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Blog: Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Celebrating Nancy Des Ormeaux & Maria Sanchez

Nancy Des Ormeaux (left) and Maria Sanchez (right), Grade 6/7 Early French Immersion teachers at Chief Dan George (CDG) Middle School, exude enthusiasm, creativity and positivity in their approach to teaching. As teaching partners, they encourage each other to take risks and experiment with ways to challenge their pedagogy.  

This year they submitted an innovative IBLT grant proposal, with the intent to build a stronger sense of community within their Pod. They found that students entering CDG from four different French Immersion schools tended to stick with students they already knew. Maria and Nancy’s vision was to create a strong sense of belonging and ownership within their class community to promote students to connect, take risks and communicate more freely, thus increasing French Language skills and overall well-being.

Maria and Nancy are making major changes in furniture, lighting and paint to produce a friendlier, more academically supportive environment based on current research of best practices. The students collaborate and contribute ideas, as well as plan and build some of the furniture in Math and Woodshop classes. By allowing students to choose to work at stand-up desks or sit on a variety of seating options and toning down fluorescent lights with covers or replacing them with a series of lamps, they intend to create an atmosphere where students feel calm and focused. A juice and snack bar will provide opportunities for students to mingle and engage in conversation through purposeful daily oral French language practice.

Furthermore, they are incorporating The First Nation’s Talking Stick into regular sessions, where, students can share personal stories and/or ideas and strategies on how to improve the classroom climate and relations. They are making a tremendous difference for students.

Submitted by Jasbir Singh, Principal, Chief Dan George Middle School