APPIPC 2016 pré-congrès

This afternoon I went to a workshop by Égide Royer called Pour la réussite des garçons à l’école (helping boys to succeed in school). It was part of the APPIPC 2016 conference about French Immersion education. (I was very fortunate to be chosen by my district to have my registration fee and TTOC paif for by a bursary – merci!)

Here are some ideas and resource that were mentioned:

  • Égide Royer’s website, with information about his many books
  • There are a lot of persistent myths in education, particularly about punishment and consequences. For example: when punishment doesn’t work, the solution is to increase the intensity of the punishment.
  • An approach to problematic behaviour: name the behaviour, provide the student with 2 options for solutions, ask them what the plan is, and thank them.
  • Acknowledge positive choices and behaviours.
  • Encourage students to consider careers that are not “traditional” for their gender.
  • For Canadians at age 15 there is a one-year gap in average reading levels of  boys and girls (CME, juillet 2013).
  • Boys have higher rates of behaviour issues at school, ADHD diagnoses, and autism.
  • Ways to help boys at school include: giving them responsibility (i.e. power), physical activity, and being ‘firm but fair’ (e.g. logical consequences after sufficient warning).
  • Male reading role-models are important.
  • is an online reading program for boys.
  • It’s important to have a large variety of texts available.
  • Stay “cool as a cucumber” when working through behaviour challenges, and remember that behaviour has a function.

I look forward to the rest of the APPIPC conference tomorrow!

My Classroom for 2016-2017

I found out the week before school started that I would be getting my own grade 4/5 French Immersion class. When setting up my classroom, the first thing I put up on the wall was this acknowledgement of the traditional territory:

This past week I started doing Choix littéraires (Daily 5) with my class. We started with four choices, but will start a listening to reading station when we get some headphones. Here is the whiteboard where they make their choices, using a star-shaped magnet with their name on it (made from cardstock and magnet tape):

On the smaller papers I highlight the names of the students who did that activity, so that next time they remember to make a different choice. This next photo shows some of the Daily 5 materials and the boxes where each student keeps their duotangs and notebooks.

I turned our chart paper box into a Boggle board for Daily 5:

Here is the inside of my classroom door, with a welcome sign, MindUP poster, and some decorations that my students made in Art this week:

I have invited students to bring in postcards and photos from their travels so that we can put them up around our world map. 

Canada, minerals, and prepositions, oh my!

This photo shows a reading nook, subject organisers, and my desk in the background:

This is the French side of our bookshelf. The English books are kept on the other side.

This board has our SMART goals, student & teacher responsibilities, and arm art that we made to represent ourselves.

I’m looking forward to a great 2016-2017 school year with my grade 4s and 5s!

À la prochaine!

Mlle. B. Allen

French Immersion Tapestry Conference

For the tri-district Pro-D day on February 19th, I attended the French Immersion Tapestry Conference. Here are some of the ideas from Shauna Nero‘s keynote address and her Rendre l’apprentissage visible workshop that relate to my professional inquiry question about how to motivate French Immersion students to speak French:

  • Teach students about the goals and benefits of the French Immersion program.
  • Make common vocabulary and phrases visible to students.
  • Give students videos and other media to react to.
  • Provide students with authentic experiences and opportunities to speak French, such as:

How do you encourage your students to speak French?

How can we foster motivation for French Immersion students to speak French?

As a new teacher (as of January) looking to learn as much as possible, I took the advice of my final practicum mentor teacher: I got a mentor. I signed up for my district’s new teacher mentorship program, and was accepted. I was lucky enough to get a fabulous, experienced mentor who teaches the same grade level and at my school. I really can’t over-state how lucky I feel about all this. Gushing aside, this program is built around an inquiry process, and my guiding question is: How can we foster motivation for French Immersion students to speak French?

This is an age old question, and one that gets a lot of knowing chuckles and sighs from people in the biz. Ironically, I find that motivates me to continue looking at this question.

During my Educational Psychology courses at UVic, we learned about motivation in terms of the 3 A’s presented by Alan McLean on Education Scotland’s The Journey to Excellence website: autonomy, affiliation, and agency. Check out this video to hear more.

I will post soon about some ideas that I have encountered, but in the meantime please feel free to comment with your ideas and/or frustrations related to this topic!

L’anxiété: mon plus grand défi comme professeur d’immersion

J’ai écrit ceci pour le cours que je suis maintenant – Principles in Teaching French Immersion:

“À mon avis, mon plus grand défi comme professeur d’immersion sera l’anxiété: la mienne, celle de mes élèves, et celle de leurs parents. J’ai commencé mon premier poste d’enseignement la semaine dernière: une expérience assez stressante. Je m’inquiète parfois de mon niveau de français (surtout avant mon entretien en décembre!) et de la qualité de mon enseignement.

Les élèves d’immersion ont parfois de la misère en s’exprimant en français, qui peut leur inquiéter. J’étais une élève anxieuse, et mes expériences m’aideront a comprendre et soutenir mes élèves anxieux. En 10e année, j’ai donné un discours à propos de l’anxiété au Concours d’art oratoire. Ironiquement, cela m’a donné plus de confiance. ‘Concours’ est un programme formidable, et j’ai été un juge l’année dernière. La lecture de CPF m’a fait penser à ces expériences formatrices.

Pour soulager mon anxiété, je fais de la méditation. Hier un de mes collègues m’a montré ce vidéo, et je l’ai utilisé aujourd’hui pour faire de la méditation avec mes élèves.

My First Week as a Teacher

In the midst of a cold and some other personal challenges, I accomplished my first week of teaching last week. By the weekend I was totally exhausted, but I was happy. I have learned (or been reminded of) the following about myself and my profession:

  • Sleep is not optional.
  • Keeping a journal is helpful.
  • Setting clear boundaries between work and relaxation time is critical.
  • My colleagues are incredible, and they are here to help.
  • You teach who you are.
  • Communicating with parents is key.
  • Routine is important, particularly in a grade 2/3 class.

Some of my favourite activities this week:

This week will see added challenges, including the beginning of my Professional Specialization Certificate in Teaching French Immersion. My mantra, which I have written many times in my journal: JE SUIS CAPABLE!

À la prochaine!

Mme. Allen

Planning for Community Building

One of the highlights of my final practicum was the Restitution training that was offered by the school district. Because of this training, one of the first activities that I plan to do with my students is the My Job/Your Job anchor chart. I am happy that my new school and district are also interested in Restitution.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am currently preparing to teach a grade 2/3 French Immersion class for the rest of the school year. Here are some of my ideas for my first few days with my new class:

How do you build community in your classroom?

Bonne année!

-Mme. Allen

I’m a Teacher!

I’m a teacher! In fact, here I am in front of my new classroom:


The past few months have been an absolute whirlwind! I did my 10-week practicum from the beginning of October to the beginning of December. Immediately after finishing my practicum, I led a Brownie camp for the weekend. On the following Monday I was invited to interview for a teaching position. The next day (Tuesday) I did the interview, and the day after that (Wednesday) I was offered a job teaching a grade 2/3 French Immersion class. Overall, I am so excited to have this opportunity! It feels daunting at times, but then I remember the expression my dad always says: “Eat the elephant one bite at a time.” In eduspeak we would use terms like scaffolding and mindfulness.

Childhood analogies aside, I am now working to prepare for the coming months as a 2/3 French Immersion teacher. I have a few questions for experienced teachers:

  • How do you build community in your classroom?
  • Do you have any tips for a new teacher?

Please comment or tweet your answers to me (@MlleBallen)!