Monday, 8 September 2014
September 8, 2014
My name is Anne Durante and I am the French specialist teacher for Grades 5,6 and 7 at Cloverdale Catholic School. As we launch into the new school year, I would love to introduce myself to any new parents or parents who I have not yet met. I have been working as a Special Education Assistant for 3 years now at the school, and last year started teaching the French as well. I was raised in Ottawa, which is where I learned my French, and moved to BC in 1993 in order to attend graduate school at UBC. I ended up taking a detour from my original plan of research chemist and moved into the challenge of education. I obtained my BEd at UBC and originally taught at St. John Brebeuf High School for 3 years. Having married another Catholic teacher, I left teaching in 2000 in order to have my first child. I now have 4 children and, when the youngest started Kindergarten, moved back into the field of education at this wonderful school.
The program I am using to teach French is called the AIM program (Accelerated Integration Method). It is the direction that many schools are moving towards in French as it is the most successful at getting students to use French more quickly that any other approach. It uses gestures in order to bring students into comprehension without reverting to English. Each and every word we use in class has a gesture, and through repetition and the use of the words in different contexts the children acquire an understanding of the words and patterns of the language. The primary and most important way that your children can succeed in French is by speaking with me at all times as I gesture and speak. They also need to practice speaking French only in class, which is very challenging at this stage, but necessary in order for them to start "thinking" in French.
The program for the year is centered around a play. In Grades 5 and 6 the students will be learning a version of the 3 little pigs. In Grade 7 they will be learning a play called "Comment y aller" about a girl who is trying to get to Paris to visit her friend. The use of drama, music, raps and dances are useful tools for language acquisition and for keeping it fun.
There will be very little homework in this class. I want the students to put all of their energy into the speaking and participating in class.
The 2 main rules:
1) Speak French only
2) Speak with Madame Durante at all times she is gesturing for everyone to speak.
I look forward to a wonderful year! I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.