Sunday, October 17, 2010

Verbs, verbs, verbs

I have been struggling for a few weeks now with one of my FSL classes.  They are not at the level that I expected them to be at in their writing or speaking, and I am struggling with what to do with them.  In particular, we have 3 new verb tenses to learn this semester, and they all struggle with conjugating regular and common irregular (etre, avoir, faire, aller) verbs in the present tense and also have a hard time distinguishing between the present tense and the past tense (passé composé).  I have spent a great deal of time reviewing with them things that they should know from previous years, and I have a hard time just letting them flounder because a) I hate seeing kids flounder and b) I don't know how we are going to learn new tenses if we can't keep the old ones straight.

So I have 2 ideas. 

First, is to give them an opportunity. I give them a worksheet/practice sheet with 7 verbs that they must conjugate in present, passé composé, imperative and futur proche. They can practice as many times as they like and write the exact same sheet as a quiz maximum once per week until they get 100%.  For this effort they would get 20 bonus marks towards their overall writing grade.

Second, send them off to, create a quiz and log practice time until the students get 100% on the assignment, and get the same 20 bonus marks.

My dilemma is now - which is less work for me?  I understand the frustration of having to create an account, check the kids' practice time and collect the marks from a web-based tool. I also envision many of my own (wo)man hours correcting multiple opportunities of the written quiz.  So one is front-loaded work, the other is back-loaded work.  Which one will the kids choose? Which one will get them more motivated? Which one, after all is said and done, will get them to learn the $#%^&#@ verb conjugations?

Do I offer other enticements? Like a "100% Club" poster in the room for all the students who do achieve those 20 marks?

Your thoughts, please.  I am struggling with this.

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