Category Archives: Websites

Whole Body Listening

I know that at the beginning of the year, I can only get six-eight solid minutes every carpet time out of my students, so I have to make it count. I have found that this isn’t always easy.

So this gang of sweet, great and smart kids likes to shout things, which is not uncommon in classrooms. And there was no trick that I could think of that was helping me solve that problem. I didn’t like asking them to leave our carpet, just because they shouted something out. I’m excited that they’re excited about learning. I want to capitalize on that excitement, but it’s impossible to do so when kids are just shouting over one another to be heard. They have to learn to take their turn. But of course, we forgot that they have to be taught that.

It’s not about being “quiet”, it’s about being respectful to the fact that we need to listen and hear each other while we’re having whole group discussions. It’s about being calm so that you can really hear what someone else is saying. It’s about looking at someone when they speak, so that you can watch their facial expression.

Listening is hard. Listening is hard for adults … can you imagine how hard it is for kids that are just learning to listen?

But with the help of the Cookie Monster, it got a whole lot easier.

The video I’m embedding is called “The Biscotti Karate”, and teaches the Cookie Monster how to listen with his whole body: eyes watch; ears listen; mouth quiet; body calm. And so far, so good – it’s the most respectful I’ve seen them since we’ve started coming together for discussions on the carpet. We’re taking turns, we’re being mindful, and we’re breathing in deep. We’re listening, instead of thinking about what we’re going to say next. We’re reflecting on the words of others, which is an important part of listening.

So really, at the end of the day, the question is this: what does the Cookie Monster have that I don’t? What does he have that none of us have? Watch it to find out.

Our Respectful Robots

In the Grade 4 Core French class, we spent much of the last semester speaking about respect and courtesy, as well as developing language associated with that. The final project for the students was that they build a robot (or draw a poster of a robot) which they would then program to be respectful of others. It was a really fun project, part of the pilot project that CEC Publishing from their unit Mon robot respectueux. With all of these new things for the new curriculum that are making their way out, I figured I would show you what it looks like when these units are being worked on.

Continue reading Our Respectful Robots

How To Use ClassDojo In Core French

If you’ve been reading my blog for a little bit, you know that I raved about how much ClassDojo did for my classroom last year. It made such an amazing difference in my classroom that my entire view on rewarding and encouaging a classroom changed, and I’ve found it a struggle to switch back to life B.CD. (Before ClassDojo). So I’ve decided why mess with something that works? Continue reading How To Use ClassDojo In Core French

Qui suis-je?

http://en.akinator.com
http://en.akinator.com (Photo credit: mazita.)

After spending a whole day playing with my classes on Akinator, I need to share it. We had such a great time, and it was an amazing way to practice our French skills.

For the past month, my students and I have been learning various ways to describe our friends. It’s been fantastic, but I wanted a way that we could get together to actually put them into practice, while reading and speaking. We played “Qui suis-je?” together a few times, and the students had fun doing it, but it could only be played for so many rounds together. That’s when I found Akinator.

Akinator, called “the Web Genius”, is a website where a genie asks various questions to try to guess the person that you are thinking of. I’d say that as long as you answer the questions truthfully, he manages to guess it every time. The only time that we ran into problems was when we weren’t quite sure enough of the answer so we guessed – and then although he tried to recover, he couldn’t always figure out who we were referring to. We did it as a class, which was a lot of fun. They have this website in multiple languages, but to practice for Core French, we used the French site. We had a great time doing it, and the whole class participated with a lot of enthusiasm.

I highly suggest using it to integrate technology and reading into your Core French curriculum. It enabled us to practice the various vocabulary that we had been learning about for the past month in a very practical way, because you had to know how to read the question properly to be able to answer it. Even if it’s just to use as a practice for students, it’s well worth it. They’re always amazed by the outcome, and love to try and trip him up (which doesn’t happen easily, trust me).

And hey! They also have an app for iPhones and iPods, which is always a fun activity to have on there. Watch people in amazement as they try to confuse him.