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Les Petits Chefs

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Keywords: Flip Video, French
Subject(s): Foreign Language
Grades 10 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: St Johnsbury Academy, St Johnsbury, VT
Planned By: Kendra Paupst
Original Author: Kendra Paupst, St Johnsbury
Video Innovation Lesson Plan Contest: Flip Cam and Digital Wish

Kendra Paupst, French teacher, Saint Johnsbury Academy, Saint Johnsbury, Vermont

Class : AP French

Lesson : « Les Petits Chefs »

Lesson first used : May 2010

In the spring of 2010, after taking the AP exam, I asked my AP French class to enter a video contest organized by the Francophone Centre of the Americas. The title of the contest was « French-speaking youth in action ! » The challenge was to create a video proposal for a project that would promote French language and culture for young people in our community. (http://www.francophoniedesameriques.com/jfa) Our project was one of 10 from North and South America to win a $2500 grant from the Centre. Students used a flip camera (my own personal camera, as our department did not have a flip camera at that point) to film the entirety of their video.

I asked the 11 students in this class to formulate a proposal, record, edit and submit a video in the space of two weeks.

Stage 1 : Whole class brainstorm. Students discussed (in French) what aspects of French culture would be most appealing to young people and the best way to promote these aspects given the resources at our disposal. Since our school has an excellent culinary arts program, and since many of the students in this class enjoyed working with younger children, they decided to propose a series of French cooking workshops paired with French language lessons for middle-school aged children in our community. The class reached a consensus about practical matters such as the number and age of children to invite, number of workshops to propose, and recipes to offer. Students chose a simple, catchy, easy-to-understand name that expressed the vision of the project: “Les Petits Chefs.” Students were assigned responsibilities for the project (i.e. writers, editors, cameramen/women, video editors, etc.)

Stage 2: Text writing. Students used google documents to simultaneously create and edit the script that would form the basis for our video. Students divided the script into 11 equal speaking parts, assigned a part to each class member, and practiced their lines.

Stage 4: Filming. Students worked together to film (and refilm!) every scene, choosing locations around our school campus and exploring issues of lighting, sound, background noise, etc. Students took responsibility for contacting culinary arts teachers and arranging permission to film their classes, as well as arranging to film French classes at the local K-8 school.

Stage 5: Editing. Using a student’s personal macbook (we did not have access to macbooks in our department as this time), students worked together to edit their footage using imovie. Responsibilities included choosing images and background music from the public domain, and writing and editing captions and credits. Students with more experience using imovie worked together to educate their classmates about this software.

Stage 6 : Submission and self assessment. Students uploaded their video to youtube, then to the contest’s official site. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elh-byidtjo Students filled out rubrics explaining their contributions to the project, as well as what they had learned over the course of the project. We were informed in July 2010 that we had won a $2500 grant to put our “Petits Chefs” workshops into action! http://www.francophoniedesameriques.com/fr/centre/nouvelles/felicitations_aux_laureats_du_concours_jeunesse_francophone_en_action_2010

7: Realization of project. My French 4 accelerated class worked throughout the fall semester of 2010 to prepare our first “Petits Chefs” workshop cooking sweet and savory crepes with a local eighth grade class. We also recorded this workshop using a flipcam, and I plan to edit this footage together into a video to share with the students who attended this workshop!

continue to work this spring to plan more workshops, and I look forward to having my classes enter this and other similar contests in the future.

Lessons learned: My students loved the fact that this project has a real-world component: a problem to be solved collaboratively and a goal that could be achieved. The fact that an external body was going to be judging their work was very motivating for them, and encouraged them to approach this in a very professional manner. Students stated in their self-assessments that they enjoyed making a video, and found creating a lasting product to be very rewarding and engaging. They enjoyed filming with the flipcam and found it to be very user-friendly, as did I. We found the learning curve for editing our footage with imovie to be steeper, but I hope to improve my own knowledge of this program (and other similar programs) in order to better assist students in the future.

Need for flipcams: Having only one flipcam is sufficient for whole class collaborative projects such as this, but I have found that other projects I have asked students to film in smaller groups can be difficult to manage with only one or two cameras. Even with good time management, several groups of students can end up needing to film at once, and time is lost waiting for one group to return with the flipcam and pass it on to the next group.

For example, my French 3 standard classes recently recorded their own murder-mystery skits in small groups. http://vimeo.com/21153534

This was far and away the most popular project so far this year for this class. I have found that video has an almost magical power to engage students who are otherwise not always very interested in the subject matter. Boys in particular tend to be drawn to video, spending literally hours on these projects, whereas their engagement level might otherwise be minimal.

We found, however, that we needed to fall back on students using their own personal video cameras in order to get all the videos filmed and edited in a timely fashion. Having a set of 10 flipcams would open up an amazing array of possibilities in my foreign language classroom, as well as for my school’s World languages department.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
We worked closely with our school's Culinary Arts department, as well as with local middle schools, to realize this project.
See project description
Materials: Flip Video