Over the past few weeks, my class has been participating in the FSL-centric version of the Global Read Aloud, an international event where classes all around the world read the same books and share their learning over social media. Some teachers choose to connect directly with other classes, some simply share their activities online for others to see, but all are engaging with the digital community in some way.
My class has really enjoyed participating in this event. It was entirely teacher led, initiated by Tammy Aiello of Teaching FSL. The official iterations of the GRA are designed for either English programs or French-first-language programs, making it challenging to engage with the event if you teach an FSL program of some kind. Thankfully, there were enough of us interested in working out the details that Tammy was able to coordinate book lists for all ages (based on teacher input!).
If you haven’t participated in the GRA before, I strongly recommend it. While my teaching assignment and personal life meant that I couldn’t delve as deeply into it as I would have liked, even the small taste my students had of engaging with the online world had them eager to do more. More importantly, though, we chose books with deep meaning and strong curriculum connections. For my age range (Junior French Immersion), the books were about Indigenous issues, LGBTQIA issues, infertility, immigration. We had many valuable conversations in the class about history, human rights, and moving forward with a more open mind. These are not easy issues to tackle, by any stretch, but the books served as rich starting points for these topics of incredible importance.
I spoke so animatedly about what my class was doing that another teacher joined in. This gave us the opportunity to share resources and ideas, compare student engagement, and co-plan. We both realized that we really loved the format of diving deep into one picture book a week, as it opened a lot of cross-curricular doors and made for great teaching. It’s changed my teaching for the last six weeks – and may well change my teaching for the rest of the year.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Global Read Aloud, you can check out the website here. If you’re an FSL teacher, our Facebook group is here. The event is officially over for the year, but you can always start it up in your school and go through the book(s) a few weeks late! Otherwise, see you in September 2019!