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Foreign language learning in elementary schools

By Melissa Arndt on April, 4 2022

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Melissa Arndt

Born and raised in Wisconsin, Melissa majored in elementary education with a minor in German. She taught at the Milwaukee German Immersion school for 16 years before joining Robotel as a trainer and content creator.

Do you have colleagues who have been using SmartClass or other technology in their foreign language classes? Have they been talking about how there are a wide variety of activity templates, that their students are engaged in speaking and listening activities, and how great it is to have so many activities that are auto-graded?

Now, all of those benefits are available to you for foreign language learning in elementary schools as well! Yes, SmartClass has great content, but your needs might be different based on the level/subject you are teaching. So let me show you how you can use SmartClass with your elementary foreign language learners. 

foreign language in elementary schools

Using SmartClass for foreign language learning in elementary schools:

The SmartClass Hub allows you to create your own activities using a variety of activity templates that help motivate and excite your students. You have the freedom to use your curriculum (texts, pictures, audio, video, etc.) to provide students with engaging activities to demonstrate and assess their learning. These activities can then be used year after year and differentiated to meet the needs of individual students. 

foreign language elementary schools

1. Vocabulary activities

Let’s take a look at vocabulary. Whether you are an elementary teacher teaching basic words or a trade teacher teaching specific vocabulary of the trade, the practice of new vocabulary is essential for student learning. Maybe you are thinking that there is only so much that can be done with one list of words. This is where the fun begins! Here are some activity ideas for what you can do with one list of words in the SmartClass Hub:

Multiple Choice (auto-graded) - choose the best vocabulary word to complete the sentence

Text Match (auto-graded) - match native translation to foreign language or definition

Fill-in-the-Blanks (auto-graded) - define or give hints to the word and students fill in the blank with the correct vocab word

Image Match (auto-graded) - match the image with the correct word

Category Match (auto-graded) - place words with the same article, verb tense, or part of speech in the correct category (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.)

Letter Jumble (auto-graded) - letters from the vocab words will be scrambled

Open Text - use the list as stimuli and have students write sentences/stories/practice spelling

Pronunciation (percentage of accuracy given) - have students practice pronouncing the words correctly with the help of Artificial Intelligence

Segmented Recording - listen and repeat the words or listen to a question and students provide an audio response

Open Recording - students use the new vocab words and record sentences or a story

Are you surprised? Isn’t it exciting how many opportunities your students can have to practice/learn new vocabulary? Did you happen to notice how many of those activities are auto-graded in the HUB? Is there anything more enticing about an activity for a teacher than to know that students are engaged and learning and that activity does not need to be graded by the teacher? The students get instant feedback after submitting their work, and teachers can go back and leave a comment/feedback or change the grade if necessary. 

foreign language elementary schools

2. Picture activities

Now let’s take a look at what can be done with a picture. Whether you are an elementary school teacher or educating students in a trade, pictures are important. Here are some activities that you can do with pictures:

Multiple Choice (auto-graded) - look at the picture and answer questions

Fill-in-the-Blanks (auto-graded) - choose the best word to complete the sentence of what is in the picture

Image Match (auto-graded) - used with multiple pictures to match picture to vocab word or match sentences to the correct picture

Sentence Jumble (auto-graded) - if the picture is directions, put the steps in order of what comes first

Question and Answer - students could decide if statements are true or false based on the picture and then correct false statements

Open Text - freely write a response to what is happening in the picture

Open Recording - record response to the picture or a story that explains what is happening or will happen next

Again, we have a single item that can be transformed into a variety of engaging activities to help solidify knowledge. It is so convenient to have all of these activities in one place no matter the stimuli. You don’t need to visit one website for matching games, another for Multiple Choice, and another for speaking opportunities. It is all right in the SmartClass Hub. Let’s move on to what you can do with a video.

foreign language elementary schools

 

3. Video activities

Multiple Choice (auto-graded) - students answer questions based on info from the video

Fill in the Blanks (auto-graded) - find the mistake in the statement and fix it in the blank

Category Match (auto-graded) - match the info to the person who said it

Sentence Jumble (auto-graded) - put the events in order based on what was seen

Question and Answer - put the time of the video where the answer is given under each question

Open Text - summarize what happened or write an alternate ending

Open Recording - video can be in a foreign language and students need to record themselves describing what happened in their native language or vice versa

Continuous Recording - students can describe what is going on in the video while it is playing

foreign language in elementary school

 

And the options go on and on. Maybe you have a paragraph for students to read and respond to, an audio file for them to listen and interact with, or you simply want to create a prompt in the Hub for a quick activity. It is all possible and appropriate for foreign language learning in elementary schools. 

And there is more! You can make multiple copies of the activity and adjust it to be more challenging to engage your advanced students and/or give hints or fewer questions for students who would struggle to complete the activity independently. Differentiation allows you to meet the needs of every student, and the SmartClass Hub makes it easy to do that. It truly allows you to personalize your instruction and make the Hub your own.

foreign language elementary schools

The SmartClass Hub is designed to be your all-in-one teaching and learning solution. No matter what your grade level or content focus is, we are sure that the SmartClass Hub is the solution you are looking for to provide motivation and engagement for your students. We are excited about all the benefits we can offer, while still allowing you to use your content, and we look forward to showing you all the possibilities.

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Melissa Arndt

Language Teacher, Trainer, and Content Creator

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