Bonjour et bienvenue to the 2018-2019 school year!
Over the summer, I spent time preparing materials for the new year. I tapped into new resource providers, like the publisher Bayard-Milan, and I am looking forward to implementing new resources in partnership with what is currently in circulation for native-speaking students in France. I’ve built on my visit last Spring to the International School of Boston (ISB), a bilingual French-American school, have reviewed my notes, and am bringing new ideas into play this year throughout the various grade levels here at BCD. While visiting ISB, I spent the day shadowing French teachers in different grade levels, 1st through 5th, to get a firsthand account of a day in the life of a French immersion school.
Reading in the target foreign language is a pillar in strengthening a student’s aptitude and comprehension. In French class at BCD, I will continue to include French stories and French language educational magazines into daily classwork, which will encourage the students to learn about themselves, the world around them, and about expressing their unique personality … in French!
The grant was titled “The Magic of Reading in French; ” its goal is to bring free books to children enrolled in French classes in both public and private schools across New England. The objectives of this fund are to:
Trigger children’s curiosity for French language and culture;
Expand kids’ French language skills – all under the guise of having fun with French books;
Improve and strengthen existing French tracks.
And…drum roll please…
On a gagné!We won!
When I arrived on campus last Friday, I found four big cardboard boxes full of brand new French books for BCD! These 70 books will contribute greatly to our school’s French-language literature resources which will be used in French class across the grade levels. I also encourage students and parents to borrow books as often as they’d like to read at home.
The different resources and the experiences I refer to in this post, combined with the enriching, culturally appropriate, and level-appropriate novels and multimedia tools we currently use in my curriculum, will help enable the continued discovery and encouragement toward the enjoyment of literature in French at BCD.
I hope that you have all had a fun summer! I, along with my colleagues, are so happy to welcome you back to the BCD campus this week, or to campus for the first time if you are a new student and family! Here’s to a great year!
On Monday May 21 I had the pleasure of introducing my 7th grade French students to my father-in-law, Philippe Daire, who is currently visiting from France.
Philippe was born in Paris in 1934, and was 5 years old when World War II broke out in Europe.
He spent 40 minutes with our class telling the students about his childhood, how his mother had to send him to ‘La France Libre’ (Southwest France) where the German army had not yet claimed control, to live with his grandparents, as Paris fell to the German army in 1940. For more than 5 years of his early childhood, he was seperated from his parents; he barely knew his mother, as she had to remain in Paris to work, while his father, Maurice Daire, a member of the French army, was taken as a prisoner of war and was held for several years in a German work camp in Austria.
Philippe was 11 years old when he saw his father again.
Philippe’s father-in-law, Roger Leduc, was a member of the French Résistance movement, and he spoke to the way that this collection of civilian “soldiers” fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during the Second World War. He told the students how English bombers would fly over the channel and drop military rations by parachute to the Résistance troups hiding deep in the forests of France.
It was a unique and rare experience to be able to hear a firsthand account of life in France during World War II, to learn how his life was affected, starting with what a child would notice the most… a shortage of chocolate, to the more severe and debilitating results of the war such as food & coal rationing, to clothing rationing, as with each year supplies grew more scarce and prices grew higher. Young French men were sent to Germany for STO (service de travail obligatoire) to run the German factories and be their work force … and for men such as Philippe’s father-in-law who decided not to join the STO to instead become become freedom fighters/ aka La Resistance who answered the call of General DeGaulle to fight behind the lines of the German occupied France in the effort to sabotage and slow down their forces.
Philippe shared with the students his emotions, the emotions that he can remember, of feeling utterly hopeless in the face of the German army, to the glimmer of hope that arrived in the form of American ‘flying air-fortresses’ that could be heard flying high above France in 1944 & 1945.
Visite – Philippe Daire
The students prepared questions to ask Philippe at the end of his presentation, ranging from inquiries regarding his personal experience of growing up during the war, to whether or not he had ever met a Nazi. He told of his encounter with a young German soldier in the streets of his village in the La France ‘libre’, one who was barely 18 years old, how through a child’s eyes the man seemed normal and kind, but how the terrifying reality of why he was in France and what he was a part of would haunt him for the rest of his life.
I feel that our students found Philippe’s visit to be enlightening and special, as with each day, month and year that pass our world sees fewer and fewer survivors of World War II.
I hope that they will remember his words in the years to come as they begin to study WW II in more depth in their Upper School and High School history classes.
By Mary Daire|2018-05-22T13:52:34+00:00May 22nd, 2018|Categories: Grade 7|Comments Off on 7th Grade French Invité Spécial
BCD French Students at county-wide poetry recital competition!
Bonjour à tous!
On Tuesday March 6th, four students from BCD participated in a foreign language poetry recital, along with more than 50 students from schools all over Berkshire County.
Three eighth graders and one seventh grader committed to memorizing a poem in French, and then recited the poem in front of their peers, teachers, and two judges.
There were students from four world language disciplines represented yesterday; French, Spanish, Chinese, and Latin, from beginner level to native-speaker level.
Some of the poems that our students memorized include; ‘Composition Francaise’ recited by Jack B., and ‘Le Bouquet’ recited by Anje C., both by Jacques Prévent, ‘En Arles’ by Paul-Jen Toulot and recited by Sean S., and ‘J’ai Fait Un Bouquet’ by Gilles Vigneault, recited by Halle D.
Students were judged on several criteria including memorization, pronounciation and intonation.
Anje C. took home 1st prize in his level, for a flawless recital of his chosen poem, ‘Le Bouquet.’
I am very proud of the initiative and dedication that all four students they showed in memorizing and reciting their chosen poems!
The poetry assembly was organized and sponsored by B.O.L.T, the Berkshire Organization of Language Teachers, a local organization which “provides a community and quality professional development for world language educators since 1982.”
I am looking forward to another strong BCD performance in 2020, as the competition is held every two years.
By Mary Daire|2018-03-07T16:17:43+00:00March 7th, 2018|Categories: Grade 7, Grade 8|Comments Off on BCD French Students at county-wide poetry recital competition!