Super Leap TpT sale!

Bonjour teachers! February is 29 days this year, and to celebrate this rarity, a group of Teachers Pay Teachers stores has decided to offer big savings on February 29th and March 1st.

I will have 4 bundles reduced by 20% for these two days!  All of these bundles are already priced lower than the individual items, and with this sale you can get my bundles for as much as 40-50% off the original prices of individually priced items!  Check them out by clicking here:

Click here to see which bundles are reduced!  

Be sure to stop by and check it out!  You can find all participating stores by searching:


in the Teachers Pay Teachers search bar.  Happy shopping!

10 things parents must know before parent-teacher conferences

This blog post lists the top 10 things your child's teacher wishes you knew before coming to parent/teacher conferences.  Click here to read these 10 important tips from a teacher who has sat through many, many conferences!

Parents, if you have conferences coming up with your child's teacher, here are some things you should know from the perspective of a secondary teacher.

1.  If you have an appointment, show up.

It takes teachers a lot of time to plan appointments, and when you don't show up, it is just rude.  You have taken a spot that someone else probably wanted, so not coming is just not okay.  If you do not show up, please do not email the next week wanting an appointment before school.

2.  Conference days are not meant to be long weekends for family vacations.

If you have no concerns about your child and the teacher has not requested to meet you, then conferences are probably not necessary.  However, you should check before planning to go skiing.  If the teacher wants to see you and you choose to take vacation, you should not expect a conference the following week during a time that is convenient for you.  

3.  Be on time.  

We often have many parents to see, and if you have an appointment, it really throws off the entire day if you show up late.

4.  Stay only for the allotted time.  

If you have a 15 or 30 minute conference, you need to understand that there will be another conference just after yours. Please be respectful of the other families who also have a right to a conference.

5.  Come prepared to discuss things with your teacher.

Teaching and parenting is a partnership to help the child reach his/her full potential.  Please don't interrupt the teacher or make accusations.  Listen to suggestions about how you can help at home.  Teachers are trained professionals, and we do deserve respect.  Most people wouldn't dare talk to doctors like they talk to their child's teacher, yet many of us have gone to college for just as long.

6.  Realize that your child probably spends approximately 50 minutes per day with his/her teacher.   He/she could possibly be in a block scheduled class where they spend longer times with the teachers, but classes may only meet twice a week.

You cannot expect a teacher to solve all of the problems when he/she is with your student for such a short time.  Doing homework, bringing school supplies, learning manners, treating others with respect...these are all behaviors that should be taught at home and reinforced by a teacher.  If your child arrives without a pencil, of course I have one to lend, but making sure a child is prepared for school the next day is the family's job.  I can't come to your house and check your child's agenda to see if he has homework, then sit by and see that he does it.  That is your job.  Please do it.

7.  Respect the confidentiality of other students.

Please do not come to me to discuss another child.  Teachers cannot discuss other students, and even if it was not against the law, it is not respectful to speak of others.  You can also rest assured that should someone ask about your child, I would not speak of him/her.

8.  Be present!

Turn your cell phone off for the conference.

9.  Be prepared for the rush hour.

If your school has open conferences, please remember that your child's teacher could be teaching many kids.  My maximum one year was 160!  If everyone wanted to see me in that last hour when everyone got off work, it would never have happened.  If you can come during lunch or during a quieter time, please do.  If you can only come after work, please don't yell at the teacher when you finally get a conference.  It is not our fault that budgets have been cut and cut so that we are teaching many, many children.  We are doing our best, and these are long days.  Be kind.  If we have been at work since 6:30 that morning, please be understanding when we are still there at 7:30 that night and don't take your anger out on us.

10.  Come even if your child is doing well.

It is often a bright spot in the day to see the families of our students who are thriving.  We love to show what we are doing, and sometimes we never meet parents whose children aren't struggling.  You're doing a great job, and we want to tell you that!

We want to share our classrooms, our work, and our successes with you.  If your child is struggling, we want to help.  If your child is shy and has questions we can discuss privately, we want to talk.
We want this to be the most effective time it can be, so please take a minute to consider the teacher's perspective.

Bring music into your classroom!

I've been teaching for 12 years now, and I have to admit that I am not always fun.  Or interesting.  Sometimes, even I am not interested in what I am doing. While I try my best, I struggle a lot with teaching certain standards in my class.  According to my curriculum, I need to teach poetry, but I HATED poetry in school.  How can I help the kids appreciate something, analyze something, care about something that I can't stand myself?  MUSIC!

This blogpost has great ideas for how to use music in your French class and also a great list of songs and singers to check out!
Click here to find links for a lot of videos on my Pinterest page!

The first major change I made was to bring music into my classroom every week, no matter how busy I was or how much I felt I needed to teach certain concepts.  Because I am not a lover of Mondays, I decided to start the week with a song.  I'll admit that it has been very time-consuming finding the perfect song each week, and even more challenging if you teach the same students for several years in a row.  That requires a LOT of songs!  See, you can't just bring in a song just because you don't like Mondays.  You have to have the right song for the concepts you are working on, and you have to know your audience.  In my case, do teenagers like what I like?  I am 20+ years older than they are, so maybe not.

Here are some fun ways I like to use songs and music:

1. Teach note-taking and culture by creating short Power Points about the singers.  These generally take 10-15 minutes to make by doing a quick Google search and some copying and pasting.  It is great to help students understand the diversity of the French-speaking world.  I find that it helps my kids relate more to the countries we are studying if they can become familiar with some of the country's people.

2.  Create a cloze activity by erasing some of the lyrics.  I like to do this when we are working on specific vocabulary or verb tenses.  There are lyrics available easily online with a quick Google search.  Just copy and paste into a document, then delete the words you want them to write in.  Super easy!

3.  Have students memorize the song to help them retain certain problematic structures.

4.  Show them the video and have them make inferences based on what they see.

5.  Create a writing prompt or discussion prompt based on the video.  This is great for upper level classes.

6.  Find a video with the lyrics and have a lip-syncing contest.  This is super fun if you have some less-shy classes, and it is a fun way to practice French if some classes are ahead of the others and you are looking for something fun to do while the others catch up.

Great songs that might not already be on your playlist:

For teaching vocabulary and verbs

1.  Ma Valise - Dorothée
This is a great song when teaching travel vocabulary, clothes, or just when you want to review a lot of nouns.  The video is silly, and my high-schoolers groan when they see it and then grudgingly admit that they like it!

2.  Jean petit qui danse
This is great for body parts.

3.  J'aime les fruits - Alain le Lait
This is great for...yep, fruits.
Alain le Lait has a ton of great videos available on Youtube for beginners!

4.  Si j'étais président - Gérard Lenorman
Great for praticing si clauses.

5.  Si tu as été à Tahiti - Albert DePaname
Funny video!  This is great for the passé composé.  I print the lyrics with some verbs missing, and have them fill in the missing words.  Plays on the season été and the past participle été.

6.  On ira - Zaz
This is great for the futur simple.

Favorites at the beginning of the year to set the tone for a positive year and get them excited about the music (great for any level).  

Remember, the goal with beginners is not that they understand the entire song.  You want them to begin to understand the cultures and appreciate the diversity of the French-speaking world.

1.  Ose - Yannick Noah
      I like to use this for goal setting.

2.  Dima - Zaho
     My students have always loved this song!

3.  Ma philosophie - Amel Bent
    This song has a really positive message.

4.  L'amour à la française - Les Fatals Picards
     The video is too funny!

5.  Comme des enfants - Coeur de Pirate
     One of my all-time favorite singers!

6.  Parce qu'on vient de loin - Corneille
     Great for demonstrating the diversity of the French-speaking world.

7.  Au soleil - Jenifer
     We use this when studying southern France.

8.   Toi plus moi - Gregoire
      My kids love this song!  We use it to discuss how sometimes, when things are rough, we have to think positively and make an effort to look at the bright side of things.

9.   Magic in the air - Magic System
      There is some English, and this can be reassuring to new French students.

10.   Tourne - Shy'm
      This song is good for beginners, because it appeals to teenagers.  For more advanced learners, it is a good speaking or writing prompt.  Does modern life have to be so fast-paced?  What do you to to relax?

11. On écrit sur les murs - Kids United
      This video and song is all about positivity.

12.  A nos actes manqués - M. Pokora
     What could we miss out on if we don't make the best of every moment?

Here are some singers and/or songs that I love for intermediate to advanced learners:

For writing/speaking prompts, these songs have great ideas to write about and/or discuss:

Carmen - Stromae

Papoutai - Stromae - My classes LOVE Stromae!

Une Américaine à Paris - Rupa and the April Fishes

Je suis moi - Shy'm

Je veux - Zaz

Dernière danse - Indila

And last of all, some fun holiday songs for all classes!

La chanson des squelettes - Babelzone

Le Rock de la sorcière - Stéphy Prod

Quand le Père Noël vient me visiter - Suzanne Pinel

Petit Papa Noël - original by Tino Rossi, but this song has been remade a lot of times!

Vive le vent - French version of Jingle Bells

Au royaume du bonhomme hiver - French version of Winter Wonderland

For Earth Day:
Respire -Mickey 3D - This video is great and it really gets a discussion going.  There is a grown up word here, so beware!  You can use this with older kids who won't make an issue, or simply don't mention it.  If they are not native French speakers, they won't understand, but if you are uncomfortable with this, I'd just avoid this song.

Aux arbres citoyens - Yannick Noah

Got any other favorite songs? Leave them below for all to enjoy!

Thanks to Glitter Meets Glue for the clip art.  You can visit her store here:

A Valentine's letter to my students

          This Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share a different kind of love letter.  This is not the romantic kind, although those to whom I write this letter occupy an enormous part of my heart.  This is to those students who have been a huge part of my days with over the past many years. 

Need some heart-warming this Valentine's Day?  Read this letter from a teacher to her students about the love that only a teacher will understand!  <3

Dear students and former students, 

In my years of teaching, I have taught roughly 1,500 students, and each one of you is in my heart.  Some of you were easy to love, as you brought smiles and excitement to learn into my classroom everyday.  Some of you dared me to even make you smile or talk, because you did not want to be at school.  At all.  Some of you wanted me to love you so badly, yet you were afraid to be hurt, so you were mean to me to protect yourself.  I don’t care; I can take it.  I still loved you, sometimes that much more. 

            It’s no surprise to me when I see you in town now, sometimes all grown up with a family and career of your own, that I remember you as the teenager or pre-teen that you were.  It might take me a second to get your name, because, well, that was always the hardest part of the school year for me.  125 names a year!  If I take a minute as I stumble to find your name, please know that I have never forgotten you. 

            I didn’t forget the homemade cards (or store-bought cards).  I actually have a storage box at my house with every single one of them.  I didn’t forget the day you came running to hug me, because you made the cheerleading squad, got your first job, or had the courage to talk to that girl, finally.  I didn’t forget the day you sat in my room and cried, because all of your friends were being mean, or your parents were divorcing, or your mom refused to accept that you were gay.  I didn’t forget the day you threw your stuff on the ground and left my room slamming the door.  I also didn’t forget when you came back in and put your arms around me and cried, because life at that time was so, so hard.  I didn't forget the day you wrote and sang a song to me in the school assembly, because I was changing schools and leaving your class.  I didn't forget how I locked myself in my room and cried that day, because, while the move was best for my family, I was leaving those that I loved dearly.  

            Some of you have grown up and become teachers.  I remember the days when you came to me to ask me what I thought of that.  You wanted to know, "What was it like to be a teacher?"  I gave you my honest account of the hardest, most demanding, most exhausting, most rewarding, most loving, and best profession around.  Some of you wrinkled your noses and said, “But you get to go home at 3:00 and you have summers off.  That can’t be so hard.”  Sigh.  

           Some of you knew that all of those projects didn’t get graded at school, that those games that you l loved so much could take hours to make, that the meetings with parents before school, after school, or at lunch did not fall in the normal working hours.  Some of you saw all that your teachers did, and you did whatever you could to make our lives easier, whether it was running to the office, passing out papers, or doing a dismissal form. 

            Some of you may never know all that your teacher did for you, and that’s okay.  I didn’t become a teacher to tell you how hard it was.  I didn’t become a teacher to show you how smart I was.  I didn’t become a teacher because I thought for one minute that it would be a relaxing job.  I especially did not do it for the money. I did it so that I could help you be the best you could be, so that I could love you when you needed love, so that I would wake up and feel like maybe, just maybe, you were better off, happier, or healthier, because I was in your life. 

            To all of my students, former students, and future students, I do love you all, no matter what.  If I give detailed directions, and then you ask what we are doing, I might be frustrated, but I still love you.  If I have to sit with you and reorganize your binder again, I might be wondering how you managed to undo all that I did last week, but I still love you.  If you earn a bad grade, I want you to do better, but I still love you. If you cheat, I am disappointed, but I still love you.  If you don’t like me, I can take that, and I’ll still love you.  If you yell at me because things are bad at home and you need to yell at someone, well... I don’t like to be yelled at, but I understand, and I still love you.

            I have my own family at home, and they understand that when I talk about my kids, it is not 1, 2, or even 3 kids.  This year, and most years, it is 100 or more.  The number of people I consider my kids increases each year, and I love that.  I love to hear from you, so if you are ever so inclined, send me an e-mail and tell me how you are.  Come visit me at school.  Invite me to coffee, to your graduation, to your wedding, or to meet your new baby.  Nothing makes my day more than knowing you are well. 

            Love always,
            Your teacher

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