Top Coding Websites and Apps for the FSL Classroom

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Technology is everywhere in today's society and programming has become the language of our world. Coding is a fundamental skill alongside math and reading and is an authentic way to develop language skills in the FSL classroom.  Even beginner french learners (A1/A2) can use the following apps to help with basic french vocabulary such as prepositions and verbs.

Coding to Communicate and Interact

Coding can be used to encourage interaction between FSL students.  Not only will students improve their oral communication skills, they will also be developing collaboration skills, problem-solving and critical thinking skills.  Coding apps are also optimal for practicing reading skills and following directions.

Coding For the Beginner French Learner (A1,A2)


Scratch Jr


Coding Experience: Beginner
Scratch Jr is a great place for students to start coding.  It's especially beneficial for beginner French learners because the majority of the coding is done through pictures.  If you are looking for ideas about how to incorporate Scratch Jr into your lessons, take a look at the following websites:
https://code.org/educate/curriculum/teacher-led

Vocabulary: 
-les prépositions (vers la droite, vers le bas, à la gauche...)
-les verbes (démarrer, envoyer, déplacer, tourner, dire, jouer...)
-les endroits (gymnase, théâtre, salle de classe, banlieue, ferme...)
-les animaux (lapin, chien, cochon, cheval, éléphant...)
-la famille (enfant, grand-mère, père, bébé...)
-les objets (fleur, champignon, igloo, ballon, lit, voiture...)
To enable the French version, select the gear at the top right hand corner of the app and choose Français.  For additional resources, guides and sample projects select the question mark or the book at the top of the screen.

Run Marco


Coding Experience: Beginner
Run Marco is a game-based, beginner coding app that is perfect for FSL students.  It introduces the concept of block coding through simple vocabulary and great graphics.  Even if your students have no coding experience, they will be able to navigate through this app.  Lesson plans and activities are not required to use this app since it leads students through a variety of challenges.

Vocabulary:
-les verbes (avancer, tourner...)
-les prépositions (à la droite, à la gauche...)
To enable the French version, select the flag to the left of the play button on the opening page.  The flag from France will enable the french capabilities.

Box Island

Coding Experience: Beginner
Box Island is a combination of Run Marco and Scratch Jr.  Like Scratch Jr, this app uses symbols instead of words, and the app is game-based like Run Marco .  If you are looking for ideas on how to incorporate Box Island into your lessons, their website have a few ideas and resources.

Vocabulary:
-les directions (début, gauche, droite, avant, retour)

studio.code.org

Coding Experience: Beginner/Intermediate
Code.org is a user-friendly online coding studio with dozens of coding activities for the beginner and intermediate coder.  A variety of french activities are available if you change the language setting at the bottom of the webpage. Check out the following links for engaging activities and challenges for beginner French learners:
-Flappy l'oiseau

Scratch.mit.edu

Coding Experience: Intermediate/Advanced
With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations. It is designed for ages 8 and up.  Scratch features block coding with easy vocabulary which makes it a great programming tool for beginner and intermediate french learners.  

Vocabulary:
-les verbes (avancer, tourner, dire, mettre, effacer, répéter...)
-les noms (couleurs, instruments...)

To enable the french version, scroll to the bottom of the webpage and change the language.  Scratch is not available on the iPad because it requires Flash Player in order to function.  A similar app that can be used on the iPad is Tickle.

Coding for the Intermediate and Advanced French Learner (B1,B2)

Swift Playgrounds

Coding Experience: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced
Apple has finally released a French version of their Swift Playground app! If you are not familiar with Swift, it is a programming language created by Apple and used to build apps and programs.  The app leads students through a variety of puzzles and each challenge gets progressively harder.  I would not recommend using this app with students below Grade 6.
Apple has also created a variety of Teacher Guides to go along with the Swift Playground app:
-Get Started with Code 1
-Get Started with Code 2
-Learn to Code 1 & 2
-Learn to Code 3
The french vocabulary is quite extensive and students must be able to read complex sentences and ideas.  To enable the French version on the iPad, students must go into their iPad settings and change the language of the iPad to Français (Settings-General-Language and Region-iPad Language).

Google CS First

Coding Experience: Beginner/Intermediate
CS First is a free program to introduce computer science to students.  The CS curriculum is free and includes a variety of resources such as sample activities, themes, video tutorials and lesson plans.  The program is designed for students between the ages of 9 and 14 however the French version is quite advanced that I wouldn't hesitate to use it with older students.  Check out their website for further information about how to sign up and start a club.


Coding has so many benefits that can easily be carried over in the FSL curriculum.  Not only is it engaging for students, but it encourages them to become creators of content and not just consumers.  As the teacher, don't feel like you need to be a coding expert before starting to code with your students.  There are so many resources for students to access (like Youtube!) if they require any additional help.

Lindsay Deschamps

Developers

I am an Innovation Instructional Coach for District School Board North-East in Ontario, Canada.

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