Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cajun French - une affaire du coeur!

Right now, I'm speechless...

I just watched this BEAUTIFUL video that absolutely touched my heart!  I know, I know... I am a total language and culture nerd. I believe that I'm in good company amongst those of us who teach languages. (No offence if you don't consider yourself in the same boat!)  Check it out using the link above, or here it is embedded from Vimeo.  It's Louisiana’s bid for the CMA 2014 from Makemade on Vimeo.

I will need to save this for now, because I absolutely have to use this in my French class, and I'll post the blog when I've created some questions to go along with it, to make it easier for other teachers to leverage this 10-minute video, and do something engaging with it themselves!  ...AND I'm back!  :-) Here's what I came up with... I had 7th grade curriculum in mind, likely immersion level. I'm assuming you've already talked about the Grand Dérangement. This set of questions has a bit of Social Studies, and a bit of French (with a special emphasis on cultural appreciation) and I've left it as a Word document so that you can easily edit it to suit your class' particular needs.

The blogger who shared this video is teaching her (or his? Not sure!) child Cajun French at home. You can check out some other resources by the same person here on Quizlet.  If you'd like to share more about Creole French with your students, here's an interesting comparison on YouTube.

This would be great to use in a French Immersion class learning about natural disasters in Geography, or even with a grade 7 Core French class, just to make those cross-curricular, real life connections. The whole video is well subtitled in English, so the students will get the information despite the language of delivery, and you could have them pick out certain words... perhaps asking them to identify synonyms used. (i.e. The teacher provides the alternatives; they just listen to discern the vocabulary they should be familiar with already!) or consider adapting some of the questions I provided to a multiple choice or fill in the blank format to simplify them.

Since the video was created as a proposal to host the Annual Acadian Conference, you could also use this when discussing communicating for a specific purpose, or persuasive writing.

I won't tell you how long ago I started to write this blog post, or how many other half-finished posts I have! Ha! Suffice it to say, although it's Sunday, I've decided to link up with 2 Peas & a Dog's Wild Wednesday which featured Canadian Social Studies resources in either English or French this week.

I hope you enjoy this video even just a fraction as much as I did!  À bientôt, mes copains et copines!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Quick Monday Freebie

This little gem is something I found in my files from last year, when I was in a new school, and before I started reviewing adjectives as well as teaching some rules for irregular adjective agreement in French. In teams, I had students  discuss and record what they already knew.
Image of free KWL chart for French Adjectives

I found that I had to be MUCH more specific in my examples with this particular group than I had originally intended, so if you try it out, be sure to do a few examples as a class before getting into groups.
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I hope you find it useful, and hop on over to the Manic Monday link up at CF to see what other treasures you can pick up for free today, and every Monday!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Are you SMART?

I'm not.  Sigh!  I've never had the pleasure that I have long craved as a technophile teacher to give a lesson using an interactive white board (or SMARTboard)

But you never know... I might be tempted to give this a try! Have you herad that you can make your own IWB that works on any flat surface for under $100?  Of course, you need to have a computer and a digital projector for this to work, but I just might give it a whirl!  You basically need a Wii remote, a stand to hold it still, a  SMARTboard pen and a freeware software application.

This year, I tried to tell myself that this technology is already passé, but several people were quick to contradict me on my facebook page.

For those of you who teach French and already have a SmartBoard, I thought I'd share this wiki I found, hosted by the Ottawa-Carleton school baord.

Another resource to check out... see this Skills to Try list for avoiding being the sage on the stage when using this fabulously impressive teaching tool. Both you and the students should know how to operate your specific brand of IWB to use these functions for best results.

What do you think? Should I give it a shot?

Monday, April 08, 2013

Autism Awareness Blog Hop Giveaway - Final Day

Don't forget to pop back to Teaching Through Turbulence today for the end of the Autism Awareness Blog Hop!  She's got two great giveaways happening on behalf of those of us who participated in this event.

Teaching Through Turbulence

I found this video when looking for anti-bullying resources the other day, and it made me cry.  Nothing like a good cry - especially one driven by empathy and a desire to celebrate the uniqueness within us all! So I thought I'd share that with you too.

Last but not least, I'm adding another freebie into the mix. This is inspired by the blog post I mentioned by the autistic learner in my previous post. Print off this instruction sheet and glue it into the front cover (or perhaps the front cover and first page, if you'd like to display bilingual instuctions side by side) to form a personal dictionary for the French student with learning exceptionalities.

Image of French and English bilingual printable instruction page for a Personal Dictionary notebook by Teaching FSL
Contact me through my Contact page or leave me a message below if you need a PDF version

This is a tactic I've used for many years for ELL (English Language Learners) students in French class, and didn't realize how potentially beneficial it could be for ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) students as well. If it helps to take away the focus of words that aren't already known and builds vocabulary at the same time, I'd call that a perfect example of a strategy that capitalizes on a learner's strengths and meeting students' learning needs in diverse ways.

Best of luck with the draw, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Friday, April 05, 2013

Recycled Learning

Maybe it's spring and renewal and all that which has me thinking about "recycling" today. My school is introducing this year's Entrepreneurial Fair project to our grade 8 students (as part of Geography, but also media, French and with other possible curricular connections) and the emphasis in today's introductory presentation was on not spending a ton of money to buy materials to make their chosen product  but rather to be creative and inventive with selecting materials that could be reused or recycled.

Recycling Symbol Green Clip ArtThat reminded me that I recently came across this blog post  from BiblioBlond (who is Canadian, by the way!) which had me pondering.  This advice is intended for educators, and I suppose more specifically, librarians. How do we feel about students recycling projects from year to year?  How about recycling data/research... i.e. that which may have been compiled by an older sibling in a previous grade?

One of my students asked me this week if she could use something she'd already done to qualify for her "homework assignment" when I assigned my students to spend a few minutes sketching something at home to be used in the classroom.  In this case, I said yes.

On a somewhat related note, clearly I've been recycling the same background for my printable posters with French sayings to display in the classroom, but it makes me happy to have a unified and classic look to them.  I'm changing the font & colour scheme somewhat to make them distinctive from one another, and because I'm just plain fickle that way!

Here's a new one for you, translated from a popular saying in English. Hope you like it!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Autism Teaching Resources Blog Hop

Many thanks to Caitlyn at Learning Ahoy for inviting me to participate in this interesting and wonderfully meaningful blog hop during Autism Awareness Month. (If you didn't make your way to me through yesterday's blog posts, then you really have to check out Andrea's touching and inspiring story at For the Love of Teaching Math, and pop by The Resource(ful) Room's post as well! They both have a freebie for you!

I thought I'd let other teachers know about this resource, which I found mentioned on the Canadian Parents for French web site for B.C. It's written by a former Ontario teacher, qualified special education teacher, and mother of an autistic child. It looks like an easy but highly informative read, and is only $10 (USD) for the electronic version.

In reviewing my own experiences and doing a little research, I've written these five tips for second language teachers.

I found a very interesting first person account of learning French by an autistic blogger. To me, the moral of the story, with an impending, and long overdue curriculum shift for French in Ontario schools - is that good teachers need to have a wealth of tools in their instructional tool belt. Don't throw something away just because it's gone out of vogue. Be ready to adapt to the various ways students CAN be reached and do whatever work is necessary to find and help them to capitalize on their strengths. (If you visit this site, be sure to read the section near the end about his visit to France years after stopping formal instruction!)

Another informative source I consulted was this report from the UK.

For my freebie, I'm offering you a Word document version of how I modified the final assessment for a Fast Food/Snack Bar unit (which is the first unit in the Pearson resource On Y Va 2). This version is an adaptation of a model to better support students who had difficulty figuring out from contextual clues what they might need to say in their own creative sales pitch presentation.

Tomorrow, your next stops for the blog hop are to visit Mandy Myers at A Special Kind of Class and Kim at Joy in 6th.

joyin6th Homepage

Heather from Teaching Through Turbulence will be hosting a give-away on behalf of the whole crew that joined forces for this blog hop. Be sure to come back and visit her as well on April 8 to enter the give-away for a fabulous {and tangible!} prize for those of you with autistic or other developmentally delayed students in your classroom!

Monday, April 01, 2013

More Educational Games

I recently had a request to blog more about a variety of games for the French as a second language classroom. If you're pretty familiar with my blog & the types of activities I like to do, then these first few options will probably be nothing new to you.  I do however have a little treasure that I haven't shared outside of my classroom since "the days of yore" (aka Teachers' College!), so stick around!


I decided (thanks to Charity Preston's advice, through the Teaching Blog Traffic School) to create a knock-your-socks-off free product about 14 months ago.  I knew going into this project that it would be a significant amount of work, but I wanted to save teachers a ton of time and inject a bit of fun by creating a ready-to-print Bingo game that would hopefully fit with the realities of teaching French that I know so many of us have encountered (teaching on a cart, class sizes WELL beyond the supposed "averages," learners of all types, and even the "I-only-have-to-take French-this year-because-next-year-my-dad's-getting-me-exempted" sort.)

I thought and thought, then planned and planned... several days and do-overs later, the Winter Sports & Activities Bingo was born.
photo of French Winter Sports and Activities Preview - free 70 page download

In my class, this fit in well with the unit from the Pearson resource On Y Va 1 called "Destinations d'hiver" but by no means is it taken directly from there, and it certainly stands well on its own during the winter months. (Or at another time if you teach somewhere without snow, and happen to have another opportunity to teach about winter traditions in North America!)

I've also made a Bug and Animal version in the past few months.  I'd like to do more, but they DO take a considerable amount of work (and in the case of images, such as in the Insect & Animal version's accompanying flash cards, there is also a monetary investment on my part!)

Photo of Insect and Animal French Bingo game with two levels with 40 unique cards each and a set of flashcards or posters

So, essentially, I only want to keep spending hours on them if people like them and can find a use for them. If you have a themed bingo game request, with enough notice for me to spend time developing something, please do let me know!

J'ai... Qui A...?

My current students are huge fans of this oral chain game.  It doesn't take much time, and they always ask to play multiple times. In a Core French or beginner class, it would definitely require a little pre-teaching. I've got a couple that deal with holiday events (Christmas, Chinese New Year), and plan to bundle them up when I get a couple more completed, to offer at a reduced price. There are ... ahem... a couple in my files that I didn't quite get done in time for the holiday upon which they are based.  I also have some that are more appropriate for core French, including the fact that they take a lot less ink and paper when printing (as I've found that the pieces seem to disappear a lot more easily in those classes). My former students enjoyed this activity too.

Photo of some of Teaching FSL's J'ai Qui a oral chain game activities

Clue (Les Indices)

This is one of my best selling items on TPT (and TN).  I probably was inspired by something I saw somewhere else (aside from the Hasbro (TM) game itself!, which I've credited in the product) since I found cards with Qui, Où and other interrogative words in my file boxes from when I first started teaching... literally in a previous millennium  ...  but honestly I couldn't figure out how I had used it back then so I sat down and remade one from scratch. I ended up creating multiple versions for scaffolding and differentiation. I figured even if you don't use them all in one year, at some point you'll get a group that's a lot higher or lower than usual, and it's always good to have something tucked away for when that happens. 

I love that this game can be played as a whole class or with medium sized groups of about 6-10 students to increase talk time! I also love that once a class knows how to play it, you can even leave this as an oral student-run activity when a supply teacher is in your class. (It's a GREAT last minute option for those single period paybacks when your school's administration has had to get you to cover a colleague's absence and the opportunity to get your prep time back another day arises!)

Maître des Mots

This is my old standby!  It's one of a few games that I came up with before becoming a teacher, when I was getting volunteer experience in a French classroom after I completed my B.A. degree, before I even applied to teachers' college.

So what's cool about this? It's a Word document that you can project in your classroom & have a student fill in when it's his or her turn to be the "maître" or "maîtresse." You can also print it so that students can play with a partner or in small groups (which would make a great, fun centre activity, just focusing on using the target language to communicate while they play the game!)

A confession on Easter Monday... I usually don't even use my own sheet for this - just a blackboard or a classroom whiteboard is all you need!  It's a great game to play as a sponge activity. Once the kids understand the rules, they really enjoy it, and I find that even those who are more reluctant to participate (i.e. weaker students within  a Core French class) are eager to offer at least one answer.  Either way, the game comes with a printable PDF version, an editable Word version, and full instructions (en français!) for play.

I'm offering it free for the first 6 hours after this blog post, and then it will be available for $1 as a nice little activity to top up another TPT order.

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