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...
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...
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 j...
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...
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...
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 touc...
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'...
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 h...
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: 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...
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. 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...
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 (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 wher...
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 ...
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...
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! TIP 1: PLAN THE ORDER OF YOUR ACTIVITIES...BUT NOT THE LENGTH We all have schedules with h...
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...
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 correc...
Teaching maternelle is... special ;) Other grades have their challenges, too, I'm sure... but maternelle? It's a whole other ballgame!  (For example, you could actually probably play a ball game in another grade, and no one would steal the ball and/or try to stick it up their nose.)  <---- yes, this has happened In maternelle, it often feels like nothing is easy or obvious, and ANYTHING can happen. Which can be amazing and fun and means you're never bored! BUT...  You may find yourself looking at things on social media that teachers of other grades are doing, and think to yourself "that's awesome, but it'll never  work for me!".  Especially when it comes to behaviour management systems! I have seen SO MANY awesome systems and ideas out there - classroom stores, elaborate points systems, reward coupons, etc.  But generally, for them to work, students need to know how to read, or count, or control their bodies bef...
Hi! If you have been following my blog for awhile, you may have seen this post that I wrote last year about my clip chart. I have used a clip chart ever since I started teaching as a classroom management strategy, tweaking and changing it along the way. Please don't throw tomatoes...if you read my earlier post , you will see how and why I think that clip charts can be a useful tool, despite the bad rap they have been getting lately. But, because I am me and always have to switch things up, I have decided to do my clip chart a little bit differently again this year! A few weeks ago, I read an AMAZING blog post that showed up on my Facebook page. It is called Why I'll Never Get Rid of My Clip Chart and is written by Sarah Plum(itallo). You can read her original blog post HERE . I have reached out to her and she is in full support of me adapting her original brag tag clip chart idea, and sharing it with you here, in French :) ...
Any other washi tape addicts out there? You know, the super pretty tape that comes on tiny rolls of gorgeousness and patterns? Two summers ago, I discovered washi tape and fell in LOVE... and bought a ton of it. A ton of it (see photo below of my "at home" collection)! And I wasted lots of time decorating unimportant things (like homework duo tangs for my students, pages in my planner, etc.) and turning them into pretty things. Which is all well and good if you have all the time in the world, but... less good if you don't. If you are like me and bought into the washi tape (affiliate link) craze but are searching for something actually useful to use it for (aside from strictly decoration), or something where the benefits outweigh the time you put into it, this post is for you! Have you seen any of those pictures on Pinterest floating around about colour-coded clothespins? And how to dye your clothespins using messy, stain-y food colouring and other dyes? Well, ...
Have you heard the news?? TPT is having a huge sale today & tomorrow! You can save up to 28% off in most stores (including mine!) These sales happen only 4 times a year, and I can't lie...I totally build up my wish list in anticipation for weeks before they happen haha. Then I wake up super early as if it's Christmas morning and check out ASAP. #tptaddict Here are *some* of the great deals I snagged this morning! Math Writing Strips and Fine Motor Mats from Tara West . Tara West is an English seller, but I can still use both of these products in my classroom with no translation necessary #hallelujah Next year I am adding two Fine Motor centres into my centre rotation, so those mats will be perfect. The math writing strips I will add to one of our math early finisher buckets with a white board and marker. You can click on the images above to see them on TPT. ...
Hi! Anyone else out there who doesn't understand how it can possibly be the end of April?! I am currently recovering from an appendectomy/extra bonus surgery for a surprise post-surgery internal bleed, and won't actually even be back at work until the first of May. MAY! Two months left for me to fill my little munchkins' brains with as much as I possibly can! #cuepanicattack This time of year is so bittersweet. Not quite the end, but so very close. I am never ready for my students to move on to grade one (Heck, last year I even followed some of them to grade one and taught them twice! And believe me, I've thought about doing it again next year haha). I spend all year getting them to this fabulous point where they basically run the show themselves and I can spend all my time actually TEACHING, rather than explaining routines and procedures, reminding them of my expectations, etc. etc. And then I have to send them on their way. I may be a bit biased, but I really th...
Hi guys! I was evaluating my students last week on oral communication for their report cards - specifically about whether or not they use new vocabulary and expressions in both structured and spontaneous situations. I thought that sharing some of the strategies I use every day to help them assimilate new vocabulary may be useful to my fellow second-language teachers! (Although technically I teach at a French first-language school...but let's be real, expectations are often far different from reality ;). Plus, even first-language students should be learning and using new words and expressions!) So, without further ado, here are five  ways to help your second-language students assimilate new vocabulary! 1. Teach new vocabulary and expressions explicitly. Don't just expect your students to pick up on what you or others are saying, and what they read in books. If you want them to use new words and expressions, it is important that you specifically tell them your ex...
Hi guys! Just popping in today to talk about my word wall and why I love it - and why my students do, too! Before I start, I just want to clarify that I have always had a word wall while teaching K. I think word walls are extremely important and key to your young students' writing success. However, I used to have my word wall on a small bulletin board-sized white board in the corner. After my first two years of teaching, I knew that something had to change - my students couldn't reach the words, they were hard to see, and there wasn't enough room for all of the words we were learning. The only other space I had in my room that could possibly be used for a word wall thanks to fire marshall rules was my regular white board - the white board I wrote on all the time and taught from! This post is about why I decided to sacrifice my precious white board for an interactive word wall, and why I think you should, too! Before I dive in, here is a current picture of my wor...
Hi! We ended up getting a bonus snow day from that giant blizzard, and in between shovelling ourselves out, I managed to find some time to finally finish up an activity that I have been wanting to use as a literacy centre for a long time. It may be of interest to you if you are looking for some new centre activities. Presenting... Mots fréquents mystérieux! During centre time, I really want my students to be practicing as many skills as possible. I also need activities that are easy to differentiate and provide a challenge (but are also do-able!) for all of my students. I am excited to use this activity as part of our stamping station! Currently at our stamping station, my students have just been practicing stamping their sight word lists . I have enough stations that we don't stamp every week, but it has definitely been in need of something new and engaging! My students also love playing pretend, and get super into any station that involves imagining they are something e...
Happy Chinese New Year! There is a big blizzard on its way here in NS, so we have a snow day. A great chance for me to catch up on my gigantic to-do list! Before I get started on that, I wanted to pop in and do a little post about using read-alouds in a second language classroom. While in theory, my school is a French first-language school, well over half of my students come from French families/ancestry but do not speak French at home. Since I teach K, I have a handful of students each year who begin with little-to-no French skills. It can be a tough balance to create lessons that are beneficial to my strong French students, but that don't leave my language-learners in the dust! This year, I discovered "Close Reading", and feel that I have found a great way to use French read-alouds to develop my students' reading AND language comprehension, no matter their language level. When close reading, the teacher selects a text that lends itself well to the strategi...