Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

Independent Consultant sharing my learning with others. Please scroll way down to follow me!!


French Immersion

Speaking in French

I had the opportunity to visit a grade 1 / 2 French Immersion classroom. I was really impressed by the way the teacher encouraged her students to speak in French as frequently as possible. She clearly laid out her expectations and taught the students what was expected. Students self assessed and decided when they were doing well and when to improve. There was no question of what should be happening. These are the anchor charts she constructed with her students to help them remember the expectations. (I have added the translation below) Thank you NS for letting me take photographs of your work!!


I speak French all the time to my teachers, French Immersion Friends and in the classroom.


I speak a lot of French with my teachers and in the classroom.


I use some French words in sentences or when Mme asks me to speak French.


I speak English a lot. I say simple words in French like “hello” and “goodbye”


The posters are up in the classroom and also a smaller version on the white board at the front. Students could self-regulate by moving their names on magnets to where they want to be.


Composing Think Aloud 1e

MIMI Picture Selection.pdf - Adobe Acrobat Pro

Les bisons1

Please follow my power point as I model step by step a composing think aloud for grade one/two French Immersion.  I used sentences which the students generated with the help of their teacher.The cloud bubbles are my thinking which I explained to the students. I showed the children how I combined sentences through colour coordination things that were the same. At the end of the model, each student illustrated the paragraph. That gave me an idea of how much detail they understooddrawing

Les 7 enseignements sacres

This is a lesson I created a few years ago to help primary teachers incorporate more First Nation content into their classrooms. I also have an English version of this lesson. The goal was to study one of the teachings each  week, by reading as much as possible about each teaching, by learning a bit about each animal and relating the teachings to students lives. Some people prefer to have the students paint or draw each animal rather than using the photograph. Ideally inviting an Elder into the classroom to help with the process would be the best way to go.Les sept enseignments sacrees

le bison



le castor

la tortue

le loup

Kitsch Sabe

For more information:


Les Sept enseignements sacrés | Les Éditions des Plaines




Grade One Writing – Ecriture en premiere annee

I was invited into a classroom to work on writing in a grade one room. The teacher really wanted her students to start writing more than labelling few words at a time. Merci B.S. for sharing your students with me  🙂

I suggested that we start with a simple text that had a predictable pattern as a model. I also wanted to reinforce the gradual release of responsibility as I modeled this lesson. I told the students I wanted them to feel more comfortable in writing a sentence so we were going to work on it together. I chose the following book to start my lesson:chauve fraiseI read the book to the students. They understood the simple pattern before I was finished the book. I told them which attributes of the book I liked, as I wrote them on an anchor chart to use for future reference. We went back through the book again to check and see if the book actually had all the attributes that I had mentioned.

fraise j'aime

Next, I modeled  a piece of writing that I had written, using the same format. I added the pictures as we read. The children practiced reading the story aloud several times.

chats fraises

Together, we decided on a topic to write about . They wanted to write about food, so after some discussion they chose carrots. At this point the children were quite comfortable with the format. They gave me the simple title. We looked at our attribute chart and I asked them how I should start the piece of writing. They told me what to write, and I printed it out, reinforcing the punctuation as I wrote each line. The children took turns illustrating. Again we practiced reading aloud.

fraise carrots

At this point we told the class that we wanted each table group to create a small book just like in the book 1,2,3 chauves-souris…and just the way we had written about the cats and the carrots. We had each group pick a topic. They had to decide who was going to write page 1, 2 … Each student was given a blank page with simple lines at the bottom. They were to follow the sentence pattern and then illustrate it. We asked them all to stick with the food topic. Next time they can change the topic.

When each group was finished their writing and illustrating, the books were stapled together with a cover page. The children practiced reading their little book aloud in small groups and then presented it to the class. Some groups read the entire book together while others chose to read page by page individually.

The result? 4 new books to add to the class reading basket.A great basket to put in the hallway for parents to look through at conference time.

   Assessment was simple-did the picture match the writing, was printing an issue, could the student read their own writing, how well did the group cooperate.

printing fraises livres fraises


fraise 1fraise 2Fraise 3fraise 4fraise beaucoup


Puppet Reading-(simple yet brilliant)

One of best parts of my job is working in classrooms with teachers and students. Everywhere I go, I learn something new.

I recently visited a classroom where the teacher showed me her student’s reading puppets. Each student has a “puppet buddy” which is kept in their take home reading bags. The puppet goes home every night and comes back to school everyday. puppet 1

The puppets were made from scrap material so no two were alike. The fronts and backs were not the same.(put out a call for left over material, find a friend who sews and whip them up on a weekend) The puppets are faceless which leaves creativity and imagination intact. Students are able to draw how the puppet is feeling or what it is wearing on paper and store it in the reading bag.


Students are given the option to read to the puppet-they hold it up and read aloud. The puppet listens carefully. This is particularly great for students who have nobody to read to at home and need to practice oral fluency.

puppet 3

The second option is to have the puppet help the student read. The puppet helps the student track the words and read along with them.

puppet 2

The students were very excited to show me their puppets and how they use them. What a great way to build engagement in reading 🙂

Thank you J.C. for inviting me into your classroom and sharing this creative idea.

Grade One Writing – Je Peux Etre… I could Be a …

Talk aloud for Writing

Grade One (French Immersion)

When we model the use of Mentor Text for writing, we want students to be able to use what real authors do, to understand what to do in their own writing.

Using The Gradual Release of Responsibility is the easiest way to do this.

  1. Look what this author wrote…read a published text
  2. I like what they did: (list some points you think your students need to learn from the published piece.)
  3. I tried to write like they did: show your model
  4. Let’s try together: Do a group model
  5. Your turn: Students try

1.In our work with the French Immersion grade ones, we chose the following mentor text to read to the children: IMG_0346 (2)

2. After reading the text, we went over it again, listing the attributes of the writing that we liked.

IMG_0347 (2)


3. I shared the piece of writing I created based on the attributes. The students checked my work to see if I had met the criteria.

IMG_0348 (2)


4. As a group we brainstormed possibilities:

PDF name blocked


5. Finally, the students wrote their own pieces: Flipsnack


Language Inquiry in a Grade 2/3 split

2013-11-05 09.05.15 HDR

I had the opportunity to spend some time with a master teacher  in her grade 2/3 French Immersion split. Merci EK for sharing your knowledge, classroom and students.

As most of my readers are English speaking, I will post in English. The ideas I share will work in any language.

The teacher has been working with an elephant photo to do an French Language Arts inquiry on elephants . This inquiry incorporated essential components of teaching reading including word work , sentence work, paragraph writing as well as developing many questions in regards to social studies and science.

Elaine 3

The words were chosen by the students after much discussion and many read alouds by the teacher.

Here ,the students are working on word properties . Their teacher has paper bags full of word study activities which are stored on the bulletin board. The children are allowed to choose the word study activities.

2013-11-05 08.56.56Elaine 2 Elaine 1

The students each created a non-fiction sentence which were typed up by the teacher. Each student has a set of sentences to practice fluency with,as well as to classify and use to put together their own paragraphs.

2013-11-05 09.05.09 HDR
Students classified sentences in preparation for creating paragraphs.

Elaine 4
The teacher modelled how first with a composing think-aloud and a class paragraph was created .

2013-11-05 09.18.31 HDR

Here are some of the students’ paragraphs.

2013-11-05 09.21.58 HDR2013-11-05 09.44.172013-11-05 09.43.24

Students were also working on computers to write about their learning trhough the use of photo story .

2013-11-05 09.59.542013-11-05 09.59.09

Many books are necessary to take on an inquiry process such as this. It takes time and planning to bring it all together but the resulting student learning and engagement is really exciting.

2013-10-15 08.31.05

I originally posted this anchor chart for English classrooms. I was so happy to see this posted in a French Immersion classroom I recently visited. I particularly liked the way the teacher linked it to “faire les liens” thus incorporating comprehension strategies. Thank you NS for sharing!!


Synthesizing Our Thinking or Faire la synthese

I was so excited to go and work in the classroom of a former student! I felt a bit like Grandma Moses at first but the kids were great and it was really fun. Thanks to C.B. for inviting me in 🙂
If you can’t read French I think the ideas still apply.

Synthesizing is a difficult comprehension strategy  for young students to name. They are able to do it quite naturally but the thinking process is not always apparent to them. In her book Reading with Meaning , Debbie Miller gave the following ideas for teaching to synthesizing:

Cover of
Cover of Reading with Meaning

In order to focus the students and give them a visual of what synthesizing might  look like, we talked about how some things spiral and get bigger and bigger as we add to them. We had a brainstorming session of what kinds of things they might be. Some suggestions the children gave were cinnamon buns,  noodles, screws, a snow ball as you roll it in the snow. As the children were making suggestions we would print the word on the board and draw a visual being sure to show how it could grow,. Some of their examples were better than others.

We started by reading a story together. Being read to Daily is essential for beginner readers to build vocabulary and fluency as well as comprehension. In French Immersion it is even more important that we read to children daily for them to develop the language. We read the story through once.  Le Cirque Charlie Chou by Marie Louise  Gay.

When we were done reading the story, the teacher and I  reviewed our brainstormed list of things that “synthesize”. Then we talked about how when we listen to a story our thinking can change and grow. We read the story again but this time we wrote the student comments in the spiral form . We stopped every few pages for a new thought which was added in a new colour.


At  the end of the story, the children had a spiral version of the story that added more and more information as we read. They discussed how their thinking about the story really had changed and grown as the story progressed and they added more information. We read another story to them (very slowly) and let them try to write their own spiral synthesis. The physical act was actually more difficult for  some of them than the thinking was. We had  many types of ” spiral” forms

Our next step was to talk about non-fiction reading. We said that when we learn about a topic, every time we read or view something new our thinking changes a little. One of the children pointed out that it was almost as if you can see the brain getting bigger-smarter as you learn more.

We read parts of two books about chimpanzees together.


We talked about the fact that it isn’t very easy to write in a spiral, and that an easier way to write out our thoughts is in a graphic organizer called a web.We modled putting some information into the graphic organizer. Then as a group decided what information we wanted to add to our understanding of chimpanzees.


We showed the children that we could then take that important information we had learned and put together –synthesized- into a paragraph.  We created a class paragraph together. We talked about how we synthesized all the information we had learned from our chimpanzee Read alouds and that information helped us learn about chimpanzees and then write about them. As we used information  in the large web, we checked it off.


Our next step was to choose another non-fiction text and see how the children were able to synthesize the information we were giving to them about snails.


We talked about the spiral writing and how that actually looked like a snail’s shell. They were very excited to try the spiral writing again. They knew that every new piece of information was to be written in a new colour. When we were done our snail read alouds, they would create their own synthesized snail writing. Here are a couple of samples and the class bulletin board.

IMGA0091 IMGA0089IMGA0090


This is only the beginning of synthesizing. Students need to start being aware of when their thinking changes and new thinking comes in. Kind of like when we delete and re-write when we are typing. Synthesizing takes a lot of practice. Using webs and other graphic organizers to help keep track of thinking is beneficial

It is really important for students to remember the key thinking:

We are changing our thinking !

I used to think…but now I think…

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