Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grateful for Gratitude

Can I be grateful for gratitude? Is it even possible? Well, if it is, then I am! The last few years of my life I have tried to make gratitude a daily habit. It has literally transformed my life. Try it out! You won't ever regret it!

Since gratitude is such a big part of my life, I have some resources to share out with you all. Here is my all-time favorite gratitude song:

My daughter helped me think up new verses. So far we have: "Merci pour mon chien et mon chat...merci d'être toujours là." Here's that version with the added verse and my daughter giving the song a try along with me. Here's a version with only French sub-titles. I think it'd be a wonderful project to add verses to this song as a class! This lovely song was written and sung by Ann Chiasson, an expert AIM teacher. I had the amazing opportunity to attend an AIM Language Learning conference in July 2012. I attended a session where Ann sang songs created by Wendy Maxwell (creator of AIM) and songs that Ann wrote herself for the transitions in her French immersion classroom. Please visit www.aimlanguagelearning.com for more information on this revolutionary technique that incorporates a 95+% target language approach.

Please consider adding your own verses of gratitude in the replies of the videos or to this blog. We'd love to see what you are grateful for in your comments...in any language! :)

Here's one of my many pins on my gratitude board. It is a perfect little project to go along with the wonderful song above:

There are many other wonderful projects, quotes and resources on my Gratitude Pinterest board. This is one of my favorite gratitude quotes and it's from http://mujerholistica.com/ :

For those of you who don't read Spanish, here's the gist of it: "It's not happy people who are grateful...it's grateful people who are happy!" I believe this whole heartedly!

And now for other fun resources that I've just added to my Teachers pay Teachers Store. There are free samples, but the turkey themed items have a small fee. If you're a French, Elementary or ESL/ELL teacher looking for something productive, yet Thanksgiving-themed this month, feel free to check out my Turkeys in Disguise story and SMARTboard files ($). Find the French SMARTboard file with games here. I also have an English versions: Here's the story powerpoint with native audio, an English professions SMARTboard games and a combined bundle with SMARTboard games, great for elementary teachers as well as ELL/ESL teachers. Here's a sneak peak:

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! Gratitude transforms lives! :o)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Magic begins with AIM!

Language learning magic begins with AIM. I am living this truth each and every day! It was another magical day today in French class! I am teaching with the Accelerative Integrative Methodology by +Wendy Maxwell. The students are thriving and they are very obviously loving it. With all the laughs, smiles and loud excitement all period, it's hard to misjudge that they are happy learners!

First, we started with a little TLSE (Teacher Led Self-Expression). I expressed myself through gesturing while the students spoke for me. Sounds a little 'different' to a non-AIMer, but this is just one of the many wonderful techniques built into the methodology that allows students the chance to actively participate in learning by speaking from bell to bell. Students in an AIM classroom very rarely sit passively listening to the teacher. Instead, the teacher gestures what she wants to say, preferably with her mouth silent, like I did today. I said a couple words that were newer to them aloud, but for the most part, I gestured, they spoke...then we all laughed. I was telling them about how I was so excited about the weekend, because we don't have one day or two days, but we have three days this weekend. Then I went on to explain how I am frustrated on weekend days because my children do not understand that we don't need to wake up early. Of course I gesture this with a lot of emotion...I have to admit, that I get a little crazy with my TLSE. We always end up in stitches, though. I think I was born to teach middle schoolers...we just click and have so much fun together!

Second, was the song and dance practice. Oh my, this is getting really interesting! First of all, they are really learning the words to the song. The song is basically a story re-tell of the AIM play we are learning. If you'd like a sneak peek, check this link and scroll down in the video section to "Mon frère Henri."

I play the video with the French subtitles, they stand up and dance and sing. I turn down the music and let them carry the tune at several different sections to see how well they can do. They are really, really getting into this. It is so much fun to see how far they have come since the first day I introduced the song!

Third, we have started answering partial questions, both orally and in writing. I am blown away at how well they are doing with these. They are able to compile complete thoughts in French both orally and in writing at a level I would not expect after two months of language learning. It is AIMazing!!!

Lastly, was our play practice. The students got into their groups and starting practicing the play together. The pronunciation and ability to say their lines is really impressive. They are getting a hang of the play and I simply cannot wait to see what sorts of videos and presentations we come up with next month!!

It was another AIMazing day in my AIM classroom! I cannot wait for the next one...although I am going to enjoy this weekend in the meantime...hope you do the same! :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Proud Mommy Moments

Written October 19th: At a birthday party today, my six-year-old daughter started teaching some French to one of the other kids there. One of the adults was asking her to share some of the French she knew and then she opted to begin teaching one of the children some simple phrases and vocabulary. I didn't witness this, but the adults came to tell me. In fact, the parent of the child being taught was the one who happily reported it.

November 6, 2013
Tonight during our bedtime ritual, there were two precious moments that I wish I could bottle up and relive down the road when the kids grow up. First, after my daughter read her English book from school, she asked if she could read one of the French books we had chosen. It was this adorable book called "Bonne nuit, je t'aime" by Caroline Church:

This is a very familiar book, however, it has several very difficult words. Nevertheless, she insisted she must read it, and with some help, she got through it! It definitely helped that we have read it dozens of times!

Secondly, tonight my 4-year-old son had a major break through. He joined me in singing this French lullaby that I've been singing to him for over half a year now. In this video, you will hear my daughter's voice, not my son's...perhaps he will let me record him singing with me sometime soon?!

This wouldn't really be a break through except that my son has gone through a lot in terms of his hearing and has even gone through phases where he didn't want lullabies. He was very sensitive to the sounds of singing. But lately he has been allowing me and requesting that I sing him lullabies. He hasn't ever really sung a lullaby with me before, so to hear him utter those words with me in song was incredibly touching. The fact that it was in the language he rarely produces was simply amazing.

It was a good night!