In my ongoing thinking about bringing French back into our learning activities, I keep thinking that what I want is something like the Bravewriter language arts program but in French. Since the practice of copywork and dictation apparently draws on what is normal practice in France, I figured that maybe this shouldn’t be too difficult. The trick, as always, is probably to come up with the right search terms.
A search for “français dictée jeunesse” brought me to a Radio Canada site with online “dictée à trous” for kids age 10 and up. It is in the Extras section for a programme called Virginie. That will be for first language speakers but seems to be very close to what I am looking for. These can be done online and then checked, which is a good feature for Tigger. There is also a summer reading list for older and younger readers. Hmmm. I wonder if I need to copy that somewhere so it doesn’t disappear when the new season starts in the fall.
Looking around on the Radio Canada site led me to other resources including Le français au micro, which contains a database of expressions and discussion of proper usage. Radio Canada International also produces a French as a second language program for children age 7 – 12, Everyday French for Children. Maybe I should consider using these stories as the basis of a dictation and copywork based programme for Tigger.
And then there is a 15 minutes news program for 9-12 year olds — RDI Junior. It looks like it’s on just after 5 p.m. which might be a good time to watch live, though we could always tape it to watch later. As with everything else, it seems to be over for the summer, but some recent programmes are available to listen to again online and it’ll be starting again in the fall. The Guide Pedagogique explains how the program works and there is a list of teaching topics here. I know Tigger reads the news online at the CBBC Newsround site that her friend in England showed her (the “C” before BBC is for Children’s). It is a news program designed for kids and she likes it. So maybe that is a way into the French for her as well.
As with most TV channels these days, there is also a Zone Jeunesse with various activities. If my goal is just to get her using French more, this might be a good resource.
One of my problems with this whole thing is that I’m really not sure what her level is. I know she was more advanced that the rest of her class when she was in school but we haven’t really done any French for the past couple of years and she refuses to speak to us in French. So I went looking for tests that might help me work that out and thus choose appropriate resources.
Is it me or is no one offering assessment tests for French language skills? And why is the Canadian Test Centre not? Seems like French is compulsory in many Canadian provinces. Don’t they test proficiency or achievement or aptitude or anything? I’m not a big fan of tests but sometimes you just want to check out where your kid is so you can figure out where to look for resources and where to go. The Canadian Association of Second Language Teachers seems to have some assessment material, though I’m not sure if it is what I want. It does look like the private school around the corner from me, which offers assessment and tutoring services as well, can do testing in French, though, so maybe I’ll talk to them.
CASLT do have other resources for teaching second language and links to useful resources. That led me to LangCanada.ca which has links to lots of second language teaching resources (French or English). This page of resources organized by theme seems like it might be pretty useful.