Routines I use in my Classroom Part 2

If you’ve been following along, you know that for the last few weeks, we have been talking about routines.

First, we looked at 7 reasons why we need to have routines in our classroom.

Then, last week, we talked about some of the routines I like to use in my Core French classroom.

Today, we are going to finish off this series by talking about some weekly routines and exit tickets.

Weekly Routines

In my last blog post, we talked about weekly bell ringers such as la chanson de la semaine et le son de la semaine. Today I would like to talk about some weekly activities I use in my classroom.

The reason why these activities are so great is it gives the students a chance to prepare something and/or present it to the class. It means I have one less period each week which I need to prepare for. And it means one period a week where I get to sit back and watch the students shine.

Here are some of my favourite weekly routines:

Montre et raconte

Every week, 5 students in each of my Grade 6 classes present something that is special to them. They pick an object and bring it to class to share with their classmates. To scaffold them in the process, I give them a dialogue (an outline of sentences, they just fill in the blanks) and provide clear instructions on expectations (with a rubric). I even walk them through an example of my own show and tell. When they’re done with their presentation, their classmates get to ask them questions about it all.

I truly look forward to our show and tell days. It is so amazing what our students can do with just a little bit of support and scaffolding. I like to have a conversation with my students after their presentations. We do a little bit of informal self-assessment. I get the students to talk about how they think they did as well as the overall experience. The feedback is always amazing. The students are usually proud of themselves for the amazing work they did.

Interested in seeing more about my montre et raconte activity? You can check it out here.

Montre et raconte

Concours d’épellation

At the beginning of the year in my Grade 7 French classes, we talk about the structure of a simple sentence in French and we focus on developing our sentence writing skills over the course of the year. We also spend a lot of time learning verb conjugation patterns and how conjugated verbs fit into a sentence.

Over the last few years of teaching Core French in a middle school, I have realized that despite my students having learned lots of French vocabulary, they tend to forget it and are unable to use it in class because they are not given ample opportunities to produce that language. They also don’t know how to spell anything in French because they can always use spell check. When we teach isolated units on La nourriture or La mode, for example, students forget the vocabulary words only a little while later.

Consequently, in my grade 7 classes, we focus on vocabulary building and correct spelling of words. Just recently, I have started doing spelling games, tests and spelling bees with my students on a weekly basis. I will update you more on this as the year progresses and I get more feedback from the students. I am finding this activity is really beneficial to help the students develop not only their vocabulary but their writing skills.

Ateliers d’écriture

Lastly, one of my favourite weekly routines which I use in my Grade 8 classes is a weekly writing block. By grade 8, I expect that my students have significantly developed their writing skills. As a result, in this block, I project a group of vocabulary words on the screen (ideally with images so that I don’t have to translate the words for the students). I give students a timer, typically at least 15 minutes and have them write something.

Depending on what we are learning about in class, sometimes I will encourage them to write in a particular literary form. Most of the time I will let them write as they please. I usually like to provide students with optional writing prompts in case they need some ideas. Sometimes I have students peer edit their work and sometimes we present our work. There is so much you can do with a writing block.

It is amazing to watch their writing improve throughout the year!

Exit Tickets

As a teacher, having a curriculum to follow, it can be very easy to get lost in the delivery of the content, and forget about how our students are doing and if they are actually achieving adequate understanding of what we are teaching.

One of the easiest and quickest ways I am able to assess understanding in my Core French classroom is through the use of Exit Tickets.

What is an exit ticket you may ask? An exit ticket is a quick way for students to respond to a question or prompt of your choice, before they leave the classroom.

And now you may be wondering, why are they so useful? Exit tickets are great not only for routines but also because they enable me to check for understanding, they emphasize the important points of the lesson, and they document student learning.

So let’s look at some of the different exit tickets I like to use:

  • A quick thumbs up, sideways or down showing me understanding based on a visual or verbal prompt.
  • A Google Form exit ticket that specifically answers a question about our topic of study. This is a quick way for me to assess student understanding.
  • I give students a small rectangular piece of paper. Students write down their name on the paper. By the door I have three pockets labeled as « Je comprends », « Je ne comprends pas », or « J’ai besoin d’aide ». Students drop their name in the pocket where they feel they fit after the day’s lesson.
  • Sometimes my exit ticket is a check-in with my students to see how they’re doing. Their social and emotional well-being is just as important as any lesson or activity we’ve done. I’ll have them write something down for me and hand it in. I use various prompts. They don’t need to be fancy. For example, I often ask my students « How are you feeling about today’s lesson? » and then add a question like « What was the best part of your week? » or « What was the most memorable thing that happened over the last week? ».

And that is all I have for you about routines at the moment.

I hope through these series of posts on routines you were able to find some ideas which you can use in your own classroom.

Do you use any of these routines in your classroom as well?

What other routines would you add to the list?

I’d love for you to share by commenting below!

Until next time,

Mme. I