Being able to make an impression on a teacher is a wonderful thing regardless of the age or grade level of the student.
What’s even more notable, however, is when that impact happens in a foreign language.
“For the culminating projects I received from my Grade 8 students, I was struck by their ability to combine their knowledge with their vibrant creativity,” says Irma Fiacco, French teacher at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS).
And the results, Fiacco notes, were worthy of being shared!
“I asked them to make a video presentation using Flipgrid about their journey at St. Michael’s College School during the last two years of elementary school,” continues Fiacco, who is going into her second year as an SMCS faculty member.
“Many of them prepared creative videos about their experiences including their biggest challenges, their greatest achievements, their most beautiful memories, and the many people who supported them along the way,” she says, adding, “all of this was done in French!”
Fiacco says this was her first experience in assigning a culminating task.
“This project was an opportunity to know my students not only academically but also through their sharing of their memories, thoughts, and feelings,” she says.
Choosing the appropriate platform --- in this case, Flipgrid, a Microsoft-powered, social learning tool which allows students to respond to teachers’ questions through video --- was also a fitting choice.
“Flipgrid is a great educational tool where students use their voices to connect ideas to their own experiences,” says Fiacco.
Among the most noteworthy submissions, a trio of Grade 8 students who share their personal experience with this assignment.
“What I enjoyed most about this culminating project is that it allowed me to express my creativity while improving my written and oral communication skills. It also allowed me to reflect on my experiences at St. Michael’s College School, including the friends I have made and what I have learned not only in the core subjects, but about being a good person and demonstrating acts of kindness.
It took me a little over a week to prepare the written text, record my voice, look for the graphics, and then video record my image using a green screen.
The truth is, the French language is difficult to learn. No word sounds the way it is spelled and no matter how hard I try, I stammer over the elusive pronunciation of the letter ‘r’. This assignment allowed me to practice, practice, and practice some more.
I learned to never be afraid to try new things. I taught myself how to use a green screen during self-isolation and used it in several culminating assignments over the past few weeks.”
“For this culminating project in French, I enjoyed thinking about my favourite memories and experiences over the past two years at SMCS and selecting a few of them for this project.
I worked on completing this project over the course of a few days by breaking up the project into smaller tasks to complete. For example, I brainstormed ideas and translated my ideas into French on one day and then on another day, I chose which platform to use and looked for photos to include in my presentation.
This project helped me consolidate what I learned in French this year. To create this project, I used my knowledge of reading, writing, and speaking in French and put it to use in this culminating project.
The process of putting this project together helped me appreciate how much I’ve enjoyed my time so far at St. Mike’s. It also made me realize that using my technological and presentation skills helped me to create a unique project.”
LUCA A. PILEGGI
“This French culminating project allowed me to look back at what I had accomplished over the last two years at St. Mike’s. I was able to reflect on all of the great experiences I shared with my classmates.
I completed this project over the course of three days. Each day I worked on it for about 4-6 hours. I wanted to perfect the French pronunciation which took up most of the time.
This project definitely helped me in my learning of French. Seeing all the French verb tenses, nouns, and adjectives in context made things understandable and engaging. Most of the things we had studied in French class was put to use in this project.
I learned that perseverance and hard work are necessary to succeed. The time I spent on the pronunciation part of the project paid off. I was very pleased with the final result.”
For her part, Fiacco remains impressed, adding she too, gained new knowledge from the experience.
“I would like to thank all my students for their contribution to this project. It has led to the building of a strong community within our classroom and our school.”