Saturday, September 17, 2011

Packing Part One: Teaching supplements

Alright, now that I'm not being lazy about pictures, let's get blogging! Today I thought y'all might want to see some of the stuff I picked up to help in my lessons. I focused on Texas and Fort Worth, as my contact suggested. I get to check two bags, so I am packing a little more stuff than someone with only one checked bag might... I have a few other things in mind but let's start with this.

Magazines! I picked up the Fort Worth Texas magazine - Best of 2011! Full of glossy ads for familiar things that I can easily talk about. Then I got the Texas Monthly because cowgirls! Texas! Then I got two Everyday with Rachael Ray because my contact suggested typical recipes, and Rachael Ray is a pretty big pop culture thing. Also I just love these magazines. Haters to the left. I think I'll be able to get some good talkin' out of all of them!

Mad Libs! I tried to pick some good American culture themed ones out... I hope the French think these are as funny as we do... It will at least be a good refresher on grammar as far as nouns, verbs, adjectives vs adverbs. And a vocabulary builder! So we've got a graduation one, a monster one (Halloween!), a political one, and a general Mad Lib one. This is good you see, because it gets the kids engaged and in a fun way. Lord that sounds lame. Anyway that's the theory.

Books! Two grammar books. "Painless Spelling", because English spelling is notoriously difficult for non-native English speakers... and even some anglophones, let's be real. This book is designed to be fun and easy to use, and has lots of short exercises in it. Another Barron book - the dictionary of common American clichés. It's kind of good to know these things, you know? Like slang, these come up a lot in conversation, and this reference book has loooads of common ones with short, clear explanations. Then, more in the recipes department with "Cooking Texas Style," which has loads of chuck wagon style recipes, Tex-Mex, and game meats. Plus beans, lots of beans. I may copy a few and ask the kids to decipher them for an exercise, or maybe if I get a good class... potluck!

So that's what I've got so far! I'm thinking of bringing some games too, like Apples to Apples and Scattergories. I've heard people get good results with those two especially.

What's in your suitcase so far?!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Angoulême et La Rochefoucauld

Well, this blog has certainly fallen by the wayside already, but we must attribute that to the fact that I haven't been doing much in the way of France-related business. But! I should have updated a month ago, when I got my arrêté de nomination, my hire letter basically. I'll be teaching at Lycée Guez de Balzac in Angoulême (right in the middle of downtown!) and at Collège Jean Rostand in La Rochefoucauld, a town of about 3,000 people, about 25 km outside of the big city!

Angoulême is famous for a couple of things, but notably, it's the BD capitol of France. Every year they host a festival and award prizes to the best comics of the year. Additionally, it's home to the Musée de la bande dessinée (and the library of BD). You can read more about all of that here if you're interested! I think it'll be super cool. I have several comics-loving friends, and I myself don't follow any, but I like buying one shots and I love the art, so it should be fun!

Angoulême is also about 40km away from the town of Cognac. That's... all I can really say about that. Expect a lot of posts about my fancy French drinking habits starting in October!

(The image in this post is public domain, taken from's entry on Angoulême!)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Allez, la France!

A flock of sheep crossing the road as we drove up to Mont-St-Michel

In April (April 4th, to be exact) I found out that I'd be moving to France to teach English from October to April. As of yet, I haven't even found out the exact city where I'll be teaching, but I thought I would go ahead and start this blog to document my experience with waiting, paperwork, getting my visa, and making travel arrangements. Meanwhile, maybe I'll post some pictures from the last time I was in France, summer 2008!