Description: In this activity, students get to talk about their grandmother (or grandfather). The student has to tell his/her grandmother’s life story: when and where she was born, how she grew up, important events from her childhood to her adult life, and what makes her special, what the student has learned from his/her grandmother, or what his/her favorite memory is. This story can be told as a narrative accompanied by photos and audio (for instance, music or a song from the grandmother’s childhood), but it can also include a video of an interview that the student conducted with his/her grandmother – if the target foreign language can be used.
Level: elementary, intermediate, advanced.
Setting: in-class, online, or hybrid language course
Objective of the activity and learning goals: Students will learn to create a biography and present this in the foreign language. Gathering information, writing a script, and telling the narrative in the foreign language are the specific steps toward creating the final DS product.
Tools needed for the activity: Students will need their phone (camera) and laptop. They can use tools such as Voiceboard, Prezi, or Powerpoint to create their Digital Story.
Instructions: Step 1: Have students gather information about their grandmother, including visuals (photos) and audio (music, songs). Step 2: Have students create a script for presenting their story. This script should be submitted to the instructor for feedback. Depending on the level, students can be assigned to use specific grammar (i.e. use the past tense) or a specific format (i.e. Q&A format). Step 3: After revising the script, students get to create their Digital Story and present it in a format accessible to the instructor and peers.
Final Video Project
Description: This activity is ideal for a final project to be presented at the end of a language course, in which students can show off their knowledge and skills, in particular oral skills, which they have gained during the language course. In groups of 3 to 4, students will have to choose a topic for their video and write a script in the target language. For an elementary course, topics could include: “Learning [target language] at [university/language school/institution]”, “Welcome to my house”, “This is what my day looks like”, “How was your weekend?” – Any topic that has been covered in the course.
Level: elementary, intermediate, advanced
Setting: in-class language course
Objective of the activity and learning goals: Students will learn to write a script in the target language about a specific topic and demonstrate their speaking skills and storytelling skills in the foreign language.
Tools needed for the activity: Students will need their phone (camera) and/or laptop. They can publish their Digital Story on Youtube.
Instructions: Step 1: Create a list of topics that students can choose from. Discuss these topics in class so that students get a clear picture of what they could potentially do when choosing for a specific topic. Have students work together in choosing their topic. Step 2: Provide guidelines for the video. Include items such as writing the script, the length of the video, usage of vocabulary (it is recommended to stick to the vocabulary that has been covered during the course), whether or not to add subtitles, and limitations (for instance, students are not allowed to read their lines from the script, or students must engage in conversations with one another, rather than narrating a voice-over). Encourage students’ creativity by adding points for originality to the final score! Step 3: Make a special event out of showing the videos. It could be a celebration of successfully completing the language course.
Getting to Know You
Description: In this activity, students make a collage with pictures and words that represent them. This activity is usually carried out in the second week of class to help students get to know each other better. At this point in their language development, they are usually limited to individual words and some short phrases. For example, they can show pictures of their favorite hobbies accompanied by the terms for those activities, or a picture of the city they are from.
Setting: in-class, online, or hybrid
Objective of the activity and learning goals: Students will learn how to say where they are from, use terms for hobbies and majors, and adjectives to describe themselves.
Tools needed for the activity: Students will need their phone (camera) and laptop with internet connection. They can use Powerpoint and/or Flipgrid to present their collage.
Instructions: Step 1. Have students gather visuals that represent who they are: e.g., where they are from, their majors, favorite hobbies and activities. Step 2. Have students create a script that will be submitted to the instructor for feedback. Step 3. Students create their digital collage and present it online or in-class.
Tips: Students do not need to use complete sentences for this assignment. Words and simple phrases are fine.
Description: In this activity, students describe their family members. They may either present their own family or a fictional family (e.g., Harry Potter's family or a family of squirrels) if they prefer. They should describe the family members’ ages, jobs, favorite hobbies, and any other information that they think is interesting to share.
Setting: in-class, online, or hybrid language course
Objective of the activity and learning goals: Using terms for family members, ages, jobs, and possessive pronouns.
Tools needed for the activity: Students will need their phone (camera) and laptop with internet connection.
Instructions: Step 1. Have students collect visuals about their family members (or a fictional family, if they prefer). Step 2. Have students create a script that will be submitted to the instructor for feedback. Step 3. Students create their digital story and present it online or in-class.
Tips: Make sure that students are aware of the correct possessive pronouns and declensions if necessary.