Grade 8 French: Writing a Fairy Tale / Écrire un conte
This is an overview of our unit on writing a fairy tale (Écrire un conte). Before starting this unit, we first worked on analyzing fairy tales. The big idea was to write a fairy tale (1) using the four steps of writing, (2) using our understanding of the French language and (3) using the format of a fairy tale.
As the unit progressed, we started adding some of our collective work to our strategy wall. The first thing to go on the wall were the success criteria we came up with together. Those success criteria eventually became the rubric that we used to evaluate student work.
We also had an example from our unit, "Lire et analyser des contes", co-constructed examples (which you can find below) and occasional examples of student work.
Evaluation: Rubric with Learning Goal and Success Criteria
This is the rubric we used to evaluate student work. If I had to do it again, I would specify which curriculum expectations were being addressed. Also, because this is such a big project and takes so long, I would have set specific dates for student conferences, and I would have given a minimum grade during that conference. For example, if a student completed their "remue-méninge" and did a really good job, I might be able to give them a minimum of a level 1 or 2 (equivalent to the letter grade D or C). The advantage to this is that if student work goes missing along the way, at least there is a note that we met, and I can more accurately gauge the student's progress.
Download for Word: 2015-12-03 Module 3 Des textes qui font réagir Écrire un conte
Download as PDF: 2015-12-03 Module 3 Des textes qui font réagir Écrire un conte
Example: Barr Homeroom
We also modelled how to outline a fairy tale and started the writing process together. Due to time constraints, we didn't finish the fairy tale, but we completed enough that the students understood what was expected.
Download for Word: 2015-11-26 Remue-méninges pour mon conte (Barr)
Download as PDF: 2015-11-26 Remue-méninges pour mon conte (Barr)
Example: Kelley Homeroom
This is the same activity (modelling how to outline a fairy tale), but with the other group of grade 8 students.
Download for Word: 2015-11-26 Remue-méninges pour mon conte (Kelley)
Download as PDF: 2015-11-26 Remue-méninges pour mon conte (Kelley)
Example of Student Progression
This is an example from a student who finished somewhere in a level 4. There were a number of students who wrote excellent fairy tales during this unit, and I really wish that I had taken more photos.
I wish I had pictures of the evolution of this rubric over time. The checkmarks that are here were added over the course of several weeks, as the student completed more and more sections of the project. If I had to do this again, I would have left a little bit of space in between each section, so that I could make comments on each step of the writing process.
Students were allowed to work in pairs (if they wanted to) on the outline. This allowed students to generate ideas together for their story more quickly and get feedback on what might work and might not work more quickly. It also allowed me to meet with groups in a more efficient manner and help students get started on the right track. This group actually did two outlines, hence the "(2)" in the title.
Students worked individually from the draft onward, even though they may have generated a rough copy together. This allowed students to have a common jumping-off point, but be creative in how they solved the problems in their own story. We spent a lot of time going over grammar and spelling. I tried to group students together when I noticed that they were working on similar skills (for example, all the students who were trying to add good metaphors), so that I could teach those students what I wanted and follow up more effectively. This student actually did several drafts before handing in the final copy, but I haven't included them.
And here's the final story.
This is slightly separate from the fairy tale, but still related. I asked students to show me what they learned while writing. Some students just defined the new words they used (as this student did). Others also added in new grammar rules, homonyms that they needed to look out for, or verb tenses that they worked on. In future projects, I really want to develop the success criteria for the word study, since it really shows how much actual French a student learned during a project.