All posts tagged: school

sorry, I can’t NOT write about the election today

I’ll start out by saying that I’ve already cast my vote for Hillary Clinton and I could not be prouder or more excited or closer to the verge of tears. This has been a demoralizing, dark, difficult year or so for our country – faith in facts is at an all time low, ability to compromise or respect one’s opponents potentially even lower. And of course the most heartbreaking stories have been not the dumb fights, the horrible words, but how that rhetoric has affected our children. All year I heard elementary school kids talk about the election, threaten to leave the country because they were already so frustrated with politics. Friends who teach children of immigrants have students who are afraid they will be deported. Newspapers report that bullying and hate has increased nationally. On my first week of teaching in Marseille, a port city with a very high North African Muslim immigrant population, I showed pictures of monuments in DC, telling them about the White House and answering their questions about the United States. Most wanted to know what my …

Thanks / No Thanks

Well, all of a sudden I’ve been in France for a full month! Boy has it flown by or what?! Little by little I’ve been settling into Marseille, into my new job, into different expectations and realities, with help from so many people (and in despite of some others…) Thanks to my mom who dropped me off at the airport. No thanks to my 25kg suitcase (plus 2 other bags). Thanks to the AirFrance employee who let the extra 2 kilos slide with no fee. No thanks to the diva in front of me in the ridiculously congested customs line at Charles de Gaulle airport who yelled at me for apparently cutting her in line when I was merely trying to take the outside lane on a turn, rather than bottleneck all 3048302 of us through the inside curve. Thanks to whatever caused a ten minute delay of my TGV that allowed me to make it on with a few minutes to spare! No thanks to metros without escalators, train platforms with large gaps, cobblestones and sidewalks full of dog …

overheard at school

The architects of our brand new school building are documenting their works with photos and videos during the school day. Two girls are watching a camera crew get video footage of another grade at recess through the window of their classroom.  Girl 1: I think they are filming a movie on the playground. Girl 2: Those kids get to be in a movie?! Girl 1: Yeah, I it probably starts like, ‘They were all having a great time at recess. It was a beautiful day. And then the ZOMBIES ATTACKED.’ ❂ *full disclosure: this is the same mastermind behind the piñata diaries   Slice of Life is a daily writing challenge during the month of March hosted by Two Writing Teachers. Visit their blog for more information about the challenge and for advice and ideas about how to participate.

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 …

keeping it 💯

Today was the 100th Day of School, and we all celebrated being 100 days smarter! Imagine my surprise when my post-it note memory from March 4, 2015 read: 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL!!! Quelle coïncidence! That day was a lot of fun. The entire school of about 120 students was split into multi-grade groups of around 10 that all participated in a series of fun 100th Day Activities: build a tower with 100 kapla blocks, make a necklace with 100 beads, add your self portrait to the 100 smiles poster, sort and count 100 objects…. I was assigned to the Name 100 English Words station. All of my students had about 10 minutes to remember as many English words as they could, with the help of a few categories we had prepared to prompt them (colors, days of the week, school supplies, foods, etc). These are kids in a 50% English immersion setting, so they really were able to name 100 words, and in some cases even more!! Working the station with my friend Estelle, a student teacher at the …

Better Know a Frenchman: Jules Ferry

Once you’ve wandered through enough cities in France, you begin to notice some similarities beyond cobblestone-lined quarters and fragrant boulangeries. Just as we do in the US, the French name their streets and schools after their most impressive men and women and many of them crop up over and over again. After a while, my friends and I began to joke that France must not have enough famous people, because there seem to be a list of maybe 20 names you can reliably find in any city of a certain size. Charles de Gaulle is basically a given, and Victor Hugo shows up almost as often (Although, sorry France, no matter how you spell it, “Léonard de Vince” is simply not French). To pack an extra punch, they’ve also named several roads after the entire country: Rue de la République ran behind my house in Chambéry, just as it is a major thoroughfare of Lyon and an avenue in Paris (incidentally, the address of Lycée Voltaire). After meeting several of these “grands hommes” all around the country, I realized I …