All posts tagged: featured

two very different lessons

This afternoon, I sat in on a lesson the school counselor was giving to my mom’s class of 3rd graders. They learned to be a “friend to some, kind to all.” They learned how to use “I Messages” when they had conflicts with their friends, and how to respond when their actions accidentally hurt someone. The class played a role playing game where the counselor gave a scenario, and with a partner, they had to play out how they would respond using the I Messages and Responses they had just learned. “I felt upset when you said you didn’t want to play with me. Next time could you please be kinder?” “You were mad when I said I wouldn’t play with you. But it’s because this game only has 4 players. Next time you can switch with someone to get a chance!” One year ago, I was helping the English teacher at my French school lead a very different kind of role playing game. This class of CM2, or 5th graders, was also learning about conflicts …

2015: year of this blog

In 2015, I hardly blogged as much as most people. I don’t even think I blogged as much as my mom (who has way more discipline and motivation than me in almost everything). But it was the year that I wrote on this blog, and kept writing, even when it took me a month to finally publish a post about something I had done 2 months before that… So I am declaring 2015 the year of this blog! According to the cute annual review WordPress sent me, I wrote 49 posts in the past twelve months, which, now that I’ve written that down, sounds super pitiful, but when you consider that those 49 posts make up a total of 91 total posts on the blog… I’ll just have to keep in mind that everyone starts from zero. And I’m definitely curious about what my 100th post will be!! To no one’s surprise, the most popular posts are ones revolving around the logistics of my year doing TAPIF, including my advice for completing the application, my guide to …

An UnPRESIDENTed Evening

Picture this: three 20-something girls on a wild vacation through Western Europe, make a stop in Lisbon, Portugal. Checking in with them around 9PM, you might expect to find them out dancing, drinking, experiencing the local nightlife. Or you might find them in their AirBnB rental, already changed into sweatpants, winding down from a long day of wandering around in the hot sun. Guess which one was me. No, rather than going out and partying like most sensible people our age, we spent our evening dedicated to creating a series of President puns…on Snapchat. I present to you the results of that evening: We literally did this for HOURS. Then spent an entire dinner the next evening coming up with additional puns. Clearly we know how to have a good time!! Presidents we missed: James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Collidge, Harry S. Truman, Richard Nixon, …

Bonjour Siri!

I’m sure everyone knows by now that the iPhone “personal assistant” Siri is one sassy robot. Try asking her how old she is, or to make you a sandwich, or to marry you, and she will shoot back with a pithy, often scathing remark. Being a nerd, my phone settings are in French, and so Siri also speaks French. Why oh why it took me over a year of iPhone ownership to take full advantage of Madame Siri is a mystery to me. Maybe I was afraid she would mock my accent. At any rate, late late one night a few months ago, when I was in the depths of my unemployment suck-fest, I amused myself for a few hours, finally catching up with the rest of the world, and learning some vocab at the same time! (scroll over or click each photo for English translations in the captions!)

Lucky Pennies: Day 2

I have this thing about pennies. I don’t know where my fascination with these little coins started. Maybe from my dad telling us to “save your pennies” every time we suggested a trip we wanted to take or a gadget we wanted to try. Something about them has always made me smile. On one hand, who even uses coins anymore, let alone the smallest and practically useless one cent? Is there anyone out there who likes pennies? Seriously. I mean, do I understand why they’re necessary? Yes. But do I want them weighing down my wallet and lining the bottom of my kitchen junk drawer? Of course not. On the other hand, we have so many cultural myths and superstitions about how pennies bring good luck. We put them in our shoes, throw them into fountains, search for heads-up pennies on the sidewalk, all for the tiniest bit of prosperity. Did you know that people have been trying to get rid of the penny for several years? To date, there have been three bills proposed in congress to eliminate the …

Quick Lesson Ideas for Primary Assistants: Flashcard games!

Here we go, current/future assistants, just in time for the start of your contracts. My favorite, easy lessons, with little-to-no prep involved!! Plus, see here for my favorite art activities! Flashcard games GALORE!!!!! Flashcards and other visuals are so important to teaching new vocabuluary. Your colleagues may have flashcards you can use, especially for basic things like the weather, days of the week, or emotions, etc. But if they don’t, you should ABSOLUTELY create some. Simple clip art or hand drawn faces/sunshines/rain clouds/animals are all you need. There are tons of games you can play with vocab flashcards….here are a few of my favorites: Show me – Very simple premise: ask a student to show you one of the vocab words. They come to the board and point to it. Or, you can pass out the cards and call out a word and the person with the corresponding card must hold it up. This can be fun with colors if everyone has scraps of colored paper and must hold up the color you call out. What is …

Primary Assistant FAQ

In my time obsessively stalking all TAPIF blogs past, current and future, I’ve noticed the prevalence of secondary assistants across the interweb. It makes sense: there are way more of them! There are commonalities between the expectations and experiences of primary and secondary assistants, but seeing as most of the info out there seems to be geared towards the secondary level, I want to share some ideas that will be specifically helpful to current and future primary assistants, as they can be very different jobs.