“The fact that AIM is perfect in an immersion context seems to be a well kept secret! I’m hoping that writing this will help to spread the word. After teaching using the AIM in a Core French context for many years, this is my first year using it with immersion and quite honestly it is incredible.
Today I saw my students for the first day after our two week Spring Break. They came in literally bursting with language. I teach Kindergarten and at the beginning of the year, there were a few who could say “bonjour”, a few who knew “chat” and an even smaller group who proudly told me they could say “Je m’appelle”.
At this point in the year, I have 22 students who speak confidently in French.
By early January, one of the Grade 1 immersion teachers who also has a child in my class told me that her child’s French was BETTER than 90% of the kids in her Grade 1 class.
By Spring Break, the average student in my Kindergarten class spoke better French than the average Grade 2 immersion student at my school. My weakest student also spoke better French than the weakest Grade 2 student.
A couple of months ago, after chatting with the other Kindergarten teachers, I made the decision that I would copy what the English track teacher was doing with her students instead of what the French immersion teachers were doing with their students. I am therefore currently working on the equivalent of the English Language Arts programme instead of the French Language Arts programme as my students have enough language to be able to handle it.
A substitute teacher who worked in my class in February wrote that my kids were “super avancés”. She had previously worked for about 30 years as a French immersion teacher so I trust her opinion 🙂
The basic concept is that even my “weak kids” (who are weak with their letter knowledge etc and can’t sit still) can STILL speak French. The language just flows when they speak. When I speak, I can say a whole paragraph and then they will stop me and ask what one particular word means. Actually when you compare them with “regular immersion kids” they are quite different. (e.g. My students expect to understand every word more or less. Regular immersion kids just listen and then guess. My students know they can always ask how to say something. Regular immersion kids stall or simply say the word in English and then continue. I can tell you fairly precisely what words my students know and don’t know. In a regular immersion class, the teacher guesses based on what the kids do.) I would like to start documenting things a bit more and it’s quite interesting.”