Thinking About Next Year…Already!

This year has not even finished yet and I am already thinking A LOT about next year. It is true that I am going to be teaching a subject that I have lost my passion for. I used to have a great deal of passion to teach French when it was to high school students who had CHOSEN to take the course. That is in and of itself a great motivator for most of us; the choice to do something. French is mandated by our Provincial government as something that students in grades 4-6 MUST take and then it becomes an option for grades 7-12. Phew! Grades 4-6 students are typically a little more agreeable about taking French but there are still some that think it is a waste of their time. My challenge (that I have issued for myself) is to create a French program that students WANT to take. The following are the things that I am strongly considering doing next year.

1. The Flipped Classroom

The Flipped Classroom inverts the traditional method of teaching and learning on its head. It involves me creating lessons to be delivered via podcasts or youtube videos and students watching these at home in order to learn the content prior to class. When students come into class, we are then able to focus on using the vocabulary and grammar that was taught to them via the podcasts in a real-world context. This will free up some much needed classroom time in order to work in inquiry projects in the target language.

2. Inquiry Projects

I am only teaching French to grades 5 and 6 so I am looking at how to use French to enhance what the students are already learning in their subject areas. Some of the ideas that I have include:

a) Why is it important to learn a second language? (All)

Students will help to create a bulletin board for others to see sharing the reasons that people should learn a second language. This will be a mini-inquiry but an important one to start the school year off with.

b) Why do some holidays spread to other countries, while others do not? (All)
Students in grades 5 & 6 will analyze holidays that have spread and ones that haven’t to pull out key characteristics such as common history and values, fun factor, etc. For example, we both recognize Armistice Day (Nov 11th). Why? But only France celebrates WWII Victory Day (May 8th)…why don’t we?

c) What impact does the region someone lives in have on the houses they live in, the clothes they wear and the animals that have habitats there? (Grade 5)

  • Students will learn vocabulary for houses, clothing and animals
  • Students research region of Canada and types of houses that people live in
  • Students research region of Canada and types of clothes that are worn both traditionally and present day
  • Students research region of Canada and types of animals that live in that region

d) In what ways have the French influenced communities around the country? Where are French communities in Alberta located? Why? (Grade 6)

Students create their own French community in Alberta complete with a festival celebrating this community.

  • what buildings are in the community?
  • what jobs do people have?
  • where in the province is the community located and justify its location
  • draw a map of the community that is labelled with buildings, landforms, waterways etc.
  • create a poster for the festival complete with name, symbols and activities

3. Games:
Guess who? (Numbers, characteristics)

4. Assessment:
Voice Memos on iPads/iPods/iPhones
Chat stations
Lire un texte

5. Cafe Pierre Grise (Greystone Cafe)

I decided that another way to have kids buy-in to French was to have them come to me rather than me be a travelling teacher. The classroom that I have been given is not ideal however, it is a classroom. I have decided that I am going to convert it into a French Cafe. I am going to put temporary awnings above the windows and the doors. There will be lamps and white twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling. There will be posters of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Cafe du Nuit. I want the students to feel as though they have stepped into a Parisian cafe when they come to learn French.

6. Report Cards for French

Currently, we are not expected to write report card comments for French. Although it is a huge undertaking, I have decided that I will write report card comments for the grade 5 and 6 students for French. Like the other subjects, I will write comments based on the competencies for second language learning and identify the areas of strength, areas of growth and strategies for improvement for the students. It is my home that by doing this, it will provide validity to parents about the importance of French language learning.

7. Clubs

In a conversation at our last Professional Development Day in May, we discussed our Education Plan and one common theme kept coming up: How can we help to build up the well-being of staff and students? One suggestion was for the creation of more clubs for those students who are not overly athletic. This struck a chord with me because I was that student. I was not athletic but there were not a lot of options for me as a student in order to feel like I belonged to something. After thinking about it, I decided that I would start 3 clubs next year: Makerspace Club, French Club and Book Club.

a) Maker Club
A Maker Club gives students the opportunity to explore electronicsrobotics3-D printing, as well as more traditional activities such as  woodworking, sewing and traditional arts and crafts.

Who is a Maker?


What activities might we participate in?

  • field trip to MakeIt in Edmonton (MakerFaire)
  • field trip to Spruce Grove Public Library to check out their Innovation Lab
  • field trip to the Stanley A. Milner Library in downtown Edmonton to check out their MakerSpace

b) French Club
Students participate in activities such as:

  • Eating
  • Music & Movies
  • Literature
  • Presentations
  • Games

In order to develop an awareness of the ‘French culture in Canada and America by organizing school-wide celebrations and holiday activities such as:

  • Carnival
  • Festival du voyageur
  • Mardi Gras
  • Noel
  • Bastille Day
  • La fin de l’annee scolaire
  • Outings to plays, movies, French community in Edmonton

c) Book Club

Gives students the opportunity to read books that they may not otherwise have the opportunity to read. Also, provides students with the opportunity to talk about books in an informal setting. Everyone gets the opportunity to select the books that we get to read. We will purchase the books in bulk to help reduce the cost.

Who can join?

EVERYONE!!!!!!! Including our grade 9s that are moving onto the high school.

What activities might we participate in?

  • field trip to a movie based on one of our books (if possible)

Like I said, I have been giving a lot of thought to how I am going to make next year incredible and help to build a French program in our school. Stay tuned for more ideas throughout the summer!


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