I'm excited to be part of a long-awaited blog hop arranged by Reading with Mrs D. Check out the backstory... she's been trying to put this together for months, and finally we're going ahead although sadly without having certain territories represented.  If you know of a great ... or blooming...educational blogger in one of the missing regions, please leave the URL in the comments below this post so we can check them out and include them in future collaborative projects!

Check out the amazing articles (and free items for you to download!) which span lots of grade levels and disciplines at the bottom of my blog post!

My class is reading the French translation of an Eric Walters novel. Branded, called Au pas, camarade in French is written as a high interest reader for youth.  It's about a high school where the principal announces that uniforms will be introduced at the beginning of the next semester. You can check out a couple of chapters online for free, to see if it's right for your FSL students. One of my boys (whose parent works in the local elementary school) told me that the original English novel is being used in grade 5 there, and that tells you the level of vocabulary and writing. It fits the ability of my grade 8 French Immersion classes quite well.  For some, it's still a bit of a stretch, but much better suited to their proximal zone of development than the last novel we explored together, which was written by a Quebecoise author. Others are finding it quite easy, but not insultingly so.

The author lives in our Ontario school district, and actually used to teach in my board, although I don't know him; we are a large district. He started writing for his own relectant readers in class, and has become really quite prolific!  I don't think he teaches currently. The beauty of Walters having so many books to offer is that if a student enjoys one novel, they are more likely to go on and read others.  In fact, I already let my students know that Ed Spécial and A fond la planche! are also available in French, since a couple of students are already hooked on Walters and asked where they could find more.

It has great curricular tie-ins to industrialization in social studies (history and geography) and economic systems in the current grade 8 geography curriculum.  In fact, this leads me to my freebie for you.  I found an article online (Yes! Authentic text!) about clothing factories in Bangladesh for which I created some questions and we used that as a "minds on" pre-reading activity. Here's the original article, and I have a version for you that I tweaked a little bit to bold some vocabulary terms, to be more easily printable and to remove the date references. This download also includes the questions we used, plus an answer key. My class did it as a shared reading but discussed very little as we were reading the two pages together.  I didn't want to deliberately mislead the students, yet they were already drawing their 
own conclusions, which was what I had hoped!  

What made this novel particularly attractive to me was the opportunity for practice in critical thinking and media literacy as well as social justice and digital citizenship connections. The opening line of the novel, which is also featured on the back cover:
makes for a great introduction, in my opinion. It served as a solid "point de départ" for personal and somewhat passionate discussions in my classroom.

The novel has a twist when the main character discovers that the uniforms were made in a sweatshop and considers whether to protest based on the ethical dilemma this poses for him, rather than just because he finds it "unfair" to introduce a uniform policy in the first place. I love this!  I get so excited over the real life connections that can be made to the factory collapse tragedy about a month ago in Bangladesh, and the subsequent push for ethical labour practices globally, as well as the recent media attention given to some of Abercrombie & Fitch's policies.  

Look for another pre-reading activity an anticipatory set survey which can be used in a variety of ways, not just this novel, in my TPT store for just a dollar. Also, I'll be posting the entire novel unit within the next week if you'd like to give this book a try with your own French class but are a little leery of starting without resources in place.

Here are some links to some other participants. Check out Mrs D's list for the complete set:
Nova Scotia (Mrs D herself)
(There are a lot of us, being the province with the highest population!)
Sara Kerr
Dawn @ Apples, Owls, and Peppermint Mochas
Miss L @ Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching

British Columbia (another popular teacher-blogger home, it seems)


  1. This looks like a great novel!! I'll look into getting it for my daughter, she'd love it! Thanks!

  2. The eBook version (through Google Play or Chapters/Indigo) is less expensive if you have a Reader. I also wanted to mention Renée, you may want to fix your blog URL with Mrs D, since she still has the old one linked!

  3. Hey Tammy! Nice to meet you :) Love doing Canadian stuff like this;)

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  4. Isn't it funny how an American teacher who is a fan of your blog design side is the first one who brought you to my attention? Nice to meet you too! Great looking blog you have in Grade ONEderful! Thanks for stopping by!


I love to hear from other bloggers (especially teachers!)