Tag Archives: K-8

Documentation in the Digital Age

When coming from intermediate, junior and even primary grades into kindergarten, one really has to check what their expectation of “work” means. As teachers, we’re so used to children being able to express themselves through writing that it is easy to imagine what you’re going to grade. The kindergarten program, though … you need to get really creative. Giving a test? A project? Not really a thing in kindergarten.

My expectations for assessment have gone out the window since arriving in the kindergarten program. Anecdotal evidence has become my thing. Everything that the kids do is accompanied by my notes on what they did. But what can that look like in kindergarten?

Well, last year, it culminated in a lot of paper notes. I made quick and easy charts and wrote everything that the kids were saying. My teaching partner and I would sit down together at the end of the day and compare notes, and discuss what the kids had been learning about. By February, though, I had discovered that that was probably not the most effective use of the talents that I have, which is that I’m pretty techy – I began experimenting with a variety of apps (and really loved Sesame Snap), but hadn’t really gotten it down by June. So when I got a new kindergarten classroom this year, and found out that I was going to be running it all by myself, without an early childhood educator, I had to buckle down and rethink the way that I look at documentation.

I had to start by thinking: what is the most effective way that I can document? To really come down to that, though, I considered a few thing: first of all, I’m not exactly a quick writer, and found that I was struggling to really to quote the students directly because I couldn’t keep up with how quickly they spoke; second of all, my school board is moving towards using Google Apps for Education, and I wanted to join in on the fun; I also needed to find the quickest and most effective way to organize all of this documentation in a way that would make it easy for me to not only find it, but reflect on it and share it with parents; and finally, I’m pretty technically inclined, so why not use that to my advantage? Continue reading Documentation in the Digital Age

Mon dictionnaire personnel

Every day, my students in the Grade 5/6 class, and my students in the Grade 4 class, and I do something we call “Comment ça va ?” This is what I do when I’m setting up my computer to the smart board, so that we don’t have any down time from when I walk in, we’re practicing conversation, and, as an added bonus, I get a pretty good pulse on what’s going on in their lives that day. It’s a way to connect with them, and for many of my students, it’s the part that they look most forward to in our 30 minute lesson. After they’ve said “Bien,” or “Mal,” or “Comme ci, comme ça,” depending on how they are feeling, they will then either say what’s going on in French, or if they can’t say the full thing in French, they will tell me in English, and then we will repeat what they said in French. I began noticing that they were asking me a lot of the same words over and over, like birthday, or weekend.

So, we’ve decided to be proactive about it. Continue reading Mon dictionnaire personnel

Legends

While looking for something engaging to teach my intermediate students, I stumbled to find a great set of resources that teach kids about traditional Canadian legends (Aboriginal, French Canadian, etc.). They have all of the educational value that you would imagine: they’re great for listening activities, as there are videos that tell the story of the legend while showing engaging images; they’re great for short, simple comprehension questions, with examples such as True of False and rearranging the statements in the order that they appear in the text; and drama activities, that ask the students to recreate the video they see in a drama skit. Continue reading Legends

Celebrating the Olympics

Every four years, our country celebrates the Winter Olympics like mad. It’s a little tougher, given the time zone difference, but it’s one that will be exciting, anyway. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to get the kids involved, while still learning in French. And so, three-way task: reading comprehension, writing, and presenting. Continue reading Celebrating the Olympics