Joli jeudi #5

Hey everyone! It’s been another great week here, and I hope that it’s been excellent for you as well! I really think that these posts are helping me to stay positive!

This week I’m excited about:

  1. Using my iPad to grade on Schoology. A colleague told me that this has been great for her, and now I love it too! When students submit assignments on Schoology, you can “mark them up,” using text, highlights, strikethroughs, and writing with a pen. I drew a student a picture of Batman, since he was describing Bruce Wayne!
  2. Immediate feedback. This is one of my goals for this year, and I’m doing great so far. Though PD has thrown off a couple of “instant” feedback opportunities, I’ve been grading assessments and homework within 1-2 days and cutting back on other collected work. It’s been awesome!
  3. Assessment redos! The way that we’re doing SBG, if you don’t show proficiency, you have to redo it. The new grade replaces the old grade. My kids have been great sports about redos, and I even have some students who want to redo their “proficient” score to get a higher one!
  4. Teacher stations: One thing that I never considered during a station rotation is having a “teacher” station. I sat with my level twos students this week, and we talked together, and it REALLY gave me a snapshot of where each student is and what they can do with the language. When I surveyed students, they said that station was the most helpful because I was there to coach them through things. ❤
  5. Extra curricular: I love getting involved with student activities. My husband calls it “not being home,” I call it “helping students find their passions.” I’m working with the French club this year, and hopefully also a little bit with our Speech and Debate team! Woohoo!

What’s positive and working for you this week? I can’t wait to hear about them!


Authres: Hobbies

Don’t you love when you stumble across an authentic resource that NAILS exactly what you’re trying to do with your class? I know that I do! And I can’t take all the credit for this one, my colleague found it, but I wanted to share out with all of you.

We’re reviewing from last year about what activities that you do, and adding in personalized activities for each student. We’re also going to be sharing how often you do those activities, and were hoping to survey students about their preferences. That’s where this beautiful #authres comes in.

It’s an authentic survey that asks students how often they do certain activities. All of the “big names” are there: video games, TV, “radio,” reading, but includes some out-of-the-box things, like if you get an allowance, time spent in a library, and your future activities.

Here’s how I’m thinking you could use this in your class:

  1. Give out a page (or two) of the survey. Have students answer the questions about themselves. Then, make a few copies, or upload them online. In groups of two, students could make graphs about the different questions. Graphs could be things like “How often our class listens to music,” “Our favorite TV shows,” etc. I’m thinking that would be a great level two activity, or towards the end of level one.
  2. Partner activity: each partner would receive a copy, ask their partner a certain number, set, or example questions, and let them check the box that sounds most like their partner’s answer. Again, I think level two is best for this activity.
  3. Cognates practice. Wow, if you ever need an authentic resources where cognates abound, this would be it. You could have student highlight cognates, guess what certain words mean (and give them the corresponding question(s) for reference) or complete the Creative Language Class’ cognates activities (level one, level two)
  4. What we’re planning on doing is using this as a summative interpretive reading assessment. We’re going to check some boxes off, and then follow the questions for an interpretive reading assessment from ACTFL. We’ll have students answer these questions in English, identifying key words, guessing meaning based on context, and asking general understanding questions. I’m toying with the idea of asking students to write 2 or 3 ways they are similar/different to the person who “completed” the survey. This would be for level two as well.

What about you? How would you use this resource in your classes? I hope that you can, and that you’ll share how it went with me on twitter or in the comments!

Joli jeudi #4

Hey everyone! This week really has been amazing, so I’ll share some of the positives with you:

  • Professional Development: I had two days of PD this week, and while the sub plans made my head spin, I enjoyed both days of PD. One day was on blended learning, and the second on vocabulary instruction. I added some new tools to my tool box and got a chance to hear more about vocabulary from a different perspective, which was nice.
  • SBG: With the Standards Based Grading that I’ve implemented this year, retakes are built in. Don’t achieve mastery? Retake. Unhappy with your grade? Retake. I had two girls retake an interpersonal assessment for a higher score (they needed “stretch” to get a higher grade) and they used words they learned themselves on Duolingo. It was so cute I could have cried.
  • My PLC: I say it like there’s more than one other person, but seriously, I collaborate daily with one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. She listens, is helpful, we create great stuff, we’re very similar, and we love crazy things like fonts and memes. This is leaps and bounds better than last year’s #deptof1 fiasco.
  • Tech update: In our high school, we’re shifting to everyone having an Apple TV … I just don’t have one yet. I was hoping to find a free option for mirroring my iPad to my computer (then using the projector/SMARTboard to display) and today, I happened to be in the right place at the right time! Our Director of Innovation happened to be at my PD today, got to field my question, and set me up with a paid account for that service that the school already owns – SCORE! Can’t wait to try this out soon.
  • MY PLANNER IS HERE!!!!! And it is BEAUTIFUL. Seriously, it’s the best planner I’ve ever owned, I’m blown away by the quality, design, and functionality that went into it. I highly recommend Plum Paper and maybe eventually I’ll review that here! In case you missed my tweet, here it is in all it’s beauty:

If you were wondering, yes, I do have other blog posts in the works. I’m trying to share out more than I have before and I need to get a few things collected before I finish those up. They’re coming … Soon.

How joli was your week? I’d love to hear about it!

Joli jeudi #3

Hey everyone! It has been a super frustrating Thursday for me, but I’m doing my best to remember all the reasons I have to smile! Today I dealt with everything from crazy students to automated customer service and rude employees, I thought I might pull my hair out. Nonetheless, here’s my list of “jolis” from the week:

  • Heartwarming tweets. Today was our first after school staff meeting at my new school. We had to create a presentations in a group of about 10 and share it with other teachers. I was appointed to make a Haiku Deck (gosh, I forgot how much I LOVE Haiku Deck!) and then I just went ahead and shared with ~30 staff members in our “breakout” group. I didn’t realize until after that about 98% of that group didn’t know me. One of our teacher/instructional coaches took a picture and tweeted about how I presented at my first faculty meeting and it definitely turned my day around. It’s so nice to be appreciated. (I retweeted it if you follow me on twitter – I’m only slightly embarrassed that my presentation mode didn’t work on AirPlay and you can see that in the picture)
  • Eager students.I made it very clear between the last assessment and this one that in order to get a 4 on our standards based grading scale (the highest score possible) I need to see that “stretch.” I also told students they are always allowed to retake an assessment if they want a higher grade. My final class of 8th graders today were SO eager and excited to show me what they knew how to say. Our assessment was over asking someone’s name and introducing yourself, but I had two girls who went above and beyond – they said “enchantée” after hearing the other’s name, asked how the other one was (which we learned THIS WEEK) and responded. I was so excited to see how much my students have gained from class!
  • My planner will be here … soon? As I wrote last week, my Plum Paper Planner was scheduled to be delivered Tuesday … then Wednesday … and it’s Thursday and my package seems to be in limbo. No one can give me updated tracking info. Even though I got nowhere with automated customer service, at least my package has shipped and is within an hour of where I live. It should be here soon, and I will be even more excited when it is.
  • A wonderful dinner. My loving husband took me out for a wonderful dinner because my day today was so stressful. Husbands are truly the best.
  • An alien deer space blobmoji … with mittens. So, Google changed my Apple-based emojis to the android version of emojis – which look like blob creatures. I was explaining to the same class as above that these must be “blobmojis” and I kept drawing them to illustrate different emotions. Well, I’m not the most artistic, and I draw “angry” with those crazy eyebrows that end up off of your face … and the kids confused them with antenna … so I gave him antenna. And then they though those were antlers … so I gave him antlers, too, to avoid confusion. Someone else thought the antlers were arms … so I gave him arms … with no hands. I can’t draw hands, so someone told me to give him mittens. Long story short, I think he will be a character in our upcoming stories, and my kids love him enough to redraw him on the board each day … isn’t he CUTE?!
    My blobmoji, yet to be named
    My blobmoji, yet to be named

    That’s all I’ve got tonight. I hope that everyone else had a joli week. I’d love to hear about them on twitter, in the comments, or on your own blog!

School year update!

Well, I’m going to take a page out of most everyone else’s books and write about my school year this year!

Whew! It’s been an amazing 12 days of school so far! I love my new district – they’re very welcoming, my department is great, and I feel like even though the school is bigger, a lot of the teachers have taken the time to learn my name! I love that! When I decided to apply for this job in March, I had mixed emotions – I knew I needed to make a change, but I knew I would miss my students. I do miss my students from my last school – they were such amazing kids, but I’m loving the students in my new district and don’t regret anything about the switch.

So here are some updates on this year:

Our schools went 1:1 tech this year, and I can’t believe how much better that has made things! From a teacher perspective, I love the idea of going paperless for things like grading, assigning, and for overall saving trees! We’re getting the hang of paper vs. paperless, but my students have responded pretty well. We’re using Schoology this year, and I’m impressed by a lot of the features that it has. I could write my own post on that, but the district level version is awesome. I do bellwork on it, assign homework on it, and add as many supplemental resources as I want without making copies that will end up on my floor.

I talked about proficiency levels in the first week of school, and I think that went great! Students really seemed to “get it” and some of the analogies they wrote were top notch! I was impressed by how well most of them understood the general theme that language learning is a journey and you don’t get there overnight. I plan on giving them check-ins on their performance as the year goes on.

I thought that I was one of those teachers that “didn’t want to teach middle school,” but the more I work with these 8th graders (I have two classes), the more I LOVE them! They’re so sweet and enthusiastic about taking French, but wow, are they talkative. I’m excited to employ new management strategies and get into storytelling with them!

Wow. I always forget that the beginning of French 1 is so hard. I need a much more comprehensive way of starting off with them for next year – maybe storytelling from Day 1 will be that switch? I was so nervous about switching schools that I haven’t told a story yet – I want to make sure these students trust me before I take them through a story. We’re getting there.

We had our first assessment in level one, where I assessed their ability to “greet someone and say goodbye,” and my kids did amazing! It was their first speaking assessment, probably EVER in their school careers, and I think we laid a good foundation. “Don’t look at me, pretend I’m not here and you’re having a real conversation,” I said to each pair. I think they did so well because they didn’t have to stare at me and have me prompt them for answers.

I’ve been trying to work on my level of input for students and I’ll admit that I’m coming up a little short. Maybe it’s the beginning of the year jitters, but I’m reverting to English quite a bit, and I’m hoping that in the coming weeks, I get into a groove and use more TL.

How has your school year started? Have you switched schools? I’d love to hear about your year on your blog or in the comments!

Joli jeudi #2

Hey everyone! I hope you’re having a great week this week! I just wanted to share some awesome things that happened for me this week in an effort to be more positive! (I’ll admit, this week got a little silly)

  • Station PD: I always say how awful I am at stations, and today I had an entire day of PD dedicated to it! There were two women who have been piloting it at our school and they did such a phenomenal job at helping us in groups today. We even did our own station rotation to learn about them! They’re really trying to merge station rotation with blended learning and I think that having technology at stations vastly improves my ability to plan for them. I feel so great about the potential use of stations in my class and am excited to see what happens next.
  • Meet the Teacher: Tonight is Meet the Teacher night at the HS, and I’m pumped to meet parents and get my face/class out there!
  • Growth plan: At my school, we have to write growth plans for the year that align with Marzano’s Domains and Elements. I spent a lot of time making steps that I really wanted to implement in my teaching, and I’m happy to say it was approved today! :]
  • Google: Not only did they change their logo (yay, modernization!) but while I had two days of PD this week, I was able to be “with” my students via Google. They shared their docs/slides with me, and I could comment and answer questions while they were in my class, even though I was far away.
  • A colleague complimented my pants: Now this seems silly, but if you know me, or have met me in real life, you probably know that I loathe pants with all of my being; I don’t think I was really built to look good in pants. But today a colleague told me that I must be crazy, because the khakis I was rocking today (ick, khakis!) looked great. Thanks, Friend!

The next two are silly and don’t relate at all to work, but …

  • I got my 2nd Stitch Fix today! If you don’t know about SF, I highly recommend it. I’ve gotten great fixes, and can share my experience and codes with you if you want! I don’t want to feel like I’m soliciting people on my professional blog.
  • My Plum Paper Planner shipped yesterday! I’m SO EXCITED TO GET THIS. Some of you may remember reading that I plan better on paper than I do online, and I scoured the internet this year to find the perfect lesson planner. I made my own last year, but the printing process was a huge burden. So, I watched YouTube videos of people unpacking their teacher planners from the box, read reviews, and searched high and low for coupons. Sorry, Erin Condren lovers, but it just ended up to be too expensive for me, so I got a PPP instead. Look at this beauty (the mock-up even has my name on the cover; this was meant to be)
    Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 4.54.08 PM I can’t WAIT for this to get here and to use it. If you were curious, I ordered the “large” version of their teacher planner.

What were your “joli” moments of this week? I’d love to hear about them!