Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Airports and travel - l'aéroport et le voyage

A unit about travel is a great way to end the year in the FSL class, as you and the kids transition to thoughts of summer. Earlier this year, I helped out an online acquaintance who couldn't find what she wanted for a dramatic play area in her French kindergarten classroom. Here's what I put together for her... a word wall to help support the students in speaking about air travel in French!


I also wanted to share with you this resource that I found on Pinterest. It's a great themed image, kind of like a map of the airport.

Airports are actually great sources of authentic material for French. Think emergency procedures cards (which may be in multiple languages or may even be wordless), free in-flight magazines and menus, safety procedures and recordings in both official languages, signage galore, and then of course interactions with actual people from various places and different linguistic backgrounds.

Even just collecting images from online sources that can help you to create a faux airport environment would be fun!

Also, check out this blog post I wrote about 5 possible virtual field trips, and feel free to add your own ideas for other virtual field trips in the comments below! I'm sure the possibilities are nearly endless!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

10 Mistakes Not to Make on facebook

A day without facebook is like a day without ... air? bread? water?

IYes, I spend a LOT of time on social media. That one site in particular, especially as I serve as administrator for a few different teacher groups. While the young 'uns that I teach seem to have completely abandonned the site in favour of Instagram, and other distractions, for educators, there's really a ton of awesome collaboration and community-minded sharing and support that goes on. If you're planning to partake for the first time or have recently started, here are a few pitfalls to avoid in creating your new and exciting online presence.

1 - Don't make yourself look lazy
If you need to know something that you should probably type into a search engine instead of into a teacher forum, do that. If you need a hand with something, say so, but give your colleagues a little context or a starting point to show you aren't just asking for someone to do your job for you while you lie on the beach during March Break or enjoy a weekend night out with your pals. This is especially true for those taking an AQ course (Additional Qualification - a program of a set number of hours which will give participants the accreditation to teach a particular subject, support students in a particular way, or teach a set division of grades). Please do your own course work. Otherwise, in no true way will YOU be prepared to do what you will need to do in your potential yet. But really it applies to all, especially if it becomes the way you operate.

2 - Don't share a link without saying a little something about why.
If the image posted makes it perfectly obvious, acting like a kind of a headline, no problem. Otherwise tell me why I should click. Should I expect to be angered? inspired? Is it a must-have resource?

3 - Don't post "I hope this is ok. Admins, please delete if not".
Ask first if you're unsure. Or just don't post it.


4 - Learn how to follow a thread you are interested in 
... without typing "Following" (or asterisks, just the letter "f" or a period!)  There is a way to follow on every device and platform in facebook. Here's a little tip sheet I put together with help from said amazing collaborators, to help newbies figure this one out. Why does it matter? If someone posts a question, they really don't need to be notified ten times that someone else has the same question, or is curious about what others will reply... they actually want a reply. Also, people within a group may end up getting a ton of extra, unnecessary notifications.... this includes any administrators who are spending loads of time screening certain types of content.

In the same vein, that includes...

5 - Don't "share" a post to your own wall from a secret or closed group.
If a group is secret or closed, it's so that not every Tom, Dick and Harry can drop by and read what is posted. Be respectful of that. Don't share elsewhere without consent, even to your own wall... your Aunt Esther really doesn't want to know about the latest classroom management techniques.

6 - Make sure your profile represents you in a positive way. 
Manage your own digital footprint!  This means if every photo of you is in your bikini, drinking a Corona on the beach, first, I'm a bit jealous and second, what would your employer ... or worse, potential employer... say about that?



7 - Share your own original content and ideas, not copyright-protected material.
Enough said on that one, right? It's not cool... illegal even, in the photocopy room... also illegal online.

8 - Don't assume the culture, norms & rules are the same everywhere on facebook.
Groups, pages, and communities are made up of people. Different people, different opinions, different perspectives or agreements on what is acceptable. Be sure to read the group description, and pinned posts, and maybe even hang around a little while to see how things work. (Back in the old internet chat room days, we used to call that "lurking"!  Now that term sounds a little creepy to me, but it's still a good principal... don't just burst into a room and start shouting stuff for everyone in there to hear, without knowing what conversations have already gone on just before you arrived.) See the tip above about not just asking for forgiveness... this is one case where it's actually better to ask first.

9 - Don't toot your own horn pretending you're not.
You know who you are... if you can live with yourself, that's awesome for you, but just think about how many people you'll truly turn against you when they figure out they've been had. Only very strange people talk about themselves in the third person... "THEY" is never a correct pronoun to use when one is speaking of one's own business ventures. If you tutor, own up to it. If you offer a service, be up front about that. You have a TPT store? Great - so do I. Don't pretend the material in it is great because some one made it. Go ahead and say that you made it to meet the learning needs you found you couldn't meet otherwise!



10 - Don't talk about your principal, colleagues, students or others in a way you wouldn't if they were right there.
Even in a private or closed group, or in a private message with someone you THINK is a friend, the online world can be tricky. Screen shots, direct quotes and even just nasty rumours can put you in a very uncomfortable place. Know that you can stand by your words AND your deeds.




Friday, May 22, 2015

Au pas camarade unit now available!

It's been in the works for a couple of years! My unit for Au pas camarade, (French version of "Branded", the novel by popular YA fiction Canadian author Eric Walters) is finally available to anyone who'd like to pick it up to use in their class. I always make the same mistake - I think I'm almost ready to publish something, to share in my TPT store or on my blog, or other places that I make material I make available for other teachers to use, and really, I ought to know better. The hours it takes to get something looking just how I want it, and proofreading, and making sure stuff I tell students orally in class or post on chart paper is actually explicit enough for another teacher to make sense of it... well, that quickly turns into days. And I do have a full time job as a teacher apart from this, plus a family, and all that other stuff that makes life fun!

Au pas camarade teaching material cover, sample student handout, additional pages by Teaching FSL


When I use this novel unit in my class, I distribute a duotang to each student & have them write their name, and the purpose on the cover right away, before I distribute the novel. (Note to self... pick up LOTS of duotangs in back-to-school sales, given the serious cut in consumable budget we seem to be facing, yet again this year!) Actually, the exact timing of when I give students the handout and duotang is right after we do the pre-reading activity that explores character traits in an authentic oral mill to the music format. Then I have them place a copy of the blank vocab sheet, and a few lined pieces of paper to get them stated on what they'll use to answer. I also usually double side the chapter handouts so they get two chapters at once, in order to use less paper, save space in the duotang, and encourage students to use lined paper for their answers.

Students are told that they can make rough notes on the photocopies, but that the vocab sheet should be used for recording their vocabulary, to keep it all together (and give them more double-sided copies as needed... maybe 2-3 total for the unit, per student.)  And their questions I want answered on lined paper. Sometimes I do collect these to provide some feedback on their written expression. When I do that, it's usually to check for clarity, depth, and how well they are supporting their answers with evidence from the text or other connections. This is a great opportunity to provide descriptive, formative feedback.

Please leave me a comment below.... what would you like to see offered as a freebie from this unit? I'm considering offering:
  1. the chapter one vocabulary cross word puzzle 
  2. the pre-reading character trait activity (with a focus on students mixing & mingling to explain their answers orally)
  3. one unit's student question handout
Within a couple of weeks, I'll pick one, if there's any interest at all!  (PS.... I already DO have a free activity that I use as part of my pre-reading setup for this novel in that blog post from almost 2 years ago!  Feel free to download it & check it out!)


Saturday, May 02, 2015

Canadian Sellers on TPT

Sometimes, Canadian education differs from that of our neighbours south of the border. If you teach in Canada, we've got you covered!

Furthermore, if you tell us what you need, we might just be able to hook you up!  I know many sellers who have a long list of almost-ready-to-share materials. So feel free to send some requests (ideally with a bit of lead time) our way as well.

Scroll down the page Find your grade range Click on a logo to find Canadian Teaching Resources

Kindergarten to Grade 3

Grades 4 to 6


Grades 7 to 12







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