Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 31st-Block day

We have block days at least once a week (which is actually two days), but we are blocking just about every day right now to accomodate state testing. Fun fun! I'm hoping to be able to get back into a groove of having a lot of activity choices, because I've been relying an awfully lot on just reading Pauvre Anne and Pirates. So today, I started the day with my first years and we started with our song warm-up...I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this activity before, but let me know if you have questions. This week I'm using an old song: Mon Pays by Gilles...oh what's his last name?? Anyway, I'm trying to mix in some old classics so that my students really get a good base in French music (and Quebecois, bien sur!) Next, we reviewed the story of Pauvre Anne from chapter 1-4. I try not to do the full review every day or they just get super bored, but I like to do it pretty frequently to refresh some of that awesome vocabulary and help the slower kids catch up. So I asked a lot of questions about what's happened so far. Then we started reading chapter 5. When we're reading, I now read a paragraph out loud, pause so they can ask for clarification on unknown words and then usually circle some key plot points in the paragraph. If the paragraph is particularly confusing or has a really important bit of information, I will have the kids translate individually. I take a volunteer for the first sentence and then let them pick someone else for the following sentence. I know that this breaks all sorts of reading rules, but with the dictionary in the back, I know that every student CAN translate just might take them a while. And I've even got some students who will give a slower student a super easy sentence because they know it will boost their self-esteem. That's really cool to see! I also stop for culture clarification sometimes, like when Anne goes to the bank to exchange her U.S. dollars for euros. It's a great chance to talk about the proximity of the European countries and how they banded together to gain more power and strength globally. Once we had read 2 pages, we took a singing break and sang a new song: Bee Bee, Mouton Noir, a translation of the classic nursery rhyme done by my old cooperating teacher. Then we spent some time learning a "cheer" that I was taught in high school going along with the prepositions. Devant, derriere, a droite de, a gauche de, sur, sous, dans, avec, chez, a, de, pres de, loins de, a cote de, en face de, au milieu de, tout droit. I think I might have a couple of spelling errors there, but you get the idea. For some reason, this is super easy to remember and very helpful later. Finally, we finished with a rousing game of football (americain). I used Fred Jones' idea for this game, straight out of his book. I drew a football field on the board and broke the class into two teams. I didn't have my large class today...I'm worried it might not go so well with a class of 30... Anyway, I had questions that were worth 10, 20, and 30 yards. Each student took a turn being "quarterback" and trying for their choice of yards. If they got it right, I moved their magnet that many yards on the field. If they got it wrong, the other team could sack their quarterback for a loss of 10 yards if they could answer correctly. It worked very well in my classes and they were pretty engaged. I like this game because it gave every single student in my class a chance to be successful. With my 2nd year students, our song of the week is US Boy by Jena Lee...a super-catchy current hit about how much French girls love American boys. We then had storytime, continuing a story about a boy named Kitty Kat Man, who helps George W. Bush find the best BBQ in the world. I have to admit that things got a little goofy in this story. At one point, Bush gets scared when a cashier at Gates BBQ yells (Hi! May I help you??) at him and pees his pants. When he tries the McRib, he throws up, which makes Kitty Kat Man throw up (and his stuff has a hairball in it, of course!). Then who shows up, but Dolly Parton. And how in the world do you describe her without describing all of her attributes. So I taught them nenes. Not sure if any other French teacher in the world would be comfortable teaching this word, but since it was taught to me by a 2yr old boy...I figured it couldn't be too crass. After story time, we played football and that was a day!

Blog every day??

I haven't blogged in quite a while, and I think it's because I'm just waiting for something amazing to happen. But I'm missing the small victories that come with every single day. So I'm debating blogging every day or every other day to say what my lesson plan it went...and any small miracles that I see. So...let's see how this experiment goes!