Friday, July 31, 2015

Book review of FL for Everyone

Foreign Languages for Everyone: How I Learned to Teach Second Languages to Students with Learning Disabilities by Irene Brouwer Konyndyk was published in 2011.  This is a book I hadn't heard a lot about but rather which I stumbled upon in my online forays into quality professional resources I could read myself and recommend to others who were struggling in their roles as French Teachers. I was excited in reading over Irene's website and decided to email her. She graciously sent me a copy to read myself as well as one to give away.

Foreign Languages for Everyone is a practical, easy read. You know you're reading something a fellow teacher wrote, even though it's got loads of references and a great glossary at the back of the resource. Its focus is on including all learners in the joys of learning French (or another second language) but considering how to program for those who learn differently. Ms Konyndyk is a college-level professor of second languages.

I found myself firmly underlining the second line of her preface.
Maybe the adjective I ought to use is "angrily" - an emotion not directed at the author or the book, but at my experience with the system of second language teaching in Ontario.  So many times, students were exempted from my Core French classes (which are mandatory in this province!) and felt like I'd somehow failed them or that the system didn't have enough faith in me as an FSL teaching professional.

The author talks about the importance of routine, multi-sensory teaching, and "Testing For Learning" (a little shorter than assessment for/as learning, right?). There is also a lot about the importance of metacognition, but it's really presented in a very different way than the suggested prompts in our current Ontario curriculum documents, elementary or secondary. (A little off topic, but I'd love to know in the comments below whether your district or province/state provides scripting, required or otherwise, for the teacher to speak in class!)

Ms Konyndyk's approach is not high-tech, but that's a positive thing. There's nothing about how some latest and greatest technology is going to make such a difference and capture the students' attention. If you have limited or no access to technology, no problem. And if you do, great - just incorporate it where it makes sense to augment your program further.

Her student intake form is the longest one I've seen, and in a regular classroom, I might think that was a problem but it makes total sense in this situation. When you have a group of learners who learn differently, and who come to you with a history of difficult learning experiences, it just makes sense to get to know them as thoroughly as you can. Did I not just describe 75% or more of intermediate grade Core French classes?

All of this good stuff... and then she covers 9 Best Practices. These pages in my copy of the book are covered in squiggles, exclamation points and excitedly scrawled notes to myself. Trust me, many of these things you are ALREADY doing, but there are just some fine tweaks that we can make to better suit some - or all - of our learners. (One example - she addresses the use of the target language & how to gradually move to it.)

You should check out this resource as a different way of looking at meeting the needs of our exceptional learners, including those with multiple LDs, autism or other challenges.

Be sure to enter my giveaway just for French teachers now. One of the prizes is a signed copy of this PD resource!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Noël du campeur - une vente

Joyeux noël du campeur!  J'ai réduit les prix de quatre de mes ressources favorites par 50%
Je voudrais remercier Mme Andrea pour la belle image pour notre promotion et Les Créations de Stéphanie pour l'idée et le rallye-lien!

Je vous offre ces matériels, chacun à un prix excellent! La promotion est seulement aujourd'hui.

Mon produit le plus récent, pour le français et le drame, une mini-unité pour le Théâtre des lecteurs. Je l'offre actuellement comme une partie d'un des prix dans un concours sur mon blogue, mais si tu n'as pas envie d'attendre, va l'acheter directement (puis si, en fait tu es le gagnant ou la gagnante, tu pourrais donner une copie à une collègue).

Unité pour le roman "Au pas camarade". Tu peux en lire plus dans cette publication de mon blogue.

L'ensemble bilingue (version du test et rubrique en anglais et en français, pour les enseignants et enseignantes qui enseignent le même cours de Géographie ou des Enjeux globales dans les deux langues) d'une dissertation/un test au sujet des inégalités mondiales.

Et finalement, un ensemble d'un jeu de Bingo avec le vocabulaire des animaux et des insectes. (Des affiches + les deux niveaux complets de ce jeu.)

J’espère que tu trouves quelque chose que tu aimerais utiliser en école avec tes élèves cette année! N’hésite pas de me poser des questions en avance si tu veux vérifier les détails d'un produit.

N'oublie pas de rendre visite à ces autres boutiques qui offrent des rabais jusqu'à 50% le 25 juillet seulement.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A French Materials Contest to Celebrate

This week, I achieved 600 followers on TeachersPayTeachers. I did my best for this following to be built naturally, over time, and hopefully by parties interested in what I have to offer. So it's time to celebrate with a giveaway!

I'll be honest.... just looking for an excuse to celebrate. I felt like I should have marked when I reached 1000 facebook likes on my Teaching FSL page, but I was tied up with school and let that opportunity slide right by. Would you have really entered in June anyway? Maybe - maybe not. I hope you're not too busy enjoying your summer vacation to spend a few minutes on my blog now!

I've got THREE great prize packs to offer up. You can enter just one of the giveaways or multiple... your choice!

Background graphic licenced from Sassy Designs
Over a $35 value with donations from:
Mme Hawtree
Maternelle avec Mme Andrea
My brand new Readers' Theatre mini-unit
Winner's Choice of item from Mrs. Mathis' Homeroom
and your choice from my TPT Store (up to $10.00 USD value)

Over a $20 value with donations from:
The World Language Cafe
French Buzz
Peg Swift
and your choice from my TPT Store (up to $10.00 USD value)

Be sure to check out Foreign Languages for Everyone, an interesting PD read for French (and other second language teachers). I'll blog more about this book later this week! It is currently priced at $17.95 USD through the ACFLT web site. Irene has generously donated a signed copy of her book, sharing her strategies for including ALL learners in the benefits of foreign language instruction. (Note - I will need your mailing address, sent to me privately, to be able to send you the book. We can worry about that when the contest closes though, the first week of August.)

Please enter to win one of the following packages I have to offer you, thanks to the support of some of my virtual teaching colleagues! I think you need to scroll/swipe/click left and right in the Rafflecopter widget to see all three options.

Don't forget to check out the options that allow you extra entries by referring a friend, rating a TPT product with meaningful feedback (not just a smiley face or a dot, please and thanks) or other tasks daily if you wish. Best of luck to you all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

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