I pretty much fell in love Tina Hargaden's video post in the CI Liftoff FB page in which she took us on a tour of her classroom, explaining her procedures and classroom setup and such. I decided to do something similar, but with the hopes of getting some ideas and feedback and (both positive and negative) criticism of my approach to my space.
The video is 10 minutes, so hopefully you'll be able to get through the whole thing without turning it off with thoughts of, "Good grief, this is boring," or, "Man, is this painful or what?"
As I mention in the video, I have a new room this year. I requested to switch rooms, as I wanted something where I had the students in closer proximity to me. I had been in a rectangular room for the previous two years, and while I loved the big space, I didn't like how "far away" the students in the back of the room were from me when I was at the front of the room. My Smart Board was on one of the short walls, and it was not possible to move it to one of the longer sides of the rectangle. (Admittedly, I have a tendency to stay anchored at the front of my room on my stool, next to my computer. I'm hoping to get away from that this year and move around a lot more, circulating in the room and being among the students more often.) So I'm working with a smaller space, which has forced me to rethink some of my previous set-ups (e.g. my FVR library).
I have some thoughts for a follow-up video, so if there's anything you'd like me to explain in greater detail, please let me know in the comments!
I'm really excited to use lots of rejoinders this year. There are some great blog posts out there on this idea, especially by Bryce Hedstrom and Grant Boulanger, two incredible teachers who have been instrumental in stressing the importance and usefulness of the concept of rejoinders. I've seen these short phrases quite a bit here in Brattleboro at Express Fluency, and want to make a concerted effort to incorporate them into my classroom and make them part of the classroom culture. I believe that in arming the students with short, common expressions in French, I can cut down on the amount of English spoken but also empower the students to feel confident expressing themselves in French.
Sooo...I started thinking about it, and had a lightbulb moment: combine these great expressions with some fantastic images-bitmojis!
Examples of my bitmoji rejoinders
(see all of them here; it's a view-only image, but you can make a copy for yourself!)
For those of you who don't know bitmojis, it's a personalized emoji that you create. Check them out here! You choose hair color, facial features, skin tone, outfit, the whole she-bang! Then you can filter through the categories to find a particular image that fits an emotion, situation, or thought. Here are some examples of my favorites. Bitmojis are most often used on mobile devices, but you can now put use them on a laptop or desktop computer.
You can download a bitmoji extension to Chrome to allow you to access your own bitmoji library. A little green smiley face appears in the upper right corner of your browser window. Click the little face and then browse through their categories, or search a specific word. You can then copy and paste into other documents or email messages.
Not only are bitmojis ubiquitous with our students (ergo, I'll be wicked cool for using them), they are fantastic images! Make your own bitmoji, and let your rejoinder imagination run wild!
PS-I decided that I am going to choose only 10 or so to have up posted at the start of the year. I am hoping I'll have my act together enough to be able to pull them out as the year progresses, introducing them organically as they fit classroom situations.
Allison Litten, the 2019 VFLA TOY, teaches French at the Marion Cross School, a public K-6 school in Norwich, Vermont. This is her twentieth year teaching, and seventeenth at Marion Cross.