Monday, August 25, 2014

Labor Day Secondary Blog Hop

I'm so pleased to be hosting a blog hop with some of my favourite Middle and Secondary School teacher bloggers right before back to school (at least in most places here in Ontario and New York state). There, I've said it... I'm Canadian and may be a neighbour to the north for some of you, and I simply cannot spell certain words without the U I've grown up loving and expecting. But don't hold that against me... I'm inclusive and we've got the US-accepted spelling on a Blog Button too!

Teaching FSL - Secondary Blog Hop

In honour of Labour Day which is next weekend (or rather, exactly one week from today, as it's a holiday Monday) we've decided to showcase our best "no prep required" resources. We've done the labour so you don't have to!  Get it? Credit for that goes straight to the fabulously helpful Darlene of Meatballs in the Middle (aka The ELA Buffet, as she's in the midst of rebranding her blog.)

In my case, I was a little torn what to highlight because my products are mostly for French classes and I know that an abnormally high percentage of new French teachers seem to get hired at the last minute. I know I had only a week to prepare for my first full time teaching job, and I bet some of you know a French teaching friend who's had an interview in August. In fact... more on that later this week.

In the end, I went with a Back to School bundle. It contains several of my best-selling products bundled together with a few other things to give you exactly what you need to be ready for back to school.

In it you'll find:
  • Ready to print, no assembly required classroom helpers sign with images
  • Classroom Management "Champs" Posters as well as more generic classroom Rules Printables
  • Learning Goal, Success Criteria & Reminder posters
  • Classroom Expressions & Vocabulary Handout, activites & differentiated "J'ai... Qui a..." game to print & cut (only simple, straight lines, I swear... 30 seconds at the paper cutter, envelopes or paper clips ready!)
  • Best-selling back to school introductory activity to get students talking to each other and about themselves in French (Personal Coat of Arms or Mes Armoiries Personnelles in French)

That's 7 products, which of course you could also get individually from my store. Several of these already include a couple of variations, because I know all teachers like to do things their own way, so I'm happy to provide that option when I can... and guess what else? The Coat of Arms & Classroom Helpers are totally editable Word document files, so you can personalize it or switch things up as you wish. If you don't have the time to worry about that this year, no problem. After you've tried it out as is, you can make any notes to yourself about things you might like to do differently.

I've bundled this package up just for this promotion, you can download it for $12 which is more than 25% off if you were to purchase these items separately. Not to mention that it's more convenient to already have everything in one zipped folder.

If you don't teach French, that's perfectly alright!  Please visit my teaching colleagues blog posts below about what they have to offer you ... download something, photocopy it and head back to the beach for a few more rays of sunshine before your summer is truly done! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Booster Sale - aussi disponible (Social Studies in FI)

Guess what? Usually TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) just has one back to school sale, but of course people in various states start back in early August while in other states & most Canadian provinces, we go back closer to the beginning of September... then there are the year round schools or "Balanced Calendar". This year the web site team surprised sellers AND buyers alike with what they're calling a BTS "Booster" sale.  It's one day only.... tomorrow!

I thought this was a good opportunity to shout out to my fellow Ontario Immersion Teachers in particular. Here are some of the resources I've actually used in my classroom...

Jeopardy-style Review (for History or any subject)

I know, call me a goody-two-shoes, a Pollyanna, a "good girl" but I really hate that people SELL stuff with a trademarked name & format that is so clearly borrowed. In your own class, for PURE educational use, you have the right... but I wanted to offer something that was ready-to-go but not infringing on anyone's intellectual property. I've got my own funky theme music embedded in the file, and timed transitions (where necessary) and the whole shebang.

So, for grade 8 History in Ontario, check out this resource for checking understanding of the key content in the development of Western Canada.

I plan to make one for other chunks of our History curriculum, but honestly... my To-Do list is getting so long, it will never, ever be finished!  Here's the good part though... it's a PowerPoint file. You can edit the questions yourself. Change a question that you don't love the wording of... swap out a few... or create your own set on ANY topic and use it in your class! So you don't really have to wait for me to make any other question sets at all... if you teach about the Development of the West, buy this product on sale and you're good to go!

Writing Task - English OR French Geography

This assignment gives students an opportunity to really show their critical thinking and ability to synthesize information, as well as research examples to support their own ideas for tacking the social injustices of the world.

It matches the current Social Studies (Geography) curriculum for grade 8, and the English version has Language expectations laid out as well. The French version...
I'll be honest... I still have to make a little tweak to re-align it to the expectations as they are worded in the curriculum we're implementing this year, but those of you who know me know that even if the WORDING on the expectations comes from the old curriculum, I was already well familiar with the new French expectations and keeping those very much in mind when I developed this assignment for my class to use last year.

Be sure to look for the bilingual FREEBIES you can use in your Social Sciences classes as well. I've got two (available in both English and French) so far and if I see that there's interest, I'll keep on making them.

So, head on over and take a look at your wishlist... is there anything there you need to pick up before we go back to school? Sale prices are scheduled to kick in at midnight tonight! Happy shopping!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What KIND of French are we learning, anyhow?

My students ask this several times a year, every single year. It always comes up. They want to know if the are learning Québécois French, French from France (aka French French), Franco-Ontarian speaking patterns and accent, or what? I bet that French teachers who hail from African francophone countries get this question a lot too!

I try to introduce variations, especially when it comes to vocabulary options that exist in different francophone countries and even regions around the world.  Synonyms and flexibility are good things, in my opinion. I'd really like my French students to be able to communicate with francophones from a variety of backgrounds that they might meet throughout their lives. (Am I the only one who is disturbed by the number of TV shows with subtitles added just for English speakers with some kind of an "accent"... as if we all don't have some sort of an accent!)

I'm also disturbed by francophones who attack other francophones, accusing them of not speaking "real French." Trust me, I'm picky about spelling, punctuation, and grammar... in both my languages, but I also recognize that no one speaks perfectly all the time. So suggest an alternative, introduce cultural flavours, but don't judge.

So, what kind of French are YOU teaching, anyhow?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Free Bingo Chips - August's Bright Idea

Do you have a bingo game (or sets of games) in your classroom somewhere?  Well you ought to... they're great for indoor recess, snowdays, reviewing numbers, vocabulary or other concepts. 

My Bright Idea as we head back to school is to pull out those Bingo games and get ready to use them!  If you don't want to spend money on bingo counters at the dollar store, take an old mug in your cupboard and start throwing bread ties into them. Put one in the staff room too, to reap the benefits of what would otherwise be garbage from your school's breakfast program or those treat days the staff organizes. In no time at all, you'll have enough for the class to use as bingo counters.

If you're the sort of teacher who has to have everything matchy-matchy and well organized then you could always sort the "bingo chips" by colour and maybe even assing different colours to different teams within your class. Make sure you don't waste your valuable planning time on this - enlist the help of a couple of keen students... even in the primary grades, this is an easy enough job for the kids to work on at recess or when they are done other work.

Be sure to check out some of the other fabulous Bright Ideas in the link up below, and if you liked this post, I'd love for you to stay in touch through facebook, Twitter, or TpT.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Microphone Francophone, check ça!

Just a short and sweet post. I wanted to share an authentic audio resoure I found. It's called Microphone Francophone, and it's a radio program carried on multiple radio stations (but also downaloadable and streamable - kind of like a French podcast).

Check out its archives on Sound Cloud too. They're great because the show is positive, francophone culture-based and digestible, with episodes lasting only 15 minutes.

Some ideas to try with it:
  • assign listening to it as homework (sharing reactions in a class discussion, or small groups with accountable talk)
  • assign 1-2 minute segments of it with comprehension questions that you design
  • assign different short segments to different students... like a listening comprehension jigsaw
  • use it in class to model various listening strategies, and to help expose students to the cadence & rythym of real, authentic spoken French with different accents
  • use as the basis of a webquest (i.e. Quel est un synoymn de "chroniqueur"? Les personnes qui contribuent viennent de combien de pays? Quel animateur s'occupe aussi de l'environnement en France?")

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Back to School Sale on TpT

Well, I did it... I said the "B" word.  Honestly, in Ontario, we're still a bit away from the true Back to School rush, but of course some teachers never really stop thinking about it, and others choose to do their planning early. (I even saw tons of teachers wanting to do their long range plans in July, even though they typically aren't due until about the third week of September, just to have the peace of mind of being prepared!)

So, TpT has an annual tradition of offering a site-wide coupon code to be used at checkout and encouraging individual sellers of throwing their own sale to coincide, and to offer you the best deals possible. August 4-5 are the dates this year, and I'll be browsing, even though I don't go back to school for almost a full month after that.

For the middle & higher grades, here are some secondary sellers who are participating in the sale. Be sure to have a laugh at our expense - check out our old grad or yearbook photos below, and then scroll on down for a clickable list of our stores.

These secondary teacher-authors are all having sales up to 28% OFF!
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