After A Vacation

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9 thoughts on “After A Vacation”

  1. Thank you for worrying about us, encouraging us, reminding us, for nurturing us, and for sharing our pain… – from the newest newbie to the most seasoned veteran…
    may you feel richly blessed!

  2. Ben, I was just wondering what the heck I was going to do with my 8th graders! I start new high school classes this semester, so Circling with Balls is a no-brainer. Fave activities for my novice class and Fears for my level 2s who will have forgotten so much in the intervening 7 months. But 8th grade is a year-long class and I was at a loss. Merci!

  3. I am glad it helped. Thank you Robert! Yesterday I used the sentence frames with my third year class, exactly as per Robert’s instructions, and I could probably keep it going for a month. In fact, that is a caution. The tendency to go wide and therefore out of bounds in explaining the things I did must be curtailed. They need lots of reps on limited structures (I went to the mountains/Did you go to the mountains/She went to the mountains) even in French 3.
    Two strong points that rSF offers:
    1. when I am finished telling them about what I received/ate/saw/played and where I went, they know that they are going to have to tell me via writing what they did and that I will put their writing up for all to see and discuss on the document camera. This prevents them from tuning out even though many have been sleeping until noon over the break. (I never let one head go down onto a desk ever. I don’t do it in a mean way, I just ask them if they need to go to the nurse – I show concern. But when I am over at their desk asking them if they are o.k. they see a steely look in my smiling face that reveals a bitchy edge. Sorry I’m off the point here, but my prayer for this group this semester is no hoodies up, no dead faces, no heads on desks and complete focus as per jGR no matter what. If we don’t set those limits with our students then we suck.)
    2. rSF forces us into first and second forms which even the French 3 kids haven’t heard much, since most CI instruction is trapped in third person forms so much of the time. So rSF is huge in how it allows kids to hear/see subject verb agreement in different first and second forms in different tenses – sounds that they don’t normally experience.

    1. Sabrina Sebban_Janczak

      Hi Ben and all,
      Happy new year to all! I m sorry I have been MIA these last few months but I have been so busy with multiple projects and not had time to contribute to the blog but I’d like to change that.
      Any way since you are on sentence frames I want to share what I’ve been doing 2nd day of class with all my kids and it’s worked out quite well to get them back into the swings of language and give them multiple reps.
      Yesterday I asked them
      1) to write ( in English for my beginners and French or English for my higher levels, please note I give them the choice) 2 truths and a lie about what they did during break.
      2) I collected all papers and one by one asked them to come and sit in king/queen chair ( I no longer have desks in my class, just chairs).
      3) read aloud their 3 statements in French (modified it slightly if needed) pausing and pointing to the words on the board as I had predicted what would come up and if not i just wrote them.
      4) asked kid to decide which one was lie showing me with fingers 1, 2 or 3.
      5) turned back to my king/queen and asked them : Did you really go to Las Vegas during break, did you really do bungee jumping etc….?
      On the booard I had vocab prewritten (always my high frequency verbs as I predicted they would come up) . Vocab prewritten was mensonge (lie) , vérité (truth), est allé(e) went, a fait (did), a vu (saw), a joué ( played), a mangé (ate), a reçu (received, got). Then if something came up on their papers that was interesting I just added it onto the board with translation . An example of that would be a kid wrote he drove a 67 challenger so I went and wrote a conduit (drove). I also asked the kids on the chair details about what they got, or saw or did as to get more reps.
      Today we continued with the activity for 35 minutes , then I took their papers and gave them a quiz and 95 % got 9 out of 9.
      They were engaged b/c it was about them (personalization piece) and it was compelling and understood b/c they had all the support they needed (visual, gestures and repetitions) .
      I hope everyone has a great year and look forward to contributing more in 2014!

  4. This is not an activity, but is a good reminder that since our classroom expectations can fall off our student’s screens pretty easily over a vacation, it is important to do a “reset” on the very first day back. I extracted and summarized an article I read today from the Smart Classroom Management folks. You may find something here that helps you to get a good start back next week:
    First day back from vacation: the great day of opportunity (don’t miss it)!
    Reestablish who you are, what you’re about, and what it means to be a member of your classroom.
    Greet each and every student. Look each on in the eyes and tell them how glad you are to see them. You are building rapport and likability. You are starting the chain of reciprocal kindness and thoughtfulness that will spread in your classroom.
    Model and practice your first routine: coming in the classroom
    Model for them how you want them to walk in, settle themselves in their seats, get their desks cleared and ready, etc. Choose a few students to model it properly. Have the whole class model it. Leave nothing to chance.
    Spend time enjoying each other’s company and getting reacquainted. Allow them to share some of their vacation experiences and share some of your own. Model how to have a polite conversation. Draw them back into the classroom environment of learning and shared participation. You are building rapport once again, showing your leadership, creating leverage you need to have influence with your students.
    Review and reteach your classroom expectations and the consequences in detail. Personally model the misbehaviors you’ve witnessed so far that hour, and walk them through the steps of your classroom discipline plan. Leave nothing to chance—no room for excuses. Take questions, check for understanding, clear up doubts, and promise them that you will protect their right to learn and enjoy school by (you) following your classroom management plan as written—no exceptions.
    Go SLOW(ly)!! Watch your demeanor, pace, and temperament. When we struggle with classroom management, we are usually going way too fast. We communicate an undercurrent of tension to our students. That, in itself, causes excitability, distraction and misbehavior. When we set a calm, easy pace, students feel reassured. It frees them—energizes them—and promotes an environment students want to be part of, an environment conducive to learning.

    1. Beautiful reminder, and thanks Judy. I always love reading your comments.
      I particularly liked your observation and correlation between pace or lack thereof and classroom management, but after reading your comments was struck by the truth that lies in them. Lightbulb moment, haha!

  5. This is truly awesome Jody! I’m going to send out segments of your message to the DPS teachers. Thanks!
    (One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to read the blog more frequently!)
    Happy New Year everyone!
    Diana Noonan

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