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Saturday, 25 February 2017

French Growing Bundle

I've created a growing bundle of beginner French resources that will save you time and money!

What will I get?

Right now, the bundle includes enough resources for a full semester of French!  It includes all of my beginner French units (je me presente, family, clothing, community, sports, school), my regular verbs unit, my passe compose unit, and all irregular verbs lessons (avoir, faire, aller, and etre) at a savings of over 15% what you would pay to buy them all separately.

What is a growing bundle?

As I make more French resources, I will add them to this bundle.  Whenever a new product is added, you can re-download the bundle and get all the new updates. What's better is that you won't have to pay for the new updates!

For example, today's purchase price is $27.00.  When I add more resources, the price will go up, but if you paid $27.00, you get all the new updates for free. 

What will be added?

I haven't decided yet!  If you have an idea for a unit theme, irregular verb, etc. that you would like to use in your class, please let me know in the comments below, or by sending me an email at

Where can I buy the bundle?

Simply click here to see what's included and to purchase this bundle!

Saturday, 11 February 2017

French Irregular Verbs Bundle - Aller, Avoir, Faire, Etre

I have combined my irregular verb packs on TpT into a convenient bundle!

Click on the picture below to redirect to the product listing page.

For each verb, there are conjugation notes (in present tense), a practice page, notes on how to form the verb in negative (using ne..pas), and a page to change positive sentences into the negative.

See examples below: 

You can buy the packs separately, too.  Click on the pictures to be redirected to the sales page.

What other irregular verbs would you like resources for?  Let me know in the comments below. 

Exploring Artifacts to Spark Critical Thinking - Middle School Social Studies

This term, I've partnered up with the Literacy Support teacher in my school for my Social Studies 8 class.  For two blocks each week, she comes into the classroom and we co-teach lessons for the Grade 8s.

She has more experience and so many more ideas than me, so it's been amazing getting to work with her in the classroom and learn from her.

One idea that she had was to do an artifact study to explore culture and to spark critical thinking. This is what we did over the course of 4 days.

Day 1:  
As a whole class, we had a discussion about artifacts.  My co-teacher, Laurie, is Ukrainian and brought in a Ukrainian headscarf from her family.  She didn't tell the kids a lot about the scarf at teh beginning of the lesson.  Instead, she asked them to observe it, ask questions, and arrive at conclusions about it.  

For example, one student noticed it was made from wool, and concluded that the people who made it must have had access to sheep to collect the wool.

After the students had a chance to observe the item, Laurie shared a little bit of history of the scarf, just to satisfy the curiosity of the kids.

The enduring understandings that came out of the discussion were: 

Artifacts are human-made objects.
Artifacts can tell us about the people who used them.

These two statements became our big ideas for the rest of the lessons. 

Day 2: 
Laurie and I brought in several random artifacts and gave one to each table.  We asked the students to go around from table to table to observe and describe the artifacts, make connections or conclusions about how they were used and what they could tell about the people who used them, and ask questions about them.

We tried to pick artifacts that the students would be unfamiliar with, such as a camel mask, but some were simple household items.

The artifacts were numbered by table.  We had 9 in total, but only had time for the students to explore 5 or 6 each.

 The amount of conversation and questions coming form the students was amazing!  They were noticing details and making connections and thinking critically.

We asked them to record their observations on a page similar to this:

The observation sheets were used as formative assessment.

Day 3:  
We gave feedback on the observation pages and returned them to the students. 

We broke into 2 groups, with me taking half the students and Laurie taking the other half, and had discussions about the activity from the day before.  

We let the students discuss the artifacts and their conclusions/questions.  It was great to hear the debate over the artifacts that they didn't agree on.  For example, there was one object that some people thought was a belt, and others thought was a guitar strap.  For another artifact, half the class believed it was a musical instrument, and the other half thought it must be a decorative statue.

We also talked about what made for really good, deep-thinking questions.  (This discussion helped later in the month when the students were crafting questions for an inquiry project on Vikings.)

Most of the kids wanted to know the true story about the artifacts, but we didn't ever tell them the "real" uses.

Then we repeated the activity from Day 2, but this time we used new artifacts and each table just had one to analyze.  We pushed them to go deeper into their description, connections, and questions.  That analysis was taken in for a summative assessment and given a grade.

Day 4:  
The students each brought in an artifact that represented themselves or their cultures.  The students decided what the criteria for the presentations should be.

They students shared their artifacts and self-assessed according to the class-created criteria.

Overall, I think the mini-unit was a success.  It allowed for a lot of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and questioning from the students.

Have you done something similar?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Family Photo Shoot on the Windiest Day of the Year!

This year for Mother's Day, my siblings and I got my mom a family photo shoot.  We haven't had family photos taken with everyone since my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary 8 years ago.  My nieces and nephew weren't alive yet, so we needed updated versions!

We live on Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.  We're surrounded by natural beauty and beaches, so we decided to use the ocean as our backdrop.  It was a gorgeous day, but it was so windy!  As I kept reminding my mom, it just made the photos look more whimsical :)

Here are some of my favourite shots.
Watching the ferry boats

My sister with her husband and kids

My nephew, Caleb

My niece, Emily

My niece, Nati
My parents

Me and my siblings

My parents  with their kids

Me :)

Another shot of us watching the ferry boats :)

My brother and his daughter

All of us

Friday, 26 August 2016

Early Explorers to Canada Unit - Cabot, Cartier, Frobisher, Champlain, and Hudson!

I've been working on this unit for awhile and I'm so glad it's ready! 

This unit has biographies, reading comprehension questions, maps, and puzzles for five Early Explorers to Canada - John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, Samuel de Champlain, Martin Frobisher, and Henry Hudson.

In it, you'll find:

I've also included answer keys to all the questions and puzzles (except the Cartier maze).

 Download the unit here!

Are there any other explorers you'd like to see in this unit?  Let me know in the comments below!

Sunday, 21 August 2016

One Day Sale - August 22!

Did you miss Teachers Pay Teachers' Best Year Ever Sale? Are there items on your back-to-school wishlist? Shop tomorrow, August 22, for the Best Year Ever Bonus Sale and save 28% on everything in my store!

Use promo code ONEDAY at the checkout!

Happy shopping!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

One Teacher's UK Adventures!

I got home yesterday after a 2 week holiday in the United Kingdom!  

My last big trip was a Contiki coach tour 5 years ago in Eastern Europe. Contiki is a travel company for 18-35 year olds that makes the planning and prep really simple.  You travel with a group of people in a nice, comfortable coach bus and you have a tour manager for the whole trip who is knowledgeable about the region you're travelling to, gives you some history about every place you visit, and helps navigate and orient you around every city. For me, this was much easier than having to book hotels, research driving routes, rent cars, and figure out where the sights are that I wanted to see.  With Contiki, I just had to show up to the coach at a given time and they take care of the rest of the trip.  They bring you to the popular sights and take you to pubs and local haunts to let you get a feel for the local culture.
The Beatles played at this club over 300 times

Because I was travelling alone, I also liked the security of travelling with Contiki because it's a group tour.  It was also a great way to meet new people from around the world.  I ended up meeting amazing people and I've stayed in touch with many of them for the past 5 years.  

Our group at the Scottish border

Last fall, when my Teacher's Pay Teacher's store started to take off and make real money, I decided to book a trip with my earnings and immediately thought of Contiki again.  I decided to book the England and Scotland tour.  It ended in Glasgow, which gave me the perfect reason to visit Ceri, a friend I met from my last Contiki trip who lives just outside the city. 
Ceri and I on the Waverley paddle steamer.

The tour started in London, then took us to Liverpool, York, the Lake District, Carlisle, Gretna Green, Edinburgh, St. Andrews, Inverness, Isle of Skye, Oban, Stirling, and Glasgow.  We saw the Castlerigg Stone Circle, Hadrian's Wall, Loch Ness, Ben Nevis, Edinburgh Castle, Eilean Donan Castle, and the Shambles.

View of Liverpool from the Wheel of Liverpool
Love Lock Bridge in Liverpool
Wheel of Liverpool at the Albert Dock

I found Penny Lane

The Shambles in York - the world's oldest street

Me dressed as a Viking in the Jorvik Viking museum

Statue of Constantine - the only Roman Emperor to be declared emperor outside of Rome (it happened here in York)

Clifford's Tower - park of the old York Castle

Lake Windermere - England's largest lake

The view from the coach

I learned archery in Keswick
Castlerigg Stone Circle - Keswick, England. This stone circle is said to pre-date Stonehenge by about 500 years.
Me at the Castlerigg Stone Circle

Ruins of Housetead Fort at Hadrian's Wall

Me and the wall that marked the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire

I wanted to walk along Hadrian's Wall, but this fence implied that I shouldn't

More ruins

I had to buy a tartan scarf in Scotland!

Edinburgh Castle

J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in this cafe

Rubbing the nose of Greyfriar's Bobby brings good luck!

Ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral

It was such a gorgeous day!

One of the buildings of St. Andrew's University

The beach where Chariots of Fire was filmed

Loch Ness! This photo was taken in the 5 minute break between heavy, heavy rainfalls.

This stream is said to be blessed by fairies and anyone who washes their face in the water will be granted the gift of beauty
Troll meeting place - the trolls were turned to stone when the sun came out
Eilean Donan Castle
Eilean Donan Castle
The group on Tartan Day (everyone wore something with tartan)
We visited a Highland Cow (otherwise known as a "hairy coo")

Statue of Duke of Wellington outside the Gallery of Modern Art. He has a traffic cone on his head. After it was removed and replaced over and over again, the citizens of Glasgow signed a petition to keep it there permanently.

People's Palace

It was a really rainy day!

Glasgow Cathedral

After the 10-day England and Scotland tour, I met up with Ceri and stayed with her for 4 days.  With her, I went to Falkirk to see the Kelpies, took a cruise on the Waverley paddle steamer to Largs, and toured Burns Cottage - Robbie Burns' birthplace.


The Keplies are over 100 feet tall and are the world's tallest equine sculptures
The last sea-going paddle steamer in the world

beautiful church in Largs

Largs waterfront

World-famous Nardini's Ice Cream Parlour

The birthplace of Robert Burns

Burns statue in the gardens

Burns monument and gardens

View from the gardens of Brig O' Doon

I would highly recommend Contiki as a way to travel to anyone (between the ages of 18-35).  There are some early mornings and late nights, but having an experienced tour manager and driver take care of all the planning takes all the stress out of the travel process for me.  I have 5 more years before I'm outside the age limits, and I plan to do one or two more trips with Contiki.  I've met people on Contiki from all over Canada and the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Scotland, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, and Spain. Perhaps we'll meet up on one in the future...

What have you been up to in your summer break?