Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Read to Self trials

I haven't been keeping up with my blogging this past week. I had a feeling I would slow down a bit in September. Things are so busy. Last weekend's Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival was amazing and a well needed break. My husband's band had an amazing show and placed second in the competition. Thanks to everyone who voted and came to the show. I'm so proud of them.

At school, my class is progressing. We're starting to develop some good habits and routines. Some days they seem to require more reminders of those routines than others. There French skills are progressing as well. It amazes me, watching them figure out what I'm saying, what they need to say, learning the sounds and the grammar of a new language. It's been a few years since I started French Immersion, 15 years now actually, and I have a vague recollection of how frustrating it was at first. But despite their frustration, most are catching on to the daily phrases and routines that we do in French and are getting more accustomed to me speaking in French.

As I mention in my First week with students post, I'm integrating some parts of the Daily 5 program into my Intensive French classroom. In February I'll be implementing the whole program. For now we're focusing on read to self. We did an I-chart of what that looks like, we talked about the three ways to read a book and we have a chart on the board for a visual representation of our stamina progress. More so than any other year, I'm finding their stamina is erratic. Some days they are able to read for 14-15 minutes, other days they only have stamina for 2 or 3 minutes, or can't get settled at all. I am noticing a general trend of more time as we go along, but we have setbacks still. Today their stamina was 2 minutes.

I had one student today who did not want to read at all. This student had been having a difficult week and was being obstinate. I tried having other students encourage this student to try and reminders of the three ways to read a French book but to no avail. And I do believe strongly that when we're building up our class stamina, it has to be the whole class.

Does anyone have any tips for how I can help this child? It wasn't just this one issue today. I tried speaking one on one a few times, and have attempted to contact home to see if there's something else going on but haven't been able to reach anyone yet. How do you deal with students who refuse to buy in to this?


  1. Sadly, this is something I face very often. In my case, the obstacle is usually the students' concept of success- they are scared to participate because they are scared to "fail". Try to find out what they want from your class, what they expect of themselves and of you.
    Other times, I have students who simply don't get the point of learning a second language. If they know "why" they're learning something, they might be more willing to learn in.

  2. Yeah, I seem to have a few who have no concept of how important learning a second language is in their lives, how many doors it can open, all of that. They have so much else going on in their heads as well that they don't seem to have room for trying to read sometimes.

  3. Did you try asking him/her to read to you one-on-one (or to a small group of students say - out in the hall?)

    Background: All through elementary school, I refused to read out loud (even in English) in class. I had the same French teacher from grades 1 to 6. One day in grade 6, she had us all read out loud telling us one by one we could stop if she heard us and if our pronunciation was satisfactory. The 5-6 or so of us who she *didn't* say could stop were sent out with the first student she allowed to stop reading so that we could read to our classmate instead. And yes, I was probably seen by some teachers as obstinate (especially when teachers encouraged fellow classmates to apply peer pressure - as happened in grade 8 English class), but - is this student comfortable in the class? [I know I wasn't with my class back then & I actually never read in class 'til my grade 10 French teacher talked to me after class and made me promise to read out loud when she asked me to; she also told me that if I read, I'd have a higher mark. One of my classmates complained that they couldn't hear me, but Mme said it didn't matter because she could.]
    I wasn't ready to read aloud in class 'til then. I wasn't ready to do any presentations either and I knew it.

  4. Louellena, they aren't reading out loud to the class, they're doing silent reading with their own books to themselves, I guess I should have made that more clear. The goal of Daily 5 is to help them to become independent so that I can work with students one on one or with small groups, but first we need to build our stamina as a class so that I can do this small group work without interruptions. I have started reading one-on-one with a few students but haven't gotten around to many yet.