Monday, September 17, 2012

My First "Manic Monday" Contribution

I don't know if you are familiar with Manic Mondays on Classroom Freebies (a web site set up by Charity Preston, of the Organized Classroom Blog) but it's something I seem to keep missing.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Creating a free item worth sharing within 24 hours is not something I can usually accomplish, with school and home commitments combined with my fondness for online chatter. Luckily for me (or maybe luckily for you!) I just happen to have a Graphic Organizer freebie that I put together to use in my class! I'm having my students present articles that they found online or in print newspapers to share a current event that interests them and to start a discussion.
If you prefer to keep it simple, you could easily use just the first page, but I added a "verso" (second side) as an extension, for my Actualité unit with an oral interaction and inquiry focus.

In my class, the students are required to conclude their current events presentation with a thought-provoking question to stimulate conversation in the classroom. I evaluate the presenter on certain agreed-upon criteria, but also the other students need to show evidence of critical thinking and expression of their own opinion and ideas.

This is great for differentiated instruction/assessment as well.  You could easily ask students to fill a certain number of sections, or assign different questions for students, depending on what you wanted to evaluate.  I hope you like it!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

3 Things I Learned on Vacation

My students were greeted back to the classroom this week with a diagnostic writing activity of sorts, asking them to reflect on their own summer experiences, so I thought it would only be fair for me to share a little of my own!

Wonderfully quiet and private beach near Souris, PEI.
1) During my summer vacation, I learned some interesting information about sea creatures... For example, that dead jellyfish don't sting, and that sand dollars are like a type of urchin.

My son holding a starfish in St. Andrew's NB.

I even got to learn about some larger sea animals, as we went whale watching in the Bay of Fundy and despite a terribly cloudy, foggy day, we were able to spot a couple of minke whales (which, to be honest, I didn't even know existed before!)

2) My family and I noticed that PEI is serious about its waste management!  Yay for that province and its wonderful residents. I suppose this comes from being an island in the first place.  
Overall, it seemed like land was used much more intelligently there than it is in the parts of the country we are more used to exploring. But specifically, I was amazed by the composting bins that were located even outside of restaurants, and the tri-bin garbage system that was in place at a cottage we rented - one in the kitchen area and another in the washroom. As someone who tries at home to remember to bring empty toilet paper rolls all the way to the recycling bin in the garage, I thought this was a wonderful plan!
3) As a French teacher, visiting second-hand stores and popping in to various locations in New Brunswick (Canada's only officially bilingual province!) and Quebec to scoop up a few copies of "authentic text materials" (like maps, business cards, take out menus, back-to-school flyers) was so fun! More on my Village des Valeurs haul later!

Et alors, maintenant c'est à vous la parole... what new things did you learn on your summer vacation?

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