I just love this photo. I don’t know who the gentlemen are, but it is just such a poignant picture to see them walking on this Normandy beach. Being based in Normandy, we always have quite a heavy diet of D-Day stuff around us, but this week, it has been extra fabulous, seeing all the old vehicles on the road, making their way to the commemoration events. On Monday, there was a whole convoy of about twenty ambulances, jeeps and army trucks lined up on the side of the road leading out of my town of Louviers. People were tooting and waving to the drivers. It felt so friendly and warm. Even the usually-so-cool teenagers from my school were joining in the fun and waving away to them. A wonderful moment as part of these commemoration events. Wishing a very enjoyable day to everyone involved.
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.
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.
What do you think of this music ?
My eldest son is studying music in the UK and he was part of this mix. I am, of course, his Number One fan !! Click on LIKE if you like his music. If I get a decent amount of likes, I will link in to his Sound Cloud.
I checked out my stats this morning, as I regularly do, just to see who is reading me and I was at 17,000 hits exactly. Back in October 2013, I was getting all excited because I was fast approaching 11,00, so 6,000 hits in 6 months is a pretty good rate, I’d say. So thanks to my wonderful students, as always and to the people around the world who click here regularly.
To celebrate, here is a Happy Bunny …
When you are feeling tired and in need of recharging your batteries, I can thoroughly recommend a quiet corner in the New Forest. This lovely little thatched cottage is where we have just holidayed for a week. My eldest son, studying in the UK, was able to spend the week with us and my aim was to relax and to recreate a little home from home. Job done !! I made cakes, read books, fiddled with my computer and shopped !! Oh boy ! Did I shop !!!
Now the batteries are indeed recharged and it is time to look forwards to the coming term. There are mock papers to mark, lessons to prepare and training courses to plan – but the warmth of our little Horseshoe Lodge will remain for a long time. The weather here in Normandy is getting better – the daffs are out in the garden. The sky was a beautiful clear blue as we drove home from the ferry at 8 o’clock this morning. Optimism for the coming week.
to this …
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.
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.
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 ?
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 :
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.
I wish I had had this idea first – it is brilliant.