QR Codes in Applied French

What is a QR Code?
You know those UPC codes that the cashier scans at any check out counter? It is basically the same thing, but in a different format. That is the short and simple answer, and that's all I'm going to say about it.
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I've always thought that our Applied students sometimes get the short end of the stick. 

For those of you not from Ontario, our Core French programme is broken down into Applied and Academic. The Applied streams tends to be significantly easier, homework isn't usually given, assignments and all other work is completed during class time, and I hate to say it, but the expectations are significantly lower. 

I am teaching a Grade 9 French Applied class for the first time since starting to teach in Canada and compare it to the ability level, behaviour and attitude that I experienced many time while teaching in London. However, there, they were not given the choice to choose between a more academic or not stream. Regardless of what the general perception is of the typical applied class, I still expect a lot from my students, within reason of course, and I try to provide them with the same types of stimulating activities that I do in my other classes.

On that note, they participated in their first QR Code activity this past week. We are currently in our food unit and I wanted a way to have them create a vocabulary list without just copying the words from the book. 

Before putting together the activity, I had to make sure we could actually accomplish it, in other words, that the kids had the necessary technology to access the QR codes. In my class of 13, only 2 were able to access free apps on their mobile devices, therefore I had to keep that in mind. So what I did was create different roles. 

1) The QR Code Reader
2) The Clue Decipherers
3) The Translator (I knew they wouldn't be lining up for this one, as they tend to despise using the dictionary! They always ask for the smaller of the 2 versions that we have, as the bigger one is "scary".)

I prepped the activity (I will post details about the process in the next entry), got very excited, went to class, only to find that we were down to 8 in the class that day! Then 1 took off for a Guidance appointment and took ages to come back, so we were down to 7 for a while. The teams, and yes, of course, there were teams, as the majority work much better with that competitive aspect, the teams ended up being quite uneven with 5 students on one and 3 on the other. In the end the 3 member team one as they were much more focused though!

Then I come to find out that one of the two who has a device that we were going to use, did not have it! He has had it every single day since day 1, I've confiscated it numerous times, and the one time I actually NEED HIM to have his mobile phone, HE DOESN'T HAVE IT! Can you believe it? I couldn't, and neither could any of the other kids in the class. Always the prepared teacher, I had made sure that my mobile was fully charged and had had a feeling that I would need it. As I knew I could entrust my kids to use it, I was more than happy to hand it over momentarily, all the while keeping an eye of course so they didn't get distracted by my son's games. (And as much as I thought they'd be curious to see what I had on there, they never once attempted to scroll through.)

Part 1 of the vocabulary gathering was using the QR codes to figure 8 clues that I had posted around the room, in French of course. I tried to use basic language so that they could be as independent as possible and tried to make the clues as obvious as possible. They did not have a word bank or a list to work from, all they knew was that we were starting our new food unit and this was their vocabulary list they were putting together. 

Part 2 of the activity was a series of images which they had to label in French and Part 3 was a traditional, here is the French word, translate to English.

All in all, after explaining how it would work, the winning team took 50 minutes to complete everything. I didn't think it would take that long, as we don't usually engage in activities in such large chunks, but it was technically, 3.5 different tasks, including the questions at the end. However, they were not distracted (ok, I'm fibbing, the 5 person team managed to chat enough that a few did not make it to the end where they had to answer questions.), so I change that to, on the whole, they were not distracted. But what I mean is that they were engaged. They were not bored, they seemed relatively interested, the QR code segment was the best part of course, and they really expressed a liking to the activity.

Click here to access the worksheet --> Nourriture vocab- QR Code activity  

And these are the QR codes here --> Nourriture vocab- QR Codes

All in all, a very successful class, if I do say so myself. 

The details of the creation of this specific activity will follow in the next post.

And just for fun:

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