Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Using Cups for Preposition Practice

A topic I just completed with my French 2s was a topic regarding location prepositions: on, under, near, far from, etc.  I am a very hands on teacher and feel that being able to move and feel some of the actions can help students learn, so I do that whenever possible.  To prepare them for the exam, I would tell them where to put their pencil in relation to their notebooks.  "Mettez le crayon sous le cahier."  "Mettez le crayon devant le cahier".  It worked alright but things got messy when you tried to do "in" and the notebooks were just plain awkward.  Not to mention some students don't have notebooks (by choice.. I don't get it... but hey that's another story).

My next idea was to have them make a small cube out of paper by folding and gluing flaps.  So I set aside 10 minutes one day for them to make a cube (and keep the top open) to do this exercise.  Well.. 30 minutes later... the cubes weren't even finished yet.  Not to mention.. where do you store 15 cubes that are 3x3x3?

Then it hit me.  Cups!  They store easily, still have an inside/outside and everything in between.  All you have to do is go to the store and pay a few dollars and these cups can be used for years to come.  If you get the sturdy red plastic cups, you can easily store them for years and years and bring them out whenever you do this unit.  It's also nice to have them on hand in case you have a few minutes at the end of class with time to kill.  All you have to do is whip them out and review location prepositions.  Cleanup is a breeze as well and they are much sturdier than paper cubes.

And because it's that kind of day, here's a little bit of cup happiness for your Tuesday morning.  Bonus points if you know what awesome TV show this photo comes from :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Bundle Sale!

I've decided to throw a bundle sale in my TPT store through the end of the month!

All big bundles are now $9.99!  AND!  If you purchase two bundles from me, leave me one piece of feedback and fill out THIS FORM (click), you will be given free lifetime access to my shared Google Drive!  Everything I have ever made, shared, used, etc is in this drive which is organized by topic and/or book level and chapter.  I'm talking hundreds of easy to find and searchable files.  And it updates as I make things because it syncs to my computer.  Normally one needs to spend $25 in my store to take advantage of this offer, but I am throwing it in with my bundle sale. 

Just head on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and click on "bundles" on the left hand column to see what bundles I have on sale.  Once your purchase is made and you leave me feedback, fill out the Google form and I will share the folder with you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Interactive Travel Assignment Idea

I discovered something awesome the other day, which then resulted in me spending about three hours playing around with it.  But the results are AWESOME and I feel like I must share.

If you didn't know this already, you can create custom Google Maps with your own locations.  This is an AWESOME way for students to go on a virtual tour of a city or even countries that speak a specific language.  You can also personalize it to have the information that you want them to know.

For starters, go to http://maps.google.com/mymaps.  You will want to click on create a new map.

The FIRST thing you should do is give your map a name so you can come back to it later if necessary.  The cool thing about this is Google usually autosaves your work every few seconds so you shouldn't lose anything.

Next you can create your "stops" either by searching an address or landmark in the search bar, or even just going to the spot and dropping a point.  The point will start out as green.

Then you need to click on it and select "add to map".  At that point, it will add it to your map as well as your list on the left-hand side.

To edit your point, click on it and then click the little pencil to edit it.  If you don't want to the google places link in it, then click "remove" in the gray box. In the edit box, you can change the title of your point, you can add text, and you can even add a photo by clicking on the little photo box.  Another idea is to add the link to the official webpage of said monument for students to look around.

Once your box is complete, make sure to click "Save", otherwise all of the information you put in will go away. Once the box is complete, it will show all of the information you want when someone clicks on the point.

You can do this for each and every location you wish to highlight.  You stick to one city and highlight landmarks, or you could even do capitals and countries that speak a specific language.

Once you finish each location, you can play around with the settings in the side bar to determine how you want your points to be labeled.  Different colors, letters, words... all are possibilities.

With my map, I chose to make a worksheet to accompany the activity to make sure the students actually go through it and get things out of it.  I start out by making them label which monument goes with which letter.  Then they must match the photo of the monument to the name and write down key facts.

To make sure your students get the map, you can click "share" in the upper right hand corner of the map and it gives you share settings.  You can copy the link or even send it directly to them if you have a list of their e-mail addresses.  You can also make a tinyurl for them to access it easily.

I love activities like this because it is much more fun to them than a random powerpoint slideshow or lecture.  It allows them to move at their own pace and even kind of feel like they are visiting the locations you want them to see.  It's much more affordable than the cost to actually go there.

Want a copy of my Paris Interactive Map Activity?  Click this link.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

One Positive Contact per Week: A Challenge

I came to the unfortunate realization last week that 99% of the times I initiate contact with a parent, it's because of something negative.

I generally try to be a positive person, so this kind of concerned me.

Because of this, I decided to make a challenge for myself: at least once per week, I will initiate contact with a parent for something positive.  My positive e-mail of this week was to a parent whose daughter generally does OK in my class, but averages about a low B to a C.  She failed her first test this year which took her class grade to a D+.  However, she decided to take the time to come in, get some help, do some extra work and then retake her test.  She did so well on the retake that her class grade from a D+ to a B.  How awesome!  I told her father about the improvement and he was very happy to hear about it.

So... I extend this challenge to you my readers.  Send a positive e-mail this week.  And another one next week.  Keep the ball rolling!  Parents will stop cringing every time a teacher e-mail comes in.

From legacyproject.human.cornell.edu