Monday, October 8, 2012

Circling with balls

This year I am really trying to spend more time talking about what the students do.  I have one class of 30, and I'm only about halfway through talking about them.  I'm trying not to get impatient...  My brain is telling me to start in on the "book" and get going on the "curriculum," but when I sit down and think about it, my kids are getting SO MUCH good vocabulary and SO MUCH great repetition because we can review the information every day or every other day, so whatever vocabulary we talk about now should be so stuck in their brain that they remember it for the rest of their lives.  So I need to take a deep breath, think of some new way to insert common vocabulary (connait anyone??), and keep on keeping on.  My kids won't know I'm bored with it unless I act like I'm bored.  I just need to use the acting skills I'm learning in my improv class to make believe that my class is the most fascinating class in the world and my students are the best kids in the universe.  C'est vrai, n'est-ce pas?

P.A.T. follow-up

My colleague and I have had over a month to try out our different ideas for P.A.T. and the verdict is in!  Our students are really enjoying it!  Even my students who experienced the old, loosy-goosy way last year say that they prefer the way we are doing it this year! 

So, this is what we have done so far...
  • French music videos (I tried to pick videos with a story to keep them interested like Adieu by Coeur de Pirate, J'aimerais trop by Keen'V, U.S. Boy by Jena Lee)
  • Games (Pictionary, flyswatter, basketball...all the Fred Jones stand-bys)
  • Kindergarten craft
    • So far, we have done this once and it worked really well...I did a mini-lesson on Van Gogh and how he was influenced by impressionism and the landscape in France.  Then I had them do a baby-ish craft.  They cut out a sunflower on card stock and used tissue paper to "color" the flower and then glued sunflower seeds to the middle.  I made a big bulletin board in the middle of school with facts about Van Gogh and France and displayed their art for the whole school to see.  I called it CYA so that I wouldn't get in "trouble" for having my kids to baby crafts in a French 1 and 2 classroom.
    • We are planning our next kindergarten craft to be a stereotypical French guy toilet paper roll craft.  I found a template somewhere online and we are going to talk about stereotypes and compare French and American stereotypes.  I'm planning on showing a couple of comedy clips of people to bring the point home. 
  • Tastings
    • We did a beverage tasting the first time and taught them some restaurant vocabulary and I showed them a sample menu with the beverage choices.  We tasted Orangina, Evian, and Perrier. 
    • This last week we did a biscuit tasting and they got to taste Petit Ecolier, les gaufres, les madeleines and Biscoff.  We reviewed the restaurant vocabulary and talked about Belgium since the Biscoff and gaufres came from there. 
I'm planning on doing some movie trailers and having them match the French summaries with the movie poster or trailer.  We'll see if I can get that planned...

I'm drowning!

I keep hoping that I am going to get into a rhythm and I will have plenty of time to blog regularly.  Oh man, do I really want that to happen.  Unfortunately, it is not happening.  I am trying to get my stuff together, get my ducks in a row, etc... 

The good news is that I don't think I'm letting my kids down.  I feel like I am still a good teacher to them 95% of the time, even when I'm tired or grumpy or unprepared (because of outside forces, of course...I would never be unprepared...gasp!).  So it's really just my real and virtual collaborators that I'm letting down.  Sigh.