Saturday, January 21, 2017

Secondary Smorgasbord Celebrates Kindness, Diversity, Critical Thinking on Jan 20th

This month, the Secondary Smorgasbord crew has organized a blog hop to coincide with an initiative proposed by Rachel Lynette of Minds in Bloom. She's truly genius at bringing the community of TpT authors together to collaboratively build fantastic things. Sorry I'm a day late due to chaperoning a school overnight trip!

So, here's the deal.  I have a freebie to offer French teachers that comes from my movie unit for Un Monstre à Paris. It's a listening activity and a cultural lesson with a France connection, a list of names one character calls another throughout the movie. There are two student handout versions included, the original that I use with my French Immersion classes and one with simpler instructions (still all in French) that contain a few images to help students with less French learning under their belt to understand what they need to do.

These would work fine as a sub lesson if you are away ill for a day or two, as the first part just involves watching the movie and identifying the names used from the list provided. As an extension, have students see if they can find any additional nicknames or not-so-nice names used in the movie. Then as a follow up, there are lots of opportunities for character-building conversations around inclusion, consent, intension vs perception and just being respectful and nice to one another.

Thank you to Darlene at The ELA Buffet and Pamela of Desktop Learning Adventures once again for encouraging this collaboration in my middle and secondary teaching PLN!

Look for other forever freebies for middle and high school through the blog hop below. You can also search social media and TpT for the hashtags #kindnessnation or #WeHoldTheseTruths

Monday, January 02, 2017

Présentement en janvier chez Mme Aiello

Bonne année, mes amis et amies!

I thought I'd start the new year with .... well, something new! This is the first time I'm joining in the monthly link up hosted and organized by Stéphanie, blogueuse québécoise @ Les Créations de Stéphanie. Normalement, mon blogue est en anglais mais parfois j'écris quelques phrases bilingues. Donc, voici une bonne chance pour moi de faire cela.


Who doesn't love having time to spend with family? I'm glad I managed to get in a short visit with my sister & her kids, despite viruses running rampant in our house around Christmas. We also had our réveillon go off with out much of a hitch, so I'm very thankful for that. And I spent New Year's Day lunch hanging out with my in-laws, which was very nice as well.

Je pense

I've got a few things dangling over me in terms of my pressing "To Do" list. Soon, I'll be chaperoning my school's annual trip to la ville de Québec, but this year I'm not actually teaching grade 8, so that means I need to prepare and leave a full week's worth of lesson plans - for French, English, Science, Social Studies, Drama (these last three all in French as well) - for my own class. Pas une tâche facile à accomplir puisque la suppléante ne parle pas le français! Mais au moins elle est une figure bien connue par mes jeunes.

Je veux

Like many, I'm glad to see the negativity of 2016 come to an end. Let 2017 bring us all peace, love and progress!

Je suis

I haven't exactly made New Year's Resolutions. Not sure whether I will or not (since as far as I'm concerned, le temps du nouvel an étend jusqu'à notre retour à l'école!) Either way though, I'm definitely filled with good intentions and optimism for a fantastic year ahead. All that's left is to make concrete plans to make sure I accomplish my goals. Simple comme bonjour, non?  MDR


So excited that I still have 6 days left to get myself all set up, both at home and with school obligations. It'll all get done somehow, right? It always does!

Pour visiter les autres blogueuses qui participent dans ce rallye-lien, (à ce moment, c'est Mme Emilie et Les Idées de Mme Roxanne, plus Stéphanie et moi - mais le rallye-lien est encore ouvert) et cliquer le logo de Stéphanie ci-dessous.

blog logo for Les Créations de Stéphanie


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Creating a Positive Classroom Climate in French Class

School starts back next week, and I've been giving a lot of thought to how I'm going to create a positive classroom climate in my middle school French Immersion class. This year, I'm changing grades, so my practices and routines seemed to call for an especially thorough auditing.

Right from the first day of school, I plan to reward risk taking, model it, and to do whatever I can to keep the classroom a positive and safe space for my students. No put downs is a given, but especially important in a second language learning environment. Part of my beginning of the year speech will be about not making fun of people for trying, learning by doing, and the importance of practice. We will talk about the role of student talk time in the target language, and about how everyone needs to move forward from where they are according to their own goals and needs.

I've been intrigued by the idea of classroom meetings for some time now, but haven't really been sure how that would work in my grade 8 homeroom. Since I'm moving to grade 6 this year I think I'm ready to give it a go. The ideas in this document about Discussion Guidelines are great. Once a week (maybe even every second week, during those busy periods of the year) should be enough and I'm really looking forward to trying this out. I would love to hear from you if you have experiences to share from a similar grade, and especially with a French Immersion class.

Be sure to check out some of the other awesome blog posts below on setting our students up for learning through a positive classroom culture as well!  I especially love the one called "The Fridge" by a high school math teacher, since this past year my students wanted to know how to say that their work was "fridge-worthy" en français. (What do you think? I offer "Celui en vaut le frigo", "Digne d'afficher" or "Digne d'exhiber" as possible bulletin board titles and terms to share with families.)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Shop for Resources & Your Money Goes to the Red Cross

All Canadians and even those beyond have been horrified by the devastation recently faced by residents of Fort McMurray in Alberta. Being the wonderful, sharing, collaborative community that it is, a number of Canadian TPT teacher-authors from coast to coast wanted to help.

Being so far flung, a financial contribution is the best way we could see to make a difference. Visit any of the stores shown in the link up below tomorrow (Monday May 16th) and all profits from your purchases will be donated to the Red Cross for the Fort McMurray wildfire relief fund. Many of these stores will be offering discounts as well, in the hopes of boosting sales and therefore making a bigger contribution.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Bright Ideas for Using Kahooot

Technology, 21st century teaching and learning, #edtech, engaging students by letting them use the device that seems almost parasitically attached to their hands... had enough yet?

Well, those who know me know that I *DO* in fact embrace incorporating technology in my program. They also probably know that it is a bit of a love/hate relationship and that I don't hesitate to share my frustrations with others in the hopes that we can truly improve and move beyond some of those issues, rather than taking a "Pollyanna" everything-is-sunshine-and-roses perspective.

This year, my virtual PLC has been all abuzz about Kahoot. My Bright Idea this month is based on getting the most "pedagogical bang" out of kids' enthusiasm for this fun, free tool.

Use Kahoot games to connect with previously taught content rather than  picking a random topic for fun. This suggestion seems like a no-brainer, but my students have ALWAYS pushed for "just one more kahoot" because they really love playing, and they'll be fine with it being on any old topic, just for fun. Keep repeating to yourself "I am the teacher, I am the teacher." It's important that you actually use Kahoot as a pedagogical tool. What are you reviewing, introducing, or making sure they understood by playing it?

If you find the music & excitement leads your students to do silly things like scream out or instinctively press a button without really even reading the answers, consider lengthening the possible response time. You can also turn OFF the music, which I did the one & only time I used Kahoot as an actual capital T "Test".

You can also try just plain old classroom management & end the game if they aren't engaged in the learning as opposed to just the fun. They'll remember that and make better choices the next time they have the opportunity to play.

For a foreign language class, it's important that the Kahoot have NO ENGLISH. In order to justify spending time on something that is really just a glorified multiple choice quiz, it MUST be ALL target language on the screen (and ideally in discussing the right vs wrong answers and cheering one another on, but I'm probably dreaming here!)

Another tip is to try to focus on questions that require students to analyse or interpret something, and to apply their knowledge, rather than just being a straight up recall or comprehension question.

Kahoot autogrades, which is great. What I didn't know when I first started using it though is that if you don't download the results at the end of the Kahoot session, the results are lost. SO make sure to save results to Google Drive or to download the spreadsheet of responses. This appears after the chance students have to respond to how they felt about the kahoot. This screen I don't leave up for too long, but it's a necessary step to get through to save the results.

For more ideas to get you started in Kahoot, you can check out this blog post by Matt Miller of Ditch That Textbook. Here's a Kahoot that I made & played in my grade 8 French immersion Geography class (based on the unit A of the Ontario Curriculum) - feel free to play it in your class. (Preview it to make sure you and I taught the same content similarly, so your students have a positive experience with it. If not, make yourself a copy and change whatever questions you need to first.)

For the love of all things warm and fuzzy, please DO NOT just use Kahoot in your classroom every Friday as a "reward" for decent behaviour the rest of the week. Yes, Core French teachers, I am speaking to you. It is a great tool, yes. But using it in a mindless, insignificant way only serves to further undermine the status of FSL. Please use it judiciously and keep the "treat factor" with some sound practices embedded. I promise that it won't ruin the fun!

I hope you liked this tip, and if so, be sure to follow me on PinterestTwitter and TpT for lots of other great stuff!

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