Monday, March 23, 2015

Freebie: Sign for your Exit Tickets area

Here's just a small freebie for today. I made this simple sign to go in my classroom above the pocket chart I use for Exit Tickets. I'm making it available for you in PDF or PowerPoint format (which means what you'll actually download is a zipped file, containing both the PDF and PPT files). In the PowerPoint file, you can change the font, colours or wording as you wish.

The colours match the colours in my Welcome Banner, and a few other things in my room. You can adjust it if you have a different colour scheme, or use it as is if you like mine!

One of my students questioned my wording. She thought the last word needed to be plural. But I'm feeling like my wording is ok, since the exit tickets are plural, yes, but there is only one exit, so "sortie" acts like a designation... What do you think?

I hope someone finds it useful!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

DPA in the FI classroom

I work in a dual (or triple!) track French Immersion school. Since there are few (possibly not any?) schools in my board that are single track FI, I feel like there are lots of missed opportunities throughout the day for students to communicate with one another in French. English seems to take over, since it's the common language of the whole school. 

Daily Physical Activity is one of those times. In Ontario, schools are mandated to provide at least 20 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity to our students. We take advantage of Just Dance videos in French sometimes (like this one from Stromae, and this one by Tal), as well as using French music in general to get us going, and I've encouraged students to interact with one another in French in a few other ways too, but of course I'm always looking to do a little better.  So, I made these physical activity station cards, for equipment-free movement in the classroom, circuit style. If you have a couple of carpets, or mats, those would be nice for the yoga, stretching or sit up stations, but otherwise, students just move. 

10 affiches pour des postes d'APQ dans la salle de classe Teaching FSL

It includes 10 options, which is probably more than you can use in a typically sized classroom, which means that you can switch them out, or eliminate any that don't work for your students. For example, the chin-up one isn't going to work so well from the door frame for grade 4 students, but since some of my 8th graders are over 6 feet tall, they'll love it! If you need a minor adjustment, i.e. if your students know a certain activity that I included by another name, feel free to send me a quick message to let me know. I considered using "saut d'├ętoile" for example, as that's apparently the term my FI students have encountered for jumping jacks in the past, but I felt introducing them to another accepted expression would be a good teaching opportunity. (Love the language variations in French! Part of the charm of teaching languages, for sure!)

Maryse Lehoux on Youtube is a good source if your students need an introduction to yoga as a whole class in order to be able to choose a few favourite poses as an independent activity station. Bonus: exploring some of these videos in advance also give your students a great authentic, goal-focused listening opportunity. The video I linked shows students les poses de yoga Arbre, Guerrier, Cobra et Montagne, but you can find many others by searching within YouTube for this "Yoga Diva".

On a related note, check out this blog post for "Milk & Cookies" - a great QUICK brain break that will get students repeating a few words in the target language. I love the idea to let them pick what two terms you'll use. It would be fabulous as a common warm up, or just a nice way to get students focused before a lesson.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bright Ideas: Powtoon

As an alternative to presentations in the classroom, consider Powtoon, which allows students to be 21st century creators of content related to inquiry-based projects and investigations in the classroom. Powtoon is a web-based tool, with a free option (and paid upgrades available, of course) which my students actually introduced to ME last year as an option for the final, sharing stage of our inquiry projects in History. (I'd seen the end result before, thanks to the fantastic Sylvia Duckworth - more about that another time! - but I hadn't seen the creation process for Powtoon until my students took it upon themselves to use last February.)

So, this year, I paid a lot more attention and even demonstrated several of the features for my students to help them achieve the awesome results they envisioned. Powtoon has actually made a lot of tutorials and tips available for their users. Here's the one I want to share with you today.

You need to actually create your script (figure out what you want to say) and record that script so that it can be used as a voiceover before you start creating all the awesome effects that come as part of the Powtoon package. I showed students how they could just use their own iPhones to record the audio they needed to capture, and reminded them of Audacity, which is a completely free software tool that can be used for very advanced audio editing.

This is more or less the opposite of what my students tended to do, left to their own devices, but really it makes so much sense. I was disappointed for my learners last year, that they were doing their best to "live comment" over the text boxes they had appearing in their PowToon videos. The effect was... distracting. Yet, it was clear that the website had so much punch to help them deliver really effective presentations. I'm so glad that I revisited this website again this year!

If you decide to as well, remember that the content of the audio is what's important, and that the visuals support what your students (or you!) actually say. Of course, check out the options, and play with some of the tools to get ideas that might inspire your presentation script, but don't start really building your presentation's visual until you've got your message perfected.

I hope you liked this #edtech bright idea! If so, be sure to follow me on PinterestTwitter and TpT for lots of other great stuff! And check out some of the other awesome promo-free blog posts linked up below.

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