Teaching ‘à la carte’
If you travel from class to class with your supplies and are looking for ideas to help you ensure that not a moment of precious language learning time is wasted, here are a few ideas that have been successfully used by AIM teachers!
Organization of resources:
Organize your cart! If your school has the funds, purchase a rolling cart on which one side hangs chart paper for your whole-class stories, with a flat storage area for markers, a CD player and box for ‘les cartes’
Below that, you store the pocket folders in bins labeled by class. Each class should have folders of a different colour, so that they are easily grouped and identified by colour.
Organization of time:
While you take a few minutes set up, make sure that students are involved and active in language production from the moment you arrive.
- As you enter the door, your presence should signal to the whole class that they should begin to say (and dance!) the Entry Rap – either the AIM-created rap or one that the whole class or pairs of students have written.
- Les profs du jour/de la semaine – Each week, two students could be assigned the responsibility to lead the class in the Entry rap as well as the date and time or other topics. These requirements could change on a rotational basis, as recommended in the calendar template in the Whole-Class Activities Book. For the first couple of minutes students may conduct other simple activities such as a basic gesture, word association or opposites review. Toward the end of the kit, reciting the play quickly is another good way to make sure that students take ownership of their learning.
- Some teachers begin the class with partner/group activities. Even before the teacher arrives, students do the Entry routine together. Then, as the teacher is setting up, those who have been selected as monitors for that week, hand out the folders, following the AIM’s systematic routine that helps them practice such constructions as: Où est…? Je suis ici. Voici ta chemise. Merci/De rien…tout en français, bien sûr !
Due to AIM’s linguistic routines, the daily lesson template and the holarchical nature of the program, AIM students become intimately aware of what should happen each class. Even in the first kit, they come to know and easily predict how each day flows, the possible types of whole-class activities and exactly what they have done and what they still need to do in their partner/group work. Over time, from kit-to-kit, this knowledge allows you to effectively and gradually release responsibility to the students. Many teachers realize how wonderful this is when they discover how students guide the substitute teacher when they are not there!