Les Maitres D’Eau!

I discovered a VERY cool serious French game to implement into the classroom. So all you French educators out there, check this out!  It’s called Maitres d’Eau and it’s quite relevant and educational as it discusses the water network system of Paris.  It is very descriptive, the little “helpers” on the site who “talk to you” and guide you from step to step like to inform you of different facts about how plumbing works, what is needed, what you should pay attention to, etc… As a “serious” game, its goal is to inform and educate as well as entertain.  This game had some easier sections than others.  Building the aqueduct system of pipes was sooo difficult for me.  Two in particular were very hard for me and I played them each over 10 times with STILL no success.  Goes to show my gaming experience, huh? I had to eventually take a break and go back to it to try again.  I am still not able to successfully connect all of the pipes from the beginning to the end so I decided this part of the game was probably too difficult for my students.  I would most likely tell them to attempt it a few times then skip to the next section.

Les Maîtres de l’Eau - screenshot

This is the map of sections.  You must complete section 1 before you can unlock section 2, 3, 4, and so on. They seem to get a little bit harder as it goes on.

After each active game, there is a learning section where you read about certain facts and definitions, the “encyclopedie” section. The definition of an aqueduct or chloration for example could be terms.  Then you are quizzed on what you read and only have a short amount of time to connect the right response to the question.  I usually get 2/3 stars at the end.  It’s not easy when you are unfamiliar with the terms.  I would probably provide the students a list of certain terms.

I can see this game being difficult for even upper level French but I think it is certainly possible if I go over certain terms such as “appuyer”(press), or “faire glisser” (slide) as these terms are often found in the mini-games.   I may also explain to them ahead of time how to accomplish each game.  I imagined playing this game WITH the class, as in we would go through each section together and once one is finished they would do the same section again before moving on to the next.  On the second day of gaming, I would review briefly with the students what to expect but they would ultimately complete the games at their own pace on this day.

Les Maîtres de l’Eau - screenshot

This is the learning break.  The figures act as teachers in a way and tell you about different parts of the water system, whether the types of water itself, or how the water is transported…etc. The figure to the right changes according to the topic.

I saw that you can download this game on your android as well.  The image above was the easiest game for me.  I was confused at first but then I realized the colors of the needed “icon” were listed under each image.  Whereas, the first 2 times around I was trying to memorize which icons went with each image.

My learning objectives of this game would be for students to gain a better understanding of the water system in Paris and obtain key terms while playing that they would later use in class when discussing the water system.  I would probably quiz the students on what they learned and certain vocabulary terms found within the game.  For example, I would tell students that they would need to record the three types of water mentioned under the “Prelevement d’eau” encyclopedia section, (eaux souterraines, eau source, eau de riviere)  Each day may focus on a different gaming section, not necessarily all of them.  I would obviously need to test this out in the classroom to better understand how I would instruct with this game.  One learning objective for day 4 or 5, for example could be for the students to state the five principle reservoirs for storing treated water, (section 5 of the game).  Students would also list and describe aspects of each unit of distribution and to which resevoir it belongs.  After each mini-lesson, students would express in French their feelings, likes and dislikes of each game and 3 things that they learned from each. Students would then discuss their reactions to the game with a partner, comparing and contrasting their comments as well as what they learned. This would fulfill the communication objective in the NYS LOTE standards.  I would then ask the class as a whole to volunteer their thoughts on the game, asking which students enjoyed it and why and who did not and why not.  This game would definitely be for a French 4 or 5 level class.

Ultimately my primary objectives of this game would be: 1) for students to practice their overall comprehension on the given topic of the Parisian underground sewer system.
2) for students to record at least 10 vocabulary terms they didn’t understand and to look them up in a dictionary.  (This makes students responsible and accountable for their work and their own learning.)

I would collect their reaction responses and what they learned and depending on how detailed or how vague their responses were, I would be able to conclude whether the game was a success or not.  We would also discuss the new vocabulary terms in class.  It’s important for the students to see what other classmates of theirs found the same terms and what terms other classmates found that they didn’t.

I believe this game has a lot of potential in the classroom and I must say I am quite excited to try it out one day.  I would use this game to relate to a cultural lesson, (fulfilling the cultural NY state LOTE learning standard) on the Parisian sewer system.  I could give a brief history on Napoleon III’s reign and his construction of new boulevards, aqueducts and sewers with the help of Haussman and Belgrand.  It really was a phenomenal time of advancement, sanitarily speaking, in Paris’s history.

There is a museum of the Sewer system in Paris.

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Escape the room!

Escape the Room is a genre of online gaming in which you must gather certain objects within a room in order to later use them to help you escape said room.  I played the kitchen escape and the bathroom escape and both were very hard if you do not know what to do! I luckily saw someone commented a step by step guide to follow in order to “escape”.  This game, if using the French language would probably need to be used at a high school level since lower levels would probably lack the needed vocabulary.  I would provide the students with a list of vocabulary terms that they would need, terms that they most likely did not already know.  Vocabulary terms used during that unit would most likely be found already in their notes.  For instance, if I was to use the kitchen escape, the students would be learning kitchen vocabulary in prior days, before playing the game.  The task at hand would be problem solving and following directions. First the students would watch the Escape Walkthroughs video(s) and they would be required to take notes on all of the directions shown.  Students would be required to use their French vocabulary hand-out while watching the walkthrough to make a “grocery list” in French of all of the items that need to be found.  Next, after gathering all needed objects, students would make a list of “etapes” (steps) in order, noting the direction in French, that they were required to go according to the task.  Depending on the level, students may or may not be required to describe the action in French that they needed to perform in order to continue on.  Again, I would have the essential vocabulary provided such as renverser, (to pour), allumer, (to turn on), brancher, (to plug in), etc…At the end of the escape, students would write in French a reaction to the game.  They would express their opinions, feelings of frustration or accomplishment, and general comments about the game, utilizing upper-level French vocabulary. After reflecting on a sheet of paper, the students would then discuss in French their reactions, likes and dislikes of the game with a partner, (satisfying the communications NY state standard for LOTE.)  The task at hand would vary according to the environment they were escaping.  The kitchen escape, for example would be a good game to play during a food and/or parts of the house chapter.  Students could be required to use their French food vocabulary to discuss what they could cook in the kitchen, using the food items already available in the kitchen, within the game.  You’d notice that a turkey, bananas, oranges, and eggs were in the refrigerator. Should students find the game a good way to practice their French vocabulary, I would certainly use it again during other lessons.

Another possible reaction activity to this game could be students creating their own “escape the room” or creating “alternate endings” in which they explained different means of freedom.  They would have to create 3 or 4 steps that would replace the steps in the game.  For instance, perhaps they would use the water to pour on the rug near the dog which would wake him up and cause him to grab his bone that he had hidden and this bone would be used to construct the escape apparatus.  Coming back to reviewing food vocabulary, students could be asked to replace the frozen fish and another item with different food items that they choose from their vocabulary lists.

As a result of this game, I would hope students would be able to utilize the target vocabulary in a meaningful way, such as being able to use it in class when discussing the game.  This game would act as an alternative way to practice the key vocabulary, rather than flash cards for example.  Students could also use what they learned for the game to tell a story.  Students would pretend they were stuck in a room, and write a story describing how they escaped and what objects they used to do so.  The goal of this game would be to encourage student accountability for their vocabulary terms and as such, apply their knowledge of these vocabulary terms in order to complete a task.  Above are plenty of different ideas to use when teaching a lesson using this game.  When it comes down to constructing the lessons for the week, I would pick and choose different ones in a  way that made sense.