Monday, 7 November 2011

Meeting Sylvia Duckworth and AIMing it up!

I have to say I got very lax about posting here and for that I apologize.  I was shall we say uninspired. 

All that has changed now though.  During the last weekend of October I had the great pleasure of traveling to Toronto to take part in an AIM workshop put on by Sylvia Duckworth.  As someone who thought she was pretty familiar with the program I have to say I was blown away.  Although I have been 'using' AIM over the last few years, I cannot say that I have been utilizing the program to it's fullest potential.  So often it's lack of success in my classroom was caused by my slip ups into English and my unfamiliarity/uncertainty with the program.  Over the course of two jam packed days, Sylvia along with Dan(forgive me I cannot remember his last name) and Renée Villeneuve demonstrate exactly how to utilize this program to it's fullest potential, they were all amazing.  It was exciting to meet Sylvia, who I had been following on twitter for quite sometime, the amount of knowledge she brought with her was outstanding.  Her demonstration with her class was inspiring and showed us all just what could be accomplished using AIM! 

I guess the most obvious thing I learned was exactly how to scaffold an activity(particularly in writing) so that students off all levels could be successful.  It was so obvious and yet something that was completely missing from my program.  Before, I would ask an open ended question and when the students could not answer I would give up.  Now I ask an open ended questions at times (for my more advanced students) but try to stick to question partielle and if that stumps them, then I immediately and in a positive tone switch into a question totale.  My students are happier and so am I.  

Another aspect that has really changed for me, is my intermediate program.  I was so hung up on the curriculum expectations that I was failing to see how far behind my students were.  At the begin of last week, we as a group started over.  I instilled the pas d'anglais rule, which is going well and we are working on Salut mon ami!  Students are so much more happy, and they are not frustrated!  Today we even played a game, where we reviewed vocab, from the previous week that we had worked on.  I had students line up in two lines, and had a sort of face off with each other.  I would gesture and first person to say the correct word got a point for their team.  It immediately pointed out my struggling students to me in an obvious fashion without them even noticing!  Brilliant! 

I look forward to seeing how quickly my intermediate students progress and how well they will do.  I can already see some teenage attitudes shifting!  What can I say, it's going to be a great year with AIM!

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