Reflection on a day after a storm day

I’ll admit, I was pretty happy to see that there wasn’t going to be any school yesterday. It was a Tuesday, my day without a prep, I had supervision before school and at lunch, and I was meant to have what was most likely going to be a long meeting in the afternoon. Instead I got to stay home, get some house work done, help my husband, who just had some moles removed off of his back, had the meeting and moved this blog over.

But at the same time I knew that this was a double edged sword. Having a day off is nice… that day, but the next day tends to be not so nice. As of right now we have one week and two days left of Intensive French. Somehow in the next two days I have to make sure all of my students have completed a new piece of writing, prepare for our grade level assembly on Monday and get ready for the writing assessment which starts on Monday. I was hoping to get through our unit on clothing before we make the change over to English but I can see that this is not going to happen. We’ll continue the unit on clothing for a while longer when we have our two French classes a week. But the other things, the writing samples, the assessment coming up so fast and the grade level assembly are now, just because of one day off, so much closer.

Today I really wanted to keep things moving. I wanted to have the students working hard on their writing. I wanted them to feel the urgency that I’m feeling. I wanted to give them brain and body breaks to help keep things going. My plans didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. A day off of school meant a day away from their friends so they were quite chatty today. The general Wednesday calm that comes after two days of reinforcing expectations was mostly lost. There were more than a few nodding heads from staying up too late. It was more like a Monday and I didn’t feel like we had time for a Monday.

But we soldiered on through and got as much work done as we could. Before recess we focused on speaking, working on our question “Qu’est-ce que tu portes?” which we used and re-used until almost all of the students were able to say what they were wearing and what other students were wearing. We played a game where a student’s name was chosen on the name selector, they’re sent out to the hallway. Then another name is chosen and that person needs to tell us what the student in the hallway is wearing. They enjoyed this game, though it was hard to keep the others from shouting out the answers sometimes.

After recess we focused on writing. We wrote a story as a class, a difficult feat on the best days, then I had them spend the rest of the time writing “independently”. One of the things about writing that my class, and I would suspect most language learners, struggle with the most is that they don’t have the words to write their great ideas. They have the words in their first language but not in the language they’re asked to write in. So they end up trying to write stories about pirate ships and cannons when they don’t have the vocabulary to write about those things. I tried to impress upon them that they need to write using words and phrases that they already know because “Madame n’est pas la dictionnaire” especially during the assessment.

After a false start, we did manage a pretty good short story about a birthday. It still had some moments of silliness but it was done with words that they know. Here’s the story we wrote today with the names changed:

Le voyage

C’est la fête de Britney. C’est le 19 juin 2017.

Chad dit « Bonjour, comment ça va? »

Mme W. dit, « Ca va bien. »

Britney dit, « Je suis excitée parce que c’est ma fête. »

Ils sont allés à Alaska pour sa fête. Ils font de la natation parce qu’il fait chaud.

Ils nagent à Madagascar. Ils sont fatiguées alors ils dorment avec un tigre, un hippopotame et un crocodile. Ils sautent sur leur ami, l’hippopotame, et ils sont allés chez Nigel.

La fin

As I said, very silly but it was all in sentences that they could say. Now I did help a little with correcting grammar of course but for the most part, this is their work. It took 45 minutes to get this much. I’m hoping that tomorrow they will be a little more settled and we will be able to get everything done in time.

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One thought on “Reflection on a day after a storm day

  1. […] be done today. School cancellations are a double-edged sword, as this fifth-grade French teacher explains: It’s nice to have an unexpected day off, but it only means more work for tomorrow. (Mme […]

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