Friday, October 10, 2014

Building community

If you are like many educators you have a class with more than one "class" in it.  You understand, the split class. :) This is common in an elementary school but is also becoming more common at the secondary level. As teachers, we do as much as possible to provide our students the opportunity to excel in our subject areas at whatever level they are at. I have two split classes at the secondary level this year. - one with (FSL) French 8 and former immersion students in it and another one with former immersion students (2 different levels) and FSL students (a triple split class!). Careful planning and organization are essential when teaching classes like this but so is building community within the classroom!  When you have two different courses being offered in the same hour and in the same class you have to take advantage of every opportunity of bringing the entire group together to participate in similar activities whenever possible. One activity that I use to help bring the class together as one is the market place activity.  This is the perfect way to start the language class as it focuses the students on speaking in the foreign language while allowing them to stretch their legs before settling in to the class lesson.  I try to make the market place activities short with only 5 questions . This allows students enough time to practice the questions or concepts that they have recently learned and encourages success for all students.  The former immersion students are happy to be able to help out with pronunciation and the FSL students get an opportunity to hear another speaker besides myself speak in French. I always make a stipulation that students must talk to students from other tables.  Although we have two different courses being taught, they will always consider themselves as "one class" as long as the community is formed. 

Here are two market place products that I use to help reinforce concepts and build community in my class.
 Continuons à parler français

 Parlons français

Happy Teaching! and to all my fellow Canadians - Happy Thanksgiving!  Lorraine

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