- Away with the password at the door. I've done it for several years, but it just wasn't connecting. The kids weren't acquiring it. So instead, I'm going to use rejoinder posters during stories because I've had better luck getting them to use them at appropriate times and continue using them that way. But I'm still checking in with my kids at the door. I ask them a question that they should be able to answer with no problem. With my first and second year kids, that is something like "What's your name?" "Where do you come from?" "What grade are you in?" (from Special Person interviews). With my upper-level kids, I try to ask them something that is a bit more thought provoking. Some questions I've used this year, "Do you prefer your mom or your dad?" "What would you change about school?" "Who is your favorite visual artist?"
- I changed my rules from a huge list of what it takes to participate to Six Keys to Listening (taken from TPRS Books trainings) Look at me Involve yourself Show understanding Tune back in En français No talking over me It's very easy to figure out which "rule" is being broken.
- Party points and a brain break for every 8 minutes in French. We used our party points on Friday and the kids were way more excited for what we were doing. Maybe because they earned the time instead of begging for it?
- Breaking up La Personne Spéciale. It used to be my only plans for the first few weeks of school for French 1 and 2, but this year I am breaking it up with classic TPR and mini-stories. I got some great ideas for easy, introductory stories that could be told quickly from Tina Beard (a colleague from Kansas). It really makes class go quickly, I don't get as worn out, and the kids are more engaged.
- Starting class with a "date talk". I really don't know how everything in CI became a ____ talk, but I made a powerpoint with every day of the school year with a fun fact about that day. For example, August 21st was the day the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by an Italian patriot. I adapt my language for each class so that I use the same slide for every level, but the discussion is different for each level.
- Intentional planning for each hour. I know this seems like...duh!, but with 5 preps, I haven't exactly been the greatest at this in past years. So this year, I am trying to be very intentional with my planning, having ideas for brain breaks and switching activities several times to keep the students' attention.
Those are some things that I've started doing, and, as we enter our third week of school, I'm pretty excited!