Learning centers in the FSL classroom

In this post, I will outline the top 3 reasons why teachers of French as a second language should implement learning centers in their classrooms. Whether you have your own dedicated classroom, or travel between classrooms, this post will demonstrate how learning centers are beneficial to French language learners.

What are learning centers?
Learning centers are a designated series of tasks that students must complete on a specific topic. Often located in assigned areas of the classroom, or accessible by designated storage bins, each center has a different task or goal. Working independently and in small groups, students rotate through each learning center until they have completed all of the tasks. 

Learning centers are a designated series of tasks that students must complete on a specific topic. Check out my Teachers Pay Teachers store HERE for ready-made activities for French learning centers.

3 Reasons why you should implement learning centers in your FSL classroom:

Reason #1- Create a consistent classroom routine
Once you have established your classroom rules and process for learning centers, students will adapt to this new classroom routine. This is useful to both you and your students as expectations remain clear and consistent, and you can know that learning will continue as usual if you have to be away from your classroom.

Reason #2- Increased student autonomy
Student autonomy is the ability of students to take charge and make decisions about their own learning. When planning learning centers, teachers can ask for student input about the tasks that are included at each center. Also, learning centers give students choice about the tasks that they complete during each designated center work period.

Reason #3- Less focus on the Teacher
Our students need more opportunities to practice working with others. Learning center time will provide students an opportunity to collaborate and work together. 

How do you decide what tasks to include at each center?
I like to ensure that I’ve included at least 1 task from each learning strand: listening, speaking, writing, and reading.  Some ideas for each strand:

Listening: Have students listen to a short video or song and answer a series or comprehension questions or fill-in-the-blanks.

Speaking: Have a set of task cards available, each with a different discussion question related to the theme. Have pairs or small groups of students pose and respond to the questions orally.

Writing: Have students write short sentences in response to a themed photograph or use themed vocabulary to create a silly sentence.

Reading: Have themed short stories, picture books, or poems available for your students to choose from. Have them do a short retelling of the text, answer comprehension questions or complete a reader’s response.

If you'd like to save yourself some time while planning learning centres, I have packages of ready-to-print learning centre activities available in my store HERE. The activities are available in the following 9 themes: weather, food, emotions, greetings, family, house, body parts, classroom, and clothing.

Have students write short sentences in response to a themed photograph or use themed vocabulary to create a silly sentence. Get the ready-made themed writing activities above HERE.

Tips for success
All activities included in your learning centers should take approximately the same time to complete. Be prepared for early finishers!
Set visual timer so that students know how much time they have to complete each task.
Begin with a set of clear ‘ground rules’ for your students. This will ensure that all students remain on task, use time wisely, and work well with their small group members.
The volume level in the class can easily rise with learning centers - be sure that your students know what noise level works best for you.

Using smaller tasks, like THESE vocabulary mini-books help students feel accomplished and successful when they are able to complete them on their own.

I do hope that you will give learning centers a try in your FSL classroom. You will see that your students will enjoy the structure and routine of the centers, and it is often refreshing as a teacher to see what your students can achieve when they are given responsibility for their own learning!

Already implemeting learning centres in your FSL classroom? Leave me a comment below and share some of YOUR best tips!

If you are looking for ready-made ideas for your themed FSL learning centres, check out THESE  products at The French Nook at Teachers Pay Teachers!

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