Saturday, 30 October 2021

November is Hindu Heritage Month

 The first time that I experienced a Diwali celebration I was surprised to see fireworks and lanterns in the streets of an urban city during the month of November. It was exciting to learn about the tradition of lighting diya oil lamps and gathering with friends and family to celebrate this festival of light. Students will enjoy learning about this cultural festival too. There are many visual arts activities that you can do for Hindu heritage month, including creating colourful rangoli designs, mehndi patterns, as well as designs for diya lamps. 

Check out this resource about Diwali in both French and English

Friday, 23 July 2021

Chaque enfant compte

We left off the school year with unsettling feelings due to the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves from children who attended residential schools in Canada. There were news reports of Canada Day events being cancelled and displays of solidarity being shown through pairs of shoes at the parliament buildings and at local landmarks to remember those children who died tragically. 

As we slowly start to gear up for back to school, Orange Shirt Day and the Every Child Matters campaign will be the main theme for my lessons in September. A very useful resource for Orange Shirt Day in French is the Chaque Enfant Compte magazine produced by Histoire Canada. This resource is based on the seven teachings of love, truth, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, and honesty. There are suggested journalling topics as well, to help both you and your students along a journey of reconciliation. 

I recommend the story book "I Am Not a Number" by Jenny Kay Dupuis and Kathy Kacer as well. This narrative tells the story of a young girl who attended residential school and whose father tried to hide her so that she did not have to return. It details the conditions of the residential schools and tells about how she missed her life back on the reserve. In French the story is called "Je ne suis pas un numéro". 

Check out my lesson plans in English and French for this important story. I've included a KWL chart (SVA in French), analysis questions and a teacher's guide.


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.