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  Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Prize Albertine winners

By Kevin Saidler

Here is the list of the Prize Albertine winners:

  • “La grande plongée” in Preschool won the hearts of children throughout North America with its innovative soundtrack that accompanied the book. Click here to watch it read by our teacher Isabelle Senecal.

  • In Cycle II, “Blob” was chosen by all our classes and elected. Discover the work on the 2nd and 3rd grade on the project in the photographs below and in the movie by clicking here.

Blog written by Alexandra Lette

  Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Nos défis inférences

By Kevin Saidler

As part of a Mission Laïque Française (French secular mission) project for French schools around the world, we studied three stories with a wolf  as common theme: Le petit Chaperon rouge, Le petit Chaperon qui n’était pas rouge and Une soupe au Caillou. We learned new vocabulary, solved riddles about the characters from each story … and we also created our own riddles!
This project has, among other things, allowed us to develop the student’s vocabulary by identifying keywords in a short text and formulating riddles. To view the result of our class’s work, please click here.
Blog written by Anne Ferton, Kindergarten Teacher
  Thursday, June 3, 2021

“Album Moi, je”

By Kevin Saidler

The “Album Moi, je”  (“Me, I”) is a tool used in Preschool to jump-start language learning. It is based on repetition and mostly oral learning. The teacher uses pictures of the student in action and of himself/herself doing the same action. As the teacher and the student work in a 1×1 setting, the teacher starts by saying what he/she is doing. For example, the teacher says, “I eat” followed by the question “what are you doing?” The student then repeats “I eat”, re-using vocabulary used in class. It will be done regularly so the student becomes familiar with using the pronoun + verb. 

 In a bilingual setting, we use this approach in the strong language of the student with a native-speaking teacher. We then do the same activity in the language he/she is learning. It is mostly oral. 

In the movie below you can see an example of “Album Moi, je” with a distance learning student in PK1. The pictures have been created from the pages of a known book, re-using the vocabulary of actions related to planting. Note, the help of the gestures for each action and the skills exercised, listed at the end of the video

 The logical continuation of this preparatory work is the album ECHO. It can use the same pictures, but the teacher’s pictures disappear. The “album ECHO” stands for echoing the students, reinforcing the language through the activities they have done previously. It has one or two goals grammatically (the use of a certain pronoun, of a particular tense, preposition, or language complexity). A written trace is kept by the teacher and strengthened as the 1×1 sessions occur. 

In a bilingual setting, those albums are an opportunity to bridge the gap between languages, to build meaning for children who are just discovering the language. Later, they are a tool to exercise and acquire targeted grammatical structures and vocabulary. 

Blog written by Alexandra Lette – Pre K teacher

  Thursday, May 27, 2021

Les Ateliers Autonomes / Self-Learning Workshops

By Kevin Saidler

In the self-learning workshops, the goal is for the children to work independently on a task without the help of an adult. The students are encouraged to make their own choices, set up their activity, remember the task, carry it out, validate it by themselves, and then with the teacher put all of the materials used away. 

The method of the exercise evolves as the preschool students grow up but the rules remain the same:

  • One activity per child (except if it is a game)
  • Each student has to wait for his/her turn to take the materials
  • The room must be quiet so everybody can work
  • When the activity is finished, the student has to clean up and put everything back in its place
  • The activity must be completed

For the teacher, this approach means fewer interruptions, quality time to observe students, and an ability to tailor the next activities in an individualized fashion — helping a student who needs more steps to succeed or pushing further a student who is ready for more.

The benefits for the students are that they have fun, learn to work by themselves, are forced to be organized, need to concentrate, and respect the rules and steps in the process. It is also an opportunity to progress at their rhythm, with a focus on themselves without comparing with peers.

Blog written by Alexandra Lette – Pre K teacher

  Thursday, May 20, 2021

Le Prix Albertine 2

By Kevin Saidler

Part Two of my focus on the le Prix Albertine.

Our students are empowered to use critical thinking by expressing their own opinion on a literary work. In each class, the students voted for their favorite book, describe what they have read and/or explain their choice. Below is an example of a ballot from the Pk2 to 3rd grade.

Our students also have been given multiple opportunities to get more involved in the story or its characters, through activities like art. Our PK2C and KB’s classes worked on representing the character “Loup” — see example art below:

Our preschool Distance Learning students have discovered the Rorschach technique through the book “oeil pour oeil”. It was the common book of the whole selection, so it is interesting to see what the 2nd grade has done with this technique too. For our younger ones, it was a chance to work with color, start to understand the transfer that happens from one side to the other, and observe the mirror (symmetric effect). For our 2nd graders, those principles were understood and used to create an identifiable object or animals either using the symmetry to create a full animal or an object and its double (like in the book).

Talking about Arts, what activity allows a student to get a taste of culture, do some math, re-invest vocabulary, manipulate and observe transformations, and results in a wonderful snack? The Distance Learning students may have stayed home but they still got the full maternelle experience. Following Loup’s adventures in the forest, the fairy tale had a happy ending for us too, as we made the recipe of “Tatie Rosette”!

The students worked on identifying the characters, but also the different places in the book and the timeline. Our Pk2 class made individual models of the places in Loup’s story, allowing them to make an association between the places and the characters and to review the timeline.

As with most everything in a language school, these activities are also an opportunity to reinforce students’ mastery of French. In our preschool Distance Learning class, it translated to acquiring new vocabulary and using that knowledge to represent an audio sentence, practicing their skills to answer a simple question, and re-using a structure and becoming the hero of the sentence while practicing the use of “JE/I”. In CE1A, our students worked in groups to express their thoughts about the character of the story “Blob, le poison le plus laid du monde” and its attributes in writing.

The documents joining the selection allow the teacher to reinvest or try new innovative pedagogical practices to improve multilingual competence such as the use of visible thinking to analyze the cover of a book

Working on the same books allows for a different experience in terms of partnership between Francophone and Anglophone teachers. This year for the Distance Learning program we had to be inventive to allow our students to have a bilingual experience not just side by side but simultaneously. Natalie and I recorded our stories so the Distance Learning students could have multiple opportunities to hear them. I also edited them in order to obtain a new story alternating French and English — one version and English and French — to challenge our students with a different exercise.

Last but not least, the Albertine Prize encourages communication between authors and illustrators.

This year our students had the opportunity to meet with Orianne Lallemand (see below), famous author of the series  “Le Loup qui…”. In CE1B, the class read books from the series “Le loup qui…/The wolf who…” and wrote essays in the style of the author. Caroline Dumas, the SDFAS French teacher summarized the meeting with the author: “The students liked the meeting with Orianne Lallemand and they retained the principle of finding subjects that allow, on the one hand, to teach something to the readers and, on the other hand, to tell an interesting and sometimes mysterious adventure.”

Next year’s theme will be “humor” and we can’t wait to devour the new selection!

Blog written by Alexandra Lette – Pre K teacher

  Thursday, May 13, 2021

The Albertine Prize for Kids

By Kevin Saidler

The Albertine Prize for Kids/Le Prix Albertine Jeunesse was developed in North America for bilingual schools. It is a reader’s choice award in which children ages 3 to 14 years vote for their favorite book from a selection of works of Francophone youth literature that are available in English translation.

It’s more than just a literary competition though: It’s A bilingual journey to read, use critical thinking, and have fun! This initiative seeks to encourage and reinforce the love of bilingual reading for young students of French schools while taking into account the uniqueness of their context — living in an Anglophone country. The selected books serve as a means for developing links between French, the student’s “academic language,” and English, their language outside of school.

From PK1 to 6th grade, all classes are invited to participate. Next week, I look forward to sharing photographs and more news of this all-grades-level project.

To learn more about the 2021 Prix Albertine Jeunesse please click here.

  Thursday, April 29, 2021

Top 5 reasons for being bilingual

By Kevin Saidler

Top 5 reasons for being bilingual

Raising your children bilingual in a global world is a valuable asset—that’s obvious. The list of positives is endless! But I wanted to use my blog to challenge myself to compile a “Top 5” of my favorite reasons! 

  1. Having the ability to speak more than one language exercises the brain
  2. In my opinion, bilingual kids may have higher memory retention
  3. Bilingual children are often better at problem-solving I feel, as languages work as puzzles
  4. Being exposed to multiple cultures through language can enhance cultural tolerance
  5. Bilingual kids are perhaps more creative, as opening their minds to multiple languages, and cultures expand their creative thinking abilities

Posted by Kevin Saidler on behalf of Sophie Ricouard.

  Thursday, April 22, 2021

Meet T’choupi

By Kevin Saidler

Meet T’choupi! T’choupi se baigneT’choupi fête son anniversaireT’choupi est malade.., there’s a book for every taste, age and learning group! Our French teachers use this French phenomenon as a learning tool to teach French. T’choupi has an impressive résumé having appeared in countless books, cartoons, and a movie for more than 15 years. French graphic artist Thierry Courtin is the talent behind T’choupi and decided to focus his career on the character after the birth of his son in the 1990s. The form of T’choupi comes from a visit to the zoological garden in Montréal where he was inspired by koala bears! 

  Monday, June 15, 2020

Reading Comprehension – Preschool

By Isabelle Gilet



Beginning in preschool we prepare our students to identify letters, read syllables and words and prepare for independent reading. One of our priorities is not only that they can sound out words and sentences but that they may also understand what they read!

  Monday, June 8, 2020

La Maison – PK0

By Isabelle Gilet



PK0 is using the theme of “the house” to inspire their school activities. They learn French vocabulary, shapes, spacial awareness, fine motor skills, listen to stories and even learn about hygiene and etiquette among many other things. How fun!