Monday, August 19, 2013

What I did with my new (to me) 4/5s

I had a question about what I did with my upper levels this week, since I have NO CLUE what they learned/remember from past levels of French.  Here was my response:

First off, I had them do a 5-minute free-write the first day.  They didn't do so well on that.  So, for better or worse, I am adapting the circling with balls activity for my 4/5s.  They haven't ever had me before, so we are starting with that.  The first two days, we talked about one student who played baseball at Kauffman Stadium at midnight because he was playing against the Australians.  Luckily, Scarlett Johansen (his choice) was in the stands and fell madly in love with him because he was the best baseball player in the world.  After the game (which he won, of course), Scarlett waited for him outside the stadium while he showered....and on and on.  They were loving it and it was super awesome for me to hear them spontaneously give dialogue for the characters.  Imagine how fun it was when the SRO entered the classroom to see three students standing together, with one male student wearing a blue wig and "flirting" with the baseball player.  It was awesome!

Friday, August 16, 2013

First days excitement!

Well, after an exceptional time at NTPRS this summer, I am back at school and more enthusiastic than ever! 

As you know if you read my blog regularly, I recently changed positions and am now working closer to home with a much larger work load.  I moved to a high school and am the ONLY French teacher, so I teach levels 1-5 and IB.  I was a little scared to take the job for fear of the unknown, but I now know that I made the right choice.  My students, parents, and colleagues are outstanding, and the increased work load hasn't killed me (yet). 

This year, I am doing some new things in my classroom.  I took Bryce Hedstrom's ideas (outlined in my blog entry here) and started FVR in the class.  I was afraid that I wouldn't have enough books for it to be successful, but found a treasure trove left behind by the French teacher before me.  They might not be the newest books, but they are filling their purpose until I can get some money to get some new books.  So, I did just what Bryce outlined.  I printed off the reading quotes, hung them in my room, divided books by level and talked it up!  Then, we went over the process of picking a book, I sat in the front of the room, set the timer, and we read.  It was silent.  It worked wonderfully.  I really like Bryce's assertion that we have to start from the beginning.  I even had my level one's complete this five minute read, but I told them that they would be doing more of a picture walk like they did in kindergarten than they would be really reading for comprehension.  Fantastic!  Thank you SOOOOO much Bryce.

Another thing that I did this year is to add a desk calendar outside my room.  I call this my "invite me" calendar.  I'm pretty sure I got this idea from Twitter, during a Teach Like a Pirate chat.  I explained to kids that if they ever had an event that they needed a cheerleader for, they could put the time on the calendar and I would try to make it.  So far, no one has taken me up on it, but I have a feeling they will.  I'll let you know how it goes.

So happy!!!