Cadeaux de Noël pour les parents (et un petit cadeau pour vous!)

Hi!

I have been super sick with a rotten cold all week, so I am just popping in with a quick post today! You would think after sleeping from 7:30 last night until 7:30 this morning that I would be all better, but sadly I am just about ready for another nap.

Parent gifts are a big topic of discussion this time of year, and if you are looking for a simple-but-cute idea, this post will show you a couple of things that I have done over the years! I really like making gifts with my students that require them to do as much of the work as possible - even if they may be less "perfect", I feel that parents don't really want a gift from me; they want a gift from their child!

I made this owl ornament with my students last year and the year before. It is a big hit and turns out really well! I get my students to flatten the dough, add the details, and fold it themselves. Once dry, I brought a cardboard box and some gold spray paint outside and we spray painted them right in the box. I suggest gluing the hanging ribbon to the back of the ornament with hot glue in addition to stringing it through the hole, as it does end up being rather heavy. Click on the picture below to see the full instructions:



The first year I did those, my students painted them themselves using liquid paint. They were cute, but it was harder to tell they were owls - ha! The spray paint allows for the details to still show through, and my students loved helping me with that part ;)

We used this kind of air-dry clay for them - I LOVE it! One tub was just enough for all 17 of my students.

Comment j'enseigne les mots fréquents

Knowing a wide variety of sight words is SO KEY for primary students when they are learning to read.

When your students are able to instantly identify key words without needing to pause and reflect, their brains then have more energy to decode the new words in their text that they haven't seen before.

They are also better able to make sense of what they are reading when they don't have to decode every word, so they are better able to predict the new words that are coming up.

Knowing their sight words also helps your students big time with their fluency, as well as their confidence. Sight words make up a huge percentage of the words in just about any text (and certainly any text that your students will be reading in kinder).

Once your students realize that they can string together whole sentences with the sight words that they know, they will feel like readers right away!

Also, certain words simply cannot be decoded in the French language - think est, et, les, etc.

You can't just slide your finger under those letters, say each sound out loud, and come up with the right word!

It is essential that our students memorize these high-frequency words to help them start reading as soon as possible, and feel like capable, successful readers.

Les mots fréquents (French sight words) are CRUCIAL for our early elementary students to learn, whether in French immersion or a francophone school setting. These words are seen over and over again in their texts, but often can't be decoded and must be memorized. How can you help your students memorize these often-tricky words so they can free up more brain space for learning new words? Check out this blog post to find out!


However, as important as they are, sight words can be quite the monster in kindergarten! Our students are alllll over the map - some learn sight words more quickly than you can teach them, while others take much longer to learn even the "easiest" sight words. Some students also find it easy to read sight words within the context of a sentence, but struggle in isolation - or vice versa. With such a wide range of abilities, how can you possibly teach everyone at their pace and make sure they are staying engaged? It can also be tricky to motivate students to memorize their sight words - how can you encourage them to practice their words over and over until they stick?

Maîtriser le centre de lecture à soi en maternelle

Hey everyone!

In case you are late to the party, I have been sharing how I run literacy centres in my classroom over the past few weeks. You can find out how I start centres in this post, how I organize them over here, and see ALL of the centres I have posted about so far by clicking here. Also, don't forget that you can access all of the freebies that you see in any of my posts by signing up for my Free French Resource Library - right HERE!

One great centre that is easy to set up and maintain without a lot of extra prep is the Read-to-Self centre (Lecture à soi). It can take a lot of modelling and practice up front, but the investment pays off.

By taking the time to teach your students that they can ALL already read, you can help your students find joy and success in this centre. Books are magical! One of my favourite sayings is about how there is really no child who actually hates reading - there are just children who haven't yet found the right books. It is our job to help them learn how to find the right books, teach them that they can read anything they want, and guide them to discover the magic of lecture à soi!

Read on to see my suggestions for how to get started.

One literacy centre that is really easy to maintain with very little prep is the Read-to-Self centre. But how can you set one up before your students know how to read? This blog post explains how it works in my French kindergarten classroom.


First of all, consider doing whole-group practice in a workshop format prior to turning Lecture à soi into an independent centre. Some of your kindergarten students may know next to nothing about books - they may have never opened one before, they may not know how to treat a book with respect, they may not know how to turn pages carefully, etc. I generally base my lessons around the assumption that my little sweeties all know nothing about books, and teach accordingly (obviously many of them DO know about books, but this way all of my bases are covered).

For 3-4 weeks, I teach quick mini lessons, and then send my students out with tubs or baskets of books to use to practice what I have taught them. We usually do this before our two "normal" centre rotations - I tell them that it is like a centre, but everyone is doing the same thing. I always, always start our first lesson with creating an anchor chart about what it looks like to take care of books, and what someone looks like who is mean to books.

I make sure that they know that our books are PRECIOUS, and must be taken care of! I plan to make a product for TPT that explains this more deeply someday, but my to-do list is very long at the moment!

Here is an example of what kinds of lessons I would teach in the first week:

Comment utiliser votre tableau à pochettes comme centre d'apprentissage

Hey everyone!

In case you are late to the party, I have been sharing how I run literacy centres in my classroom over the past few weeks. You can find out how I start centres in this post, how I organize them over here, and see ALL of the centres I have posted about so far by clicking here

Do you have a pocket chart in your classroom? Are you looking for ideas and/or ways to use it during your literacy centres?

Today's post is for you!

I am writing all about how I use my pocket chart during centre time.



90% of the time, I use my pocket chart for what I like to call "Phrases fantastiques". So, most of this post will be about those! At the end, I will share a couple of other ideas that you can incorporate with your pocket chart.

Phrases fantastiques are a great way to build your students' vocabulary, work on their one-to-one correspondence, practice sight words, work on correct sentence structure in their second language, encourage them to start thinking about masculin vs. féminin, and get them reading and writing simple sentences en français. I am all about killing two birds with one stone, and being as efficient as possible, and this centre kills so many birds with just one resource!

Here is how to set it up and get started:

C'est quoi le centre "Écris la salle"?

Hey everyone!

In case you are late to the party, I have been sharing how I run literacy centres in my classroom over the past few weeks. You can find out how I start centres in this post, how I organize them over here, and see ALL of the centres I have posted about so far by clicking here

Today I will be writing about my students' most FAVOURITE centre. You may not have heard of "Écris la salle" (Write the Room) as a centre before, but let me tell you - it is a HIT! I have run this centre in my classroom for the past four years, and it is always the most popular. I love it, too - it is easy to set up and explain, it keeps my students busy the whole time, and it gets them moving! You can also run it with very few materials - just a pencil, paper, and clip board for each group member if you want. Here is how to do it!



DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT YOUR STUDENTS TO WRITE
Sight words? Letters? Student names? Thematic vocabulary? Sons composés? The choice is yours! Écris la salle is essentially a scavenger hunt, where you send your students all around the room looking for whatever you like. When they find it, they write it down. What you want them to find depends on your particular group of students and where they are at.

Trucs et idées pour votre centre de jeux

Hi guys!

In case you are late to the party, I have been sharing how I run literacy centres in my classroom over the past few weeks. You can find out how I start centres in this post, how I organize them over here, and see ALL of the centres I have posted about so far by clicking here

Our games centre is another student favourite! When I first started this centre, I really limited myself and was only thinking in the realm of "board games" and puzzles. While those are awesome, kindergarteners are so young, and it was hard to find engaging games that they were able to play independently. Also, board games are EXPENSIVE!

Then, I realized that I could make and teach my own games, and/or adapt old favourites (like Go Fish and Memory) to fit my particular group of students. So, while I do still provide my students with some board games throughout the year, generally based on their interests, this post will mainly be about how you can teach your students games that touch on the literacy outcomes that they need to know.

Games are an awesome way to get your students reviewing important literacy, communication, AND social skills! Check out this blog post to read all about what the Centre de jeux looks like in my French primary classroom!

(Side note - I wrote another blog post last year explaining the WHY behind why I think that games are super important to incorporate into your day as much as possible, especially in French second-language classrooms. You can check out that post by clicking here.)

Here are my top tips for the best games centres! There are a lot of them, but each one is pretty quick!

Maîtriser le centre d'écriture en maternelle

Hi guys!

In case you are late to the party, I have been sharing how I run literacy centres in my classroom over the past few weeks. You can find out how I start centres in this post, how I organize them over here, and see ALL of the centres I have posted about so far by clicking here

Today, I want to talk to you about our writing centre. I loooove our writing centre! I love teaching writing in general because children are such natural (and hilarious) story tellers, and because writing is automatically differentiated without much extra work. Each child is able to work at their own ability, and progress naturally with time. In addition to running Writer's Workshop in my classroom (which you can read about here), I also have time for writing during centres. This gives my students extra time to practice and solidify what they are learning during Writer's Workshop, as well as exposure to other genres and ideas.

Here are my best tips for starting a smooth Centre d'écriture in your classroom!

The writing centre gives students extra time to practice and solidify what they have learned in regular writing lessons. It is one of my favourite centres, and always a hit with students. Here are my best tips for starting a smooth Centre d'écriture in your French primary classroom!



1. START WITH WHAT THEY KNOW... again!

As I have stated LOTS of times already (starting here), it is so important to start with what your students can already do. In kindergarten, this might just be drawing, or colouring, or maaaybe writing their name.

That's fine!

You need to start with what they already know how to do so that you can teach them your behaviour expectations before pushing them out of their comfort zone and encouraging them to try something new. So, on the first day, I may just have a bin with blank paper, colouring sheets, and some crayons. I will talk to my students at the carpet for 5-7 minutes before sending them off to work, and on the first day of talking about the writing centre, we usually review voice level and/or clean up. With certain groups, I have also had to mention writing on your OWN paper - not your partner's ;)

Once they have behaviours exactly how you like, you can move on to teaching them some new routines/procedures and exposing them to some new genres or things to try out.

Idées et trucs pour vos centres de motricité fine

Hi guys!

In case you are late to the party, I have been sharing how I run literacy centres in my classroom over the past few weeks. You can find out how I start centres in this post, how I organize them over here, and see ALL of the centres I have posted about so far by clicking here

This week, I will be talking about our fine motor centres! Fine motor centres are my favourites - and my students', too! They are lots of fun and allow my students time to play, while simultaneously working on those all-important fine motor skills.

Don't feel guilty about including these - don't feel that they aren't "real" literacy centres. Children, especially at this age, NEED to participate in activities that help develop their little finger muscles if we want them to be able to cut, colour, and (most importantly!) write neatly and efficiently.

Plus, they are four and five years old! They learn through playing - let them play! Read on for some tips and ideas for how to organize and incorporate fine motor centres into your centre rotation.

Fine motor centres are my favourites - and my students' favourites, too! Children NEED to participate in activities that help develop their little finger muscles if we want them to be able to cut, colour, and (most importantly!) write neatly and efficiently. Centres are a great time to fit in those kinds of activities. Check out this blog post full of great ideas!

I kind of touched on how I organize my fine motor centres in this post. Just to recap, I run two fine motor centres at a time - a blue (A) and a red (B). To help my students stay independent, the centre cards on my centre board are both the same colour as the bins they are housed in, and each have a picture with the corresponding letter (A or B). Twice the potential for them to find the right bins ;)

I always have three choices for each fine motor centre - three reds and three blues. Generally, all the red centres are different than the blues. Here are how they look on my shelf:

Des idées pour votre centre de pâte à modeler

One of my students' favourite centres is the Play Doh centre. I keep the Play Doh centre out most of the year (it is one of my 10 "core" centres), but it is one that I will occasionally rotate out. Students can work on lots of different literacy skills via Play Doh (especially letter formation!), and even if you just let them play, they are still building those all-important finger muscles that they need to improve their fine motor skills. Play Doh is engaging and fun, and you can easily change it up throughout the year to keep your students excited!

Here are my top Play Doh tips and ideas:

The play dough centre is always a hit! Students can work on all kinds of literacy skills using play dough - letter formation, spelling, sight words, etc., and even during free play, they are still building those all-important finger muscles. Here is how I run my play dough centre in my French primary classroom!


1. START WITH FREE PLAY

I talked about how you should be starting with centres that your students already know in this post. Play Doh is great for this! In the beginning, I just put out a few containers of Play Doh and let them play how they want while I teach expectations. It is important to take the time to teach them exactly what you expect out of them - we talk about why we don't mix the colours, and how it should look after being cleaned up.

I also take the time to teach them different techniques. I show them how to make balls, roll the Doh into snakes, flatten it like a pancake, etc. This helps inspire them to practice the techniques they will use later to make letters and words during their free play.

You can also add toys if you like - rolling pins, plastic cutlery, play dough stampers, and so on work great. I purchased a fire house set inexpensively during Amazon Prime day this past summer and it was a big hit!

Comment introduire les nouveaux centres d'apprentissage

Happy Sunday!

It is a rainy day here in NS today - fall has definitely arrived! A perfect day for curling up with a mug of coffee and writing my next post in my centres d'apprentissage en maternelle series. Today I would like to talk to you about my tips for introducing new centres and activities to your primary students.


Introducing new literacy centres in maternelle can be HARD!! Here are my tips and tricks for centre success in your French kindergarten classroom!

In my experience, introducing centres and activities GRADUALLY, one activity at a time, is the way to go, rather than trying to switch out all your centres at once every Monday. There are a few reasons for this, including:

- It is WAY less prep that you have to have done all at once

- If you didn't get everything prepped that you wanted, it's okay - your students can continue the activity that they worked on last time

- You only have to talk about one activity at a time, so your students only have to pay attention for about five minutes

- It leaves you lots of opportunity to also review with your students

I suggest teaching or reviewing one thing with your students before EACH centre rotation. I always bring my students back to the carpet before each rotation. We can regroup and discuss any necessary reminders, and then I move right into the one thing I want to teach them that day. I do two rotations, so I review/teach them something about centres twice per day.

As I said in a previous post, I start the year with centres that my students already know how to do - things that require no explanation (blocks, Lego, Play Doh, etc.). I teach only behaviour expectations (see this post for more details) and routines (see this post for more details) at this time. Once they are independent and doing what I expect, I add in our "real" centres gradually, once at a time, over the span of a couple weeks.

Which brings me to my first tip!

Organisez vos centres d'apprentissage

Here I am... a day late! I forgot when I planned last week to blog on Monday that I would in fact be in Halifax watching the greatest hockey team in the NHL (the Ottawa Senators) kick some Toronto Maple Leaf butt. It was a belated birthday present and it was super fun!

Go Sens Go!!!

If you missed last week's post, I am doing a little series on my blog all about centres and how I run them in my maternelle classroom. Last week I talked about how I launch them in the beginning of the school year. And now, without further ado...here is a post all about how I organize my centres/rotations in a way that allows my students to be completely autonomous...

Or as autonomous as possible for a group of 4- and 5-year olds haha!


Keeping your centres organized makes life waaaay easier and really helps your students become more independent. Click to read about how I keep my literacy centres organized in my French kindergarten classroom!


Keeping your centres organized (and keeping your organization consistent) makes life waaaaaaaay easier. It also really helps your students become more independent - I very rarely have to tell my students where to go and what to do...I just show them where to look in order to figure it out on their own. 

As I mentioned last week, you only have 5-7 minutes to teach your students something new before each rotation. You don't want to spend all of those minutes telling your students what to do and where to go! Once my students are able to stay at their station for about 10 minutes and have behaviour expectations down pat, I move into teaching them about how our centres are organized. 

Here are my top four tips!

Starting centres... en maternelle!

Do you use centres in your primary classroom? I LOVE centres!

They can be awesome.

When you have centres in place that run like a well-oiled machine, you can easily pull small groups of students to work with, while being confident that the rest of your class is engaged and practicing important skills - independently. This helps you ensure that you are teaching your students EXACTLY what they need to know, and you're not wasting their time or your time.

Centres can also make differentiation a snap, if you have different "levels" of activities for both centre time and time working with you.

I feel like by now, most teachers are aware of how valuable centres and small groups can be. However, centres can be a challenge to implement, especially in maternelle. They take time to teach and prepare, there is sometimes a lack of quality French resources, it can be hard to make sure your students are working responsibly and independently while you pull a small group, and it can take a lot of organisation.

It has honestly taken me a few years of trial and error (lots of error haha) to get my centres running exactly how I want them. I figured some other teachers may be able to learn from my experiences and mistakes, so I will be sharing how I start and run centres in my kindergarten classroom over the next few weeks, along with some of the resources that I use!

Centres are a great way to keep your students engaged and learning while you pull guided reading groups. But, en maternelle (especially in September!), your students can barely sit still long enough to hear ONE center explanation, let alone a bunch. And they may not even understand French yet!! But, we all know it is important to start building stamina and routine from the very beginning. Here is how I start literacy centres from the very first week of school in my French kindergarten classroom!


Today's post is all about what to do in the first few weeks of centres - how to get started. But before I get started on this blog post, here are a few things you should know about my classroom centres:

Parent communication en maternelle

Happy Sunday!

I know that school has probably started for most of you (we started back on the 8th), but I wanted to talk about a super important topic today that is especially pertinent to the beginning of the school year: parent communication.

Obviously, it is essential that teachers of all grades communicate with their students' parents, but I believe that this communication is especially precious and especially important in maternelle. Parents of kindergarten students are unique - for many, it is their first time having a school-aged child. For others, even those whose siblings you have previously taught, things may have changed significantly since their older children started school.

At this age, you cannot count on your students to inform their parents of goings-on, or of your expectations, so it is important that you communicate clearly. New school-aged parents are often nervous, have no idea what to expect, and may not know about things that are "obvious" to teachers and parents who have had children at the school for a few years - through no fault of their own.

Parents are kind of like students - they can't be expected to know things that they haven't yet been taught!

Parent communication is so key, because it is how you can ensure that your classroom parents are aware of your expectations for them and for their child. It is also a way for you to make sure that they know what the school expects of them. I pride myself on being a good communicator, and have had many thanks and expressions of gratitude from my classroom parents in the past.

Read on for some tips and ideas of how I communicate in my class!


It is essential that teachers of all grades communicate with their students' parents, but this communication is especially important in maternelle. Check out this blog post to see how I communicate with parents all year long!



BEGINNING OF THE YEAR

The beginning of the year is information overload for most parents. They are bombarded with forms, notices, reminders, and procedural information. It is essential that you have an organizational system in place for all of this info - you do not want to be sending home a form or two each day, only to have them lose the forms or forget to return them. You also want to be sure that you set a clear date for when you want that information read by, and forms returned by.

It is likely going to be overwhelming for parents to receive all this information at once no matter what you do. Here is what I do to make it as simple as possible!

Plans pour la rentrée 2016 (maternelle)

I cannot believe how close we are to the first day of school!

Such an exciting time of year...but, let's face it, it's also a STRESSFUL time of year. I am actually feeling a little guilty for pausing in my preparations to write this blog post! My to do list is still longer than humanly possible...and time is running out. I figured that some of you may be feeling the pressure as well, and looking for some ideas to help your first few days run smoothly.

La maternelle is especially challenging - most of our new munchkins have no idea about school/classroom expectations yet, someone is usually crying most of the morning, and everyone and their supplies are ALL OVER THE PLACE!

Kindergarten is always exhausting, but never more than the first few days of school. Read on for some of my tips & tricks for first day planning, as well as a peek at what my first day plans look like!

Tips and tricks to planning the first day of maternelle, as well as a peek at my actual first day plans!


TIP 1: PLAN THE ORDER OF YOUR ACTIVITIES...BUT NOT THE LENGTH

We all have schedules with how many minutes we should be spending on each subject/activity. Once you know your students and their pace, these provide great guidelines. On the first few days...forget it. I plan the order that I want to complete my activities (and sometimes change it on the fly if necessary), but I try not to rely on them being completed within a certain time frame. I try to stick to the order as much as possible, but don't panic if one activity takes forever, or if another is done and over with in five minutes. Here is a photo of my plans for the first two days (don't judge my handwriting or my franglais, ha!


You may notice that my first day plans are written in, but my second day plans are on sticky notes. Usually, I plan out my weeks via my pacing guide (see image below), and then write my daily plans the morning of in my planner. This way, if we don't get to an activity, or if we have extra time and start something I had planned to do the following day, I don't have to erase anything, cross anything out, or ruin my pretty planner with white out. It also helps me mentally prepare for the day to come, and ensure that I have everything ready. The first two days of school do not go into my pacing guide, so I planned on sticky notes first.

French rhyme time

Hi!

In getting ready for back to school, I have been compiling all of my guided reading games and activities (getting organized is my big goal for this year!).

Last week, I talked about some ways that I practice counting syllables with my students.

Another big skill that K and 1 students need to work on is rhyming.

Students should be able to identify and produce rhymes, and figure out which words in a series do not rhyme with a target word.

Like syllables, rhymes are another way to show students that words and sounds can be fun, and that we can be silly with them!

Did you know that I have a FREE guide all about teaching rhymes en français?

If you haven't seen it yet and want to grab a copy, just CLICK HERE and fill out the form - I'll send it straight to your inbox.

Included in the guide is a free game that you can use with your students to help them practice rhyming.

The game is called Les mots dans un bateau, and you can read more about how it works below.


(Yes, even the title rhymes ;) )

It is so simple, but very effective. I use it during small group time, but I also turn it into a whole group game as well.

The set includes six boats, each with a different image on the hull and four blank spaces.

How to make sure your French Primary Students Master Syllables

Imagine you are doing guided reading with one of your best maternelle students.

They are reading along, their little voice getting stronger and more confident with every sentence, when all of a sudden, they reach a new word.

A new word, BUT a word that just contains sounds they know (lavabo, for example).

So, you stay quiet, holding your breath, sitting on your hands to restrain yourself from grabbing their pointer finger to stick under the tricky word, willing them to use their strategies. You know they can do it!

They take a deep breath, put their finger under the first letter of the word, and (while you are still silently cheerleading), you hear...

"lllll-aaaa-vvvv-aaaa-bbbb-ooo... lamargaho!"

You exhale in disbelief as they keep right on going, not even realizing that lamargaho isn't a real word. French is their second language after all... they don't know every single word yet!

But, what even just happened?!

They read every single sound correctly... how did it end up a bunch of mumbo-jumbo when they smooshed the sounds together??

This used to happen to me ALL THE TIME.

And it is soooo frustrating!!!!

But the solution can be pretty simple... although it might involve going back to a concept you probably taught at the beginning of the year and assumed every student had mastered... because it's pretty easy, right?

You sat your students in a circle, shouted out one name or word at a time, and had everyone clap out and say how many parts there were. Done!

That's right - I'm talking about syllables!

And if you only did one or two lessons waaaay back at the beginning of the year... you might not actually be done ;)

Syllables might seem simple, and most students are pretty good at taking a word in isolation, clapping it out, and telling you how many parts are there.

But, if a student has truly mastered syllables, they will be able to transfer that mastery to their reading and use their knowledge of syllables to help them decode big words.

You will run into the problem of correct sounds becoming nonsense gibberish far less often.

And that's what I will be discussing today in this blog post!


Why are syllables so important?


Being able to divide a word into syllables is an ESSENTIAL pre-reading skill!

As I'm sure you know, as students learn to decode new words while reading, it is much more efficient for them to read words in chunks, rather than stretching out each letter - especially when reading longer words. 

That's what happened in the above example, and happens often in maternelle and première année, as students are learning to read.

They get so excited about knowing all their sounds, that they don't realize little words they already know are hidden inside of bigger words, or that they can use their knowledge of syllables to help them read more efficiently.

For the student who was trying to read lavabo, for example, it would have been much easier to read it as "la-va-bo" than to read it as "llll-aaa-vvv-aaa-bbb-ooo" and then try to remember all of the letters they just said! 

If you want to read salade, then "sa-la-de" is way simpler than "ssss-aaa-lll-aaa-ddd-eee". 

And if you wanted to read the longest French word in existence, you would definitely want to read it as hip-po-pot-o-mon-stro-ses-quip-ped-a-li-o-pho-bie, rather than trying to sound out every single letter!

(Interestingly, hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobie is the name of the phobia of long words, en français. Nothing like making someone afraid of their own diagnosis!)

Our students must practice breaking words into chunks like this, and practice putting the chunks back together again so they are USED to doing this when they begin to read. 


So, how can you help your students become syllable masters?



How can you get them thinking about breaking big words into little pieces?

The answer is pretty simple, but it isn't something every teacher does.

Syllables seem pretty easy and basic, and students often seem like they know what they are doing after a couple of lessons.

So it might happen that you do a lesson or two, everyone seems to have it down pat, and so you move on.

(May or may not be speaking from experience, here haha)

But here is the little secret...

Your students really do need to practice, practice, practice!

You want to practice early, practice often, and practice in a variety of ways.

Even when it seems like your students can count syllables in their sleep... keep practicing!

And a great way to introduce this skill is to practice orally

To be successful readers, students MUST become able to hold each syllable in their mind, and then string them back together

You don't need worksheets or game boards to practice this skill with your students (although those are fun and awesome, too!).

You can start practicing as soon as tomorrow using only your mouths and your brains!

You might want to try giving your students syllables to put together and have them work backward. So, you would say "la.... va.... bo" and then your students would put those chunks together to make the word lavabo.

Or, you can give your students the word right away, and ask them to divide it into syllables themselves and tell you how many there.

Practicing dividing words into chunks orally and putting them back together over and over in a relaxed, fun environment (like while playing a game), can help students transfer these skills to print when they are ready to learn to read. 

You can use silly words, funny words, nonsense words, new words, old words, student names, family members' names, staff members' names... anything!

And speaking of games...


Games are fun! As you know if you have read this blog post, I am a huuuuuge fan of games in the classroom, especially at the primary level.

Games are engaging, and help students retain information with much less effort on their part.

The games I use for syllables are super simple, but my students enjoy them and always ask for more. If you have been looking for a way to incorporate syllable practice with your small groups, this game is my go-to :



This resource includes 12 different game boards so you can practice all year long.

Some have seasonal or holiday themes, but some you can use at any time of year.

The game is super simple and pretty low prep! All you need are the desired game boards, the 15 corresponding word cards, and snap cubes. I laminate my cards and cut them with my paper cutter - each game board only has one sheet of cards, so it's pretty quick!

Students draw one card at a time and name the image. I have written the word on the card, but would never expect my students to READ it yet - if the object on the card is one they are unfamiliar with, I (or another group member) will tell them the word.

The underlined word(s) is what I want them to count (not the article). They MUST say the word out loud before counting. After saying the word out loud, they break it into chunks (orally) and count how many syllables. Of course, they then have to put the word back together for me!

*I teach my students to keep track on their fingers while clapping as they say each part. So if a student got “papillon”, they would say “pa-pill-on... papillon!” while raising their index, middle, and ring fingers with each chunk and tapping them against the opposite palm in a clapping motion.*

Once they know how many syllables are in the word, they make a tower with that amount of snap cubes and cover the picture on the game board.

I use this as a cooperative game, and we all work together to fill the board as quickly as possible, but you could also get your students to compete against each other by providing different coloured cubes.

I prefer to use this game as a warm-up activity during guided reading, where I can be sure my students are segmenting words into syllables correctly, and remembering to put them back together, too. 

However, I have also included an “I Can” card that you can print and use if your students are already pros and you would like to use this game as an independent centre.


>> Click HERE to see Super Syllabes in my TPT store


Another tip for increasing engagement is to use fun manipulates and materials wherever possible!

You can give your students a handful of seasonal erasers or objects, and as they divide a given word into syllables, have them place an object on the table for each part of the word. They will then be able to count how many syllables were in the word.

We do syllable worksheets sometimes, and my students LOVE them... because I give them bingo daubers!

Check out this video of a student completing a syllable counting worksheet:



It can also be helpful to encourage your students to take their thinking about syllables a step farther.

For example, I will sometimes ask my students to not only count how many syllables are in a word, but to also sort pictures of words into groups based on how many syllables they have.



This helps ensure that they are counting syllables and thinking about what they find, rather than just counting syllables in a word and then moving on to the next word.

>>> Click HERE to see my Syllable Sorting Mats on TPT


You could also give your students a number between one and four, and ask them to come up with a word with that many syllables. You could provide a bank of vocabulary words, or allow them to use any words they choose.

And...

If you are interested in learning more about what I do to teach syllables (and why I think they are so important!) check out my FREE e-book (tout en français) all about helping your French primary students master syllables.


This e-book started out as a quick cheat sheet, but I had so much to say and so many activities to share that it quickly grew into a pretty big freebie.

There is even a game inside that you can use as a guided reading warm up, or as a literacy centre once your students are pros.

Just enter your name & email below, and I will send you the free e-book right away!




Once your students are oral syllable masters, you will want to move on and encourage them to practice reading small syllables.

First, you will want them to read small syllables in isolation, before moving on to taking big words and breaking them into chunks.

If you feel that your students have truly mastered syllables and are ready for the next step (reading small words and syllables in isolation, and then moving on to reading big words from their books using syllables), I have a few more blog posts that might be helpful to you.

>> Check out THIS BLOG POST to read about how I teach "la fusion" (putting sounds together while reading) using games. 

>>Check out THIS BLOG POST for some examples of practicing "chunking" with books during guided reading.

When you give your students time and opportunity to master syllables, their little brains will be more ready to decode bigger words as they start to read.

They will already be used to holding sounds and syllables in their minds and putting them together to create words that make sense.

They will be able to remember that big words are made up of small chunks, and they will find them and smoosh them together to create real words, not a mishmash of mumbo-jumbo gibberish.

And your sweet little French primary students will be true syllable masters!



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