not so simple. I did not complete the whole unit because it consists of 8 lessons and I got a little discouraged after the 6th lesson, but I will continue and complete the preposition unit by the end of the week hopefully. If you notice on the picture above, there is a button that says “Test out of this skill” for people who already know some elements of the language they are learning, they can try to pass a short test that will allow them to go to the next level without having to do all the lessons in the unit. On the picture below, we can see my progress so far, I have almost completed two big sections of the Italian skill tree. If anyone has any tricks or tips for Italian prepositions, feel free to share them below. I will also look on YouTube to see if I can find a lesson on prepositions before finishing my unit. Have a great week!

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Learning Some More Italian!

Here is another short video to show you all my progress in my #learningproject that consists of grasping/understanding the Italian language. So far so good, I try to find at least 3 hours a week to put into this project and even if the semester ends and the assignment is over, I will keep on going with my learning. It is not going to be over! I will also keep posting my progress on my blog as well as with YouTube videos!

I had the suggestion of listening to Italian radio to practice my listening skills and I was wondering if some of you out there might have suggestions for interesting Italian podcasts and/or radio stations, it would be greatly appreciated! Hope you have an awesome weekend, and enjoy the Grey Cup!


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Ciao!

Ciao! Hello! Yes, I am still in the process of learning the wonderful Italian language. With two crazy weeks of midterms, research papers and essays that just went by, I can now take time to breath. Good, that was exhausting. As I was very busy with school work, I did not spend time learning new material with my online Italian class. Rather, I chose to practice the vocabulary I already had learned, in order for it to stick in my brain. Learning should be a fun experience and I do not want to crowd my brain with as much Italian information as it can retain. Having that said, I can assure you that I am now very comfortable with the Italian words I know. I cannot quite yet formulate long sentence on my own, but I can say simple stuff like: “The cows are eating meat”/”Le mucche mangiano carne” , “I am vegetarian”/“Io sono vegetariano”(yes, I actually am!), “The cats are drinking milk”/“Le gatte bevono latte” , “The men are eating diner”/“Gli uomini mangiano la cena” , and “The cook is cooking a lemon cake”/“Il cuoco cucina un torta al limone”. I am halfway to level 7 Italian and currently know 145 words in the language.

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As every “good” learner should not be comfortable for too long, I will be studying the possessives in the next unit, which makes me very nervous. I have found myself more than once to translate my sentence in French before typing the answer in English. This would probably be helpful while learning the possessives as French languages as many of its own! After I am done the “possessives” unit, I will move on to the next big activity block where I will learn about clothing, questions, conjunctions, verbs, colours, prepositions, date & time, family and measurements. This seems like a major block, but I am confident that after the following activity block, I will be able to grasp the basics of Italian and could probably get around if I ever traveled to Italy!
I hope that all of you readers have a great week! Buona sera!

Roman_conquest_of_Italy


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Curriculum as Narrative Part 2

Working Effectively with English Language Learners – by Rob Peterson and Kelley Dawson Salas

For the second part of Curriculum as Narrative, I chose to analyze more in depth the story about English language learners. But for a moment, let’s pretend this is about “Working Effectively with French Language Learners”. I know the assignment is designed for us to make connections with the short stories, and this is the way I connect with this one. As some of you might already know, I am part of the Bac program for education at elementary level (K-5). Therefore, I am aiming to be teaching in a French Immersion school or a Fransaskois school at the end of my bachelor’s degree. I found the short story to be very interesting, but the whole time I was reading it, I tried to imagine how it applied to me. Why would I be working with English language learners? I am going to be in a francophone environment… VOILA! Having this enlightening moment, I then tried to read the story and apply it to a French context. Why would it be any different from English to French right?

In Saskatchewan, there are multiple French programs for both francophone and anglophone peoples. First off, there are francophone schools, usually called “école fransaskoise” where students, who have parents that attended a francophone school, can be found. In these type of schools, every single subject is taught in French from kindergarten to grade 12, aside from the English class. Then we have French Immersion schools where students who don’t have French as a first language, can go to school and learn in French from kindergarten to grade 3, and then be introduced to English classes in grade 4. It is also possible for some student to partake in the Late French Immersion programs starting in grade 6 through grade 12. In addition, there is a Core French program where, depending on the grade you are in, are taught French as a subject for a certain amount of time every week. For example, kindergartener to 5th graders will be having French lessons for at least 30 minutes four times a week (120 minutes) whereas 6th to 9th graders have to learn French for 150 minutes every week, and so on. For anglophone parents who decide to send their children to a French Immersion school or a Core French program, there are many resources available in order for them to be able to help their children with homework and lessons taught in French, such as Canadian Parents for French.

As a preservice teacher aiming to teach in a French environment, I found the short story by Peterson and Dawson Salas really applied to my situation. Like it is mentioned, I will have to constantly remind myself that my students’ first language might not be French unlike me. Therefore, I will have to be extra cautious to speak very slowly and clearly so that my class can understand what I am saying. There is also a possibility that I will encounter students who just moved to Saskatchewan or Canada and don’t speak English or French. That’s where visual aids such as pictures, posters, videos, books, slide shows will come in handier than verbal instruction. By showing kids something visual, they know what the animal, action, tree, etc. is in their first language and therefore, they are able to make connections and for example, be like “oh chat [in french] is just like gato!” (which is spanish for cat). I will definitely use the idea of introducing vocabulary and concepts to my students before jumping into lessons, which will also allow me to evaluate the levels at which my students are at. I probably would also review vocabulary and concepts related to every week’s lessons before starting to teach so that my students are really comfortable with the terms. The idea of using songs, skits and games to learn is also very appealing to me. I even find myself singing French songs to my anglophone niece sometimes and she thinks its hilarious and she really enjoys trying to sing along with me. I have also discovered that many French songs and rhymes have an English version. That would be a very helpful tool for my anglophone students to use in order to make connections with their first language.

The only aspect of the short story I am “iffy” about is the one that suggests not to use whole-class instruction. I understand that not all the students will be at the same French level, Fransaskois or Immersion school, but I think by reviewing vocabulary and concepts with all the classroom would benefit everyone. When it comes to projects, readings and assignments, then yes, I believe working in smaller groups would be more beneficial and I would probably tend to put together teams containing a diversity of students so that everyone in the group gets the chance to be in the shoes of both a learner and a teacher. Including words and expressions from other cultures in my lessons is also part of my plan, as I find myself easily entertained when finding out the meaning of certain words in languages that are unknown to me. This could be an interesting idea of an activity to do with my students. I could give them a sentence in English and have them translate it to French and two or one other language and have them make connections between the words. What are the similarities and differences? Of course the root of the language and the words can be a little complicated, but there are ways to have this activity adapted to different levels.

Overall, I thought the reading of The New Teacher Book to be very interesting and constructive, and I will definitely be using the book in the future. It is something that I will want to have close to me during my first few years as a teacher as it touches multiple issues one can encounter in different contexts. In addition, I will definitely be taking the time to read the whole volume once time permits!