No chicken nuggets

I have changed my header image from Fish and Chips to English Breakfast. The reason for this is simple – some of my Terminale students (I will not name them here, but they will know who they are) thought that the fish actually looked like chicken. They thought it was chicken nuggets. And with me triumphant about the arrival of our first egg from our hens, the thought of transforming my hens into chicken nuggets was just too much for me to bear. So, change of plan and now we have English Breakfast and a lovely way to consume those lovely eggs !!

Visit N°3 with our partner school

We welcomed our partner class of CE2-CM1 kids to the lycée today. They arrived in time for a picnic lunch, had a guided tour of the school and then played some games with my 1STMG students before leaving to go back their school.

It was an amazing visit. The close bonds between the generations was touching to see. The older kids were very protective of the younger ones and very caring and attentive. The little ones obviously felt so grown up, being in the lycée. They were so excited at everything they saw. my interactive white board just blew them away!! A lab colleague showed some of them round the science labs. Wow ! A Spanish colleague welcomed some into her lesson. And a group that was visiting the Lycée Pro were given a go on the soap production machine, coming away with some bars of soap as a souvenir. Thanks to those colleagues. None of that was planned in advance – just some spontaneous gestures of kindness and availability that are so appreciated.

The CE2-CM1 kids had prepared some songs to sing for us. They then taught my pupils the songs. Seeing my older kids, usually so cool and image-conscious, joining in with Heads Shoulders Knees and Toes – that has to be one of my highlights of the year !!

During the games session, we wanted to introduce some questions based on telling the time. My 1STMG kids began to panic – we all know that telling the time is one of their weak points. The CE2-CM1 kids were being reassuring, saying they would help the older ones out !! Ha ha !!

It was a great visit. Having little kids around, so natural and innocent, makes you go back the basics of what school, learning and education shold be all about. Thanks to Karine, the class teacher and to all her pupils for thier infectious enthusiasm. And thanks to my 1STMG class – for following me in this wacky project, but one which will remain with us all for a very long time.


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

Yes !!!

A great big YES moment this morning, so a blog post is called for to celebrate it !! Here we go, altogether now, yes

I have been battling since September with a very large class of reluctant students. When I say “reluctant”, I mean a group who are OK about doing the odd grammar exercise here and there, but anything more exotic than that, well, you’re having a laugh, right ? I have trundled on with my e-portfolios, my eyejot recordings and my google documents. Some have followed me willingly, some have been dragged kicking and screaming and some, well, they must have very sore heels, so far dug in, they were !!

Today, I asked for an essay to be handed in to me on Feburary 10th. That is 3 weeks from now. I asked for it to be word-processed, following a presentation protocole but that was all. No other instructions.

It was not that I had given up on my all my technological input, particularly essay-writing using Googledocs. I am as convinced as ever that this is the way to progress, but I wanted to see if “their way” would turn out better. After all, a kid who scribbles a few lines the night before and who can’t see what is wrong with that, is it worth getting myself all lathered up about it ?

So, I gave out the instructions this morning for the essay. Fine, no problem. At the end of the lesson, two girls came to me and asked if it would be OK, would I mind terribly if they did their essays on Googledocs because they are used to working that way now and they like being able to progress in that way and bladebladebla … and I thought in my mind : yes

It has not all been a waste of time and energy. Those kids that have understood what I am trying to do with them, they are the ones who will work on Googledocs and they are the ones who will progress. The others will continue to scribble out their few measly lines the night before and will make no progress at all … I will now wait to see how many send me a Googledoc and take this personal initiative.  It was a splendiferous moment and one that has truly made my day. So thanks to CV and AB, if you are reading this far. I hope you will recognize yourselves.

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 :