First week plans: level 1

It’s that time, isn’t it? To share first week plans? I can’t believe how fast July flew and August right behind it!

Last year, lots of readers loved that I shared my first week plans for level one, and I plan on doing a modified version of those this year. Since I got SO many questions about the picture I posted on twitter, I figured I’d share those again.

Thursday, August 17th – first day for students

  • We’re going to start early with an introduction to me, where I’ll be speaking lots of comprehensible French with pictures, gestures, etc.
  • Then, we’ll debrief about what worked and what didn’t, how speaking French doesn’t have to be hard, and what our roles are as teacher and learners.
  • Then, students will fill out a name card – they’ll write their name and draw a picture of something that they like. We’ll use these for the rest of class to do the typical first day circling activity. I call it “names and likes” because I really don’t like that other name.

Friday, August 18th

  • It has not yet been confirmed, but we usually have class assemblies on this day that kills the attendance in morning classes. So we’ll continue with names and likes at the beginning of class.
  • Then, we’ll head into a second day story, and I’ll have students draw along with me. We’ll talk again about how we understood what was happening and anything that was unclear.
  • Then, we’ll fill out student info sheets and I’ll circulate to hopefully get to know students a little bit. I figure this is an easy-enough activity that any absent students can make it up at home and return it.

Monday, August 21st

  • Again, we’ll review names and likes, getting to anyone that hasn’t been previously mentioned due to absence or time constraints.
  • As I mentioned in my last post – I purchased a first day station set that I don’t plan on using as stations this year. There’s a great “which one” activity where students get to know each other in groups, by answering questions that start with “which one (of us) …” and some of them are fun and silly. It also helps me get to know students.
  • I’ll also hand out syllabi this day, and maybe we’ll do the “syllabus scavenger” hunt, but I’m not really sure. If we do this activity, I need to shorten it significantly — it’s way too long for me to want to look over.
  • If time remains, we’ll start the crepe talk.

Tuesday, August 22nd

  • Today we start proficiency talks! We’ll read over the crepe sheet individually and as a class and talk about what that means.
  • Then, as a group, we’ll make a proficiency analogy. I plan on leading students through “bike riding” and what each level would be as you’re learning to ride a bike. Then, I’ll set students free to make their own scale. I’ll probably make a template for this on google drawing so that students can do it easily and we can practice submitting to Schoology and pairing our Google Drive to it.
  • If time, we’ll talk about what we think our goal is, and we’ll star it on the proficiency path from Shelby County Schools. I will collect, and these will eventually go in our interactive notebooks.

Wednesday, August 23rd

  • We’ll finish any proficiency activities we didn’t get to yesterday.
  • Then, we’ll start with introductions: “Bonjour, je m’appelle ______” We’ll hopefully get a chance to add on with “j’aime” if we remember those name and like activities.
  • If there’s time (Wednesdays are shortened classes at my school), we might start the good/bad ball activity that I stole from Sara Elizabeth, but I’m not sure if she posted about.

Thursday August 24th and Friday August 25th

  • In the state of Ohio, we’re required to do student growth measures, which we call SLOs (I think it stands for Student Learning Objectives, but after 4 years of only calling them SLOs, I don’t really know for sure) – in which we give a pretest and the same posttest at the end of the year. This is especially terrible for level one morale, since we do reading, writing, listening, and speaking, but it needs to be done. I coach students through by saying “this is the only assessment in my class that you won’t know the answers to, I promise!” and with lots of “don’t guess – this is the only time it’s okay to leave answers blank.”
  • We’ll cover listening and writing on Thursday and reading and speaking Friday. Speaking will be done through Flipgrid just to save time asking questions students can’t answer. I say, “listen to the question. If you can answer it in French, make a response, but if you can’t, don’t respond.” I rather have 1-2 videos to listen to than 100+ “I don’t know” videos.
  • SLOs are a huge pain in level one, but I grin and do my best. I refuse to let it damage the rapport I build with these kids.


The week after, we’ll probably get into cognate stations and setting up our interactive notebooks. I’m trying to decide when and what to do with the super seven verbs this year since I failed terribly at them last year.

What are your first week plans? I’d love to see the link to your blog or your ideas in the comment or on twitter! Sharing is caring!


“I can” goal stamps

Wow, am I sad that I won’t be at #ACTFL16 – it’s only Monday and I’m already seeing so many great tweets and plans to meet up … I’ll have to be there with you in spirit!

In other news, a lot of people have been asking to see my new document that includes I cans for my unit on family and homes. I can’t take all the credit – I’m always inspired by Megan and Kara’s stamp sheets, and I got a few of my I cans from Melanie and Kara’s work this summer at Camp Musicuentos!

Here’s a few Q and As about these new stamps.

So what are you doing now? Currently, I only stamp about half of the I cans in a unit – those that will require an assessment. Here’s an example of the one I planned on using for this unit before I had a change of mind!

So why are you changing what’s working now? I’ve wanted to do I cans like they do at Jefferson County Public Schools (credit again to Kara and Megan), but it’s always the logistics that get to me. But, I’ve decided that there’s nothing like combatting logistics by just implementing something to see how it goes, as evidenced by last year’s 90% TL experiment! I’ve really been working this year to say the “I can” every day, so that students can see what we’re doing and how it relates to the bigger picture, but I also want them to see them all the unit goals at once. Since I only stamp after assessments with my current stamp sheet, they don’t always see how the little I cans transition into the bigger ones.

How did you do it? So, after a little inspiration from Kara and Megan’s new Adios Textbook! site, I went for it. You guys already know that I’m a sucker for Piktochart, and it didn’t disappoint, again! I really took the time to write the I cans that I wanted, to put them in what I thought was a logical order, and to show students how they will progress, including bigger assessments.

How are you going to check each goal? To be honest, I don’t know. I think I’ll accept them as students can show me, but not during the middle of class. I’ll probably stamp them as I see kids complete them, whether that’s during the performance checks I try to do at the end of class, as kids participate during class time, and/or during some kind of stations, where I can check in with a few kids at a time as we go. I really need to get a self inking stamp so I can do it more spur-of-the-moment.

And what about grades? I’m going to be honest, I don’t know if I plan on grading them. I want kids to master each I can. I want them to see how each I can plays a bigger role in what we’re doing. I want there to be a reason that they complete them. I want them to want to show me what they can do. But I don’t know if grades are the motivator. And if so, do I grade each I can based on how well they did it? Or do I take it for “completion?” Since they need to show me each goal as they’re able to do it, can I set dates to enter them in the gradebook? Or should I really look at them all by the end of the unit, since they’ll be able to redo them as they need? I don’t have these answers. So I’ll update you as I decide!

What are the ACTFL proficiency levels for? I plan on helping kids to track their proficiency across all units, so I imagine that either I (or they? maybe both?) will circle the level that corresponds with their end-of-unit performance!

Anything else? I’m really nervous that I set these in stone, and now I have no room to deviate from that – that’s why there are blanks (thanks, Thomas Sauer, for the tip!) Also, what if the unit drags on and I want to skip a couple, or I realize that they’re not what I really wanted? I guess that will make me better for next year.

Well, if you’ve been with me this long, I should at least give you the full document, no? Here’s what I’ve got going for this unit, I’m honored to hear that inspired so many of you!

I always worry that I don’t vary the wording of these enough. As always, I welcome your feedback!