• Are you a Gesture Guru?

    The Who, What, Where, and Why of Using Gestures in the AIM Classroom
    by Cheryl Roper

    So, you work with your Teacher DVD at least 15 minutes every night. You’ve memorized the gestures for every word from Section A to Z for your kit. You’ve practiced gesturing whole sentences, partial question, and total questions. You can even gesture the entire play at normal speaking pace and your colleagues say you’re as fluid in motion as a maestro conducting a symphony orchestra. You know that gestures are the key to bringing fluency to your students without using their first language. You know that gestures keep your students engaged physically and mentally in the classroom. You know that, by using gestures, you are giving your students the capacity to story language in two separate parts of their brains. But, are you truly a Gesture Guru? Take this simple quiz and read on to find out.

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  • Another New Beginning in my Immersion Classroom

    Ann Chiasson is a certified AIM teacher, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Ann delivers AIM workshops, inspiring and supporting new and experienced teachers who wish to use AIM in their French immersion program!

    Another summer has gone and a new school year has begun. Once again, I am faced with a group of 20 adorable (most of the time) 4 and 5 years olds who have no knowledge of French. As I observed them on the first day of class, I couldn’t help wondering what I had gotten myself into. The blank stares, the requests for me to speak in English, the repeated exclamations that they do not understand a word I am saying, made me question my choice of teaching full-day French immersion kindergarten for the umpteenth time. I mean seriously! Am I nuts, some kind of masochist or a sucker for punishment? And then I sat down to do my first AIM lesson and as I enthusiastically gestured “Bonjour,

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  • AIM Summer Institute!

    The AIM Summer Institute is ALWAYS a highlight of the year for me! It is an action-packed few days where AIM teachers from all over the world – from brand-new to those we have come to now over many years – join our wonderful team of passionate AIM facilitators.

    AIM is not just about good teaching practice – although we do come together to share ideas and develop as teachers! what AIM Summer Institutes offer is the opportunity for language teachers to come together to celebrate successes, to laugh, sing, dance, learn and be creative!

    It is a fantastic way to kick off the summer holidays. As you relax and enjoy time with your families, you also have time to reflect on what you have learned at the Summer Institute. Re-charged and ready to begin a new school year in September, you can take your memories of the fun and learning you experienced with you into the classroom!

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  • AIM and Assessment

    AIM and Assessment

    By Wendy Maxwell

    The goal of the Accelerative Integrative Methodology is:

    To engage students in rapid development of language proficiency, promote a love of language acquisition, leading to awareness and appreciation of cultural diversity

    As the school year comes to a close, many of us turn our attention to assessment!

    In order to assess student progress in any subject, learning of the subject must have taken place. In the case of languages, the challenge is that students often do not develop sufficient skills – despite several years of instruction in the subject – to allow them to engage in meaningful conversations or to write lengthy pieces of writing. As a result, the current push around the world has been to ensure that language classes are meaningful – that students DO develop oral and written language proficiency.

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  • AIM Methodology and Technology

     

    I often get the question from teachers: “How can I combine AIM methodology and technology?”

     

    I have several answers:

     

    1.      Singing AIM songs with Powerpoint presentations.

    I find that presenting the vocabulary visually is the best way to introduce a song, and to sing along with the music while manually advancing the slides.

    Click here for some AIM songs on PP (no music).

    Click here for other songs (no music).

    Click here for many PP songs on YouTube.

     

    2. SMARTboard files.

    Click here to purchase SMARTboard resources that go with AIM plays.

     

    3. Using technology to do play readings and story retells/extensions.

    a. Voicethread is an online platform that allows you to upload pictures and record your voice on individual slides.

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  • Testing Effectiveness of AIM in the Upper Classes of Dutch High School (VWO 4-6)

    Testing Effectiveness of AIM in the Upper Classes of Dutch High School (VWO 4-6)

    By Wim Gombert

    In the past two decades, the position of the French language in Dutch secondary schools has grown weaker and weaker. Fewer students choose the language after the first three compulsory years and schools have also reduced the amount of time available. Pupils cannot communicate well in French anymore and French seems to disappear from Dutch schools.

    However, in some schools, more students choose French. For example, in my own school, where I teach English immersion classes French, the number of Dutch students choosing French as a second language has increased substantially.

    Figure 1(1)


    Figure 1
    : Number and percentage of students who chose French after three years of compulsory French at the Gomarus College. The students from 2014 on have had the AIM-method.

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  • Critical Thinking, Second (World) Language Learning, and AIM

    Critical Thinking, Second (World) Language Learning, and AIM

    by Beth Poulin

    The Critical Thinking Consortium (TC2.ca) defines Critical thinking as:

    The thinking through of a problematic situation about what to believe or how to act where the thinker makes a reasoned judgment that reflects competent use of the intellectual tools for quality thinking.

    As teachers we ask questions all the time. These questions can be broken down into three categories:

    1)      Factual   ex. Where does your mother live?
    2)      Personal preference   ex. What is your favourite kind of ice cream?
    3)      Critical inquiry   ex. What would be the best action for the character to take next?

    So why would it be a good idea to use critical thinking strategies in a second language learning situation?

    1)      We shape thinkers out of those who struggle with the language and challenge them to grow.

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  • Inductive Teaching and Error Analysis

    Inductive Teaching and Error Analysis

    AIM uses a three-step system that scaffolds and builds the understanding of grammar in a natural way – one that reflects the way that we learned our own first language and blends this with specific strategies to accelerate the learning of second language students. Once a student begins to write extensively, the teacher takes sentences containing common errors made by students and helps them analyse these errors. What results is an in-depth understanding of how the language works.

     

    What does ‘inductive’ mean?

    • information arrived at by student’s own reasoning (and is more likely to be retained over the long term)

    Self-correction

    • students are often able to self-correct when they realize they’ve made a mistake
    • sometimes the mistake is simply a ‘whoops’ and they really are aware of the correct version
    • give students a choice,

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  • Fun, Creativity, Cooperative Learning, Thinking Skills and Oral Proficiency Development!

    Oral story retelling is an essential AIM activity that leads to development of creativity and proficiency.

    This activity:

    ➸ is an opportunity for students learn to put a story they know well into their own words

    ➸ develops the ability for circumlocution to find alternate words/ways to communicate the same idea.

    ➸ teaches students to realize there is a variety of options available in self-expression – translation being the least desirable option

    ➸ has, as its goal for students, to use very few words from the original story, embellish, add details, descriptions, explanations while remaining true to events and characters.

    Students must not repeat any sentence word for word from the play that they are retelling.

    Tips for success:

    ☛ Model to the class. Choose a strong student to model with you as your partner or have two strong students do this.

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  • AIM-ing Towards the CEFR and the Revised Ontario FSL Curriculum

    by Juliet Young, Durham District School Board (Roland Michener Public School, Ajax, Ontario)

    When the revised FSL Curriculum was (finally!) released in Ontario in 2013, I remember pouring through it – both anxious and excited to see the extent to which it was revamped, and how these changes would affect my program as an AIM teacher. The more I read it, the more energized I was about the new focus on authentic communication and interaction in French, cultural awareness, and reflection. I had always felt somewhat constrained and boxed in by the old curriculum. With the revised curriculum, I was able to envision so many possibilities for teaching and learning with my Core French classes. But during that period of uncertainty with the new curriculum, while attending various workshops, meetings and conferences, and reading some FSL teacher forum posts, I would hear/read comments such as “I’m not using AIM anymore.

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