So proud

Today three groups of my students from Terminale STI2D came along to one of my training courses to present in English their final year projects to those present. I was truly astounded at how good tehy were and how well they did it. Even R, a student who doesn’t always want to go along with what is being done in class was a star. And quiet, retiring W was full of explanations in clear and comprehensible English. A was totally at ease, drawing us diagrams on the board and explaining at the same time. I was so proud of what they achieved today and I hope they realize how much I respect their attitude.

The aim of inviting them was to give a starting point to our training. All too often, we get bogged down in the theory and forget the kids who should be at the heart of everything. By starting off with the kids, we gave the afternoon a direction that it would have been hard to achieve without them. It also showed what I firmly believe – my students have a better level in English than we give them credit for. Give them a bit of leeway and off they will go – but in the most positive way possible, as they proved today.

The teachers said that they admired their ease, how comfortable they were with the language and how motivated they seemed by their projects. I would agree with that. Hats off to my colleagues who run the projects, who dream them up and who put it all in place. And hats off to the pupils in question. A second group next week – let’s hope they will do as good a job as those today.

hats off

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The Cup Song

A special dedication to Akhésa and Cécilia from my L classes at school this year, who introduced me to the  “Cup Song”. Congratulations to the pupils from the Collège Racinay and to my colleague and Twitter friend, Elisa for putting this together. I would so have loved to be part of it. I promised my girls to post on this topic and so here we are, with a little extra, a special tap dancing version too as a bonus.

Back to reality …

From this … 2014-02-05 18.04.46

to this …

2014-02-09 16.45.00

with the boiler on the blink, so a chilly house to welcome me back to. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my life in my damp Normandy countryside, but what a pleasure to be sent to a warm, sunny place where people are leading such different lives and to meet lots of new and interesting challenges.

To the trainees on my course this week, welcome to my blog.

To the new people I met from Nouakchott, Mauritania, I hope to see your flag featuring often on the stats page here and I will think of you each time in your “sandpit”, as you call it.

Dakar is a place full of contradictions and lots of stuff I don’t understand even after six visits, but I have brought home with me so many memories and in particular, the memories of those ten-year old kids at the Dial Diop school, reading stories with me in English and their thousands of questions about England. Pure sunshine.

Now back to reality, and back to work. I have to try to remember where I left off just a week ago but it feels like three centuries ago.

Fifty ways to recycle a plastic bottle

Alexandre 1

My fabulous 1STI2D1 students have really gone to town with their entries for my “Fifty ways to recycle a plastic bottle” project. Here are their entries, assembled in one picture by Alexandre (thanks to him and to Ghislain who did me some other photos). The idea was to find creative uses for the two plastic bottles that I gave to them over the Xmas holidays, photograph the entries and post them on a virtual wall with an explanation in English of how they went about making their creation.The language objective was to practice the past tense (I chose / I cut / I made / I wanted to etc etc).

The ideas were presented to a panel of six Technology teachers and entries have been nominated in different categories :

The most creative

The most innovative

The craziest idea

The most useful idea

The most stylish idea

The sustainable development prize

I then put together a team of non-Technoloy teacher to choose The Teachers’ Choice Prize.

Finally there will be The Overall Winner of the Fifty Ways to Recycle a Plastic Bottle Project 2014.

My Technology colleague, Claire Boucher, has made the trophies for the prize-giving ceremony which will take place on Thursday 30th January. We announced the nominated prizes in class on Wednesday and each student will be working on his acceptance speech, in the case of victory. And of course, the speech will be in English.

The objects will be displayed during our Open Day at school on March 22nd 2014.

I am truly delighted at how the students have entered into the spirit of this project. It came at the end of a long chapter on PLASTIC – making plastic bottles, the injection moulding process, recycling plastic and inventive uses for plastic bottles. We studied a project in Guatemala where plastic bottles, stuffed with trash, have been used as blocks to build a community school. This then led us to think about ways to use a plastic bottle for us and the project was born.

The Ceremony will take place on January 30th in the presence of Mr Fraboulet, our Headmaster, Mr Furst and Mme Renault-Chatton, our Deputy Heads and a selection of class teachers. The French teacher is going to work on writing an article for the school website and for the local rag with groups of the students.

It has been an absolute pleasure working on this project and seeing my boys develop their creativity and imagination. My conviction that students need to have a creative side has been strengthened by this project and their participation has shown me that I am right to believe in them and their talents. Up to me to dream up more challenges as they have set the bar very high with their offerings.

The winners will be announced here after Thursday’s ceremony.

UPDATE : We are proud to announce the winners of our 2014 Fifty Ways to Recycle a Plastic Bottle Competition.

ghislain1

The most creative : Bastien and his Sweets Cup and Bracelet

The most innovative : Léo and his Magazine Rack

The craziest idea : Antoine and his Millipede Sponge Support

The most useful idea : Valentin and his Bike Fender

The most stylish idea : Vincent and his Phone Dock / Dimitri with his Christmas Decoration

The sustainable development prize : Johnnathan with his Water Recycling system

The non-STI2D teachers’ prize : Ghislain and his Remote Control Holder / Mathieu and his Pirate Ship

And the overall winner of the Grand prize 2014 is Antoine and the Millipede, nominated in the most categories.

Congratulations once again to all particpants. Thanks to the lycée for organising a tea party for the awards ceremony, to Mr Fraboulet, the Head, for his presence at the ceremony and to Mr Paquet, our “Chef des Travaux” for the cinema ticket prizes for the winners. All participants received a souvenir keyring, made by Claire Boucher along the same lines as the trophies (thanks to her and to Eliane for the technical support) and a good time was had by all.

All that remains now is to organise our exhibition of the project for the Lycée Les Fontenelles Open Day on March 22nd 2014, where the creations will be on display with explanations in English, of course.

Amazing all the things you can do with a plastic bottle, isn’t it ?

Happy New Year

January 1st 2014 – there it is. I have written it and so now, we can start living it. A new year will doubtlessly mean resolutions. How long will I stick to them ? I am guessing that they will be long forgotten by the time I return to work in a week !! I will try to stick to the resolution that involves my levels of grumpiness, for everyones’ sakes, but the rest, I make no promises !!

I hope 2014 will be a blogging good year and I hope you will find snippets to read here and there. To my Lycée students, I hope you will stick with me and continue to use the blog as you have been doing thus far. You are wonderful and I dedicate this picture to you all as my New Year gift :

Being-Fabulous-Rocks-Logo-copy

I can’t quite believe this !!!

world viewsI happened to take a look tonight at the stats for my humble little blog that I put together to help my students in Louviers and what did I discover ? That over the past year, I have had visitors that I did not even know about, from all over the world. People have clicked in to my blog from countries such as India, the Philippines, Spain, Norway, Mauritius – not to mention my dear African countries (although I have a feeling I know who some of you people are !!). I feel truly honoured to know that people around the world are interested in my little blog, based in a small town in Normandy. So welcome everyone and please come again soon. It gives me the greatest pleasure to know that you are here from time to time.