Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday: Parlez-vous Francais?

     Spring Break is officially here and although I have only been able to start a brief introduction of WBT with my Grade 5s I can't wait to hit the ground running on Monday. I feel as though I have just been full of exciting news the last little while and my ninth Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday post is no exception! I hope that this focus on WBT is helpful to those of you who are wishing to learn more about how a certain strategy may work and what my personal experience with it has been. Last week I was able to share my first introduction of WBT with my Grade 5s and this week I would like the share how ANOTHER teacher at my school is using WBT strategies. Hooray!

     During this student teaching placement I am teaching science full time to our Grade 5 class as well as a Grade 5/6 split class. During the remainder of the day I have either been observing or co-teaching with my cooperating teacher depending on the day/activity/subject/etc. Through our schedule we also have prep periods while our students attend music or french with other teachers. While I usually use this time to prep, reflect with my cooperating teacher and orient myself with the school I decided last week to remain with my students during french class. No I do not speak any french (unless you count Grade 4-7, most of which I have forgotten by now) but I figured that the more I could observe, the better, and I am so happy I stayed! As the french teacher walked into the room she enthusiastically declared, "Disco!" To which the students responded, equally as enthusiastically, "Disco" while making disco dancing moves with their arms.

OMG have I FINALLY found another teacher who is using WBT?! As I stood at the side of the room I was positively giddy! Over the next 30 minutes I watched the teacher review french vocabulary with our class complete with gestures! It was so exciting, our class that is usually high energy and easily distracted was participating and using their energy to complete the gestures as they reviewed their vocabulary. Now I will note that there was some students who did not participate (knowing the students it was not surprising) but by having all of the other students participate they had no one to get off-track with so they still paid attention despite not participating verbally and physically with the gestures. Another thing I noticed was that many of her gestures followed American Sign Language (ASL) which I thought was very interesting! I am somewhat familiar with ASL through my job as a Child Development Worker but my comprehension is minimal so I can't say for sure if all of her gestures used ASL or only some. Unfortunately I wasn't able to speak with the french teacher regarding her strategies as she is also the vice-principal and had to leave immediately following class. I am hoping that if time allows, I will be able to sit down with her and discuss her strategies because I am so excited after observing her class!

     Hopefully next week I will be able to update you on both my conversation with the french teacher as well as how WBT is going with my students. I mean, if they are already using it in french it should be a smooth transition, right?


  1. Wonderful that you two found each other and enjoy WBT! French, ASL, WBT, wow! Thanks so much, Carolyn

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  3. I'm curious to find out if the French teacher was using the program AIM language learnign which uses gestures to teach French.... I use that program and it works great... many gestures are ASL but some are created to reflect the French language better like masculine and feminine gestures for pronouns, articles and adjectives, etc. Check it out at

    Barbara MacKenzie-Murray
    Nova Scotia
    Portland Estates Elementary

    1. Barbara,

      You're right, she was actually using the AIM program! I posted about it if you would like to read it :)

      It is such a great program, I really enjoyed learning about it during the rest of my student teaching placement. I wish I had a program like that when I was learning French.

      Thanks for checking out the blog and best wishes :)

  4. I am bursting with excitement!! Teach Grade One French Immersion using the AIM program and can see huge areas of compimentary teaching strategies!! Need to translate the WBT dialogues into French - unless someone already has? THANK YOU!

    1. Welcome Beverly! I found AIM and WBT to be very similar! I wish that I had had the opportunity to learn French under the AIM program. I know people who have translated WBT into Spanish as part of different American curriculums but I haven't stumbled across any French yet.
      There is one teacher I came across on the WBT Forum, Marie-Claude Jarret (forum name Kydam)who teaches French. Maybe she can help you out?


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