Saturday, March 24, 2012

Typing Accents the easy way... Really!

I love twitter. I always learn so much. Today I learned something from @LouisSulek via 
@sylviaduckworth. Louis Sulek  was kind enough to post instructions on how to easily type accents. This is something I thought I had a handle on but I just discovered that I have been doing things the hard way when it comes to typing accents in my french documents. I usually use alt keys or the French keyboard setting on my computer but I just learned that you can type both English and French texts using the same keyboard. It is called the United States- International keyboard.

Sounds good? Well here is what I leaned. Here are instructions for doing it in Windows 7:

So first you need to add the United States- International Keyboard to your computer.

1) Go to start.
2) Control Panel
3) Region and Language

4) Keyboard and Languages

5)Change keyboards....

6) Add

7)Under the English (United States) section find: United States International and select the check box.

8) Select Okay
9) Then make English(United States) United  Sates- International your default keyboard by selecting it from the drop down list.

For instructions for XP see the original article that Louis wrote here:

To type: é = ‘ (close to the enter key) then e
To type è= ` key (left of 1) then e
Follow the same directions but substitute correct letter to get à 

To type ê use shift-6 followed by e  

To type ç use ‘ (close to the enter key) then c 
To type ö shift-’ followed by o

To do capital letters follow instructions above but press shift key between the symbol and the letter.

I am so excited about this I had to share. I am looking forward to trying this keyboard with my grade 1's. So much less complicated. When I did typing activities with my students I often purposefully chose activities without accents or got then to write the accents in after. No more of that! :)

So today I learned how to use the United States International Keyboard. Do you have any great time saving tips for typing in French? Any great resources you use?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Places I am Learning from this Spring Break.

It is spring break here which means I have some spare time to catch-up on some professional development and reading. I thought I would take a minute and blog about a few of my favorite places to find ideas, resources and inspiration. So today’s blog is called:

Places I am learning from this Spring Break.

Twitter offers quick bites of pro-d without too much stress. The trick is to find great educators and follow them, then read what they have to say. Join in on the conversation by following hashtags that apply to you.  I personally love #edchat #frimm #kinderchat  and #langchat.  When I find someone who interests me I then follow them. Some of my favorite education tweeps are: @2learn2  @web20classroom  @WeAreTeachers  @Fr_Immersion98 @sylviaduckworth @MmeVeilleux

Check out for a great list of education hashtags.
New to Twitter? Check this out:
I started my page a little by accident not really understanding what it was but I love it. It forces me to look for targeted resources on my topic on interest and evaluate them in terms of quality and usefulness to others.  I also love the topic newsfeed that gives me a quick glance at articles connected to my interest areas and the ability to easily erase them when they aren’t useful to me. 

No really, stay with me on this one. It is all the fun of but without the “expert” tag.   Pinterest is a wonderful place to get introduced to new ideas and new teacher blogs, websites and resources.  It is also a great visual way to keep track of ideas you want to try. My art program has become much more interesting since I discovered pinterest.  The trick for me was to follow teacher boards that I found useful. I rarely follow all the boards a person has; only teaching boards that are useful for me.

You can check out my pins here:

Ten Videos Every Educator Should Watch.

This article was brought to my attention by Twitter. I am making my way through this list. Some interesting videos here to reflect on. A good reminder that I need to spend more time listening to TED talks too. 


I follow a lot of blogs and am a little behind on my reading.  Enter Spreeder to the rescue. This tool helps me “Speed Read” my way through those blog posts I have been meaning to read. Train your brain to look at words faster and find meaning. I use this to get through a lot of data quickly. When I find a rich document I need to read more slowly I go back and read it again without the tool.

So these are some of the places I am learning from today.  I would love to hear from other educators about what they are using. What are some of your favorite pro-d tools? What are your go to spots online?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

World Read-aloud Day - A Day Late.

In a French Immersion classroom I think reading aloud is vital to help students learn the flow, feel and rhythm of language. They also help students get beyond decoding and deciphering to feeling and hearing the stories. So for World Read-aloud Day (well the day after actually) I decided to look at ways I can get more read-alouds in my day.

My favorite lesson of the day ended up being about reading with expression. The kids had fun and so did I .  I learned playing with reading is as much fun as reading sometimes. 

I read them the story: Sortez de mon livre! by Nick Bland. 

When I started reading I read with no expression at all. The students looked at me strangely but Mme often does strange things so they waited. Then, I read the next few lines with expression.

I asked students what the difference was between the two and which they liked best. They all agreed they liked the second way best. They had great ideas about how it was different.  My favorite was the little guy who said "Les mots tombent et grimpent et vont partout." “The words fall and climb and go everywhere.”

I showed them some sentences on the smart-board and I asked them to partner up and read the sentence to their partner. Kids took turns spinning the spinner and then they would read the sentence again to their partners. They used the emotion on the board to decide how to read the sentence. Finally we would read the sentence “properly” as a class. We laughed a lot and enjoyed ourselves.

Click here to download the smartboard file

I ended the session by sending the kids off to read a book from their daily 5 bins to their partner . They were told to practice reading with the "right" emotions. The students were really excited to be reading. The room was abuzz with expression, emotion and sound.

What did I learn at school today? Playing words and emotions is fun and got my students excited about reading aloud.