My favorite things about Notre Histoire by Voces Digital

Every once in a while, an opportunity comes along and you just know you have to go for it.

That’s how I felt when I was contacted by Erin Almeranti, Curriculum Developer at Voces Digital. The team at Voces was about to start creating a comprehensible input-based digital French curriculum called Notre Histoire, and they had seen some of my teaching materials online. When Erin asked if I might like to write the stories for the curriculum, I instantly knew that my answer was an enthusiastic « Oui! »

This was exactly the sort of project I had wanted to be a part of for years. When I was a new teacher just getting started with CI, I spent so many hours creating stories, activities, and lesson plans in order to transition away from traditional methods. It was exciting, but also overwhelming. I dreamt of having access to a complete curriculum that would make teaching with CI fun, easy, and effective. And I knew that there were countless other French teachers out there struggling with the same challenges.

That’s why I’m so proud to be the lead author of Notre Histoire Levels 1-4, and so happy that this work is now out in the world for other teachers to enjoy. It’s hard to narrow down the list, but here are a few of the things that I love most about the curriculum:

It is 100% CI-based

Notre Histoire is designed to help teachers bring CI principles to life in their classrooms. With this curriculum, students are guided toward French proficiency through compelling stories that are based on high-frequency vocabulary and tied to AP themes. Grammar is taught in context through quick pop-up lessons as topics arise naturally throughout the stories.

It is packed with culture

One of the main priorities of this curriculum is to expose students to the vast cultural richness of the Francophone world. For this reason, the stories in Notre Histoire take place in countries across the globe. While students acquire the key language structures in the stories, they simultaneously learn about real people, places, historical events, cultural practices, folklore, and belief systems from French-speaking countries around the world. As the content developers and I crafted the stories, our goal was to ensure that these cultural elements were interesting and accurate. It was important to us to represent a wide variety of lifestyles and experiences in the pages of the curriculum.

It includes tons of resources

The stories in Notre Histoire are only the beginning. The curriculum also includes class story scripts, PQA materials, comprehension activities, authentic resources, integrated performance assessments—the list goes on. Notre Histoire provides teachers with everything they need to be successful using CI methods, so they can say « Au revoir ! » to those endless hours spent creating materials from scratch!

It has created a vibrant community

Through Facebook groups as well as the online conference hosted by Voces Digital this past summer, hundreds of teachers have already had a chance to connect and share how they are implementing Notre Histoire, whether remotely, in-person, or in a hybrid context. It’s been amazing to see so many teachers collaborate and help each other as they navigate the challenges of teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, we understand the importance of building strong communities. I’m so glad that Notre Histoire has been a resource in this way for teachers.

So, here’s to saying yes to exciting opportunities. If you’re interested in learning more about Notre Histoire Levels 1-4, head over to Voces Digital and sign up for a free trial. I hope to see you in the community!

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