Over the past few weeks, two teams of students from Trafalgar and Jules Quensel have been facing off in a debate over which book would reign supreme. Students on both sides of "Combat des livres" were required to read at least four novels from the Livromanie, a celebrated French reading program. There were a ton of great options for students to choose from including: L�on et les inventions, Ne touche pas aux crapauds, Les bouffonneries de mon grand-père, L'abominable Monsieur Schnock, Cucu la praline, La triche, 110 minutes de cauchemar, Alvin Ho among others.
As they made their way through the novels, students were asked to keep track of the positive and negative aspects of each book they read. Then they got divided into small groups according to their preferences. Since there were a few Trafalgar and JQ teams working on the same book, the teachers created discussion groups on Edmodo (Learning Social Network similar to Facebook, but designed for schools) to foster the discussion.
After a quick intro, each team had eight minutes to talk about their book and provide a quick conclusion summarizing the most important aspects of it. The result of the battle was determined in good ol' democratic fashion with a vote by the audience. Both teachers involved felt the entire exercise was a success.
"We wanted our students to be exposed to French outside of our own school environment. We rarely see what other schools do and thought it would be a fun activity to do together," said Jules Quesnel teacher Annie Simard. "We also wanted them to celebrate the love of reading and to create new friendships."
Both Simard and Trafalgar teacher Laure Larpent credit online technology for being critical in their collaboration. In addition to Edmondo, the teacher tag-team also used Google Docs to plan and coordinate the class.
Simard says she was happy to see how well the two classes gelled once classes started.
"I think they really enjoyed each other's company. Some students already knew each other but a few new friendships were created," she says. "After both days, many students went back on Edmodo to say hello and comment on their day."