Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sources and Ideas for Interpretive Tasks

It is difficult to find authentic materials for the interpretive portion of an integrated performance assessment.  Here are some ideas, inspired by Implementing Integrated Performance Assessment and the recent NECTFL webinar I attended about integrating culture into the classroom through the lens of the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) project.  The IPA is great for addressing the literacy skills in the Common Core.

I think it's important to remember that authentic materials don't necessarily have to be only newspaper articles or literature and that students don't need to understand every word from these materials. Anything made from the target culture for the target culture can be used, such as a lost puppy poster or six-second Vine.  Finding pieces that tie directly to your unit essential questions and themes can be a difficult task.  I'm hoping these ideas will be a good jumping off point.

Some ideas:

  1. Huffington Post.  There are branches in French and Spanish.  Many of the articles have pictures and the content ranges from serious to pop culture. Web sites are great for interpretive tasks because there are a lot of clues on the page about the material within the reading.  (Headlines, links to other sites, etc.)
  2. Buzz Feed etc.  Have you ever clicked on a Buzz Feed link in your Facebook feed?  Like this one about "19 times you've made this face." There are equivalents around the globe.  This category of site is great because there are tons of context clues and the articles are often funny.  For example, I just saw one on Topito in France about cats.  Great places to start: Sites like Topito in France or the Spanish Buzz Feed.
  3. Web pages.  There is a great French IPA about likes, dislikes and leisure activities on the Ohio Foreign Language Association website, where the interpretive task is from a website from the French government about leisure activities in Paris.  Visit these types of sites in the target culture:  Sports, leisure activities, local theaters, town sites, musician pages, etc.  
  4. Public service announcements/Signs/Advertisements.  These can teach much about the target culture and are easily accessible online.  Think about ads for the metro (like these great ones about metro manners shared by Sharon Wilkinson during the webinar), signs around major cities, inserts from magazines, etc.
  5. Songs.  These are a window into pop culture and values.  You can also use some fun sites like Lyrics Training for students to work on their listening skills with popular songs.  
  6. Commercials.  These are fabulous because students are working on their listening but they gain context clues.  Kara Jacobs did a fabulous presentation on Spanish commercials at NECTFL last year.   
  7. Comic strips/Political cartoons.  Often these are complex and may work better for students with a higher skill set.  They can provide deep information on the perspectives of the target culture.
  8. Cartoons.  I can't tell you how much I've learned about Québec from Caillou en français.  There are a myriad of clips available on YouTube
These are but a few ideas, but I hope they have saved you time and sparked some ideas of your own.  I would love to hear your recommendations or to hear about great sites that you use.   (And I am considering making a website with links for interpretive tasks connected to specific themes and ideas. I will keep you posted.)

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