Thursday, 17 September 2015

jeudi le 17 septembre

Another busy day, with all six French classes reporting for duty! Here's what we worked on today:

Mr. Miller's class learned how to answer questions in French - with complete sentences, not just "oui" or "non"! Remember to use the "ne-verb-pas hamburger", and NEVER put "ne" and "pas" together! Homework tonight was finishing up the questions given in class.

Mr. Marques' class, now welcoming some new Grade 7 students into the fold, got to work on their listening skills today. They listened to short descriptions of different pieces of technology, and said what they thought each one was. This supports the listening expectations from the French curriculum.

Mrs. Wiken's class had a listening activity of their own! They had to listen to short descriptions of different people, and draw what they looked like. This will help turn them into more effective French listeners!

Mr. Stephenson's class got their first French reading lesson today! They learned how to use "mots connus" (words you already know) and "mots-amis" (words that look like English) to understand a short letter written in French. These skills will serve them very well as they launch into more complex texts! Homework tonight was to finish the short reading passage given, if it wasn't finished in class.

Mrs. McLeish's class did a listening activity to recognize their school supplies in sentences. They also completed a short review of school vocabulary in class.

Mrs. Howland's class used our whiteboards to learn how to use -ER verbs properly in sentences - CONJUGATE YOUR VERBS EVERY TIME. There is no quicker way to make M. Bettridge happy than a beautifully conjugated verb in a sentence! We reviewed this concept until just about everybody understood it, and I think we're good to go now!

See you tomorrow for the Friday edition of our blog. Joyeux vendredi!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

mercredi le 16 septembre

It's hard to believe we're over halfway through September! With four classes at French today, we got up to lots of exciting things:

Mr. Miller's class learned two different ways to ask questions in French. To ask something like "Do you like hockey?", they can say "Est-ce que tu aimes l'hockey?" or "Aimes-tu l'hockey?" We practiced saying and writing these questions. The question writing exercise is homework if it wasn't done in class.

Ms. Brinston's class reviewed asking about people's hair and eye colour this morning. They also added a new tool to their French repertoire: the verb AVOIR. They know how to say "I have", "you have", "he has", and "she has" in French.

Mr. Stephenson's class completed a short listening task to help them learn how to recognize different objects in the school. They also spent some time reviewing their classroom vocabulary.

Mrs. Howland's class got to spend some time practicing using -er verbs to talk about sports. They got to look at a picture and use verbs and vocabulary to describe what was going on.

In several classes, I introduced something new to the students: self-assessment. Now, when students come to the back table to practice speaking French, they fill out a short ticket evaluating what they think they're doing well, and what they'd like to improve. Why do this? There are a few reasons. First, when students help create the criteria by which a task will be judged (as they did today), they have more ownership over their learning, and are more likely to be engaged with it. Second, when students become skilled at self-assessing, they become skilled at honestly looking at their strengths and next steps, and can figure out how to move forward with less direction. This isn't just a school skill - it's a life skill! Finally, students are able to compare their work to standards, and it takes the surprise out of assessment. Assessment should never be a surprise to anyone involved. When students know exactly where they're achieving, and what their next steps are, it does wonders for their learning.

As always, drop me a line if you have any questions or comments. Merci beaucoup et au revoir!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

mardi le 15 septembre

With all six classes in French today, we were busy! Here's the rundown of what we got up to:

Mr. Miller's class spent some time practicing their verb conjugation skills. In small groups, we learned how to talk about our hobbies using simple verb conjugations ("Je nage" = "I swim") being one example. For homework, this class needs to finish up the practice page if they did not do so in class.

Mr. Marques' class wrote short journals on the subject "Comment utilises-tu la technologie?" (How do you use technology?) They also got to talk about different things they do using technology in small groups - for example, "J'envoye des messages a mes amis" or "Je joue les jeux video comme Counterstrike". For homework, all journals need to be at least three sentences, with at least one -ER verb in each.

Mrs. Wiken's class practiced drawing and describing people with different eye and hair colours. Can you child tell you their eye and hair colour in French? Hopefully so, as they all got to come practice it with me in small groups! For homework, they need to finish the practice page if they didn't do so already.

Mr. Stephenson's class and Mrs. McLeish's class both practiced their listening skills. They listened to me tell them what was in my backpack (in French), and wrote down what they heard. These skills are very important for understanding more complex French! No homework tonight for my Grade 4s - I'll have to correct that oversight in the future!

Mrs. Howland's class practiced using -ER verbs to talk about sports - on paper and in small groups. They learned how to talk about which sports they prefer, and what equipment they need. For homework, they need to complete their practice pages from today if they didn't do so in class.

Adieu, tout le monde!

Monday, 14 September 2015

lundi le 14 septembre

After our first weekend of the year, it was good to get back into the swing of things in French today! Our Grade 6s were introduced to -ER verbs today, and practiced doing some conjugations. This will serve them well as they begin doing more advanced communication. The Grade 8s learned how to ask and answer questions about technology, while honing their oral communication skills. Both Grade 4 classes got to enjoy the song "Mon sac a dos" by Greggg LeRock, which also served as a review of our school vocabulary. We then practiced identifying objects in M. Bettridge's backpack (with permission, of course!) Finally, our Grade 3/4s came together for their first art lesson of the year! They created some lovely portfolios to store their artwork in.

Tonight, only our lucky Grade 8s have homework. They need to finish up the question sheet, if they did not do so in class.

Merci beaucoup, et au revoir!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

jeudi le 10 septembre 2015

Day Three is in the books, and with all six classes in French, we were busy! Unfortunately, I was away in the morning due to administrative meetings, but our French classes continued in the capable hands of a supply teacher.

Our Grade 6s spent some time learning the vocabulary around our new unit - Les Passe-Temps! They got to lean the vocabulary surrounding this unit. Our Grade 8s completed a diagnostic activity to give me important information on what French they remember from last year. In Grade 5, students were reviewing some material from last year. Mr. Stephenson's Grade 4s were introduced to our unit on "L'Ecole" - The School! They learned the names for several classroom objects, and were able to practice speaking with me in small groups. In Mrs. McLeish's class, our students were given their diagnostic assessment. Finally, our Grade 7s ended the day with a review of -ER verbs.

For homework tonight:

-ALL CLASSES: If your diagnostics are not done, they need to be done for homework. I am also waiting for a few more parent contact forms!
-Mr. Stephenson's class: Please finish the front side of the school vocabulary practice sheet (just the front).

See everyone tomorrow for our first Friday of the year! Joyeux vendredi!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

mercredi le 9 septembre

After another busy day in French class, we've had lots going on! Today, not all of our students had French - only the lucky students in Mr. Miller's, Ms. Brinston's, Mr. Stephenson's, and Ms. Howland's classes. Those students were introduced to our next little routine, one I'm very excited about.

As a French teacher, I firmly believe the only way to learn how to speak to speak French. Not only that, but to get feedback about your use of French, and to be able to talk with both a competent speaker and with people at your level. So I've started a daily routine of pulling small groups of students to speak French with me at our round table. We spent today reviewing some simple questions, and practicing our listening and speaking skills. I was absolutely thrilled with how eagerly students participated and shared their thoughts! This is also a great chance for me to get some more individual time with each student, so no one's just a "face in the crowd".

Besides speaking in small groups, we completed a short diagnostic assessment today. This is basically a questionnaire that allows me to see how much French your child remembers from past years (or, for our Grade 4s, if they bring any French knowledge to class with them already). Students had time to work on the diagnostic today - if not completed, it is homework. Please complete this as soon as possible - the information will help me plan a French program that will meet your child's specific needs!

Tonight's homework:
-Complete the diagnostic activity.
-Please return your parent contact forms! These forms are how I stay in touch with parents and keep everyone updated on what's going on. They also keep me from constantly bothering our amazing office staff with requests for parent phone numbers.

That's all for tonight. Au revoir et bonsoir!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

mardi le 8 septembre

It was wonderful to see everyone again today! Seeing faces both old and new made me feel very fortunate to be a French teacher. Getting to work with the same students year after year and see them grow and learn is a genuine privilege. Thank you to all the students for their warm welcome back to TPS!

In today's classes, I introduced students to some simple routines and procedures that will help our classroom operate. Students also received a short summary of our class routines and procedures, as well as a form that needs to be returned. The form is double-sided - one side has our policy on online translators, and the other has a little information sheet on which you can give me information to help your child have a positive year in French. Please sign and return this sheet as early as possible. Thanks!

We also had a conversation in each of our classes: "Pourquoi le francais?" (Why French?) Students came up with an incredible list of reasons why studying French is helpful. They included:

-It makes it possible to visit other regions and countries. (And far more than just Quebec and France!)

-It increases job possibilities.

-It lets you do lots of practical skills - helping someone in need, ordering food, finding your way around...

-It makes it possible to communicate with people from more parts of the world (very important in the Internet age!)

-It makes your brain stronger.

-It's fun!

For homework tonight, students need to bring back their information sheets and online translator policy (on the same sheet). They need to be signed by a parent or guardian. Thank you for your cooperation in this - our partnerships will help your child be successful!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at

A demain, mes amis!