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)!


Fraction-Packed Update!


I am already 1/3 of the way through my 6-week K/1 practicum! I feel a lot more à l’aise speaking in French now than I did two weeks ago, and I am so happy about that. So far I have been leading the morning calendar routine and teaching a unit on shapes and solids. These ideas have worked particularly well:

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Word wall cards and shape puppets

All told, I have 3 practicum binders to help keep me organized:

  1. Main practicum binder (with plans, school info, etc.),
  2. Assessment binder (with one section per subject), and
  3. Travel binder (in which I carry things that I work on at home).

Within my Assessment binder, I have 5 sections:

  1. General Observations,
  2. Math,
  3. French,
  4. Science, and
  5. Art

Each section contains a class list for evaluation records, as well as one page per student on which I can attach sticky notes with my observations about them. This has been very useful in getting to know students, and now I have anecdotes to share with the student, their family, my mentor teacher, etc.

On Monday it will be my turn for Montre et raconte (Show and Tell), so I will be bringing this:

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.10.26 PM

The 100 Day Project

I am 1/5 of the way through my #BallenMixedMedia for #The100DayProject. So far most of my pieces have been STEM Puns contributions as well. Here are a few of my favourites:

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 10.35.14 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.38.34 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.38.42 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.38.53 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.39.04 PM Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.39.13 PMI have met some really interesting people, developed an art-making habit, and become a part of an inspiring, creative art-making community.

#100DaysofMixedMedia: Day 1

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Sensational Cup of Tea (2015) by Britney Allen [Watercolour, pastel, and pen on paper: 22cm x 26.6cm]
This is my first piece for #The100DayProject. I will be sharing my project through the tags #BallenMixedMedia, and sharing the #100DaysofMixMedia with a few other artists. I love mixed media art, but I have not spent much time creating it. This project is a way of challenging myself to stretch my artistic range. I will be looking at the work of artists like Mike Schertzer for inspiration. Do you know of an inspiring artist who plays with mixed media? Please let me know!

It is my hope that this endeavour will be a form of self-care, exploration, and reflection. I am looking forward to seeing what I make over the next 100 days, and what other participants make as well! Will you be joining in for the challenge?Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 12.39.18 AM

EDCI 336 Summary

jiswwThis is me now. This term, I have been working towards connected, open learning, and these are some of the things that have done along the way:

  • Blogging
  • Tweeting
    • Participating in Twitter chats
      • I connected with other student-teachers through #BCStuTeach.
      • I connected with educators across British Columbia through #BCEdChat.
      • I also tried out #EdChat and #TeacherFriends to connect with a wider range of educators.
    • I facilitated #edci336chat, using what I learned about Twitter chats through participation and asking members of my PLN.
    • This term, I have been tweeting out highlights from what I have been doing in classes and workshops
      • Conferences
      • I have learned, been inspired, and expanded by PLN through this process.
  • Creating STEM Puns cartoons, and sharing them
  • Using Google docs
  • Using Storify to curate
  • Started using Evernote
    • Keeping track of resources
  • Started listening to podcasts, such as Invisibilia
  • Started listening to Audiobooks on Overdrive.
  • Throughout the term, I answered tech questions from my classmates, particularly about Twitter and Storify.
  • Through Twitter, I connected with the Royal BC Museum. Because they saw my interests in science outreach expressed on Twitter, they approached me with a project idea. I am now collaborating (using Trello) with them on an outreach project about species at risk that uses comic-making. For this project, I have been able to share one of the tech tools that I found out about this term. The plan is to share the ideas generated on the museum portal. Stay tuned!

Will I continue to blog, tweet, and stay connected throughout my career? Tech yeah!

Education Memes

I have found that our Education Technology course is less about the particular tech tools, and more about the spirit with which to use them, and fostering the curiosity and desire to learn more. The education meme of lifelong learning strikes again!

I made this using Meme Generator.

Meme What You Say

I decided to create some memes to commemorate this stage of my cohort’s journey…

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And here are some memes inspired by unit planning:

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