MORE of my favourite mainstream French music to play in the classroom


If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may have already read my previous post about playing mainstream music in the classroom. If you have, you may want to skip this little intro and scroll right to the videos! :)

Mainstream French music is great to play during class time in primary immersion or francophone classrooms in minority communities. Expose your students to authentic French culture and get them excited about French celebrities and music with these 10 great songs!

If not, I just want to start my post by explaining why I think it's so important to play mainstream French music in your immersion and/or French first language classroom. It is of course also important to play French nursery rhymes and children's songs if you teach in the primary grades, but I do truly feel that mainstream French music is an incredible way to expose your students to some French culture and help them feel proud that they speak French.

As you probably already know, I teach kindergarten at a francophone school in a minority community in rural Nova Scotia. French is rarely spoken in our community, and (despite all of our encouragement to speak and live in French at home), many students only experience French at school and during school activities.

Une lettre par jour... ou une lettre par semaine?


I am here today to discuss kind of a controversial topic! I get asked all the time how I teach the alphabet to my students, so I thought that I would share with you my number one alphabet teaching tip today.


It is not something that everyone agrees with, and many maternelle teachers do it differently.

And that's okay! This blog is all about me sharing what works for me in my classroom - I absolutely do not think that I am an expert about what works for anybody else. I once heard a teacher blogger say to think about her like Walmart (or Target, if you're lucky enough to have one of those nearby), and you can think about me the same way.

Stop by, browse around, and pick up one or two things to take with you on your way.

You don't have to try evvvvvverything that I suggest, or ever feel badly if you do things in a different way. I don't judge other teachers - we are all just doing our best!

And this blog post is all about what I have found works best for me and my students when teaching the alphabet!

4 tips for trying directed drawing in maternelle


If you were here last week, when I wrote about 5 reasons you should try directed drawing this year, then you will remember that this week, I will be offering you some tips to help make sure directed drawing runs smoothly for you.

We all know that maternelle can be hectic! Directed drawing is an amazing activity if it is done well, but it doesn't always give the best results if it isn't modelled correctly first. I have been doing directed drawing for years, so I figured sharing some of my best tips wouldn't hurt!

Directed drawing is an excellent activity to try in your French primary class, but (as with anything in maternelle), it has the potential to go downhill fast if you don't start off on the right foot. Here are 4 tips to read before you start dessin dirigé in  your French immersion or francophone classroom!


Model, model, model!

I have a lot of people tell me that they use directed drawing in centres. I do think that could work, but I am going to offer you a different idea to try first.

We might think that directed drawing is easy and obvious (I mean, the instructions are right there at the top of the page!), but what is evident and easy for us is not evident and easy for someone who has never been taught.

5 raisons pour lesquelles vous devrez essayer le dessin dirigé en maternelle

Bonjour! Today I am popping in to talk about one of my FAVOURITE activities to get started with right away in maternelle - directed drawing!

I start with directed drawing pretty much from the first full week of maternelle. I LOVE routine (and so do my students!), and this is one of the first academic activities I start building into our day each year.

I have another blog post coming next week with my best tips for directed drawing, but I wanted to take some time to first go over why I think you should give it a try in your classroom. There are many benefits that come from directed drawing - it is not "fluff" or a filler activity.

Here are my top five reasons why you should give directed drawing a go in your French primary classroom:

Have you tried directed drawing in your French kindergarten or first grade class yet? Directed drawing is fun and teaches your students a lot of drawing skills AND life skills. Here are five reasons why you should give directed drawing a go this year!


Every single year that I do directed drawing, my students are AMAZED at what they can create when they try thoughtful, multi-step drawings. Almost every student ends up being much better at drawing than they thought, simply because no one has ever showed them how to take their time, think about each part of what they want to draw, and add details. I get so excited to show my students what they are capable of!


I build directed drawing into our alphabet routine. I use these directed drawing sheets, where we draw one thing for each letter. What we draw is also the exact same anchor word that we have on our alphabet posters. Consistency is key to help your students anchor letter sounds to letters! Also, we all know that students learn in different ways - drawing something that begins with the target letter of the day or week may help some of your students really remember their letter names and sounds.

Here is an example of the alphabet sheets we do:

The best-kept classroom décor secret

Bonjour! Today, I am here to share with you what I believe to be the best-kept classroom decor secret in elementary.

So, we all have posters and référentiels on display in our classrooms, right? We use them for evvvvverything in maternelle - colours, letters, numbers, sight words, routines and procedures, vocabulary, reading strategies, writing strategies, etc. etc!

In just about every classroom, you can find store-bought posters, teacher-made posters, and student-made posters (yes - I believe there is a place for all three types).

We know that posters and référentiels are valuable - essential, even!

BUT... we all have one little problem (or, at least we all do at my school).

Lack. Of. Space!!!

How many of you have strict fire marshals who don't allow more than 20% of the walls to be covered (and 20% of the walls are pretty much already covered by bulletin boards, white boards, and coat hooks)?

I do!!

Plus, I love using my big white board as a word wall. So, I am always scrambling for space to display my référentiels and the posters that we create together.

Today, I am going to share with you one little change I have made in my classroom that has resulted in a few extra inches of space all around (and those inches do make a difference!).

Drum roll please...

10 ressources GRATUITES pour la rentrée

Back to school is sneaking up on us - EEK! I can't believe that two weeks of summer have already flown by. I personally still think it's too early for you to start getting ready, but I did want to put a little list together for you of five of my favourite French back to school freebies, so that it's ready for you when you are ;)

Looking for FREE back to school resources in French? Check out this blog post and find 10 ressources gratuites pour la rentrée! Parfait pour la maternelle ou la première année.

All of these resources can be found on TPT (except one), and all of the ones that I made are in my Free French Resource Library (which is a special place for my newsletter subscribers - if you want to get on the list, just enter your info and click that pink button below!):

I made these focus wall headers as a special request for one of my favourite customers, and I love how they turned out!! They are chalkboard-themed and look very nice up on the wall. A focus wall is a great way for you to display what you are working on each week.

FREE French Daily Focus Wall labels - Chalkboard

If you need more labels to match, I also made a set of editable labels in the same theme. They are not free, but they are in my TPT store if you need them! :) Click here to see them in my store.

I will definitely be using this freebie this year! Displaying posters of the art routine is very helpful for keeping your students on track, and will help them develop independence.

I love this freebie from Mme Émilie! I hang the months on my wall as our birthday chart every year. I get my students to each colour a cupcake and we display them under our birthday months.

This class list template is EDITABLE, so you can type in your name, the year, and your students' names! You will just need to open it in PowerPoint or Keynote.

FREE Editable student checklist template

5 & 6. FRENCH DESK TAGS (x2!)
Les coccinelles - If you are limited on space and are looking for a simple design, I made these ladybug-themed desk plates a few years ago. They have a space for your students' names and feature the alphabet and numbers 1-20. They also come in two sizes.

Signets/affichettes de nom - thème coccinelle

If you have more space available or are looking for more content on your desk plates, check out these ones by For French Immersion!

7. FRENCH STUDENT BIRTHDAY GIFT (this freebie is EXCLUSIVE to my newsletter subscribers. You can find it in the Free Resource Library in the "Holidays" section)
Read all about how to use these glow necklace gift tags in this blog post!

Looking for FREE back to school resources in French? Check out this blog post and find 10 ressources gratuites pour la rentrée! Parfait pour la maternelle ou la première année.

8. FRENCH BACK TO SCHOOL CROWN - La classe de Madame Angel
I always do crowns on the first day! I put them out on the tables and my students start colouring as they arrive. It helps our day to start nice and smoothly, as everyone knows how to get started right away!

These bookmarks would make such a cute first day of school gift! There are book marks for a wide variety of grades.

These are a brand new freebie that I just added to my store and to the library. I LOVE using square posters because they save so much space! The free set is mini-sized, so you can use them for all kinds of things.

Les couleurs - MINI affiches (FRENCH Mini Colour Posters)

Again, if you need the full-sized set (there are also more spelling/masculin/féminin options in the full set), just click here to see it in my TPT store.

BONUS - Just in case you didn't find everything you need, or if you don't teach maternelle and some of these aren't as relevant to you, you can still download the FREE Back to School French E-Book that 15 different French Teacher-Authors put together just for French teachers in 2016!

Looking for FREE back to school resources in French? Check out this blog post and find 10 ressources gratuites pour la rentrée! Parfait pour la maternelle ou la première année.

Un jeu facile pour faire 10 (plus a FREEBIE!)

Knowing how to make 10 quickly and easily is a super valuable skill for our students' future addition and subtraction success. We all know that more practice = more progress, so we should be giving our students as many different chances to practice making 10 as possible.

10 frames are an awesome tool for teaching our students to make 10. Filling up 10 frames one manipulate at a time provides students with valuable counting practice, and helps them become more able to quickly identify how many objects are in a 10 frame without needing to count.

Filling 10 frames is also great for practicing 1:1 correspondence - students learn that only one thing can go in each box. It also teaches directionality and le retour à la ligne suivante - they must fill their frame from left to right, just like when you read!

The more practice our students can have with making 10 and using 10 frames, the better. I have a great game to share with you today that incorporates both of these things. It is also a partner game that encourages math talk. Partner games in math are amazing for helping solidify our students' math vocabulary!


- 1-2 10 frames for each group of two students (one frame if you want to practice making 10, two frames if you want to practice making 20)
- 1 bag of manipulates per group (I love mini erasers, small sea shells, fancy rocks, counters, pennies, etc.)
- 1 die/pair with only the numbers 1-3. I cover up 4, 5, and 6 with a white dot label and write 1, 2, 3 over them. Each die then has two 1s, two 2s, and two 3s. You can also buy blank foam dice and write 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 3 on them yourself.
- math talk cards (I have added a FREEBIE with these and 10 frames to the Free French Resource Library)
- 1 white board marker per group

How to play:
1. Everyone needs a partner. Get each group to play rock, paper, scissors - the winner gets to roll the die first

2. After they roll the die, partner A adds that many manipulates to the 10 frame (left to right)

3. Partner B then counts the manipulates and how many spaces are left. Using the math talk card, they say "J'en ai ____. J'ai besoin de ____ autres pour faire 10". On day one, I just get them to practice saying how many they have and how many they need. The second time we play, I give them a white board marker and get them to practice saying it AND writing it.

4. Partners exchange rolls. Partner B rolls the die and adds that many more. Partner A counts all of the manipulates in the 10 frame and how many spaces are left. They use the math talk card to say how many they have and how many more they need.

5. Repeat until the grille is full - partners must roll the correct number to fill it (they can't go over). You can play that the person who fills the 10 frame is the winner, but I usually just get both partners to yell "Nous avons rempli la grille!" and everyone is happy haha. Don't forget to show them that if they have 10 already, they need 0 more!

If you play to 20, just make sure that your students count how many more they need to get to 20.

That's it! You can find a freebie in the math section of my Free French Resource Library that contains 10 frames and math talk cards so that your students can play this game, too.

(Not a member of my Free Resource Library yet? No problem! Just enter your info & click the pink button below to sign up for my newsletter. Once you're subscribed, I will send you an email right away with the password. You'll also get a note from me in your inbox every 2 weeks or so with tips and tricks, or to let you know about new freebies, but you can unsubscribe at any time!)
Let me know if you give this game a try! I would love to know how it works for your students. It's a favourite game for my students every year!