Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Use a Mannequin in Your Classroom #9: What to say at the doctor's office!

We've been learning what one might say at the doctor's office and how to describe pain in various parts of one's body.  So I've been using my classroom mannequin Jacques to help teach this.  I told students that Jacques was in the Tour de France last weekend (yes, I know it's not really held in March).  I also told them that it wasn't really Lance Armstrong who won the race...it was Jacques, of course :). 

Did you notice Jacques' really awesome, authentic maillot jaune (yellow jersey)?  I paid a lot of money for that... I saw it at a store in the mall once and I knew exactly how I'd use it!  I told students that Jacques fell off his bike during the race and that's why he's wearing bandages.

I acted out a conversation between Jacques and the doctor.  I played the part of the doctor, and the part of Jacques' voice as well!

Jacques told the doctor that his nose, mouth and arm hurt.  The doctor told him to take two aspirin and call him in the morning.  Students find these skits very entertaining and tend to pay very close attention to the conversation, which is, of course, all part of my plan.  Why not consider doing something similar in your classroom?  I guarantee you'll be pleased with the results. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Field Trip to a French Pastry Shop!

I am incredibly fortunate to work only a few miles away from one of the most authentic French pastry shops I've ever visited outside of France.  Owned and run by a French family, Le Petit Prince pastry shop in Birmingham, MI is without a doubt worth the trip!  They also sell bread and chocolate. The front window is a refrigerated showcase for their chocolate.  Check out this Easter hen...and yes, it's made entirely of chocolate!

Naturally, I take my students here on field trips.  The owners are always very gracious and patient with the large groups I bring, and they very kindly speak French with anyone who makes an attempt.  Here's some video of my French III & IV students at the shop just last week.


And here's more video of an amazing chocolate Easter bunny.  The glass case that the owner is opening for me is filled with more Easter chocolate.  And I absolutely love the little party cakes...look for the little frogs and the little pigs.


We had a wonderful time visiting this shop together and I'm sure my students will remember it for a long time.  Every time I go, I ask myself why I don't make time to visit more often (other than the fact that I probably shouldn't be eating French pastry EVERY DAY :).  For me, stepping across the threshold is like stepping into France.  I'd highly recommend a visit...it might even inspire you to go home and learn how to speak French!!!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to Use a Mannequin in Your Classroom #8: Learning to Describe Hairstyles

Third year French students are currently learning how to describe a person's hair in detail.  Our textbook presents vocabulary on specific hairstyles as well as what to say at a hair salon if you want to get your hair cut.  I used a collection of wigs and masks (many of them purchased at Halloween stores) and my friend Jacques to introduce these words in class.
Jacques has short, black hair.  And he's saying, "Merci.  Merci beaucoup".

Jacques has braids.

Jacques has short brown hair.

Jacques has a punk hairstyle!

Jacques has hair that's short on the top and sides, but long in the back.

Jacques has curly hair.
Jacques has long, black hair with highlights.

Students also practiced suggesting how Jacques should cut his hair for the various hairstyles shown.  I got my students to laugh with the Elvis mask, and I was proud that they understood the joke in French, however simple it was :).   

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Car Races for Baby Escargots

Another fun activity to use with students participating in the adopt an escargot project is escargot car racing.  I brought in a bucket of old matchbox cars and let my students choose one.  They strapped their babies to the cars with rubber bands, and then we went to our gymnasium and raced the cars to see which one would go the furthest.

It's so nice to see everyone smiling & speaking French at the same time! (well, everyone except for the one monsieur there who likes to give me a hard time whenever I take photos :)

And the race begins!

Final race between the two cars that went the furthest.

And the winner is...Manon Corbier...the dear baby escargot of the student pictured here!  Manon won a pink teddy bear as a prize. 

This activity took about 10 minutes to complete.  You can see from the photos that the students were having a great time cheering their escargots on (in French, of course).  The possibilites for getting students to speak, read & write in another language with this project are truly endless!  I encourage you to consider it. 


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