Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Bright Idea for Teen Field Trips

I teach grade 8. We like to try to give our students a chance to stretch their wings... try out their independence in safe ways throughout the year. Of course that applies to things like finding an organizational system and developing study habits that work well for them as individuals (and simultaneously don't make their parents too crazy!) It also applies to some learning activities that take place outside of the school, like field trips.

So this month, I have a tip for those intermediate and senior teachers who accompany or organize learning excursions. If your field trip includes a "free time" option as ours often do (within clearly defined and chaperone-monitored boundaries), here are a couple of things you can do to make sure things run smoothly. We already use a buddy system, informing students that they are under no circumstances allowed to be travelling alone within the area established, and establishing an acceptable group size based on what we know about the area, merchants' attitudes towards students in that area, student needs, and other information.

I thought a great addition to this now that our school has parents sign a media release form would be to quickly snap photos of groups the morning of the trip with the teacher's phone.  That way, any kids who might tend to get ostracized are less likely to be ditched by their group members, as there's a little more accountability built into the "commitment" the students are making for the day.
Also, heaven forbid, if a student (or group) were to be unaccounted for at any point, you've got a recent photo... including what the teen set out wearing that day!

If you liked this idea, be sure to follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and TpT for lots of other great stuff! Also, check out the awesome promo-free blog posts linked up below.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Théâtre des lecteurs

A recent follower of my blog asked if I knew where she could get Readers Theatre materials for her core French class. (As an aside, see this interesting write up by Aaron Shepard of all the variations of spelling we find... maybe French is easier in this case!) That's also an excellent source to check out if you've heard of Readers' Theatre but really aren't sure what it is, and here's a good one page overview in French including suggestions for student accommodations.

I too have been in the same boat as Meaghan and wondered where on earth I'd find RT scripts suitable for my FSL class, especially once following a conversation with a very lovely English colleague who wasn't FSL qualified but also not FSL petrified. She commented that supply teachers who end up in a French class should never find themselves unable to teach, because there are tons of things they could do, including just pulling out a Readers Theatre script and getting the kids busy with that. Ha!  I thought... just Ha!

Well, English RT scripts may be plentiful and possibly even fairly easy to whip up yourself, or to have the students write, but French ones are a little scarcer... dramatic pause... but they DO exist!

5 sources of RT FSL scripts

Cheneliere has a kit that you can buy. A little pricey as an option if you're just looking to pull something out in an emergency or for a couple of days. Pros's a traditional publisher and your school or board might be more willing to dish out the money for that than for individual teacher-created resources. They also come with some activities and rubrics (although I don't believe either have been or will be updated any time soon to match the 2013 Ontario French curriculum expectations.) 

Ms Joanne is a French Immersion teacher in B.C. who has placed a whack of RT scripts, mostly based on the classic fairy tales, on TPT. She sells a bundle for $16 or you can buy them individually. Check out her free version of Blanche Neige to give you an idea of whether it'll work for your students.

Scruffy Plume has had a recent update to their website. This site has been around a good long time, but the appearance and navigation was a little hard to bear. They've jazzed up their site a lot recently, and it's still a work in progress. They've got scripts for Greek myths in French, aboriginal tales, and several other appealing options. The accompanying grammar sheets may not get as much use today as they would have in the past, but really, the play's the thing, right?  ;-)

TFO has a bunch of texts for what they call "Lecture en spectacle" available for free download, for educational use. Not all are RT scripts, but if you comb through the grade level tabs, some named "Conte à lire" are (Le chef et le charpentier, for example). I'd say almost no text beyond the grade 2 level are for Core French, on this site, but many could be used in different ways in immersion classes. Or maybe high school Core French.

Dramaction has a ton of scripts to share, from drama teachers in Quebec to other drama teachers (en français). Not all would serve as Reader's Theatre, but some certainly could, with minor reworking.

And of course, there's AIM as an option, which I didn't include in my "top 5" because I feel like the plays/scripts are either something you legitimately have access to and use, or you don't.  No one is about to go out and purchase an AIM kit just to do a Reader's Theatre activity in their classroom. But keep it in mind if you have colleagues that use the accelerated integrated method but you yourself don't.

If there's a good source that I've overlooked, please let me know in the comments below!

Updated to add...
Huit petits théâtres de lecture (Saynètes inspirées de contes traditionnels)
Check out a video of some little francophones reading one of the scripts in this publication, which looks like another great option!

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