Strategies to help keep you from losing your mind … and everything else!
Maureen Gerber, OFLA Secondary Language Learning Committee Chair
French Teacher, Perrysburg High School
One of the hardest aspects of teaching for proficiency, in my opinion, is keeping it all together. Google Drive helps, but even there I’ve had my moments searching for the resource I just knew I had tucked away somewhere in the labyrinth of my drive.
I’ve come up with the following practices, those which are working for me, and so as this school year draws to a close, I pass them on to you.
First, I have a Google folder for each level I teach. Within that folder is a folder for each unit. And within each unit folder, most importantly, are the following:
1) A folder entitled “PLANS”
This folder houses the Unit Plan form, the Weekly Plan Forms (in their own folder) and the Daily Lesson Plan Powerpoint.
I have found that setting my instructional powerpoint up by UNIT and not by week or day really helped in so many ways. With COVID, sometimes the days were not the same. Also, it’s just all together. Finally, it is so much easier to look ahead for those days when I might have a substitute or behind if I need to remember what we actually did last week. Yes, the presentation ends up being long, but it is all together. Movies are loaded right on the presentation, as well as oral activities, speaking, and partner activities. If I use a visual (flash card, etc.) during a lesson, I write it right on the page. For example, yesterday my level 2 lesson involved future formation. I have some really swell cards of places that I made years ago. The task: I hold up a place, give the verb and subject, and they say if they will do the action or not. It’s quick, easy, and fun. In the lesson PowerPoint I had one slide that said, “Cartes / endroits.” That way, when I prepare for the day, I know to go to the file (hard copy file) and pull out that resource. I did the activity with them, and then we moved on to other slides and other activities.
An example of partner A and partner B activities that I put right on this daily lesson powerpoint is here. In this level 3 unit, we are learning career vocabulary and the simple future.
This activity was followed by one more like this and then a Wheel Decide where I let the wheel roll. Then partner A would describe his career in as many sentences as he could in 45 seconds and B would do the same. One slide with the link did the trick for us!
Each activity follows for the daily lesson, and homework, if any, is listed at the end of each day.
I find that I need to change up the Daily Lesson Plan PowerPoint somewhat each year, so I put the current one in the drive and also have a folder with “Old Presentation PP’s.”
2) A folder entitled “ASSESSMENT”
Here I keep the IPA in a folder with all of its parts. I also keep the two quizzes I give in a 4.5-week unit. An addition I plan to make this summer is to keep the specific name of any Schoology quizzes I have given (and often these are formative assessments) on a Google Doc to make them easier to find next year.
3) A folder entitled “RESOURCES”
This folder is broken into smaller folders by the Essential Question of the week. For example in our level 2 French unit, “What Environmental Choices Do I Make?” the four essential questions are:
1. Where is the pollution in the water?
2. What is the greenhouse effect?
3. How are animals threatened?
4. What do I need to do?
Within each of these folders are folders for: video, audio, partner activities, writing, and speaking.These are my hardest working folders, because it is from them that I cull the material that goes into the unit PowerPoint with daily plans.
A Google doc with links to any games that I’ve created, such as Quizlet, Kahoot, Gimkit, Blookit, Bamboozle, is another addition I’ll make this summer.
4) A folder entitled “PACKET”
This is where I put the packet for each unit. The packet at a minimum has the vocabulary list, key grammar notes, and cultural topics as boxes to fill in together after we have used and discussed authentic resources in class. Sometimes the packet also includes activities to practice the concepts. Some packets are more evolved than others! The last page of each packet is a “Stamp Sheet” with the Can Do statements for the unit.
Since the packets do evolve, within the “Packet” folder, I have an “Old Packets” folder and a “For the Packet” folder to add in material I create during the unit and save it for next year.
Admittedly, it is a constant effort to keep this burgeoning mess of stuff organized, but doing so saves a lot of time and stress. And…usually I can find things….
Hopefully these ideas will help all of you! Have a safe and restful summer!