Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas & New Year's Decorations

Not long ago, my friend Martine kindly sent me some French Christmas candy called papillotes to share with my students.  Basically, these are chocolate candies wrapped in fancy wrappers, and each candy has a slip of paper inside with a French saying on it.  The wrappers on these candies are so beautiful that I decided to use them to make a Christmas decoration for my classroom. 

So, I glued wrappers to each side of some cardboard rectangles.

Then I strung the rectangles together with fishing line, and hung them from a banner made of cardboard and glitter.  The banner says Merry Christmas on one side, and Happy New Year on the other. 

Voilà, a very festive, very French Christmas decoration!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Crêpe Day!

French I students recently learned how to name some foods, including crêpes.  So with the Principal's permission, I planned a special day for students to taste crêpes during class!  I made the batter at home, then brought it to school in a cooler and cooked it on an electric crêpe maker during class. 

I told students to expect a surprise, but they didn't know exactly what it would be until they came to class on that particular day.  They were thrilled.  If you look closely, you can see that they changed the message I'd written on the board from "Happy Crêpe Day" to "Happy Crêpe Week"!

I discovered that many of my students had never had crêpes before.  I also gave them the recipe, and several of them have since told me that they've made crêpes at home for their families. 

This is a great way to help promote your French program and create feelings of goodwill in your classroom!  Try it.  It's worth the extra effort.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

How to Use a Mannequin in Your Classroom #7: Teaching Students to ask Information Questions!

Yesterday I taught students how to ask basic information questions with the help of my classroom mannequin, Jacques.  Before class began, I dressed Jacques up to look like an alien from outer space & covered him up.  When students arrived, I told them to get ready for a surprise.

  I used a fog machine to create extra excitement.  I told students to imagine that Jacques was an alien from outer space today.  Then I unveiled him. 

Jacques the Alien from Outer Space!
I projected a photograph of outer space on the screen as I told the story of how Jacques the alien came to Earth.  Then I interviewed him.  Obviously, I have to act out the part of the interviewer and also the voice of Jacques (students really enjoy this)!  He traveled by flying saucer, which I made out of a paper plate and tin foil, and suspended from the ceiling.  

Jacques' flying saucer
I think this was a good way to model asking information questions to my students, and a great way to get them interested in the lesson.  I did have to warn my colleagues not to be alarmed if they saw smoke coming out of the French room today :)!


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