I'm excited to team up with a great bunch of middle school edubloggers for a Back to School giveaway!  Be sure to visit each of the blogs to collect the awesome FREEBIES we are sharing with you as well. - those make everyone a winner -  but there's also a great prize package which you can get an idea of in the image below!

My Back to School tip is to make the students in your class feel special/important. One thing I do at the beginning of the year is a Student Survey - pretty common, I think. So I add a little twist.  On the otherwise empty back of the sheet, I ask the students to share one interesting or unusual fact about themselves, and warn them that it will NOT be confidential. This is something they should feel comfortable sharing with the whole class.  It's important that they understand that, or this activity could be disastrous.

Then, overnight (or when I taught Core French and had up to 7 or 8 different classes on my schedule, sometime during the first week, so I could tackle just a couple at a time) I visit the website Discovery Puzzlemaker to create a "Getting to Know ClassX" crossword puzzle.  I make all the answers the students names and use the interesting facts that have been shared as the crossword clues.  For my FI classes, they write the information in French to begin with, and for my Core students, I asked them to write what words they could in French, and then I'd translate the rest of the clues in a simple manner, sometimes including key words in English at the end of the clue.

So, for my gifts to you, I offer the following:

Here's a simple compte-rendu (Book Report) template that you can use to get an idea of students reading & writing level in French. You could use it to have them a) recount details of a book they read in English over the summer b) select a book from your classroom library & report on the main details or c) use it as the basis for an oral presentation.

You can download some cute door decorations that indicate what's going on inside of French class here. These work GREAT for mobile teachers too!  Just write a note on the back indicating where they should be returned in case you leave them behind, before you laminate them!

And something special not shared elsewhere - this is the Word document I use as my Student Survey.  It's totally 100% editable as even * I * end up changing it a little bit from year to year, so feel free to add or remove anything that makes sense for your school, your students and your own preferences.

The prize information is a little hard to decipher since I can't get the graphic that the wonderful Kristy from 2 Peas and a Dog created to display quite as large as I wanted to. Let me tell you, these 16 devoted teacher-bloggers have each selected a great item selling like hotcakes to contribute to a back to school prize package of teaching resources just for middle school.

I've contributed the brand new teaching unit I used last year for the film Un Monstre à Paris which my students really enjoyed a lot. Guess what? I used it in French of course, but this movie is also available (on
NetFlix, no less!) in English as A Monster In Paris and so I've included a Language Arts package as well. Rotten Tomatoes declares it 85% fresh... and it's great for classroom use! You may not have heard of it, but it's got great tie ins to hsitory (1910), natural disasters (flooding) and how societies deal with them, as well as wonderful connections that can be made to other classic literature (Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, among others) and fantastic music (which I'm pleased to say, my students actually preferred in French over the English versions).  You can check it out in detail in my TPT store shortly - a few computer issues have kept me from getting it uploaded as promptly as I planned.

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