LA CARTE POSTALE MYSTERIEUSE
THE MYSTERIOUS POSTCARD
An authentic summative assessment
for 3rd graders in French immersion
- Description of the project
The goal of this project is to design a postcard that Normandale 3rd graders will then complete and “mail” to Normandale 5th graders. The narrative on the postcard gives many details of the destination of the sender but on purpose does not disclose the name of the country visited. So the 5th graders have to find the country and write it in space reserved for it on the postcard. Then they check on a customized Google map if their answer was correct. Finally, the postcards come back to the 3rd graders. We share in a morning meeting the answers found by the 5th graders. If the answer is not correct then, the teacher reads all the clues and 3rd graders have a chance to guess. The sender can confirm or not the answer.
The steps to completion:
- 1st step: Teacher reads a couple of postcards she has received from family members or friends. She does not disclose the location of the senders and ask students if they have guessed where the postcards were sent from. If they cannot guess, teacher ask what could be useful clues to help find out. Teacher lists the possible clues on the board. Then teacher explains the project of the postcard.Teacher shares how the postcard project is evaluated. The rubric:
- 2nd step: Students take a Google form assessment to see if they are ready for this project. This formative assessment will allow the teacher to see who needs vocabulary remediation for cardinal points, continents, countries, cities and also remediation for the understanding of geographic concepts.
Extract from the Google form:
- 3rd step: Beginning of the writing process : prewriting. Students select a country of their choice in this list. Not all countries are listed, only those where we could find grade level appropriate French material.
Afrique du Sud
Royaume Uni (ou Angleterre)
- 4th step: Teacher explains the steps of the project and the expectations. Then students go to Google classroom to find and read the step by step document.
- 5th step: Prewriting - Students trace a table in their French writing notebook to collect information on the following: hello in the language of the country visited, geographical clues (continent, hemisphere, cardinal points,...), landscape, landmarks, monuments, currency, climate and food. Not all clues are required. Students need to find a minimum of 5. However, all students need to find how to say hello in the language of the country visited and add geographical clues (continent, hemisphere, cardinal points,...). Teacher has pre selected websites in French for students. The Google classroom document shows students how to find those websites.
- 6th step: Drafting - After showing their table to teacher, students are ready to write their first draft. This table helps them getting started by suggesting sentence starters. An exemple is provided to guide them during this step.
Exemple : Bonjour,
J’ai passé une super journée aujourd’hui dans un pays au nord de l’Afrique en Europe. Je suis montée sur la Tour Eiffel et j’ai adoré. Je suis ensuite descendue et je me suis assise dans le parc pour manger une crêpe avec des fraises que j’ai payé en Euro. J’espère que tu me rejoindras bientôt et on pourra goûter celle à la vanille.
Sais-tu où je suis?
Anne Sophie Chelmis
- 7th step: Revising - Student has a mini-conference with a partner and then with the teacher to revise the first draft. Partner and then teacher checks for right amount of clues, introduction, conclusion, sentence varieties and details. Student works on his/her second draft accordingly.
- 8th step: Editing - Student has a mini-conference with a partner and then with the teacher to edit the second draft. Partner and then teacher checks for complete sentences, capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Student works on his/her final copy accordingly.
- 9th step: End of the writing process : publishing - Student shows his/her final copy to teacher. If ready, student can write neatly in cursive on the back of the postcard. On the front, student illustrates or makes a collage of one or several elements of the country visited. It could be a monument, or some landscape, or food, or the flag, ...
- 10th step: Students show their postcard completed to teacher. If teacher approves, postcard can be “mailed” in the French yellow mailbox in the classroom.
- 11th step: Students go to Google classroom to find a map of the world that they will customised for this project. They place a marker on the country they selected, they select a copyright-friendly illustration of their country and add it to the marker. They include their name in the description but not in the title.
- 12th step: Students are done. The mailman can come and deliver the postcards to the 5th graders. Since it is “slow mail”, we give 5th graders two weeks to complete their part of the project.
- A description of standards addressed
The following standards are addressed in this project:
- RF.3.3 - Phonics and Word Recognition
126.96.36.199 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
- Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.
- Decode words with common Latin suffixes.
- Decode multisyllable words.
- Read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words, including high-frequency words.
- RF.3.4 - Fluency
188.8.131.52. Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
- Read grade-level text with purpose and understanding.
- Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
- Use context to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding, rereading as necessary.
- W.3.2 - Text Types and Purposes
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
- Introduce a topic and group related information together; include illustrations when useful to aiding comprehension.
- Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
- Use linking words and phrases (e.g., also, another, and, more, but) to connect ideas within categories of information.
- Provide a concluding statement or section.
- W.3.4 - Production and Distribution of Writing
With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
- W.3.5 - Production and Distribution of Writing
184.108.40.206 - With guidance and support from peers and adults, use a writing process to develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, drafting, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3 up to and including grade 3.)
- W.3.7 - Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Conduct short research projects that build knowledge about a topic.
- W.3.8 - Research to Build and Present Knowledge
Recall information from experiences or gather information from print and digital sources; take brief notes on sources and sort evidence into provided categories.
- L.3.1 - Conventions of Standard English (French in Immersion)
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
- Explain the function of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in general and their functions in particular sentences.
- Form and use regular and irregular plural nouns.
- Use abstract nouns (e.g., childhood).
- Form and use regular and irregular verbs.
- Form and use the simple (e.g., I walked; I walk; I will walk) verb tenses.
- Ensure subject-verb and pronoun-antecedent agreement.
- Form and use comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.
- Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions.
- Produce simple, compound, and complex sentences.
- L.3.2 - Conventions of Standard English (French in Immersion)
Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
- Capitalize appropriate words in titles.
- Use commas in addresses.
- Use commas and quotation marks in dialogue.
- Form and use possessives.
- Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).
- Use spelling patterns and generalizations (e.g., word families, position-based spellings, syllable patterns, ending rules, meaningful word parts) in writing words.
- Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.
- An explanation of how the assessment is authentic
I believe the following reasons make the project of the “Mysterious Postcard” authentic:
- The task was determined first (vs. a body of knowledge).
- Students are asked to perform a real task (writing a postcard).
- Students work with partners to get feedback and help during the writing process.
- Teacher provides feedback and help to move students towards performing the real task (conferencing).
- Students performance is for a real audience (5th graders).
- The audience gives feedback and therefore provides direct evidence of authenticity of the performed task.
- Students are engaged and motivated because they choose their country, they feel more connected with their subject. Some students chose a country they had visited, others a country related to their family tree, or a country connected to a famous athlete they admire.
- Students are eager to get the answers back from their peers in 5th grade.
- Students ask if the project can be repeated since they enjoy it so much.
- A personal reflection on your growth in this area
In a school immersion setting, I am constantly looking for ways to make the learning environment as close as possible to authentic. It is our number one challenge since the L2 language is for 90% of the students used only at school. As Chris Holden says, Normandale is a French island surrounded by English. So the use of French as a medium for learning raises the bar.
Many of the readings or viewing I did during this class helped me shape and refine my idea of authenticity. I liked the visual in the Visible Learning slide show about the average retention rate after 24 hours: teach others 90% vs. lecture 5%. Very powerful! It is all about being connected, being in the moment. I love it!
I paused again when I read in that slide show that visible learning is when the student gives feedback to the teacher. It made me think how often do I give my students a chance to give me feedbacks, how does it look like, how could I increase their amount of feedbacks?
I found the Playmaker School intriguing and so connected to all we do in the tech cohort and in the Edina district with the BG5 program plan. There was also an article in the Sunday Star Tribune about the new High School in Alexandria which that is redefining use of space around flexibility and therefore enhancing collaboration between students and teachers.
I am interesting in learning more about badging. So far I have only been on the receiving end of it with the Global Competence Certificate I do online. I cannot say that it has been a motivational tool for me. I am curious about how this can work in the classroom as Chris Hesselbein says that badges need to be visible for the student on a daily basis. I would not like badges to be physically visible as a whole class in the classroom as it would create a non-healthy competition, as it backlashed with DOJO However, I do like the idea of having students create their own badges to show that they learned using a different pathway.
I am very curious about Flubaroo and would like to start using it, but then would it be redundant to use Masteryconnect since both can do the grading. Should I concentrate my time and efforts on Masteryconnect instead?