Using technology in the classroom-Recap

As teachers, we all know that including technology in our lessons is important. After all, technology is something that students will need in the future. Students like using technology, parents want us to include it and teach it, our bosses encourage it…but let’s be real. Technology is not as accessible as we would like. Computer labs need updating, we don’t have enough devices for a group of 30 students, paid apps and programs are often refused by administrator due to budget cuts… Teachers everywhere are achieving miracles with what they have and finding ways to integrate technology in very creative ways.

Recap has allowed me to integrate technology easily and best of all, for free! Students use their own devices or borrow one. The app works across platforms and on various devices. There are no lost videos since everything is shared between me and my students. The app is simple to use and setting up classes is a breeze.

So far, I have assigned students questions to complete as homework. They use their mobile device or computer at home to complete my assigned questions. I keep looking for ways to use Recap even more, however. I plan on having group discussions recorded by having one device per team. With 8 teams, students could be assigned a series of questions to discuss and the discussions would then be recorded. This way, discussions could even be evaluated. Since participating in a group discussion is a competency that is developed and evaluated in my ESL program, this will allow me to evaluate all of my students through videos. Usually, I am only able to evaluate one or two groups during a class but now, I can simply assist students in the discussion and evaluate them quietly, later on.

Now, this is just a thought 😉 I will try it out and see if it works. Integrating technology means trying new things and not waiting for things to be perfect. I teach my students that mistakes are ok to make and trying new things as a teacher also means not being afraid of what may not work.

What will you try with Recap? Assign your first reflection question? Record a group discussion? Use questions to activate prior knowledge? To check for understanding? I see so many possibilities with this tool! I’m sure you will too!

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Nouveau sur Recap-New on Recap!

Voici un article que j’ai écrit paru sur le blogue de Recap 🙂

Here is an article I wrote on the Recap blog 🙂

https://letsrecap.com/2017/02/22/using-recap-in-the-esl-classroom/

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Nouvelle collaboration!

Let’s Recap Pioneers https://letsrecap.com/pioneers

Je suis maintenant une  »pioneer » de Recap. J’aime beaucoup l’outil et j’ai donc accepté de devenir une sorte d’ambassadrice. Je bloguerai donc sur l’utilisation de ce super outil pour eux et je vous ferai suivre également les liens ici 🙂

 

Let’s Recap Blog https://letsrecap.com/blog/

I am now officially a Recap pioneer. I love this tool and I gladly accepted the offer to become a sort of ambassador of the product. I will be writing about how to use this wonderful tool and will share the blog entries here as well.

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What’s the Word?

Originally published on this blog: http://pearsonerpi.com/fr/blog/article/whats-the-word

The number one excuse that students give for reverting to their mother tongue in an ESL classroom is not knowing the word they need in English. Having sufficient vocabulary to communicate is essential to students. That’s why, as teachers, we provide them with functional language when doing a communicative or writing activity, and that’s also why teaching vocabulary is so important. But what is the best way to teach vocabulary? After all, every learner is different.

When babies start to speak, their vocabulary is very limited. Then, little by little, babies start to use common words like mama or milk. These words are not only functional, they are the words children hear most often. I have never heard a young child use environment as his or her first word! (If you have, please send the video: we want to see this!) Babies use words that are constantly repeated by their parents and close family members. It is the same with students. After being repeated again and again, simple instructions like “open your books” are understood by students. Teachers repeat words, use gestures and provide visual clues until they don’t need to anymore.

As students hear the words and use them again and again, the words become part of their own vocabulary. I usually start the year by asking my students to introduce themselves. Every year, students struggle with the word achievement. Now, as a teacher, when students don’t know a word, we can translate it, explain it, illustrate it … but what really makes it stick is when they reuse it. That’s why after having them read a few texts on someone else’s achievements and use the word in conversations again and again, I can happily see my students use the word achievement in a writing production five months later … without any prompting!

Here are some ways to reuse vocabulary so that it sticks:

  • Use or reuse the words you want students to learn in your own stories and instructions. Tell them about your own accomplishment or reuse the word at the beginning of a class to talk about someone’s accomplishment that you heard about on the news. The trick is for them to hear that word—the one you are trying to teach them—as often as possible.
  • Have students use the words themselves. Challenge them to write a story using all of the newly introduced vocabulary words. Use short writing exercises like the ones in the It’s Your Turn sections of the On Track series and challenge students to use some of the new vocabulary words in the task.
  • Use or reuse the vocabulary words in discussion prompts for group conversations. Make sure the words are in the questions or necessary for the answers.
  • Find texts or news articles that include the vocabulary words you want to teach. Make sure students see the words in context as many times as possible.
  • Have students play games with the words. Have them play Hangman or use apps like Quizlet to have some fun with vocabulary. Play charades with the students and have them act out the words to one another or to the class.

The key to learning new vocabulary words is not to memorize a list of words but to live the words—to actually use and manipulate the language until the words become as familiar and as much a part of the students’ routine as “open your books” has surely become for your students.

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Belle nouvelle de la part de RECAP!

Par le passé, il était impossible d’indiquer une date précise de remise. Les dates limites étaient 1 jour, 3 jours ou 7 jours à partir de la date et l’heure de mise en ligne. Maintenant, un calendrier!

Il ne me manque qu’une synchronisation avec Google Classroom et je serai aux anges!

Nouveauté Recap

 

Pour ceux qui n’ont pas encore essayé, c’est un de mes coups de coeur technos de cette année en enseignement. Offrir aux élèves la possibilité de répondre à des questions sous forme de vidéos. Une belle façon de tisser des liens avec ses élèves. Quand les autres ne les regardent pas et qu’ils n’ont pas à jouer un rôle, c’est fou ce que l’ont découvre sur eux!

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Bonne année 2017!

Tout d’abord j’aimerais souhaiter à tous une merveilleuse année 2017! Je vous souhaite en premier de la santé et par la suite de l’amour, de l’amitié et des défis qui vous motivent pour cette nouvelle année.

google_classroom_logoD’habitude, mes résolutions d’enseignante se font en début d’année scolaire. L’an dernier je me suis mise au défi d’essayer une nouvelle configuration de classe qui permet le travail d’équipe et la discussion et de réserver un laboratoire informatique pour l’année afin d’utiliser encore plus la technologie. Cette année, je me suis mise au défi d’utiliser certains outils technologiques comme Google Classroom et plusieurs autres, mais aussi de redonner encore plus en offrant des formations à mes collègues. J’ai aussi créé une infolettre que j’envoie aux parents chaque mois et jusqu’à présent, celle-ci semble appréciée.

Mes résolutions du début d’année vont bon train alors j’ai décidé de profiter de janvier et de cette nouvelle année pour me mettre encore plus au défi.

Défi 1: Trouver une façon de rendre les travaux de mes élèves encore plus signifiants.

Je viens de terminer un 10 heures de correction de production écrite. Un travail signifiant pour les élèves et pour moi, mais que, malheureusement, beaucoup d’élèves n’ont pas pris au sérieux. Je me suis donc questionné sur la valeur de ces travaux aux yeux des élèves. Les heures mises sur la correction seront-elles utiles? Soyons honnêtes, les élèves regarderont la note et passeront à autre chose.

Google SitesJ’ai donc décidé d’utiliser ma période de laboratoire d’informatique pour créer des Google Sites. Je l’ai essayé… ça me semble simple et nous découvrirons ensemble, les élèves et moi, les avantages et les problématiques et trouverons ensemble les solutions. Je demanderai par la suite aux élèves de publier la version améliorée, après mes commentaires. En publiant leurs textes, les élèves auront une nouvelle motivation pour s’impliquer dans leur travail. Ces sites élèves seront partagés avec les autres élèves et bien sûr, les parents!

Défi 2: Apprendre à dire non

NoIl est important pour un enseignant d’apprendre à respecter ses limites et à décrocher du travail pour être efficace. Je ne parle pas d’avoir un discours du genre: il est 4h, j’ai terminé. Mon métier me suit partout. Lorsque je lis un bon roman, je pense à mes élèves. Lorsque je vois une bonne télésérie, je pense à un projet potentiel et je continue ma formation en dehors des heures de travail de façon régulière. Par contre, on ne peut être partout et tout faire. Il faut donc parfois dire non à certains projets qui semblent intéressants. À avoir trop de projets, on en vient à négliger certains autres projets.

Défi 3: Apprendre à dire oui

YesCertaines idées sont rejetées beaucoup trop rapidement. Il m’arrive, à l’occasion, de me dire: cela ne fonctionnera jamais avec des ados. Cette ‘’fermeture’’ d’esprit est quelque chose que je dois combattre régulièrement. Bien sûr, une idée doit avoir une vertu pédagogique. Il ne s’agit pas d’essayer n’importe quoi, car cela a l’air plaisant et que les élèves auront du plaisir. Il est possible qu’une activité soit plaisante ET pédagogique. Je me mets donc au défi d’essayer de voir comment une idée qui, au début, me rebute serait possible pédagogiquement avec les élèves.

Quels que soient vos défis pour 2017, le fait d’en avoir est un bon début. Se remettre en question, se mettre au défi et se pousser à être le meilleur possible (en enseignement ou dans la vie) est quelque chose qui démontre votre passion pour votre métier ou votre vie personnelle. C’est ce qui nous motive à continuer!

Et vous? Quels seront vos défis pour 2017?

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The Innovator’s Mindset Blog Post 1

I am reading an amazing book titled The Innovator’s Mindset by George Couros. The author has challenged readers and asks them, every week, to blog or post about their thoughts on the book.

Although I am a little behind, here are my thoughts for week 1. We were asked to reflect on the two following questions. So here are my thoughts. 🙂

  1. What do you see as the purpose of education?  Why might innovation be crucial in education?

I think our role as educators is to make students life-long learners. To make students curious to learn even more as they leave the classroom. It is impossible to prepare them fully for what will come later in their lives. We can only give them the tools to be able to find the solutions by themselves.if-students

With technology, finding the answer to your question is so easy… Why not simply teach them strategies for finding the answer they are looking for instead of feeding them what WE think is the correct answer.

Innovation in education should be every teacher’s goal. I am amazed that teachers are able to teach the same way, with the same material, year after year! Life changes all the time. We evolve, we learn from our mistakes, we change… we innovate! Shouldn’t schools be the same way?

  1. “Change is an opportunity to do something amazing.”  How are you embracing change to spur  innovation in your own context?

changeI try to be open to anything. I fight my own mind when my first reaction is: this would not work in my class… and try it! I let students show me new ways of doing things. I accept that their final product will not be exactly the same as what I intended in the beginning.

I am willing to have things crash and burn during a lesson and tell students that this is OK. That we tried something and it did not work. Using technology in the classroom has taught me that to innovate using those tools, it is possible that nothing will work… or that everything will be wonderful and that both options are OK. I am willing to learn and not just teach!

 

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Using Plickers in my ESL classroom

I discovered Plickers last year after attending a workshop and fell in love. What an easy way to add interaction to the classroom, to workshops or even to conferences. Here is an overview of what Plickers is. In the next few weeks, I will add tutorial videos, as well as ideas for using Plickers in the ESL classroom!

What is Plickers?

https://plickers.com/cards

Plickers is an interactive tool that allows you to quickly survey a group or a classroom. It works with an app that you download to a mobile device. The app is free and works across platforms.

After downloading the app, you will need to print cards for your students. The cards can be downloaded for free in a PDF format and printed on cardboard paper or laminated. Be careful however, to laminate your cards with a matte finish, so that your mobile device is able to scan them.  It is also possible to order the cards, already laminated, from Amazon.

The last thing you will need is to launch the Plickers website and project it either on your Interactive Whiteboard or a simple projector. The website and the app from your phone will  »talk to each other » and that’s where the magic starts to happen!

Scanning Cards

The Plickers app on your mobile device can easily scan 10-15 students at a time, maybe more! You do not need to individually scan each card (which would be way too long!). You will need to allow Plickers access to your camera and you are ready to start scanning.

Students or participants get to see a blue checkmark next to their names on the computer screen when their card is scanned and know that they can put down their cards. It’s that easy!

Building Your Questions

The questions you will ask your students can be created in advance. The site allows you to create folders to gather your questions together. It is also possible to ask questions without having created anything in advance and simply asking the question orally.

You can ask multiple choice questions or true or false questions. Great for grammar review, vocabulary review or even just checking how students are doing!

The Data!

The greatest thing about Plickers, apart from the interaction and the fact that your students will get super excited, is that it allows you to collect data on the group or on individual students.

When you are done scanning your students, choosing the graph option  will allow you to show the results of the survey. In your teacher account, you also have access to all of the statistics of your group or of individual students. Anonymously, you can find out if a student has been struggling with a concept or if your entire group needs extra help.

A great way to check if your students are ready to be evaluated or if they need an extra class to practice a particular concept.

Plickers Ambassador

I am very happy to announce that I will be a Plickers Ambassador this year. This means that not only will I spread the word on Plickers being an amazing tool, but I will also have access to information on new features coming up. I will regularly update you on what is coming for Plickers and share with you new ways of using it in the ESL classroom.ambasadorbadgewhite

I also invite you to join the Facebook group: Plickers ESL that I have created so that ESL teachers can share new ways of using Plickers in the ESL classroom. You will find this group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/206795226401095/

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Using Readtheory.org in Your ESL Classroom!

What is readytheory.org?

Readtheory is a reading comprehension website. It is totally free. So far, after using it for one year, I have not seen any publicity at all on the

www.readtheory.org
www.readtheory.org

website. You create your student accounts with your own email so students do not receive any spam or publicity either. Don’t worry, you don’t either. You do receive news about updates to the website but that’s it!

Creating Accounts

www.readtheory.org

Your first step will be to click on sign up and create a teacher account.

Once this is done, the plus sign on your main page will allow you to create a new class. I have created 6-7 classes per year with no issue so you can go ahead and create multiple groups.

Importing Your Student Accounts

www.readtheory.org
www.readtheory.org

As mentioned before, your students do NOT create their own account. The website allows students to create an account for free, but if they do, you will not have access to all the amazing features that come with having a student associated with a class you created.

In the section Create New Student Accounts, enter the first and last name of your students. The website works with French accents, and I have never had any issue. The job of typing all of the names it a little long but you only need to do this once at the beginning of the year. The website has announced that it is working on an option to important the names from a file, but for right now, you will need to type. 😉

Passwords

readtheory4

Every student will have a different username, but the password is the same for every student. You can decide to have a password per group or have the same one for all of your students. You can also delete classes, delete students or archive your groups and students to keep their data.

Data on Your Students

This is where things become reallllllyyyyyyy amazing. Readtheory gives you information on the number of quizzes taken by your entire class or individual student, the number of points earned (group or individual, which can be great for motivation), average grade levels of the texts assigned to your group or individual students and average Lexile level (group or individual)

readtheory.org

You will find this information by clicking the progress report icon at the top. It is right next to the plus sign you used to create your classes. You will first see an overview of the group and can then scroll down to see the date in each category. To see information about a particular student, you can simply click on their names.

Optional Written Responses

capture-decran-2016-09-11-a-10-01-39

Readtheory offers multiple choice questions for their reading passages. It is possible, however, to activate the written response section and allow students to type their answers to a question. The written responses, however, will need to be corrected by you. Students will only receive feedback for those particular questions when you are done correcting.

Getting Started

readtheory5

After giving every student their password, invite students to complete the pre

test. It is the first thing they will see after signing in anyway. The pretest takes about 20 minutes to complete. I always tell students not to panic about their levels after the pretest. After all, the website cannot determine for sure the level of a student after 20 multiple choice question. It is simply to get them started. After 10-15 quizzes, the student (and teacher) will have a better idea of their level. After all, there is an element of chance in multiple choice questions!

Very important: remember that the goal of this site is not to evaluate students. This tool should not be used to replace reinvestment tasks that you will use to evaluate your students. It is simply a website to help them practice their reading skills and reading comprehension and get them to read read read some more! I DO NOT recommend using this website to evaluate your students!

The Reading Passages

readtheory6

Once the pretest is done, the students will be presented with their results and then invited to move on to the next reading selection. They will be assigned a first reading passage according to the level identified in the pretest. Students read the passage, click on the question tab and answer the questions. The number of questions for each passage will be different for each text. Once a student has gotten 80% and up for a few passages, the site will give them a reading passage that is a level higher. The same is true if a student does not get the passing grade for a level. The website will automatically adjust the reading passages as the student progresses or will readjust if the level was too high.

Information and Options Tab

readtheory7

By clicking on the information tab, the student will see the information for this text. The reading difficulty of the passage and the Lexile level will be indicated.

The option tab at the top will allow students to make the text bigger.

How I use it in class

I start by assigning the password and username to students at the computer lab. In your teacher account, there are documents that can be printed to help you out. They also have a flyer for parents (in English only, however). Once I have given all the access and made sure everything works, students are invited to complete the pretest. I warn them not to use a dictionary or Google translation since the goal is to see what they can understand on their own.

Once they are done, I invite them to continue reading! It allows all of my students to read at their level which is great for differentiation. After 10-15 quizzes, I am able to identify who needs remedial in reading strategies and I invite them to remedial where I can sit with the students and see how they could improve their reading skills.

I also invite students to continue working on the site at home. I have some parents who actually created free accounts and are using the site themselves! Some parents told me that they sit and take quizzes as a family to improve their reading skills in English!

Throughout the year, I also sometimes use the written option to vary the type of questions.

Reading comprehensions like these help students to acquire vocabulary and most importantly, confidence. By seeing their individual progress go up and not comparing themselves to other students but to themselves, they become proud of their improvement. This site also allows amazing for differentiation. For example, most of my secondary 3 students will be assigned grade 2 to grade 4 texts, but some of my students get grade 8 and even 11. They can get the challenge they deserve and need (without asking them to do extra work! I can also see who is struggling and teach specific reading strategies to those students, which gives them what they deserve and need as well!readtheorylogo

Last class I used the site… the bell rang and none of the students got up. I had to tell them to get out! (nicely, of course!). They love to see that they improved and went up a grade. I tell them that they have to set their own personal challenge for improvement and not challenge each other… and they do! After one week, some have already done more than 30 quizzes at home and improved by going up a grade and they are so proud!

Lexile and Book Selection

The Lexile section also gives you an idea of their vocabulary level. There are websites where you can search for book titles by Lexile. For example: https://lexile.com/fab/ or http://www.scholastic.com/bookwizard/

This will allow you to choose a class novel or suggest books for your students. Great for building a class library as well!

So far, readtheory.org seems to be better suited for the high school level since some of my students will get a Grade 1 level in secondary 3, and there are no levels before that one, but you may want to try it at the grade 6 levels maybe. They may all start at grade 1 but will surely go up. 🙂

Try it and please come back and comment if you did! I’d love to see what you think!


Psst…see a typo or a link or option is no longer working? Add a comment and I’ll fix it ASAP 🙂

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Je suis un pirate

Juste avant la rentrée scolaire, j’étais conviée à une journée de formation intitulée : Teach Like a Pirate. C’est le genre de titre qui, en début d’année scolaire, me fait soupirer. En début d’année scolaire, nous sommes débordés. Je veux mes listes d’élèves, mon horaire, défaire mes boîtes, décorer ma classe et préparer mes premiers cours. Une journée complète de formation pour un prof en début d’année… ouf!

C’est donc avec réticence que j’avais envie d’aller me faire expliquer comment enseigner comme un pirate. J’enseigne au secondaire. Les jeux et les dessins, ce n’est déjà pas mon fort. Mais puisque je savais que l’atelier était donné par Isabelle Giroux (conseillère pédagogique à la CSRDN) et sa collègue Tanja Vaillancourt (enseignante à l’UQUAM et ex-conseillère elle aussi), j’étais certaine que l’atelier serait pertinent et je ne me suis pas trompée. Il fallait que je découvre c’était quoi, cette histoire de pirate!

Teach Like a Pirate

http://daveburgess.com/
http://daveburgess.com/

L’idée d’enseigner comme un pirate vient de l’excellent livre de Dave Burgess, un enseignant américain, qui s’intitule Teache like a Pirate. C’est le genre de livre ultra motivant que tout enseignant devrait lire… surtout en début d’année! Lors de mon dernier billet, je vous parlais de changement en classe et dans le milieu scolaire et ce livre fait suite parfaitement à cette philosophie.

Deux bonnes questions

Deux questions m’ont particulièrement marquée et me suivront cette année, chaque fois que je donnerai un cours. J’invite tous les enseignants à se poser ces questions :


  1. Si vos élèves n’étaient pas obligés d’être dans votre classe, est-ce qu’ils y seraient ?
  2. Pourriez-vous vendre des billets aux élèves pour certains de vos cours ?

De mon côté la réponse est la suivante :

  1. Peut-être la moitié…
  2. J’ai un ou deux projets dans l’année où je crois que oui.

Je me donne donc comme objectif de pouvoir répondre à la hausse à ces questions cette année. Je me suis même imprimé la question afin de la coller sur mon bureau au travail. Elle me forcera à me rappeler qu’il faut absolument que mes cours soient intéressants pour les élèves. Pour la deuxième, je passerai plus de temps à observer mes élèves pour voir leur réaction pendant les activités et prendre en note celles qui sont les plus gagnantes.

L’importance du rapport avec ses élèves

Il y a quelques années, j’avais reçu une réponse troublante de la part d’une élève lors d’un questionnaire de fin d’année. Cette élève m’avait dit : je ne suis pas certaine que vous savez mon nom. Mon cœur a brisé en mille miettes. Je me suis promis que plus jamais un élève ne se sentirait comme ça dans ma classe.

Ce n’est pas toujours facile d’établir un rapport avec les élèves au secondaire. Cette année j’ai 6 groupes d’une trentaine d’élèves. Pas toujours évident d’avoir du temps pour chacun. Mais j’ai comme objectif chaque année, de les connaître du mieux que je peux.

Dans son livre, Dave Burgess propose de commencer les trois premiers cours avec des activités pour faire connaissance et non par un banal PowerPoint ou l’explication des règles de classe. Ouf! Quelle idée déstabilisante ! Moi qui avais préparé mon beau PowerPoint cet été… Le changement, pour qu’il fonctionne, doit être gérable et attaqué par petites bouchées. Lorsqu’on a ajouté un petit quelque chose à notre routine et que ceci est intégré, on peut continuer à ajouter.

Source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-problems-naps-solve
Source: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-problems-naps-solve

J’ai donc décidé de faire un moitié-moitié. J’ai divisé mon PowerPoint de début d’année pour qu’il soit plus court. Suite à ma courte présentation, j’ai trouvé des activités d’équipe qui m’ont permis d’observer mes élèves. Celle qui a le mieux fonctionné est le Marshmallow Challenge. Il s’agit pour des équipes de 4 de monter la plus haute tour possible en utilisant 20 spaghettis, un mètre de corde et un mètre de ruban adhésif. La guimauve doit se trouver en haut de la tour. Les élèves avaient 18 minutes et devaient parler en anglais pour réaliser l’épreuve.

http://www.tomwujec.com/design-projects/marshmallow-challenge/
http://www.tomwujec.com/design-projects/marshmallow-challenge/

Ce que ça m’a donné? Un aperçu des preneurs de risques, des leaders, des démotivés, des fonceurs en anglais comme en prototype, des positifs et des négatifs. Bien sûr, je ne juge aucun élève sur la base de ces 18 minutes, mais j’ai pu voir leurs personnalités, leurs craintes et leurs doutes ressortir. J’ai pu circuler et jaser, questionner, encourager les élèves.

L’épreuve m’a aussi permis de leur faire un petit discours très philosophique sur le travail d’équipe et la prise de risque, qui est essentielle à l’apprentissage. D’ailleurs, les enfants de maternelle réussissent mieux cette épreuve que les ingénieurs !

J’ai l’intention de continuer d’appliquer les principes de l’enseignement en tant que pirate cette année. Je me désole de bien des choses dans le domaine de l’éducation. Je n’ai pas le pouvoir de changer grand-chose, mais je crois qu’en améliorant continuellement ma pédagogie, je serai en mesure de faire avancer les choses à ma façon. Je crois que comme enseignant, c’est notre responsabilité que de faire avancer les choses. On prépare nos grands pour la vie adulte. C’est une énorme responsabilité ! C’est pour cela que je serai un pirate cette année!


Note: Je m’efforce d’écrire dans le meilleur français possible. N’hésitez pas à me faire remarquer une coquille ou une faute. Même Antidote n’est pas parfait et la technologie ne remplace pas l’oeil humain 🙂 L’erreur sera corrigée promptement!

 

 

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