Monthly Archives: January 2015

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WHICH MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT ISN’T LOOKING FOR HIS/ HER RAISON D'ETRE? WHO DOESN’T WONDER WHAT AND WHO THEY WILL BE? WHICH MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT ISN’T WORRIED ABOUT WHO THEY ARE AND THE IMAGE THEY PROJECT OR TRYING TO BE LIKE SOMEONE THEY ADMIRE? SO YOU’D THINK THAT MASTERING THE VERB “TO BE” AKA “ETRE” WOULD BE IMPORTANT.

OVER THE PAST 26 YEARS, I THINK I’VE EXHAUSTED ALL THE WAYS I COULD POSSIBLE TEACH IT. WE’VE DANSED IT, SUNG IT, WRITTEN IT, READ IT, TRANSLATED IT, ACTED IT OUT, SPELLED IT WITH TILES. YET, I NOW REALIZE I’VE HAD IT ALL WRONG. IT IS ABOUT HELPING MY STUDENTS TO FIND THAT “RAISON D’ETRE” NOT CONJUGATING IT.

I GUESS MY ACTION PLAN COULD BE TITLED “REDEFINING ETRE” – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A LANGUAGE STUDENT IN THE 21 CENTURY?

IT CERTAINLY ISN’T ABOUT BEING THE VERB CONJUGATING CHAMPION. I WANT THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE IN MY CLASSROOM TO BE A VIBRANT ONE. I DON’T’ WANT QUIET STUDENTS COMPLETING WORK SHEETS. I WANT CHILDREN TALKING ( IN FRENCH), ASKING QUESTIONS, BEING CURIOUS ABOUT SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FRANCOPHONE COUNTRIES. I WANT THEM TO CARE ABOUT BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE IN A SECOND LANGUAGE AND TO BE PERSISTENT IN THEIR LEARNING. I WANT THE ACTIVITIES AND THE RESSOURCES TO BE VARIED AND INTERACTIVE. I WANT TO COMMUNICATION IMPORTANT CULTURAL EVENTS AND OFFER SELF PACED PROGRAMS TO ADDRESS THE DIVERSE NEEDS AND LEARNING STYLES OF MY STUDENTS. AND I DON’T WANT TO ASSIGN A NUMERICAL MARK TO THEIR EFFORTS.

I DO NOT WANT FRENCH CLASS TO BE SYNONUMOUS WITH IRREGULAR VERBES, BUT RATHER THE PLACE WHERE MULTIPLE TOOLS ( INCLUDING THE VERB “ETRE”) WILL BE THE TICKET TO GETTING THEM TO THEIR NEXT AND CHOSEN DESTINATION IN THEIR LEARNING AND IN LIFE.

HOW TO HELP TO GET STUDENTS “TO BE” IN THE PLACE THEY WANT TO BE AND “TO BE” WHO THEY WANT TO BECOME… THAT’S THE CHALLENGE. I’VE DECIDED THAT MY STARTING PLACE TO MAKE THE TOOLS ACCESSIBLE, INTERACTIVE AND SELF PACED WILL BE TO CREATE A WEBSITE FOR OUR SCHOOL’S FRENCH DEPARTMENT, AND I AM HOPING TO INCLUDE SEVERAL OF THE TECHNOLOGIES I’VE LEARNED FROM MY INTERACTIONS WITH COHORT21.

NOT A NOVEL IDEA, BUT A LEVEL UP IN MY OWN LEARNING AND HOPEFULLY A FIRST STEP IN REDIFINING MY OWN “RAISON D’ETRE” IN THE FRENCH CLASSROOM.