Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Paper Dolls for Clothing Practice

Growing up, I loved to play with paper dolls.  My grandmother would always get them for me and I would spend hours putting different outfits on them.

My 1s are currently in a clothing unit and I figured it would be a lot of fun to use paper dolls to practice clothing vocabulary!

So I set out to find a perfect set that I could use.  I couldn't find anything, so I took an afternoon and decided to make a set instead.  It was a lot of work to start.  First I had to make the outfits in Paint and MS Word.  Then I had to print them, cut them out and laminate them all.  I had the kids cut out their own sets (saved a lot of cutting time) and then had them each cut out a laminated set too once it was laminated.  Each set was put into a 5x7 envelope and voila!  Something I can use over and over and over again.  I can even share it with the other languages for them to practice too.

There are so many different ways to use it.  I like giving them each a set and telling them how to dress their person.  It is also fun in centers.  I make cards that have the description on the front and a photo on the back.  Students read the description and dress their person.  They can use the photo to check.

CLICK HERE if you'd like to download a set for your own class!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ditch the Flashcards: 14 Other Great Ways to Reinforce Vocabulary

One of the hardest parts of teaching/learning a foreign language is the MOUNTAINS of vocabulary that must be taught/learned.  Yeah you can use flashcards, but those get old rather quickly.  Rather than resorting to the same old, same old.  Try these ideas instead:

1. Foldables
This activity has students writing out their trickiest vocabulary words.  Students who know their vocabulary only have to write it once.  Students who are struggling must rewrite the problem words more than once.

2. Diagrams
This activity has students drawing and labeling their vocabulary words in their context.  It taps into their creativity and helps them apply an image to each word.

3. Triangle Puzzles
This activity has students problem-solving with their vocabulary words.  They must put together a puzzle and the edges match if the English to French is correct.

4. Do you have what I have?
This game requires students to dip into their memory stores to come up with different vocabulary words from the unit they are working on.  By only getting points by NOT matching other people, students must think of the more obscure and lesser known words.

5. Charades
Who doesn't love good old charades?  Have students act out the different words on their vocabulary sheet.  This has students matching words to physical actions (TPR).  It definitely helps reinforce the vocabulary.

6. Tout le Monde Qui
This game is filled with running and fun.  Students put desks or chairs in a circle.  There should be one less chair/desk than there are people.  The leftover person will be in the middle and say "tout le monde qui____" (for example: tout le monde qui porte un jean).  Anyone who fits that description must move and find a new chair.

7. Tout le Monde Avec
This is a spin off of Tout le Monde Qui.  Instead of choosing things that apply to the specific students, put a ziploc bag or a sheet with different items representing vocabulary words at each space.  If the item the student in the middle calls is in your bag/on your sheet, you need to find a new seat.

8. QR Codes
Who doesn't love technology?  In using QR codes and having them either give clues to or match up to vocabulary words, you have students moving around the room and using technology to practice vocabulary.

9. Categorize
Whenever possible, do activities where you have students categorize their vocabulary words.  For example, whenever I teach a food unit, I always have them sorting vocabulary words into the food categories like vegetables, fruits, meats, etc.  You can even have them categorize by pronunciation sounds or by noun vs verb.

10. Scavenger Hunts
Have students apply vocabulary to their real life by requiring them to hunt for vocabulary words (maybe take photos or even jot down) at home or in the halls/other classrooms at school.

11. End letter/Beginning letter
Students must make a string of words by making the next word start with the last letter of the most recent word.  For example: Tondre, eplucher, ranger, raisin, nettoyer

12. Pictionary
No explanation needed! Who doesn't love making crazy drawings and trying to get people to guess the word.

13. 100,000 Pyramid
Students try to get their partner to guess the vocabulary word by giving clues to them.  Watch out! You cannot say the actual word or any part of it.

14. Word Searches
While this might not reinforce definitions, it definitely helps with spelling.

Vocabulary acquisition is crucial in learning a foreign language.  Students can be taught grammar and conjugations until they are blue in the face, but without the vocabulary, they will have a hard time forming sentences.

Feel free to comment with any more ideas you have!

                                                           (photo from aasd.k12.wi.us)

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale (updated!)

I am throwing a HUGE SALE. The sale is done :(  But my $25 deal below is ongoing!

Everything in my store is now 15% off, now through Monday (the day after Easter).

To top that off, anyone who makes $25 worth of purchases in one transaction and leaves me feedback on at least ONE item (feedback is crucial so that future buyers know the quality of my work) will receive a FREE GIFT! 

What is this free gift you ask?

All of my work that is in my possession (stuff I've made, stuff that has been shared with me, stuff I've collaborated on, stuff I've found) is in one backup folder on Google Drive.  This folder updates as I make new activities.  If you make $25 worth of purchases and leave me feedback on at least one item, I will share that folder with you (to access it, you must have a Google account of your own...don't worry...it's free if you don't have one).

What does that mean?  That means you have basically "subscribed" to me.  EVERYTHING I have ever made, shared, sold, not sold, as well as anything I will ever make in the future will now be at your disposal.  I am talking HUNDREDS of files and resources organized into folders by topic and/or by book and chapter. (Of course... Mrs. Organized right over here has everything organized into folders).

I cannot, in good conscience, sell this "subscription", as there are things in my Google Drive folders that are not my original works (but don't worry, everything on my Teachers Pay Teachers store is).  While much of the work is my own, some of it is things shared with me by other teachers.  This is why it is a FREE GIFT.  It is no different than sharing resources with you, my worldwide colleagues.

So, go check out my store at THIS LINK! I have some awesome resources in there that could help you greatly.  A majority of my items are 1.99 or less (that's before the 10% discount).  Please leave me feedback after you have used them!  Feedback helps me make resources even better for my buyers.

If you decide to take advantage of my sharing offer, once you have made your purchase and left feedback, click on THIS LINK to fill out a form.  The form asks you for the transaction and feedback information as well as your e-mail address.  Once I see that everything is set, I will add you as someone who can view my shared folder.

If you are interested in starting your own Teachers Pay Teachers store, CLICK HERE.  It is totally and completely free and a great way to earn some extra cash.  All it takes is a couple minutes of your time to upload a resource and that's it! No more work and it can gain an unlimited amount of money.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Using QR Codes to Enhance Learning

A teacher in the Spanish department was using QR codes the other day around her classroom and it got me thinking... what could I do with QR codes to enhance my lessons?

Of course, once I start thinking about ideas, my mind doesn't shut off and I want to try it RIGHT NOW.

We are fortunate enough to have a set of iPads in the library that can be checked out to teachers.  Each iPad has a barcode reader on it that also reads the QR codes.

I gave it a whirl today with my French 1s.  They are currently learning clothing and adjective vocabulary, so I gave them a sheet with 20 different people on it wearing different things.  Then, I made 20 different QR codes (Code A, B, C, etc) that, when scanned, would pop up with a description of someone.  Upon reading the description, they would have to match that description to the correct person on their sheet.

This was an awesome activity.  It really is no different, practice wise, than writing a description on a worksheet and having them match it up.  But in letting them use technology, it gives it an awesome spin that gets them excited about the topic while reinforcing chapter vocabulary.

What I love about this is you can do QR codes with just about anything!  I'm thinking I'll use it when I review the question words and question formation.  They will scan the code, which will pop up with an answer.  They have to come up with a question that would elicit that response.

You can also do QR codes that, when scanned, will speak to the students too.  Especially in foreign language, having the codes speak is an awesome tool!

If you're interested in having a copy for yourself, get it HERE .

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tout le Monde Avec

If the activity Tout le Monde Qui appealed to you, this one will appeal to you as well.

The setup and play is the same.  Put all of the students in a circle (preferably a circle of desks so they have something to place their items on).  Each desk should have either a sheet with pictures of items that correspond to vocabulary words OR even a ziploc bag with little figurines if you can find them.  The sheet or bag needs to stay at each desk/chair, so what each student hands will also change when they change seats.

Then play as normal.  The middle person says, "tout le monde avec _____" and anyone who has that item on their sheet or in their bag has to move.  With school supplies, you can maybe even have it be any student with that item with them in class.

It's a great way to apply the "Tout le Monde Qui" game to vocabulary that doesn't apply to students' specific descriptions, preferences or lives.

Photo from www.clipsahoy.com

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Being a teacher is like...

I hear day-in and day-out how a teacher's job is only as hard as he/she makes it.

Which...is true...to a point.  But I am a firm believer in you reap what you sow.

To those of you who doubt what a teacher is worth, imagine the following...

Imagine being the boss of a company with 5-6 departments.  Each department holds 20-35 employees.

Then imagine having a 45-50 minute department meeting per day per department.  Each department is different, and you use those meetings to train your employees on new systems that are constantly evolving.  On top of 4 1/2-5 hours worth of meetings per day, you must prepare each daily meeting in the few hours you have left per day.  You must make training materials.  You must evaluate each of your roughly 100 employees individually.  You must make sure you're not training them too quickly or too slowly.

Don't forget those employees who need special help.  At each meeting you have to give them that extra help all the while training the rest of the employees to do their jobs well.  You also must go to two 2-hour meetings per year, per employee in regards to the extra ways you must help them.

Oh, and you are required to spend a half hour per day (of your work day) doing something janitorial or making your employees lunch during their lunch hour.  You could also direct traffic in the parking lot as they come in or leave for a half hour each day if that suits you better.

Let's not forget you must gather and submit proof that you, as well as your employees do their jobs well.  This proof must be submitted regularly.

Oh and one more thing... Your pay either already is or is in danger of being affected by your employees' performances in your department. Because OF COURSE you are the only factor in their ability to do their job.  If they don't succeed, you MUST be doing something wrong....

Try and get a half hour lunch in there too.  After all, you deserve it, right?