CheckoutthisfunwaytogetyourbeginningFrenchstudentsspeaking.Putthem"surlasellette"orINTHEHOTSEAT!Clickheretolearnaboutthisgreatactivitiy!


I know how hard it is to get beginners speaking, and I'm always looking for meaningful new ways for students to practice.  Just as each class is different, every year brings new students with new strengths and also new challenges.  Over my years as a teacher, I have had to vary my activities to meet the needs of my students, but this doesn't always mean creating a brand-new activity.  I'm busy, and you are, too, so let's not make more work for ourselves than we need to!

A lot of teachers out there are already using my speaking cards, and I'd love to share a handy way that I like to use them with my more adventurous groups.  For those quieter classes, I'll have an idea for them, too!  

For your classes who love to speak:


1.  Make a box with questions or prompts.  In my class, we call this "Sur la sellette" which means "In the hot seat."  Above, you'll see my box.  For this particular box, I used one of my son's shoe boxes and just decorated it.  In the past, I've used whatever box I had handy (usually an empty tissue box).  Make it as fancy or simple as you like.  Don't want to decorate it?  It will still work just as well!  :)

2.  Cut apart question cards or speaking prompts and place them in the box.  Need some?  You can find many options here:

Youwon'twanttomissthesefunFrenchspeakingactivitiesforsecondaryclasses.ClickheretolearnafunnewwaytogetyourstudentsspeakingFrench!

3. Call students to the front to sit "sur la sellette."  I put a stool or chair in the front of the room, but you can have the student stand if you prefer.  The student "sur la sellette" will draw a prompt from the box and answer the prompt.  You can set the expectations for your class.  For true beginners, I have them answer in a complete sentence.  For more advanced classes, I give the student a time limit and ask him/her to speak for the entire time (usually between 20-30 seconds).  

For your classes who are less-excited to speak in front of others:

Use the same speaking prompts, but pass out enough cards for students to work in groups of 2, 3, or 4.  Have them answer the questions with the same expectations of either a complete sentence or a time-limit, but rather than speak in front of the class, they answer to their partners.  You can circulate the room and work with groups individually, and all students will be speaking, just in a less-intimidating way.  


Here's a peek at some of the prompts in my beginner speaking prompt pack available HERE at my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  
        Checkoutthese45beginnertopicsandgetyourbeginnersspeakingFrench!Clickheretocheckthemoutandlearnafunwaytousethem!


These aren't questions, but rather subjects, so you will guide students to answer as you like, but the expectations should be the same.   Students should discuss the prompt in a complete sentence or for a time frame.  For example, for the prompt "Dans mon sac à dos," students would tell what they have in their bag.  For "mon plat préféré," they would identify or describe their favorite dish. 

This resource includes 45 beginner topics and 9 editable cards if you wish to add your own topics.  Also included are 3 templates that you can use if you want to decorate your box as I have done.  

These prompts can be used for so many activities in class, too.  They make great bellwork or exit ticket subjects, writing prompts, or you can even make speaking stations and have students rotate around your classroom with a partner.  

I hope these prompts make speaking French FUN!  

Hands-on practice for French si clauses!


Thisisasuper-funwaytopracticeFrenchsiclauseswithyourclass!Thereisanicemixofsentenceswithlefutursimpleandleconditionnel.Clickheretoseehowitworks!

French si clauses are so tricky!  If you want your students to really master them, you'll need to find some fun and effective ways for students to practice.  Here is my students' favorite way to practice si clauses with le conditionnel and le futur simple.

Each page has a si clause and another clause either in the conditional or the future.  Simply cut out each sentence clause, have students place them face up on their desks, then match the correct si clause with its corresponding clause.  You can easily walk the room and check their progress by using the original copy as your teacher key.


To help students understand that the si clause can come at the beginning or end of the sentence, some sentences will start with the si clause and others will end with it.  The result clause is always underlined, so students will know to match two different types of clauses.


Your students will love it, and it will really help them understand the structures:
si + imparfait -->  conditionnel  and si + présent --> futur simple.

Want to add even more challenge?  Have them write their own si clauses as a follow-up homework assignment.  You can then use those sentences as bellwork, quiz questions, or another homework for those who need more practice!

Thisisasuper-funwaytopracticeFrenchsiclauseswithyourclass!Thereisanicemixofsentenceswithlefutursimpleandleconditionnel.Clickheretoseehowitworks!

I hope this makes si clauses fun for your students!  

Want even more practice for le conditionnel?  

Grab the bundle HERE!

French si clause practice your students will love!

YourstudentswilllovethisfunwritingactivityforFrenchsiclauses!Clickheretocheckitout!

Teaching si clauses can be really difficult, because we often are teaching it after years of heavy grammar.  Students memorize conjugations, do some written quizzes, maybe do a project, and then move on to the next chapter, the next set of conjugations.


After several years of French, some of the students probably feel a little ... bored.   Are they able to memorize things? Without a doubt, some of the students can memorize any conjugation and recite to us out loud an entire verb chart (or 10).  Does that mean that they are understanding when and how to use those verbs?  Does it mean they can use them correctly in conversation?  Maybe, but chances are, some of our students mix up their tenses.  They can recall the conjugations, but after the futur simple, the imparfait, and maybe even the subjonctif, will they be able to flow through a normal conversation using the correct tense?  Most of the time, they need a lot more practice.

Of all the verb tenses, the conditional is by far my favorite!  We love si clauses, and we often plays games of "What if..."  To get you started, you'll need to get students used to speaking in hypothetical terms.  This writing and speaking activity is a great way to get students used the conditional by speaking and writing in the 1st person.

ClickheretolearnareallyfunwaytopracticesiclauseswithyourFrenchclass!

I start the activity with writing prompts that I put on the wall on poster paper.  I use about 10-12 different prompts and posters for a class of 20-25.  I often have 2 or more classes doing this activity, so when I do, I might put 2 posters (or a larger poster) for each question to accommodate all of their answers.




Students do a tour of the room in pairs and complete the si clauses.  They aren't necessarily working together, but I do pairs because my room won't hold 25 posters.  This allows two students to work on the same question at a time.  They will work with that partner later, though, so be sure to pair them up well.

Related:  Grouping students has never been so easy!

The writing part of this activity will take about 1 minute per question.  You can give the students 30-45 seconds that you time, or you can have them do a self-paced tour.  If you have 10-12 questions, you should plan for 10-15 minutes to do the writing portion.

Because they only get about 30 seconds per question, you will notice that not every answer is 100% correct.  That's okay.  We do this as sort of a brainstorming activity.  Once students have done the tour of the room, then they sit back down with their partners and go over  their answers orally.   Each student should answer the questions with his/her partner and explain why he/she answered that way.  I usually give my classes about 7-10 minutes to do this part so that they can use references to find any vocabulary they were lacking during the first activity.  After students have had ample time to work with a partner, I randomly question students.

As a follow-up, you can use one last question as an exit ticket.  I usually ask students to answer and then explain why they answered that way.  I give them about 3-4 minutes to write a quality answer and turn it in.

Need FREE exit tickets?  Get them here!

GrabtheseFREEexitticketsforyourFrenchclass.Clickheretoseemore!


In total, this activity usually takes about 35 minutes with teacher directions, movement time, follow-up questions, and the exit ticket.  I usually do it after students have learned the irregular stems of the conditional and are beginning to work on si clauses.  It is a good idea to make sure they understand the structure Si + imparfait --> conditionnel before doing it though, or you will find many sentences ending in the imparfait.

I'll be following up with more fun ways to teach si clauses next week!  Make sure to check back for some more fun ideas.  :)

Needasuper-funwaytohelpyourstudentsmasterFrenchsiclauses?Checkoutthisblogpostforagreatidea!Clickheretoreadmore!



Want more progress? Use quality assessments!



I almost didn't get in to kindergarten.  I say almost, because obviously I would not be writing this if I hadn't made my way through school. I went to school for many years, but that first fateful kindergarten round-up could have gone quite differently and put me on a different path with different teachers and different friends.  Who knows?  If I was held back that year, would I have made the same choices and become the same person?  No one can say, but luckily, they let me in.

You see, at kindergarten round-up, you had to be able to complete certain tasks before they would say you were ready.  Now, this doesn't mean they wouldn't ever let you in, but they did recommend that you waited if they thought you weren't not ready.  I know they still do this, because over many years as a middle school teacher, I've had many parents admit they wish they'd listened when the school told them their child might not be ready.  (What do schools know about stuff like that anyways, parents?)





Maybe, just maybe, in my time, parents listened to teachers more.  I know my mother certainly thought what the teachers said was GOLD.  But... there were those moments when my mother challenged teachers, and that was huge, because she was the ultimate PTA mom, room helper, cookie baker, and best friend to all teachers.  When my mama challenged you, it was about to get ugly.

Well, the day of kindergarten round-up, I went to school with my mom.  I'm the last of 4 kids, so everyone knew my family.  My brother and sisters were all high-achievers, and the expectation for me to be as well was surely very high.  However, as able as I probably was, I was TERRIFIED of strangers.  I'm still very shy, but I wouldn't say terrified.  An extended conversation face-to-face with someone I don't know still freaks me out, but I put on my big girl pants and get on with it.

We go to the round-up and they give me whatever the assessments were that they used to test readiness. I remember thinking I did well and that it was easy, so you can imagine my confusion and embarrassment when they told my mom I was probably not ready because I had trouble with my colors.  My mom immediately questioned the woman, because she knew this wasn't true.  You see, they had asked us to identify the colors by pointing at them, and I wouldn't point out red.  When my mom, point blank, asked me why not, I replied, "It wasn't red, it was magenta."  (If you are wondering, I actually do  remember this day pretty well, but I'm sure that my memory of it was aided by my mom who told the story.  A lot.)

This brings me to my point.  Are we SURE that kids don't know something or is it POSSIBLE that our assessments aren't so great?  If the person assessing me had asked me to tell her the colors instead of pointing them out, this wouldn't have even been a problem.  I say maybe we need to look at the questions we ask and decide:
1.  Are they age appropriate?
2.  Are we using follow-up questions to make sure kids don't understand?
3.  Could they be confusing to kids?
4.  Is there another way to find out if kids can do the skill?
5.  Is a child's inability to do another task impeding his ability to show mastery of a certain skill?

Now, for question 5, this one has been on my mind a lot lately.  My son, who started reading Magic Tree House books in kindergarten, has always been a strong reader in English.  As a bilingual, he might read a little better in French right now, but as the skills are transferable, we work on reading skills often in both languages.  We read every night and when he reads without me, he tells me all about Jack and Annie, the places they go, and the adventures they have.  He can describe them in detail.  So, as a certified English teacher who taught Communication Arts for 5 years, I was confused when his teacher reported that he does not understand setting.  This guy can tell me, in detail, every aspect of setting from the story he just read.  I know he gets it.  Why doesn't she?

So, he came home last night with his assessment over setting.  There was one question where students were asked to draw the setting.  One.  There were no more questions.  Just that.  Draw the setting.  Well, I have a child who HATES to draw, so he halfway attempted a few stick figures standing in a few stick-like trees.  He didn't score so well.  Another assessment, draw the character.  Again, stick figure (this time of a teddy bear) and he got marked off because it didn't LOOK like a teddy bear.  Again, low score, because no effort is going to be put into drawing by him.  We've talked about it, and I've explained that his teacher thinks he doesn't understand, because he's not showing it.  He shrugs, says he can't draw well and that this is a stupid way for her to see if he gets it.

Wow!  Straight from the mouth of a seven year-old.  After looking at my son's reaction, it's clear to me that this isn't really testing his knowledge of setting, but more his ability, or more accurately, his effort, to draw the setting.  Is it possible that this isn't a great way to assess all children?  As a teacher, I would never assume to know what a teacher is doing in class, nor would I overstep my boundaries in the parent-teacher world and say a teacher is not doing a quality job, because that is just not fair.  Should my son work harder to complete the expected task?  Yes, he should, but I do think assessments should be geared towards assessing the actual skills we want to see rather than penalizing students for not being proficient at another task, such as drawing.  I am fortunate enough to be an educator, so when I see things on my son's report card that don't seem right, I can further assess to see if he is proficient.  If he needs improvement, we work on those skills.  If he can show understanding and mastery in another way, I'm good with that.  Sadly, grade cards and standardized tests reflect the understanding demonstrated by assessments that might not accurately reflect student understanding.

As a teacher, I have asked kids to draw before.  I don't grade them on the drawing, of course, but I do ask them to show that they understand.  It isn't THE assessment, but it might be part of my toolkit to see if students get it.   Now, as I've never taught first grade, I don't presume to know what they can do to show understanding of setting, but I do know it is much less than the middle schoolers and high schoolers I taught.  So, what would be a good way to assess here?  I don't claim to know much about our littlest learners, but I do know that we need to try different ways to figure out if kids get it.

As I have spent the majority of my years teaching French, either as second language or as a dual language, I'd like to look at this from a foreign language point of view.

Here are some questions that come to mind when I look at my own methods of assessing:

Do I assess speaking and listening as much as reading and writing?

Teachers who do this will often see that kids who aren't the best spellers might actually learn aurally, so wouldn't this be a great way to quiz vocabulary?  How about following up a fun speaking activity with a speaking quiz?  I have designed all of my Find Someone Who activities to be used as in-class activities, but each resource includes a follow-up homework and speaking rubrics so they can be used as interview-style speaking quizzes.

MmeR'sFrenchResourcesFindSomeoneWhoactivitiesareafunformativeassessmentthatrequireslittletonopreponyourpart!


Related:  Get your students speaking French!  

Do I provide choice with projects?

If a student hates to draw, can they write about the topic?  Or conversely, if a student hates to write, could we allow them to draw, or present, or make a movie about the topic?  Here's a glimpse at a project from a French 2 class that I love.  Students write about themselves in the present tense, then write about their life as a child, then predict what their life will be like in the future.  The writing is not perfect, but it is pretty good for a second-year student!




In this project, students have a choice of the questions they will answer, which makes the project a lot more fun and interesting for them.  When time allows, I have students read them to a small group or present them in class.

Click here to see the project in my Teachers Pay Teachers store:

ThisisaperfectprojectforintermediateFrenchstudentsthatwillhelpyouassesstheirmasteryofthepresenttense,l'imparfait,andlefutursimple.Clickheretoseemore!

Related: 10 tips for using projects in French

Do I vary my own teaching?

I'm guilty!   I love to read and write, and I hate to draw and speak in front of people.  As a new teacher, I relied very heavily on written activities because they fit in my own comfort zone, but I was doing a disservice to my kids.  Now, my classes are a mix of speaking, writing, moving, listening, acting, and so much more.  I was hesitant to try new things, thinking the kids would hate them, but enrollment in my classes increased greatly when I did this, because kids spread the word : French class is FUN!

Related : Learning a Foreign Language Should be Fun!

Do I assess the same skill in a variety of ways?

If you gave a written quiz, would you also follow it up with a speaking quiz or a presentation?  If you asked kids to draw, would you also ask them to write about it?
In order to really evaluate how well our students understand, we need to use a variety of ways to assess students, rather than relying solely on pencil and paper tasks that may not truly reflect their understanding.
My grammar bundles include games, speaking activities and quizzes, guided notes, writing exercises, projects and/or oral presentations.  There are so many ways to see if students are understanding, and the variety keeps students happy.
Here is a peek inside my passé composé bundle at few easy ways to assess students.

1.  Speaking cards 

2.  Exit ticket tickets


3.  PowerPoint presentation - Mon Voyage à Paris

And of course, there is a standard grammar packet with pages of worksheets that will help your students practice and review the passé composé.

Here's what's included in this bundle: 



3 Find someone who activities with follow-up written component and rubrics for an interview-style quiz







Do I ask kids what they like?

The best way to find out what works for a student is to ask.  Even my first-grader will tell you his favorite way to practice something.  This may not mean we can always do what the students want, but it will give us some insight into what their strengths are, and it will help us understand when our assessment tells us that they can't do it, but they say, "Yes we can!"

I know we have a lot on our plates.  With constant paperwork, benchmarking, ever-changing standards, new students, new expectations, new....everything, a lot of us are just trying to get by.  We can't do it all, and we will burn out if we try.  But, what if we tried, once per unit, to do a different type of assessment than the textbook-provided quiz?  What if we asked students what they wanted to do and found a new, fun project instead of a test?  What if we looked at how we balance assessments to see if we are relying too much on one set of skills?

As teachers, we grow each year, and even as a veteran, my eyes were opened by my son's assessment.  I know I do a good job, but I know there is still so much more I could do, so I'm going to keep trying, and I'm going to keep getting better every year.

What do you think?  When are assessments just not good enough, and what can we do to really see if kids understand?

Mastering French adjectives doesn't have to be boring!


Teaching grammar is probably the least-fun part of being a foreign language teacher.  It is necessary so that our students speak and write correctly, but it is sometimes frustrating when we have to teach something that even WE aren't excited about.   We teach the lessons, we quiz the students, we move on to something else, and we realize that they haven't fully mastered the concepts.  But... we have to keep moving or we will NEVER teach everything that we need to teach!

This is exactly why I have developed my grammar bundles.  I have found that while I don't have trouble teaching grammar, it takes so much practice to really make it stick.  That means we need to have a lot of fun ways to teach, reinforce, and assess so that no one gets bored, all learning styles are practiced, and students actually MASTER the skills!

Here's a look at some of the resources in my GROWING adjective bundle.  It's growing, because I keep adding to it anytime I create a new adjective activity.  

NeedsomefunideasforteachingFrenchadjectives?Checkoutthisgreatbundleofactivities!


First, there is a grammar packet, because students need to have thorough explanations.   I have made my packet in full-French and English versions, so it is great for learning the first time or as a review for more advanced learners.  Students get notes and vocabulary pages they can write on and ample practice for the concepts presented.  

Thisfull-FrenchorEnglishversionadjectivepacketareperfectforteachingadjectivesforthefirsttimeorasareview!


The first half of the packet is in French, and the second half uses English to explain the grammar concepts.  With first year classes, I use the English version, but I love to review at the beginning of the year, and I'll use the French version with a French 2 or 3 class who needs a refresher.  After each explanation, students get to practice the skills explained.

Thisfull-FrenchorEnglishversionadjectivepacketareperfectforteachingadjectivesforthefirsttimeorasareview!


But, since writing is not the only way students will learn adjective vocabulary and the rules of agreement, the bundle also includes many types of visual support.

First, there are posters with masculine and feminine adjectives:

Thisfull-FrenchorEnglishversionadjectivepacketareperfectforteachingadjectivesforthefirsttimeorasareview!


Next, there is a word wall with 37 common adjectives in their masculine and feminine forms + images to help visual learners.  The word wall includes many of the adjectives in the packet as well as new adjectives that are great for enrichment.

Greatvisualofadjectivesforvisuallearners!

Also included is a PowerPoint show to help teach alongside the packet.  There are 28 pages of notes and exercises that you can use as exit tickets, bellwork, speaking practice, or with individual whiteboards.  Students love the visuals, and because it coordinates with the packet, it simplifies the teaching process A LOT!  As with all other resources, there is a French and and English version.

GreatvisualsforkidswhoneedtoSEEthelesson!


So, after you've met the needs of your visual learners and provided great guided notes and writing practice, you'll want some practical ways for students to SPEAK using their newly acquired vocabulary and grammar concepts.  For many students, this is where there is a disconnect, because often they do not get enough speaking practice, and for many, many students, this is the key to LANGUAGE AQUISITION.  We don't want to teach it and have them just forget, do we?

So, here are some ways to get them speaking, and they will be having so much fun that they won't even feel like they are working!


First, get them up and speaking.  These speaking cards are one of my students' favorite activities, because they love to move around, and it breaks up the classtime so well that class seems to fly by!  I love it because they really use their vocabulary in a practical way, and I know that this means they will retain that information!  It's great for movement which has been proven to help the learning process and retention of skills.  There are many fun ways to use them, and detailed instructions for 5 fun activities are with the question cards.


GreatwaytogetFrenchbeginnerstospeak!Perfectforadjectivelessons.

Next, get them in groups and have them play a board game.  This is a perfect activity for groups of 3, 4, or 5.  Directions come in French and English.  The goal of the game is for students to correctly use the vocabulary shown on the board in complete sentences to reach the end of the before their opponents.  There is a mix of masculine and feminine adjectives that correspond directly to the word wall adjectives.

ThisisareallyfunwaytogetFrenchstudentstospeakusingadjectives!


Now, more speaking practice and a speaking assessment!  First, students complete the Find Someone Who activity to focus on their adjectives.

ThisisareallyfunwaytogetFrenchstudentstospeakusingadjectives!


Next, they take home the practice sheet with the same questions.  They practice the questions to prepare for a speaking quiz.  On the day of the quiz, you can assign all the questions or you can have them draw numbers from a hat and randomly assign their questions.  The Find Someone who activity includes French and English speaking rubrics to make your job so easy!


Now, for a review:  

We LOVE Scoot!  You can practice the skills you want as an entire class, make really good use of your time, and the students love to move.  They NEED it, and for your kinesthetic learners, this is a great way to make that information stick!  As with all other resources, there is a French and English version.

To play Scoot, simply tape numbers on the corners of your desks and have students work their way through all of the questions.  I have them start at their own desk, complete the questions in order, and make their way back to their own desk.  There are numbered and non-numbered cards in the pack, so questions can easily be skipped if they don't match the curriculum exactly.  With 44 questions to choose from, it's sure that everyone can find the practice that works best.

TheseFrenchtaskcardsaretheperfectwaytogetstudentspracticingtheiradjectives!

Here's what the answer sheet looks like.  Notice that this student didn't start at desk one, because she was not seated at desk one when we started the game.

ThisFrenchscootgameistheperfectwaytogetstudentsusingtheiradjectives!


As an incentive for the winner, I always give a small prize - either a toy from my bin, a pencil, or something small like that.  I sometimes give free homework passes away, so I put them in this pack in case that might be handy.  :)

It is a growing bundle, which means that I add to it anytime I have a new adjective resource.  What's great about a growing bundle is that you can grab it at a great price now and get all the new resources anytime I update without paying anything else.  So, what exactly is included right now?

French colors - notes and activities (directions in French and English)

6 Posters with examples of masculine and feminine use of adjectives

French and English notes and exercises   - includes sentence scramble puzzles and exit tickets (in French and English)

Personal adjective dictionary with over 150 common adjectives + nationalities

Adjective PowerPoint presentation (in French and English)

Adjective word wall

Adjective board game (directions in French and English)

Scoot game with 44 cards, answer sheets, and homework pass (in French and English)

36 speaking cards + 5 ideas for using them in class

Find Someone who activity + follow-up homework activity and French/English rubrics to use for speaking assessment

This bundle is created to help you teach and reinforce French adjectives in a fun and effective way.  I'll keep adding to it as I have new resources!

GreatFrenchbundleofactivitiesforFrenchadjectives!

New Year's Resolutions for teachers


Wanttohavemoretime,teachbetter,orseeyourfriends?Readhereforideasonhowtosimplifyyourteachinglife.


It's almost time to think about New Year's resolutions.  Now, I'm not here to talk about losing weight or cutting your spending.  Those are things you can decide for yourself.  I'm here today to bring you some totally doable TEACHER RESOLUTIONS!

Wouldn't it be great to have your weekends?  To not work every night?  To be healthy? To really improve your teaching?  These are things all teachers want, but how do we do this?  Read on!

Resolution 1. Don't work all weekend.


First, let me say that I worked all weekend for many years.  Sunday was spent locked in my office, grading papers, putting in grades, planning lessons, cutting apart manipulatives, and even, at the beginning of my career, turning my hands blue, green, and purple washing overhead projector pages. Yes, my first teaching job had no projector to hook to my computer.  I didn't even have a whiteboard to write on.  I had a screen with an overhead projector, and every single lesson I taught had to be written on these pages.  Sigh....

In the end, I realized that I was working so hard that I could not continue at that pace.  I began to get burned out.  I would bring papers home, but I could not make myself grade them.  And guess what?  My students still learned even if they had to wait one more day to get their homework back.  They still scored so well on their assessments.  They still took the AP test and rocked it.  So, what can you do to not work all weekend?

1.  Stay late one night a week to grade and plan.  

I was a coach, so on game nights, I would stay after school at 2:30 until the game at 7:00, grading papers and planning as much as I could.  It wasn't all bad.  I'd get my favorite take-out and watch Grey's Anatomy on my computer.  I'd also gain 4 hours that I would have been working on the weekend.  :)




2.  Grade some papers together in class.

Do you have to actually grade every single paper?  I don't think so.  Do you think each student looks thoroughly at every correction that you have made?  They don't.  When you have 150 students, as I often did, and if you give daily homework, which I usually did, that equals over 1000 papers a week to grade.  Who has that kind of time?   I say that we should make the grading count and make sure the students understand the corrections.  

At the beginning of class, when students are doing a bellwork activity, have them put their homework on a corner of their desks.  You can take attendance and do all the other things required of you, then do a quick walk-by with your favorite stamp, marking pages completed on time.  Then you can take five minutes to grade the homework together, pick it up, give a completion grade, and you have saved yourself time, explained the answers, and assigned a grade.  

Want to make it even easier?  I give packets for each unit.  We grade the assigned page, and I pick up the packet at the end of the unit.  Students have the packet to study from, and I assign less grades.  You can pick it up weekly if you feel like you want to have more grades.  Does that allow for lazy students to cheat?  Sure, if they have that inclination, but they will find a way anyways.  In my class, assessments count for 60-70% of the grade, and homework counts for 10%, so they know better than to cheat.  If they don't master the material, they won't get a grade that says they did.  

3.  Laminate!

Yes, this takes time on the front end, especially if you have to do the laminating yourself, but once it is done, all you have to do is open the file cabinet and pull out the resource.  So, what can you laminate?  Speaking cards, task cards, board games, puzzles, anything that students don't write on.  Your future self will thank you.
  

4.  Formatively assess.


You need to know how your students are doing, but you don't have time to grade all of the time?  Use individual whiteboards.  Use the whiteboards to formatively assess students on verb conjugation, vocabulary, math facts, or anything else that you are working on.  You know what they need to practice, they have fun, and you don't have grades to input.  You can buy a set, or make your own.  A set from a teacher supply company is about $30.

To make your own:
Go to the hardware store and find white panel-board.  It comes in a large board, but most large stores will cut it for you in 12" X 12" or 12" X 16" for a few dollars extra.  Total cost for 24 boards is about $15.

5.  Let technology work for you.  


Have you tried Boom learning yet?  At Boom, you'll find digital task cards that kids love.
It is awesome, because you can find already-made activities by fellow teachers, kids love the technology aspect, and the activities are self-checking!  I love to use them for my son at home, and he thinks the practice is a lot of fun!

Create your free account and check out these great digital French task cards now!  Do you want to get started and make your own cards?  Here's a handy referral for you: http://wow.boomlearning.com/author/mmersfrenchresources?ref=1

Here's the newest addition to my digital task card resources!  I'll be adding more after the New Year, so be sure to check them out and save yourself some time.  
ThesedigitaltaskcardsforFrencharetheperfectwaytopracticeorformativelyassessthepassécomposéandtheimparfait.

Resolution 2.  Take care of yourself.


Every year, just before or after a vacation, I get sick.  I push myself so hard, and eventually I collapse.   I spend the vacation sick in bed, rather than enjoying my family and friends.  So, what can you do?

1.  Rest!  

Yes, that is easier said than done, but it is so important!  Make sure you are getting enough sleep and not pushing yourself to the max all of the time.

2.  Make the most of your weekends.  


Make sure you are getting some quality downtime doing something you love.  Whether it is going to the movies with your kids, getting dinner with an old friend, or simply taking a walk, make sure you are taking time to do something you love.  If your weekend consists of grading papers, lesson planning, grocery shopping, and laundry, you won't be ready to go back to work on Monday.  Take some time, even if it is one hour, to do something just for you.  


3.  Find the joy in what you are doing.

Look for a few fun ways to teach your subject, and then build a resource library with some of your favorites.  Once you have done an activity once or twice, guiding a class through it becomes so easy, and kids get so excited when they come in your room and see a favorite activity.  You are in your room all day, maybe even doing the same activity 5-6 times a day.  Shouldn't it be something you want to do? When you and your students are having fun, learning happens naturally, you'll find yourself smiling, and the day seems to fly by!  

4.  Celebrate your successes.

Benchmarking, constant assessing, and endless paperwork can make teaching become so much less personal than it should be.  Sure, when your class scores well or your principal comes in at just the right moment to see a great lesson, you can pat yourself on the back, but don't forget the small things.  Did that student who has struggled all year have an Aha! moment?  Did you find a new activity that your class loved?  Did you lead a great community service project?  Did you make a child who never smiles share a big smile with you or someone else?  These are all worth celebrating.  Test scores are important, but they are not why we became teachers.  Don't forget why you are there, and celebrate the little things you do that make you a good teacher.



5.  Become a better teacher.

Take classes that help you focus on what you love about education.  Learn new technology.  Visit other classrooms or other schools.  Ask for help.  Have a colleague observe you or ask your students for feedback.  Growing as a teacher never stops unless you stop trying.  Here's a FREE resource to get some feedback from your students.

Wanttobeabetterteacher?Askyourstudentswhattheyneedfromyou!

Resolution 3.  Don't be afraid to say no.  

You want to help.  I get it.  For several years, I was a full-time teacher to 150 kids.  I also finished my Master's, coached,  wrote curriculum for four courses, and served as the district Foreign Language Chair.  In my spare time (as if!), I tutored a family on the weekends.  I just never said no to anyone, because I knew I was capable, and I didn't want to let anyone down.  I also needed those extra jobs, because I was paying for my degree on a teacher's salary.  In the end, I got the work done well, but I lost touch with some of my oldest friends.  People just don't understand the demands of teacher life.  When I realized how much I missed certain friends, or how long it had been since I had done some of my favorite hobbies, I said, "Enough is enough."    Ten years later, I have stepped down from so many roles, and I'm a lot happier.  Sure, I have been offered some positions that would be great on a resume or make me feel like I'm more accomplished professionally, but I turned them down.  I don't feel bad explaining that my family comes first.  Does it make me a lesser teacher?  NO!  I am better than ever now, because I am not pulled in twenty directions.  I'm dedicated to creating meaningful lessons for my students, to connecting with each and every one, to being the best me I can be for everyone I love in my life.  I make time for my girlfriends.  I take hikes with my family.  I attend every activity my son does, and I'm loving where I am in life!  💖

So, what about you?  What do you want to do in 2017?  




December deals!

GetgreatdealsonnewresourcesallmonthfromMmeR'sFrenchResourcesonTeachersPayTeachers!


I love this time of year, but as a teacher, I also know how crazy it is for my family!  I want my classes to be fun, but the kids are ready for break.  I want my lessons to be engaging, but... I am ready for break!

To help you keep the rigor and the fun, I've decided to bring you December deals!  I'll be uploading a ton of new resources this month (I've already done a few, if you've been following along!) and for the first 24 hours, they will be 50% off.  This is a great way to stock up on some fun resources that make great supplements to your already-great lessons, but I've also been adding some winter and Christmas-themed activities.  I'll continue to add them until I have uploaded every new thing I've created!

You can find each deal in my FEATURED ITEMS of my store.  The daily deal will be marked down 50%.  Click the image below and you'll be taken to my store where you'll see the daily deal.

Inmyfeatureditems,you'llfindmydailydealmarkeddown50%!


Here is today's resource.  It is a fun supplemental winter-themed pack that is perfect for your newest beginners and your second-year students.  I give activity packets over winter break, and this would be a perfect pack to give as a take-home packet.

Needsomethingfuntodojustbeforeorafterwinterbreak?Thissupplementalpacketincludesavocabularylist,puzzles,andvocabularyactivitiesthatareperfectforbeginners!
Here are a few pages that you'll find.  It includes a vocabulary list, a word to image activity, a word search, word scrambles, and 8 sentence scrambles.  
         

I hope you can find some fun ideas and enjoy the biggest savings of the year!
It is almost break!  Keep it up!  :)