Saturday, 26 January 2013

Challenges and Rewards

Often the most rewarding experiences come from facing and dealing with challenges.  Making the decision to change classrooms and schools mid-year was certainly challenging for me as an educator.   But as with most challenges the rewards have been worth it all.  

I have spent the last 3 weeks getting to know my new classes which are filled with inquisitive students who are driven to learn.  I have had the opportunity to challenge them academically and push their limits.  They have risen to every challenge I have laid in front of them and come out victorious learners.  

My grade 7 Extended French students have written stories, read books, responded to video clips, conducted research, set goals, conversed more in French then ever before I am told. 

This week we welcomed the arrival of the French Forest of Reading books, which have been nominated for Le Prix Tamarac Express, into our classroom.  Students are overjoyed at the wonderful selection of books and are really pushing themselves to understand the texts.  Over the next few months, students will be reading 5 of the nominated books and voting on their favourites.  I will read 1 of the nominated books as a read-aloud to the class starting in February.  Each student will then be required to read 4 of them independently or with a student partner.  We are also awaiting with great anticipation the arrival of new books for our classroom library.  I cannot wait to see them biting into great books.  I am thrilled with their eagerness to read.  

Students are also enjoying their morning writing prompts.  Typically, I put an image up on the board and with the caption: Raconte-moi cette histoire!  The images are often taken from this Tumblr site. There is often English writing on the image which I just edit to French. Students are really enjoying the process of just writing whatever comes to their minds.  Students can then use the ideas that come from these prompts as a starting point for larger pieces of writing.    

Although, I am told by my students that they are speaking more French then previously I would still like to see some large improvements in this area.  Particularly when they are speaking with each other.  Start next week I will have my Je parle en fran├žais board up.  Students will each start the week with a level 4 in oral communication and each time they speak in English they must move their name down the line on the black board.  In the past is has made a huge difference in my classrooms as I use it as a part of their oral communication marks for the term.  I will try to remember to get a snap shot of it for my next post.   

Have a great week everyone! 

Mme Jones

Saturday, 5 January 2013

New Year, New School, New Class...Oh my!

In mid-December, I was offered a new position, at a different school teaching grade 7 Extended French (a.k.a. late French Immersion).  I was thrilled to take the position that will begin this Monday but also overwhelmed at the thought of moving to a new school and having to set up over the Christmas break.   Thankfully, a good friend came along to organize my classroom library one day, the custodial staff at both my old and new school were an amazing help and my wonderful husband came in to set up some extra computers for me.  So in 3 crazy days, my new room went from chaos to this: 

The classroom had only one computer and so my lovely husband brought two of our old laptops back to life for student use!  Hooray! Students will be doing research and hopefully blogging from back here.  

This will be the go to place for student information.  I houses our Devoir/Homework board, the calendar and will have any news related items added to the top.  

 My tiny desk and one of my student groups ready to go for Monday! 

Our bilingual classroom library.  As I am teaching grade 7 French Immersion 
and 5/6 and 6 Language Arts.  

View of the back of the room.

 View of the front. 

It was challenging setting up this room as my classroom has 4 doors off of it.  The door you see above leads to a small storage area that I share with other classrooms.  To my left in his photo is the door to the hall and then to my right at the back of the room is a door that leads into the grade 8 classroom.  In addition to those three doors there is a door that leads outside directly from the classroom.  It will take some getting use to but I am very excited to teach in this space and to meet the students from all 3 of my classes!   

Monday I plan to hit the ground running with some getting to know you activities and a quick assessment of where their at.  After that, we have 3 short weeks before report cards to get to know each other.  Here we go!   

Have you ever changed teaching assignments mid-year?