Saturday, 4 January 2014

Les Résolutions!

Since its the new year, I thought it would be a great time to think of some resolutions for the upcoming term.  I think its a great time to reflect-- enough time has passed in the school year that I can really look at what is working and what is not working in my teaching practice.  Since I am still kind of new to teaching French, I know that there is still a lot to learn (as if that ever stops) to get the most from myself, and my students.

My first resolution is to SPEAK MORE FRENCH!  For the first part of the term, I have been speaking a combination of French and English in the classroom.  If I had to give it a number, I would say I've been speaking French about 70 % of the time.  When it comes to an explanation of an activity, or addressing the students when they become frustrated, I have returned to English so that I'm sure they understand.  This is a very bad habit.  One that I don't want my students to use.  If I remember how I really learned how to speak French, it was through immersion, and not being able to use any English.  I had to find ways to make myself understood.  I need to bring this experience to my students.  I have taught strategies, and created resources and images in place to help the students understand, now I need to give them a chance to use those resources. Does anyone else have difficulty speaking only French in their classes?

Resolution 2: I am a part-time itinerant teacher (a "travelling show" as my husband calls it.)  Transitions are very difficult for me and the students.  There is a space of 2 minutes where the students are waiting for me to arrive, and in this short time they lose focus.  I need to put in place a strategy or activity that the students can be doing, while they wait.  One idea that I had was to ask the homeroom teacher to post a message on their SMARTBoard before I arrive.  The students can work on reading it, or listening to it before I arrive, and then the class is started before I am even there! What do you do for transistioning into a new subject or a new room?

Resolution 3: I need to create a comprehensive literacy unit that works for my teaching situation.  I have some challenges in this regard:  I need to find resources that are high-interest, but low vocab;  I only have 40 mins a day with the students;   I travel, have to carry all my resources with me;  and my students have difficulty working independently in FSL.  When I am creating these lessons, I have to keep all of this in mind.  Not to mention all the different levels of readers in the classes.  I find this task the most intimidating of all things I teach in FSL.  What are some good resources for creating a balanced literacy program in FSL?

Resolution 4:  I am very lucky as a French teacher at my school, I have a team of teachers to work with.  This year, I am going to make more of an effort to meet with my colleagues for planning purposes because we are a great team.  It has been difficult to carve out some time to meet-- we do not have any preps together.  We have a planning session this month, and I am going to ask that we find additional time to meet.  My colleagues are a great resource I should be using more!  How do you find time to meet with colleagues during a busy school day?

Resolution 5: I have found many ways to integrate technology into my students' learning, but I haven't used it enough for my own learning!  This year, I am going to make sure that I use the resources for myself too.  I have started by looking at blogs and other sites that are created by and for teachers.  I am really excited to check out the work by other teachers in my board that are blogging their learning for others to read.  Are there some teacher blogs that I should definitely be reading?

Resolution 6: I need to keep up on my reflections/ journalling this year.  Up until now, my journalling has been sporadic.  I find that journalling helps me work through some challenges that I have in the classroom, and in planning.  Keeping a log has helped me track what works and doesn't work with my students.  I need to set time aside for this as often as possible.  How do you keep track of your reflections during the school year?

Phew!  A big ambition list.  That's the kind of list I like to tackle.  Do you have any resolutions for the new year?  For "la rentrée?"

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