Bonne rentrée! It’s been a crazy, whirlwind start to a new school year. We’re now starting our third week and I still don’t quite yet feel into the swing of things, as I’ve had a little bit of a rocky start to the year – my grandmother passed away during the first week of school, I received a cart of 30 completely blank iPads that needed to be individually prepped, and just this week I combined French 2 classes with another teacher who needs some support.
So, what’s new this year?
- Tables: My classroom is kind of an odd shape, with one edge of it being totally unusable because there’s a raised platform that currently houses my desk and many file cabinets (apparently it used to be a language lab? I don’t know). Typically I’ve done rows, with the outside edges facing inward to the center rows, but I grouped everything in tables of 4 or 5 this year. So far it’s a little tight, but I like the ease of not having to say “Find a partner/small group” because they’re already right there. It’ll make learning stations easier, too.
2. Varied Seating: This is an idea I found from Sara-Elizabeth Cottrell that I loved, but felt like it would be hard to adapt. We only have six minutes in between each class, which is usually filled with getting kids out the door, putting technology away, collecting papers, and making a mad dash across the hallway to go to the bathroom. Changing seats every day didn’t seem realistic for that time frame, but I’ve been putting out their name cards every Monday to change up their seats and so far I’m enjoying it. It’s been a mixed bag with the kids but I’m hoping the novelty might win them over.
3. Schoology: My school district ditched Edline, our old learning management system/grade reporting software and instead adopted Schoology. There’s been a bit of a learning curve associated with using the new technology, but I’m excited to use some of the new features like discussion boards for interpersonal writing, online homework assignments/submissions, and built-in rubrics.
4. Shadow Puppet EDU: In a fit of madness, I applied last year for an iPad cart for my classroom. I’m still trying to figure out how to best utilize the new tech tools (so PLEASE share any ideas/strategies/fun things!) but one I’ve really liked so far is the app ShadowPuppet EDU. It allows users to select an image (or more) and create an interactive presentation with voice overs and a small amount of text. We used them in my French 4/AP combo to narrate “Awkward Family Vacation Photos” as we reviewed the passé composé/imparfait. Fun!