Quick & Easy Bathroom "Passes"

Hi guys!

As you may have seen on Instagram this week, I have been hard at work setting up my classroom. Things are finally starting to come together, and I am feeling like I will be pretty much ready for la rentrée by Wednesday, when my new kiddos will arrive!

I have been sharing pieces of my prep in my Instagram stories. I have gotten a lot of questions and comments about my new bathroom "passes", so I thought I would share them with you guys today.

I found this idea on Pinterest when I was looking for bathroom pass ideas. I don't like giving real passes that my students have to take with them into the bathroom (ew haha), and they are not required at my school.

Also, we are most often not working at our desks, so I don't find that the kind of pass where your students leave something at their desks to show that they are gone works well for us, either.

The general rule of thumb is that one student can go to the boys' bathroom and one to the girls' bathroom at a time (to reduce the potential for "bathroom play time" haha).

Most of the time, my students have to ask permission to go, so that I can make sure that someone isn't already out of the room. But sometimes, like when I am working with a small group, I just don't want to be interrupted for bathroom requests every 10 seconds!

In the past, I just added a picture of a toilet to our centre board (yes, true story haha - don't judge me), and students would move their picture to the toilet picture while they were gone and replace it when they got back. It worked okay, except that often students would forget to replace their picture, so other students would be waiting a long time for no real reason.

During my Pinterest research, I found a much more fun way to have my students let me know they are at the washroom - push lights!!

I bought two push lights from Amazon (affiliate link - the white ones I got are discontinued, but these black ones seem to be the same!) and drew one of each washroom symbol on them using a regular black Sharpie marker.

I hung them up by the door using hook and loop fasteners (aka Velcro) (I bought the strips from Amazon, too - affiliate link).

A quick, easy, and fun way to make "bathroom passes" for your students! Instead of giving them something to take with them (and most likely forget in the bathroom!), have them flick on a light on their way out and turn it off when they return. You and the other students will easily know when someone is at the washroom!
Ignore the words - I forgot to save the picture before I wrote my Instastory explanation!


When my students need the washroom, they will just click on the light with the symbol that matches the washroom they will be using. When they come back, they will turn it off.

I think that turning the light on and off will be fun/cool/exciting enough that they will be pretty likely to remember to actually do it!

Now I am just hoping they will also remember to wash their hands before they come back ;)

Bonne rentrée!

A quick, easy, and fun way to make "bathroom passes" for your students! Instead of giving them something to take with them (and most likely forget in the bathroom!), have them flick on a light on their way out and turn it off when they return. You and the other students will easily know when someone is at the washroom!


Affiliate links for products I used to make the bathroom passes:

- Push lights

- Velcro strips (I use these for hanging up my visual schedule, too!)

- Black sharpie

How to Help Your Maternelle Students Learn Their Letters

Bonjour!

La rentrée is almost here, and teachers have been thinking about how to get started on the right foot. I have been getting tons of questions about what exactly I do with my students throughout the day to teach them the alphabet in the beginning of the year.

If you read my post a couple weeks ago, you know that I teach my students one letter per day, NOT one letter per week. This doesn't leave much time to do a massive variety of activities for each letter, so our first 8 weeks of school are pretty much an alphabet bootcamp!

In the beginning of the year, it is SO IMPORTANT to teach routines and procedures. You may want to jump in with outcomes right away, but let me tell you - in maternelle, that can be a HUGE waste of time.

You might think that not teaching right away would be the waste of time... but when you have to reteach everything a month later because no one knew what was going on, you will probably realize that investing the time to run a tight ship in the beginning of the year is mega worth it.

That being said, you still have to do something with your students while you teach all of those important routines and procedures. I am absolutely not saying that you should just spend your days letting your students do whatever they please and hang from the ceilings :)

I personally use the alphabet to help me do this. Yes, learning letter names and sounds is an outcome, but, my students have the whole year to learn their letters, so I give it to them. I assess throughout the year and will let parents know once their child knows them all, but I still give them the whole year to learn their ABCs.

That means that it's no big deal if my students don't grasp their letters this first time around. I use alphabet activities to introduce them to letters, yes... but more so, at this point of the year, I am teaching them how to cut, glue, hold a pencil, colour in the lines, clean up, work together, listen and participate at the carpet, work independently, do their best work, make mistakes, and stay on task. If they also learn their letters, awesome! But if not, it's no biggie. I will work with them all throughout the year, as a class, in small groups, and one on one.

But by using the alphabet to teach my students all those other important skills in the first 8ish weeks of school, my students are then really ready to dive into the rest of the curriculum during the rest of the year.

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

Bonjour!

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?

Bonjour!

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.

But...

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

Bonjour!

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!


1. DO IT WHOLE GROUP FIRST

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.