Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Le temps des cerisiers en fleurs


C'est le printemps, finalement !

This year I created a new reading comprehension resource :  Le festival de cerisiers en fleurs. It's an article to read about the cherry blossom festival in Japan, along with traditions, picnic foods and information about where the most cherry trees can be found. 

I read this article with a few of my French classes early this spring, as the cherry trees blossomed quite early this year in Southern Japan in places like Kyoto. Students enjoyed reading about Japanese culture and learning about the tradition of Hanami. 

I also found this painting tutorial online, which I plan to do with an eager group of students who are part of the French Club after school this year. This activity could tie in to school-wide activities for Asian Heritage Month celebrated throughout the month of May. 

Finally, tpt is having a Spring Sale April 6th and 7th. Enjoy 20% off. 

Joyeux printemps! 

Sunday, 31 January 2021

C'est février !

Winter has set in here in Canada with a big snow storm the past week. We are moving into our sixth month of virtual learning for some students in Ontario, for those who chose that option in September. Some students are starting to lose interest in online learning and are growing tired of all the screen time for school. 

I will encourage students this month by using themes of celebration to break up the cold winter blahs and get them excited about virtual learning again (some students will be learning online until June!).

For February I am going to focus on Black History Month biographies, celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Valentine's Day and celebrating the Lunar New Year

I've posted a free article about Terms of Endearment in French for the upper middle school and high school crowd. For younger grades and Core French classes, I've added a Cherche et trouve game: Valentine's edition

How will you beat the winter blues and spark interest in virtual learning for your students this February? 

Friday, 18 September 2020

Flipgrid in French Class

One thing that I will take with me from emergency distance learning this past spring is Flipgrid. Some students did not feel comfortable speaking French on camera during synchronous learning sessions online. Others did not have access to a computer during lesson times. Flipgrid became a quick and easy way for students to present their work in French and receive feedback from their teacher. 

This September all students who have chosen to return to school in-person have to wear masks in the classroom. They also need to stay in their desks and not move around the class. This can make for muffled communication and difficulty presenting in front of the class.  I will continue to use Flipgrid as a way for students to practise speaking French and to present their work orally this year. Students can have the option to post a recording to Flipgrid or present in front of the class.

 I also used Flipgrid for school community building during the pandemic. I would post a topic on Fridays to discuss student wellness or topics that were important to them. This allows students to interact and express themselves while following physical distancing and not mixing their cohorts at school. What teaching methods or tools did you learn during the pandemic that you are making a part of your teaching practice this year? 

Thursday, 20 August 2020

A Back to School Like No Other

While school re-opening plans are being shared and openly debated in the media, teachers are preparing for a return to school in uncharted territory. Some considerations I have been making while planning for back to school include physical distancing, limiting group work, not sharing materials among classes, and planning lessons which will help to close gaps in learning. I am also working on including themes of anti-racism and cultural diversity into my long range plans. 

As a core French teacher I will be travelling from class to class instead of having students rotate through my classroom during rotary. I am going to be using the AIM program to increase student comprehension using gestures because I will be wearing a mask and possibly a face shield during instruction. This will mean teaching raps and games the first few days of school and slowly introducing students to the vocabulary that will be used in a short play. Instead of having the students perform the play in groups they will record their parts using an app like Flipgrid and create a video to tell the story. 

In a school board in Toronto I couldn't believe that part of their school re-opening plan involved cutting out French classes altogether. This was so that class sizes could be smaller because having no French classes would free up more homeroom teachers. The plan was rejected by the government, but it left me thinking that it is important now more than ever to remind students why it is important to learn French (or any other subsequent language). 

One of the lessons I will be teaching the first week back will involve discussing ten good reasons to learn French based on an article from the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. This will help answer that student question of "Why do we have to learn this?" and help to motivate students. Here is a link to this lesson on reasons to learn French. 

This will be a school year like no other, but it is important to embrace the new challenges and turn this into an opportunity to make lessons as engaging and culturally responsive as possible. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Motivation for Language Learning

I came across this great blog for learning languages:

The creator of the blog, Steve Kaufmann, speaks at least 16 different languages and he is the founder of a language learning tool called LingQ. There are lots of great resources for language learning on his blog and I was drawn to this one because it is so motivational. I would love to share this blog post with my students in September to get them motivated to learn French.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Back to School: Icebreaker Games

One of the best parts about Back to School is getting to know your new students. I enjoy playing these icebreaker games to get to know my students.

Name Games

Have students come up with an action word or an animal that starts with the same letter as their name. For example, Sarah started with "S" and some action words in French that start with "S" are saute, serpent and ski. Once everyone has their action word chosen have students choose a physical action to do that shows what their word is. If Sarah chose saute, she could jump up and down. If she chose serpent she could slither like a snake. It might be useful to have an alphabetical list of example words to use handy so students don't spend a long time finding their word.

Once everyone has their word and action have students form a circle. The first person says their name and does their action. The next person in the circle has to first remember the first person's name and action and then say their own. For each turn, you first have to go through everyone else's name and action before you say your own. The repetition is great for remembering names!

The last person has the toughest job of remembering all the names and actions! This game can be just for fun so students can help each other remember the names and actions.

Human Bingo

Human Bingo is a little different than traditional bingo in that students are given a grid filled with spaces that need to be signed by other students in the class. For back to school you could use my human bingo card filled with icebreaker cues such as how many siblings someone has, their favourite sports and activities and best subjects in school. To win the game you have to be the first to get all the spaces filled on your card. You need to have a different student sign each space. It is a good idea to go over what the sentences mean in French first. Encourage students to only speak in French when playing this game. It is a fun way to get students up and talking.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Back to School: Setting Up Classroom Rules and Routines

TPT is throwing their site wide Back to School Sale next week, so I thought I would round up some of my ideas for the first few days of school.

As a Core French teacher, one of my goals for the first few days of school is to begin the daunting task of learning over 120 students' names. I travel from class to class to teach a 45-60 minute lesson to five classes each day. Name tags can be a big help in the first few days of school. I would have students fold a piece of paper twice to form a triangle as a name tag. They can decorate their name tag on the front and on the back they can write 3-5 goals that they have for French class this term. Some goals might be to learn five new words each week, to write a journal entry every day, to attain a certain average grade in the class or to improve their reading level.

The first few days of school are crucial for setting up classroom routines and rules which are followed throughout the rest of the school year. I find it useful to write a poster of classroom rules with the class. They will offer suggestions for rules and I will help them write them in French on a bristol board.

This is a classroom behaviour agreement that was created with a grade 6 Core French class the first day of school. We discussed classroom rules and the students helped to pick out the five most important rules. They are: listening to and respecting others, being prepared for class, participating in class, raising your hand before speaking, and following the instructions. The class signed the behaviour agreement after.