Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone!  I am going to enjoy my time with my family and I hope you will be able to do the same!  Peace and joy to you all!

:) Lorraine

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Secondary Connections - Part 2

Thanks everyone! I've had some great feedback with the part 1 of Secondary Connections!  I hope this part 2 will continue to broaden the scope of products available for Secondary Classrooms!

As before here is my information first:
I'm a secondary FSL teacher (French as a Second Language) - grades 8 - 12 - I also have authentic travel pictures for Spain, France and Germany to use for culture lessons

Lesley's Learning Station:
Hi. I have taught 8th grade English for five years.
Pinterest: … 8th-grade/
TpT Store: … ng-Station

Jax and Jake:
Our pinterest location follows and our collaborative ELA

Room 213:
My pinterest is
Blog is

4 the Love of Math:
I'm excited to have a list of secondary sellers to follow! I just started a blog (spent a few hours tonight writing & scheduling posts)
My facebook page is a work in progress:

Hi, I'm Justin of SpanishPlans. Spanish teacher From Chicago, but will be taking a sabbatical this year to teach English in Colombia
FB =
Twitter =
Blog =
TPT Store = … s/Products
Pinterest =

Amy Harrison:
Hello all!  Social media newbie here.  I am excited to follow some secondary sellers!  Currently, I teach 8th grade math.
Pinterest =
Math Pinterest Board =
Blog =
Twitter =
Facebook =

The Math Nerdette - Christine Baugh:
Hi! I'm so excited to have found this post! I'm an 8th grade math teacher and I also teach a high school math class.
Blog -
Pinterest -
Bloglovin -
TPT Store - … tine-Baugh
Facebook -

Spelling and Technology:
I'm Raul and I taught high school computers as well as college level computer classes for the last seven years.  I taught K-8 previously: science, ESL, and reading.  My high school/college resources are computer related (mostly Photoshop and Microsoft Office) and my K-3 materials are mostly word work packets.
TpT: … Technology
Blog 1:
Blog 2:

Mad Eye Moody Productions:
I taught Math and English (not at the same time) over grades 7-12 for nearly a decade. My products are for middle school math and 6-12 ELA. I also have a sizeable collection of classroom management resources/products.
TpT store: … roductions

Brittany Naujok - The Colorado Classroom:
I mainly teach 6th grade, but my store is largely for 4th-9th.  Also I tend to focus in social studies and math, but I really dabble in everything.
Here are my various sites:
TPT Store: … -Classroom
Blog:      OR
Facebook: … oClassroom

Julie Faulkner:
Following! Would love to connect with others, too!

Sra Sol:
I'm Amy and I teach secondary Spanish and have some French and ELL experience as well. I am new to the TpT game so I would love to connect and look forward to following each of you!
Facebook: … e=bookmark

Island Teacher:
Hi all! I'm Emilie. I currently teach Spanish in the Cayman Islands and have an ELL background as well. Looking forward to connecting more with secondary sellers. smile

Piece of Pi:
Great idea! My TpT store focuses on math, grades 7.8.9.

HardCORE History Investigations:
I teach Secondary Social Studies, primarily history and psych.
Pinterest: … -hardcore/

Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy:

Reflective Thinker:
My teaching experience and background is secondary English/Language Arts and curriculum and instruction. Although most of my resources are language arts based, some of my resources were designed to be used across the curriculum as I have taught a number of staff development classes throughout my teaching career.
Store … ve-Thinker

Kid World Citizen:
I teach ESL and Spanish. Because they are language classes, I include a lot of culture, and frequently will put up social studies-related material (especially geography, my favorite subject:).
On fb and twitter and my web site, I am all about global learning and multicultural activities.
My store is: … ld-Citizen
Web site:

Math Review Activities by PrepToon:
I sell secondary Math products
Store: … ng-Visuals

Brynn Allison:
I teach high school ELA.

Secondary Math Shop:
My store features products for secondary math, primarily Geometry and Algebra. 
Store: … -Math-Shop

Smart Apple:

Monday, December 15, 2014

Teaching about friendship with adjectives

One of the units I teach is based on friendship and the adjectives that each of the students looks to in order to describe their ideal friend or their favourite friend.  What makes an awesome friend?  It certainly is different for each of us.  Perhaps you need someone who is quiet and who gives you the space you need to think.  What you as an adult will look for in a friend is often very different from what our students look for and yet there may also be many similarities.  I just love this image to use when discussing qualities and in order to expand my students' vocabulary.  I also use the DVD of Ratatouille.  It provides different examples of "types of friendships" - a friendship between father and son or between two co-workers.   == two resources useful for working with adjectives in French.

Although not in French it is a great springboard to vocabulary building!

:) Lorraine


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Secondary Connections - Part 1

Hi everyone!

I think secondary teachers could certainly learn from our Elementary Teaching counterparts when it comes to networking with each other.  Therefore, I am going to share with you some Secondary Teacher sites to help build our social media footprint.  Perhaps you will find someone who shares your subject area passion! :)

Here is my information to start:
I'm a secondary FSL teacher - grades 8 - 12 - I also have authentic travel pictures for Spain, France and Germany to use for culture lessons

Mrs Fullers Teaching Adventures:
I write about and produce products for students grades 6-12 and college in English
FB: … e=bookmark
Instagram: ms_fs_teaching_adventures (haven't updated as of yet)

Ellen Weber: Brain based tasks for upper grades:
FB =
Twitter =
Blog =
TPT Store =
Email =
Pinterest =

Jessica Osborne:
Hi! My store is mostly 4-8 language arts (lots of grammar and writing.) I have a couple things in lower and higher grades though. smile
TpT Store: … ca-Osborne

Erin Schneider:
Hi!  I am secondary social studies!  smile

David McLean:
I'm secondary English, Literature and Drama with a bit of Psychology, a tad of ethics and just a smidgen of the IB.
My store is at:- … clean-5189
If you have time, you may also want to look at my novels written with secondary students in mind.

Angelia Hensley:
I'm an 8th grade ELA teacher.  Here are my sites:  (Pinterest) … ia-Hensley  (TpT Store)  (Facebook)   (Blog)  (Bloglovin)

The English Teacher's Pet:
Secondary Language arts and Social Studies, mostly grades 7-11....
Following- Thanks!
TPT Store: … achers-Pet
Google+: (Search for The English Teachers Pet Store) or

Perfetto Writing Room:
I teach American, British, and Grades 9- up through the university level.  I specialize in glossaries and reference, writing products, presentations and games though I am always expanding my repertoire.
          Store: … ritingroom
          Blog link Via Bloglovin:
          FB: … cts?ref=hl

Mixing it up in the middle:
I'm just transitioning from 4th grade to 6th grade math and science, so there is more to come-I promise!
TPT: … -In-Middle

Igniting Inquiry:
I am certified 4-8 in math and science, with science being my preference and what I tend to post about most.
Store: … ng-Inquiry

Three Dollar Scholar:
TeachersPayTeachers: … ar-Scholar

Gail Hennessey:
FB: … ef=tn_tnmn
Pinterest: … mand-more/
Instagram:hmmm, I don't do this...
My website for teachers/kids(lots of free materials):

Mrs Mullis:
I teach 6th grade ELA and science

Skool Aid Products:
Most of my products are in ancient history, with a few in Language Arts.

Dianne Mason:
I've just retired from teaching college English. I'm working on a Facebook page and a blog.
Here's my Pinterest page
My blog and FB pages are still new, but here are the links to them.

Misty Miller:
I have 4-8th grade math products. I teach 7th/8th grade remediation math to resource students.
FB: … e=bookmark
TPT Store: … iller-2841

The Language Arts Classroom:
I am ELA and have lots of grammar products:

The Healthy Mind Curriculum by Janet McCoy:
My TPT link is:

Secondary Sara:
I currently teach 7th and 8th grade ELA, and also have a high school ELA background, particularly for test prep.
TPT Store:

Sensible Solutions:

La Profe Plotts:
Hi! I teach HS Spanish, but I love following other secondary sellers, too.

Science and Math with Mrs Lau:
Hey!  I am a science (and used to also teach math) teacher on a few years break from teaching to raise my son.  I am always looking to connect with other secondary sellers too!
Here is my blog:

Mrs D's Classroom:
Hi!  I am an Intervention Specialist with a mixture of co-teaching and direct instruction Math classes for grades 7-12.  I am excited to have found this thread to connect with other secondary peeps smile
My TPT store: … -Classroom

I teach 6th grade math and science in a middle school,  I am excited to meet others. My TPT products are geared for students who struggle in math and need supplemental activities.

These are just a few!  I will post some more at another time!  Happy Teaching -- Lorraine

Monday, December 8, 2014

Keeping them interested until Christmas!

I have found another Linky Party for Christmas Resources!  How could you NOT find something useful for your classroom?!

Here's the link!  Christmas Resources from K to Secondary


I found this picture on Pinterest!  What an "expressive" picture to use for creative writing!

Also, I just LOVE this picture to use for practicing "Si" Clauses for French class! 

Keep those students amused for the last couple of weeks of school!  :) Happy Teaching! Lorraine

Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter Freebies and Christmas Resources!

One of the best things about this holiday season is definitely the wide variety of Christmas decorating ideas!  Here is one that I found on Pinterest while looking around for ideas and interesting finds!I must say that the example on Pinterest is a bit different but even my secondary school students had fun tracing their hands in preparation to making a Christmas tree on our classroom door.

We made a mini party of it with hot chocolate, decorating of our Christmas tree and the hanging of lights. We even have an Advent Calendar in our room this year. Each day a different student gets to open the door to see what the chocolate will look like. :)

Joyeux Noël!  Merry Christmas!

Here is another "winter freebies" Linky Party happening!  With the end of the 2014 soon arriving, I'm sure you can find something here to help with the excitable students in your classes!

Check out a wide range of classroom resources at:  winter freebies


You may also be interested in these found at my TpT store:


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Winter Ebook for Language Arts & Humanities - Secondary!

I am so excited to be part of this Teachers Pay Teachers endeavour!  Thirty-five secondary teachers have put together an ebook with Tips and Ideas for the secondary classroom.  My page has been chosen for French and is included in this ebook.  I feel so humbled and so very excited!  This is the fourth Winter ebook to be compiled.  Please check out all of the amazing tips and freebies for the classroom. Tell your colleagues and friends!  These are special gifts from these teachers and should be enjoyed by everyone. 

Be sure not to forget about all the other grade level ebooks also included at these TpT stores!

The "Math & Science" Secondary Ebook is SOON to come!  Watch for its link HERE! 
"A special thanks to all of those teachers who took the time to compile these books on our behalf!"

Happy "Winter Holidays" browsing!  :) Lorraine


Here it is!


Enjoy!  Lorraine


Monday, November 24, 2014

Just around the corner!

Yes, Christmas!  Can you believe it?  I can hardly believe that Christmas shopping and festivities are already being planned and are soon to be in full swing! 

Here are a couple of Linky Parties relating to Christmas products that you can use in your classroom over the next month.

Check them out!  All different grade levels are included here!

Christmas freebies linky party

Holiday Creations Linky Party


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Frankenstein! - A wonderful find!

I decided to share a product that I found last year around Halloween that I found to be amazing and something that can be used at any time of the year!  It's a "Frankstein template" that allows you to personalize your own game within the classroom to suit your own subject area needs.  Whether you are teaching French, Spanish or even Social Studies or Science this template can work for you.  I love using this as a review.  There are 4 categories that you can use and within those categories are "surprise" questions.  I use this as an activity for small groups and the students answer the multiple choice questions in their groups.  This is loved by all grade levels!  Try it out in your class. 

A huge thanks to Arik Durfee for sharing this product with us!  Check it out!  It's a keeper for sure!


Enjoy!  Lorraine

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

le Petit Nicolas

Oh my gosh!  I have just watched my French class laugh for a solid hour!  We watched the DVD le Petit Nicolas today.  (It will take 2 classes to watch the full story) The French is fast but is quite clear. An upper level grade would know what is going on, immersion students for sure, and lower high school students with a little help from the subtitles.  This light-hearted comedic film tells of the little boy Nicolas and the struggles and adventures he and his friends have.  There is a wide variety of personalities portrayed amongst the boys in the class.  I would definitely recommend this. Great for comprehension and discussion of French culture as well as stereotypes. 


Also, I want to let you know that there is another Linky Party sponsored by "Promoting Success" regarding Thanksgiving classroom products.  I know that the Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone but Thanksgiving in the US is right around the corner.

Here is the link for you!          Promoting success - Thanksgiving products

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Hi everyone!

There's a Thanksgiving "Linky Party" happening with products for the classroom.  Come and check it out.  There is an awesome variety of products and activities for your students.

Thanksgiving Resources and Activities

Found another one!

Thanksgiving Resource Round Up

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November has arrived!

October seemed to have flown by with my schedule being very busy.  I thought I would share with you a few of its highlights!

1. Provincial Professional Development day!
Mine turned out to be a couple of days as I attended the CCSDL conference.  This stands for the "Canadian Coalition for Self-directed Learning".  My school belongs to this coalition and this year we hosted the annual conference in Vancouver, BC.  We lucked out with some good weather (no rain!) and a couple of evenings of clear skies which made for fun evenings with colleagues and conference delegates.  The conference was open to anyone who teaches in a CCSDL school and is also open to those who are interested in what we do in our schools as our teaching model is far from "traditional".  Our school (Thomas Haney Secondary) opened in 1992 and is in a building that was specifically built for teaching and learning in the 21st Century.  With much unrest in BC during the preparations for our conference we were very excited that it was pulled together and definitely ran smoothly.  After a day of "visitors" to our school during a day in session, the conference moved downtown to the Pan Pacific Hotel and conference centre in Vancouver.  We had a beautiful view of the harbour and got to meet people from all over Canada and some additional visitors from Vermont this year.  This is a picture of the Pan Pacific where the conference took place.  Since I have been teaching at THSS since its opening I always enjoy being able to meet with others who are stepping outside of the box and trying new teaching methods.

2. Halloween!
The staff and students get really excited about Halloween at our school and our student council puts on activities during the lunch hour for the entire week.  Along with this our languages department hosted a multi-cultural seminar.  This seminar began with a video of "Voici L'Halloween" from YouTube (great version in French) and it was followed by a celebration of "Day of the Dead".  We combined a celebration to include students studying both French and/or Spanish.  Here is the activity our students did while in the seminar.  Great decorations around our classes and hallways. :)

3. Le festival de fromage!
We are studying "la Suisse" in French class for our unit and wanted to bring a bit of Switzerland into the classroom.  So, we had a cheese festival.  The students signed up for a type of cheese or baguettes and I brought in the Swiss chocolate.  What a feast!  Each student had an oral activity to do which included describing and comparing the different types of cheese.  Goat cheese is particularly popular (along with Swiss cheese) for those students who are lactose intolerant!  Everyone can enjoy!

Check out my Swiss products at my store and then finish with the cheese festival.  :)

Happy Teaching!  Lorraine

Monday, October 20, 2014

la momie - the mummy!

Yes! It's definitely a mummy but not "maman".  I would love to take credit for this piece of work but alas I can only take credit for the "eyes".  :)  My colleague (and friend) both came into work the other morning and started talking about Pinterest and the cool things that we had seen that would be great to decorate our classroom door.  We share a class for our morning TA (which is morning homeroom) and thought it would be nice to do something different as a "greeting" to our class.  So we pulled up some ideas that we had seen and both talked about the mummy!!  My very crafty friend pulled together all of the supplies and started putting it together one lunch hour.  I worked on the eyes.  It is fun and very suited for our next "spooky" celebration.  Check it out!

You might like some of these! 

 Halloween Fun! - Click to go to my TpT store for Halloween products.

***To my followers at my TpT store:  There will soon be a FREEBIE coming your way!  ***

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Liebster Award!

Thank you to Suzy of "Student Savvy" for this nomination! I heard about the Liebster Award only two or three days before she nominated me!  I too did some research to find out a bit about it. 

I discovered that it refers to Bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers but have great content and potential.  It is a wonderful opportunity for new bloggers to connect and to see what other bloggers have to share in the blogging community! I wish to nominate the bloggers below for the Liebster Award! I hope they will also follow my blog. :) As I didn't know how to calculate "followers" I used Bloglovin' to help me out. 

Questions to me from "Student Savvy": 

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging? I first started blogging late in 2012 because I liked the blogs that I had seen on TpT and thought it was something that I might like to do. What better way to share my joys in the classroom than with other teachers? (I didn't know much about social networking and so it was basically a blog for me to read.)  

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? "Reflection" I believe as I usually write about something that I have been pondering about.

3. Is there something you learned late in your blog journey you wished you knew before? I am still learning!  Technology is not necessarily easy for me and so when I  redesign my blog to make it more eye appealing I try new "tech" techniques which I must admit don't always work.  (ie. Grab a button - No idea how to make this work! ) 

4. What is your favorite past time other than bloggingI like to research places that I plan on travelling to. What are the best sites to see? Best modes of transportation, great food to eat, art to see, etc.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?  At first I tried to blog every day but this turned out to be impossible for me while teaching also. So, this year my goal is to blog once a week on something that I have pondered about or about something that transpired in my class during that week. 

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?  "Education" for sure, but I love blogs on travel as I plan my next adventure!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from?  From my students and from looking at what other educators have shared with each other.  What an amazing wealth of knowledge out there!!

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of? There are 2 posts that I like the best I think.  One is the post where one of my students used "pictures" on a small sheet of paper to help him with his French presentation.  They were not allowed to have a script and so the pictures were ideas for him yet also prompted him to use the French language.  My second one I would say is the most recent one about "Le Petit Prince".  This novel just touched my heart to the core and I wanted to share this with others.

9.  Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have postponing it for a while now?  This one, makes me a bit nervous.  I'm afraid I am going to find it difficult to choose 11 blogs.  There are so many out there.

10.What is your favorite aspect of blogging?  It will be a kind of personal-professional journal for me to look back on.  I am not one to write in a book at home but with so many things happening during a teaching year it is good to have a reminder of some of the great days with the students!

11.Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself? Well Suzy, I am looking forward to exploring the blogs of the other blogs you nominated! And again, a huge thanks! I will be back to see what you have blogged about! :) 

 My nominations for the Liebster Award are:

1. Cori from  Easy Lit Units & More
2. Katherine D. from The Lesson Chef
3. Tammy from Teaching FSL
4. Mynda from B is for Bilingual
5. Liz from Liz's Lessons
6. Frau Leonard from The German Sektor
7. La-Nette from La-Nette Mark's Classroom
9. Michelle from Mrs. Brosseau's Binder
10. Sherri from Literary Sherri
11. Danielle from Study All Knight

To those who have been nominated, here are the "official" rules for accepting:
1. In your post, link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out."
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above).
3. Nominate 11 blogs of your choice that each have fewer than 200 followers. Provide them with 11 questions to answer or have them answer the questions above.
4. Let your nominees know that they've been nominated and provide them with a link to your post so that they can accept.
5. Send your nominator a link to your post so that s/he can learn more about you as well! (You can just put your post link in the comments below!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

You may have been introduced to Le Petit Prince via your Saturday morning cartoons, the Knowledge Network, library video/DVD rentals or perhaps you were fortunate enough to have had a parent or grandparent read you chapters of this short but amazing novel when you were growing up. In whatever way you discovered Le Petit Prince, it is almost certain that the adventures of le Petit Prince not only opened your imagination but it is sure to have warmed your heart.  I didn't experience any of the above while growing up.  But before you think - oh poor her - you must know that I had a wonderful childhood; it was just a "reading" that did show up at my house.  It wasn't until years later while training to become an FSL teacher that I was truly introduced to this story.  Simplistic in its presentation and of course "childlike" in nature - which if you have read Le Petit Prince you will know is essential for the true appreciation of the story - it presents the essentials to humankind.

If you do not already do so, I highly recommend you take some time in your teaching year to offer a chapter or two (if not the whole novel) to your students.  It is so rich in "teachings" and "discussions" that it will be worth your while!  Although I do not teach the entire story I sat and read it cover to cover one afternoon while waiting for a friend at the hospital.  - short and sweet - full of wonder!

Here is the URL of a mini-portion of the musical I use from YouTube.  Another gem.  :)

Le Petit Prince - musical - part 1 of 13

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A thank you - Thanksgiving Sale!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that as a "thank you" and to show my appreciation for all of the good things that life has brought me that I will be having a sale at my TpT store. - "mrslryan".  More than 140 products will have a discount of 10% off the regular price on October 12 and 13! 

Drop by and have a look!  There might be something you are interested in! 

Happy Thanksgiving to all Canadians on this holiday weekend! Safe travels!  :)  Lorraine

Friday, October 10, 2014

Building community

If you are like many educators you have a class with more than one "class" in it.  You understand, the split class. :) This is common in an elementary school but is also becoming more common at the secondary level. As teachers, we do as much as possible to provide our students the opportunity to excel in our subject areas at whatever level they are at. I have two split classes at the secondary level this year. - one with (FSL) French 8 and former immersion students in it and another one with former immersion students (2 different levels) and FSL students (a triple split class!). Careful planning and organization are essential when teaching classes like this but so is building community within the classroom!  When you have two different courses being offered in the same hour and in the same class you have to take advantage of every opportunity of bringing the entire group together to participate in similar activities whenever possible. One activity that I use to help bring the class together as one is the market place activity.  This is the perfect way to start the language class as it focuses the students on speaking in the foreign language while allowing them to stretch their legs before settling in to the class lesson.  I try to make the market place activities short with only 5 questions . This allows students enough time to practice the questions or concepts that they have recently learned and encourages success for all students.  The former immersion students are happy to be able to help out with pronunciation and the FSL students get an opportunity to hear another speaker besides myself speak in French. I always make a stipulation that students must talk to students from other tables.  Although we have two different courses being taught, they will always consider themselves as "one class" as long as the community is formed. 

Here are two market place products that I use to help reinforce concepts and build community in my class.
 Continuons à parler français

 Parlons français

Happy Teaching! and to all my fellow Canadians - Happy Thanksgiving!  Lorraine

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Speech, speech and more speech!

Speaking in the target language is essential to second language learning!

I really believe that there can never be enough time to practice this skill in the classroom and so conscientiously work at this with my students.

For this school year I put together 75 task cards so that I could add just one more idea into my classroom to promote speaking French - the target language.  Why so many cards you may ask? Isn't it impossible to go through every card in a lesson?  Well, yes it is impossible, but that really doesn't matter.  Our classes are so diverse in terms of the students' abilities that I wanted to be able to have my students feel success no matter what their ability level is.  The students have the choice of question that they wish to ask of another student and so it allows them to choose a question that they feel comfortable with.  Over the years it has become obvious to me that students will only "risk" making errors while speaking French if they feel a level of comfort in doing so.  They must feel "safe". This activity allows just that.  It also provides scaffolding of the activity with a variety of levels of questions in terms of difficulty. If a question is too difficult or if the student believes that there isn't anyone in the class that can "match the question" they are free to choose another question.  With 75 questions there is always one that they can choose.  One of the questions refers to a "jumeau" or "jumelle" - There isn't always a twin in the class that I teach although we do have sets of twins in our school.  What is the ideal amount of time to allow for the activity?  It really depends upon your class but I find that allowing 20-25 minutes provides enough time for the "slower starters" to get started while also providing a feeling of accomplishment for those who are actively participating.  With a "recording sheet" also provided you can do this activity as a warm-up activity over 2 - 3 classes if you wish as each task card is numbered and so is the "recording sheet".  All students will know which questions they have already asked and which ones are still to do. 

I posted this product at my TpT store at the following link: Getting to know each other task cards if you are interested in having a further look.  :)  Happy teaching to you all!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Action de grâce!

I always find that Thanksgiving comes and goes so quickly that I never do enough to truly celebrate all of the wonderful things we have to be thankful for in my classroom.  So, I have recently put together a few quick activities that I will use this year!

Action de grâce  - Click if you are interested in this!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Finally 'la rentrée' :)

While many educators have already been in class for 3-4 weeks, I am just finishing my first week!!  Yes, I teach in BC, Canada and we have been going through a difficult contract negotiation which has finally come to a close after many months. We are now back at school!  As is usually the case, back to school is exciting, stressful, and super busy!  This past week has been no different except that perhaps the work load has been a little more intense. 

All of that aside, I have met a good many of my classes now and can honestly say that it is going to be a very exciting school year.  Now for the "learning of names".  Most teachers have their own little tricks to learning their students names and I find myself fortunate that I can use the "French target language" to not only have my students speak but to also help me with my "name learning".  We do the basic "Bonjour, ça va? Comment t'appelles-tu? De quelle école viens-tu?" and while my students who are new to the school at the lower level work at answering these questions I am busy learning student names.  Once I think I have learned most of them (I try to manage as many as possible in one hour) I will leave the room for about 30 seconds.  Before I leave I tell my class to move around the room to see if I really have learned their names - or not -.  They think it is the most exciting game!  Upon re-entering their faces are quiet with expectation and wonder.  Can she really know our names after just one day?  Well, what do you think?  Yes, some, and on a really luck day, I am able to remember most of the class! It's fun and adds some variety to the hour.  How do you learn your students' names?  - name tag on desk?  - notes on your attendance sheet?  I'm sure the ways are numerous to say the least. 

I am so happy to be "teaching" again!

Friday, August 29, 2014

la rentrée

Butterflies in the stomach, dry mouth, nervousness, "what will I wear".  = These are all things that many of our students will be experiencing or saying over the next couple of days as many schools begin their school year after the September long weekend.  I too, feel this way each year even after 30 years of teaching. :)  I look forward to meeting my new classes and wonder who will be in them.  How many new "sibilings" will I meet and how much fun or tragedy has each child experienced over the summer vacation. Many of the boys in particular will have shot up a few inches and they are relieved that they can still wear shorts until Mom or Dad realizes that a new pair of pants is needed as their cuffs rise above the ankles. Most students are taller than me anyway even when they arrive in grade 8 to high school but it's always fun to see their changes over just a couple of months of being away.

I will be looking at my "start up" procedures as everyone else and trying to get to bed at a bit of an earlier time over the next few days in preparation for "la rentrée".  Over the summer I've thought of areas on which I would like to work during this next school year.  And yes, even after 30 years I always put together a mental "focus" for the school year.  My department and I will meet too to decide what we as a group would like to focus on this coming year whether it be oral speech work, technology learning (for us!), podcasts for the students, improved writing skills, cross grade cultural activities.....  Well as you can see the list goes on and on.... 

I am looking forward to the fresh new start, as always and wish you all a great teaching year!
:)  Thanks for dropping by. Lorraine

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Novel projects!

I often admired the wonderful projects that my colleagues who teach English used to receive from their students.  They showed so much thought and an amazing ability to present the inner soul of the books they would read.  Why not in French?  Perhaps one day I thought.  Well, I came across the most wonderful opportunity to do just that.  I currently have a group of students who came to my school with immersion background and with them also a creative side.  While studying novels by Jules Verne - L’île mystérieuse, and Le Tour du monde en 80 jours these students put together a variety of amazing projects.  I wanted to share a few with you! 

These 3 projects cover: Globe: Le Tour du monde en 80 jours depicting all of the stops that Phileas Fogg and Passepartout made on their journey around the world.
Cereal Box: a representation of the main characters and "Flocons de voyage" as the new cereal.  Cereal ingredients and a coupon were also included. 
Venn Diagram:  Comparison of Phileas Fogg, Passepartout and my student.  Similarities and differences in personalities.

If you are interested in any of these please visit my store for the following 3 products that I used as resources for this novel study.  :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Giving Directions!

One of the best things my high school teacher taught us was how to give directions to someone in French!  In our tourist destination city thousands of people would visit each year.  For whatever reason, I always seemed to meet someone who was French during the summer and each time, they needed directions to a local restaurant, tourist site, or shopping area.  Merci Mme!!  This past week I did this very same thing for my students. We don't live in as large a city nor are there as many tourists flocking to our city but I remember how good it felt to help someone out.  My students took on the roles of "tourist" and "local" while practising with a "Montreal city map" and of course a list of vocabulary to help them out.  They would switch back and forth in the roles while I gave them "beginning locations" and "destinations".  Map skills are not as prevalent these days with our fancy GPSs but when travelling someone will invariably give you a PAPER MAP!  Have fun with this!  One of my products at my store includes vocabulary for this activity!  Check it out! :)
Giving Directions! - vocabulary included

Monday, February 24, 2014

Oral presentation notes!

My students are always asking me how much they are allowed to have written down as "helpers" when they are doing an oral presentation.  I give a variety of answers depending upon what kind of presentation it is. Sometimes it's only 10 words, sometimes it's partial sentences, or beginning of sentences only and sometimes it's fill in the blank type of sentences on a cue card.  Whatever my answer is it is always with the intention on providing a little bit of help while still challenging my students to do authentic speaking on the topic chosen!!  I have asked permission to share these recent notes from one of my French students. We have talked about language development in children and how we learned to speak English as children.  This student totally understood what I was talking about!!  Enjoy! 
A picture says a thousand words!  :) 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Un Coup du Sort - A board game!

Un Coup du Sort - French Board Game
"Un Coup du Sort" is a board game that I created to help students review the material in French 8 in Canada.  I wanted  to have something to use in my classroom that would challenge students to use a wide variety of material that they had learrned throughout the school year without "me" having to be "on stage". :) There are cards that you select when indicated on the individual spots as you go around the board. You can choose shortcuts to get to the end more quickly or go around the regular route.  If the students are not sure if they are answering the question correctly then they can have a look on the sheet I also made with sample answers. The student can see if what they were giving was a good replica of a suggested correct answer or not. In my classroom I had my board and all of my cards and suggested answers glued onto construction paper and then laminated so that they will last for a long time!!  The students are amazed at how much they have learned over time and have fun while doing a comprehensive review!

I also made a Version 2 to go along with a French 9 program.  Different sentence patterns and theme areas are covered in it. It is important to note that with different kinds of programs offered around the country that these games could be easily used at other grade levels than for which I use them.   :)

If you are interested in either of these games you can click on the links below:

Un Coup du Sort 

Un Coup du Sort - Version 2

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Surrealism in the Classroom!

After teaching a unit on Belgium I also introduced surrealism art through the art of René Magritte the famous Belgian Surrealist artist.  We looked at a variety of pictures by Magritte and then I asked them to create their own piece of "surrealism".  This is the perfect opportunity for students to get cross-curricular credit from another course, mainly from Art or if you offer a segment of Art History this will also work.  This dual credit is of course negotiated with the Art teacher in advance.  The students that negotiated cross-curricular credit did large paintings in the Surrealism style.  They were extraordinary!  The student samples here are ones that were for my class alone.  Each student had to not only produce a piece of Surrealistic art but they also had to describe it using a wide variety of adjectives that we had learned and also use a specific number of "sentence patterns" that I had given to them.  I like to use "guided sentence patterns" in some of my activities as it forces the students to raise to a level that I desire them to write at.  It also helps to introduce a variety of sentence structures that they might not normally think about.  I was amazed and thrilled at the art and creativity that my students produced for me.  I did not mark their "art" but enjoyed immensely what they had produced.  It was a required component to the assignment and was considered a "given" to be done, but I gave the "graded marks" towards their French written piece.  On "presentation" day I used the inside/outside circle activity for students to share their work in French with each other!  Lots of fun!

Monday, January 20, 2014

mini video clips!

Pixar mini video clips are a perfect way to have students do either a creative writing or an oral activity by having them retell the story.  The most recent one I have used is one with a snowman in a snowglobe.  The video clip has little or no dialogue in it but has some music to go along with the "story".  The mini clip with the snowman is perfect for this time of year even if you don't happen to have snow where you live.  It has a wintery feel to it mixed in with a beachside vacation and of course a "girl" in a swimsuit.   After watching the short 2-3 minute video I asked the students to "tell me what was going to happen next"!  Their imaginations are not always pushed at a high school level but it is certainly fun to hear about what will happen to the snowman next!  :) 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Bonne Année! Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  It's a new page for everyone; a fresh start to the year and a great way to welcome back your students!  I like to start with some simple things for the new year with my students such as "sorting their notebooks".  If your students are anything like mine or even my own children you will know that "Spring cleaning" needs to come much earlier than Spring and so cleaning out and reorganizing the notebook is a great start to the new year.  You  and your students may be surprised at what they find!  - work to be submitted?!  probably yes.  Remember to teach your students where they are at in their learning and your students will work at fulfilling your goals for them along with the goals they have made for themselves.  Happy Teaching! :)