Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Teaching in context

I had a great teachable moment today in the vein of 'rolling with what they give you' and teaching in context. One of my Grade 2 students had a birthday, and offered me one of the extra cupcakes. We've done some food-related talk before (mostly relating to their classroom teacher's prodigious junk food stash and her generous sharing of same) so they were all up on the gateau du chocolat stuff. But here was the kicker---the mound of creamy white frosting was topped by a gummy bear.

What luck! One of my two main puppets is a bear (M. le Ours) and I knew I could make a fun story out of this. So I immediately picked the gummy bear off the top of the cupcake and ate it. Then I made a big show out of telling the kids oh no, what will M. le Ours think about this! We'd better not tell him that JOANNA MANGE UN OURS!

So, of course, as soon as he poked his widdle chapeau out from inside my bag, the children all started shouting at him:

'Joanna mange un ours! Joanna mange un ours!'

And, off his look of abject horror:

'Je mange un ours aussi! Tout le monde mange les ours!'

And then, the hastily proferred reassurances:

'C'est un bonbon ours'
'C'est un ours du gateau'
'C'est un ours pour manger'

And my favourite, when M. le Ours reminded them that HE is an ours (and he has a chapeau):

'Oh! Je ne mange pas les ours avec chapeaux!'

Thus assured of his safety, M. le Ours spent the rest of the lesson eyeing the remainder of my cupcake and sulking when I didn't give him some. Finally, we decided he was acting like a bébé about it and made him go back in sac.

The children though this whole thing was hilarious. I am sure I will be hearing about bonbon ours for the rest of the week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Planning for Pre-K

We have a Pre-K class this year, and I have been finding it a challenge to plan for them. They are 2.5-3 years old, and I see them twice a week (on consecutive days) for 15 minutes. 15 minutes is hardly any time! What to do?

I finally have hit upon a method that is working for me. I'm doing a three-part lesson: review, content-based activity and short, active game. I've planned one good lesson a month, and I'll do the same lesson for every class for the duration.

Here are my September and October lessons:


Review: once I introduced bonjour and au revoir, this was my 'review' component. but I spent most of the first three weeks teaching them my name.

Content-based activity: I introduced the 'balle' to them, along with the words for throw and roll. They all got to say the words and practice doing the actions in a game.

Short, active game: Simon Says, but without the tricking them. They just had to copy me and touch the body part I touched.


Review: Bonjour, au revoir. I also introduced 'sac' and demonstrated taking out and putting back my puppets.

Content-based activity: I introduced a few ner words with the balle, including 'boite' to throw it into. Sometimes, the puppet would refuse to throw it into the boite (introducing 'non') and sometimes he would throw it somewhere else instead (for example on somebody's tete!)

Short, active game: Simon Says, evolving into the head, shoulders, knees and toes song.