I’ve used these with all students in my FSL classes, including students who have learning differences (e.g., ASD). The students each developed their own preferences as to which apps they found helped them best or were most interesting to them – but usually at least one of these has been successful.

This is not an exhaustive list, but are things that I have used and can recommend. Do you have others that have worked for you? Please comment on this post to share!

Apps

  • Mindsnacks French
    • Note: This app has been discontinued and only works in iOS 10 or older. The developer has decided to no longer update it. It’s too bad, because it was a favourite of my students – so I’m still listing it here in case you have older iPads that can still run it.
    • Helps develop commonly needed vocabulary (e.g., colours, numbers, days of the week, sports, etc.) with short, engaging games
    • Free for initial lessons – use the free version to see if it suits the student before unlocking all 50 vocab sets for a cost of $4.99
    • The different sub-games vary in level of difficulty – “Belly” is the easiest game, with no time limit/pressures, which would be a good one to start with to build knowledge initially before trying other games
  • Duolingo
    • Available as an app or via the website; however, the app version is more kid-friendly
    • Allows students to practice listening, speaking (optional), reading and writing at their own pace. Starts out with a limited vocabulary and then slowly grows as students master content. Focuses on using vocab in sentences vs just single words.
    • Some students really take to it and the immediate feedback it provides, while others may find it frustrating.
  • Tinycards
    • Made by the same folks as Duolingo but more customizable.
    • You can search for decks of vocab cards that are built-in or created by others, or you can create your own custom sets.
    • Web and app versions available.
  • TinyTap
    • Teaches lots of things but you can search for French and find lots pre-created or create your own.
    • Web and app versions available.
  • Consider using apps that aren’t specifically “French” but allow you to create:
    • Bitsboard: Vocabulary building app. Create custom lists of site words or other vocab (adding pictures, text and voice). The app takes the vocab list and automatically turns them into a variety of “word work” style games to practice the vocab.
    • PicCollage Edu: Easily combine backgrounds, images and text – great for visual dictionaries, posters, mind mapping, etc.
    • Puppet Pals 2: A digital “puppet theatre” that allows you to animate and voiceover characters
    • Chatter Pix Kids: A simple but fun app to elicit speaking practice – allows you to take a picture/save an image, draw a “mouth” on it, then animate the mouth by talking
    • Seesaw: Digital portfolio tool great for easily collecting audio or video recordings of students speaking or interacting in French, pictures of hands-on activities they have completed, etc. Teachers can assign activities and collect responses from students in the format that best suits their needs – written, oral, pictures, etc.

Web Links

  • Languages Online
    • Has print and online interactive activities focused on authentic communication needs – begins very simply and slowly grows
    • Online activities do provide feedback/self-correction but do not automatically track student progress – students have to decide for themselves (or with guidance) when to repeat or move on from an activity
    • Uses flash so will not work in iPads – must use desktop, laptop or chromebook
  • Playlists by FSL Topic
    • Awesome for students who enjoy learning from songs and videos
    • Consider creating your own custom YouTube playlists for your students
  • French Songs by Alain le Lait
    • Short, repetitive, yet catchy (and not totally annoying) songs to learn French basics

Web Tools

  • Read&Write for Google Chrome
    • All Peel Staff & Students have access by signing in to Google Chrome with P# or Student# @pdsb.net and their usual password. Many other school boards may have access as well – try signing in with your board-provided Google account. 
    • Literacy support software that provides assistance for reading and writing
    • May already be familiar to students in English but can also be set to work in French
    • Quick video demo for using this tool in French

 


2 Comments

Stephanie Kasten · June 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm

Thanks, Erica. One of my colleagues introduced me to Storybird. Students who don’t feel particularly artistic loved having the images, and interestingly, they had to be more creative in their writing given the image constraints. We picked some of them to publish actual books to add to our classroom library.

    Erica Armstrong · June 25, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Sweet! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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