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What language should teachers of French teach? By Marcel LaVergne
The Francophone World as Seen Through the Eyes of Poets of the French Language
America's French Heritage Lesson Plan
Le Petit Prince: Applying the Connections Strand of the Foreign Language National Standards to a Literary Text and a Cultural Icon
Lesson Plan: Le Petit Prince and the Connections Strand
Black Writers of the French Language
Observe and Analyze: Photos and Culture

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Articles

From November 2009

What language should teachers of French teach?
By Marcel LaVergne

entreBégaudeau, François. Entre les murs. Folio #4523. Gallimard. 2006

I strongly recommend that all teachers of French read Entre les murs (which has been made into a movie entitled The Class and which won the Palme d’Or as best picture at the Cannes film festival in 2008) because it provides a realistic depiction of the demographic change taking place in some of the Parisian schools. Since the language used in the book follows the rules of spoken French, one needs to question if the teaching of mostly written rules of French in our classrooms will realistically prepare our students to confront the fact that people do not speak the way that they write.

Version française

Ce livre qui a gagné le Prix France Culture-Télérama en 2006 raconte un an d’enseignement dans un collège parisien situé au 19e arrondissement et peuplé d’une sorte de mini Nations Unies. Bégaudeau nous présente un ensemble de professeurs qui se rencontrant chaque jour dans la salle des professeurs craignent la rentrée, n’aiment pas leur emploi du temps, se plaignent sans cesse de leurs élèves, et ont toujours hâtent aux jours féries, aux congés, et finalement aux grandes vacances.

A la fois triste et comique, ce coup d’oeil sur l’état changeant de l’enseignement en France nous peint un tableau d’élèves indisciplinés, guerriers, impolis, et sans ambition académique. Chaque chapitre est le récit de la bataille continuelle d’ un prof (admettant pas le meilleur) qui esssaie d’enseigner le bon français à 25 élèves pour qui le français n’est pas la langue maternelle. Il est souvent exaspéré par l’ inattention, le manque de respect et le peu de discipline exhibés par ses élèves qui pour la plupart s’en fouent de toutes choses.

Il passe la plupart de son temps à mettre de l’ordre dans la classe, à séparer les combattants, et à accompagner les perturbateurs chez le principal. Les réponses les plus communes à ses questions sur la grammaire, ou sur le vocabulaire sont “J’sais pas c’est quoi?” ou “J’comprends pas m’sieur.” ou “J’sais pas, moi.” De sa part, il crée cet atmosphère dès le début de l’année scolaire quand il accueille ses élèves de troisième 1 pour la première fois en disant “On s’assied et on se tait.” Il est souvent frustré par l’ignorance de ses élèves: quand Mezut dit qu’un verbe est une figure de style il indique son indignation en disant “Enfin, Mezut, quand même, tu sais bien qu’un verbe c’est pas une figure de style. Un verbe c’est un verbe. Enfin. Quand même.”(p. 135)

Le professeur américain de français qui connaît peut-être très peu du système français d’éducation ou qui en a une connaissance surannée apprendra les faits suivants:

* Le visage changeant de la France. D’un côté, la présence d’immigrants dans les écoles: pas un nom typiquement français dans sa classe: Dico, Khoumba, Mohammed-Ali, Amar, Souleymane, Tarek, Jiajia, Ming, Hinda, Youssef, Yelli, Djebril, etc. De l’autre côté, les profs sont tous français: Bastien, Chantal, Claude, Danièle, Elise, Gilles, François, Géraldine, Jacqueline, Jean-Phillippe, Rachel,Valérie, etc.
* La présence d’alcool dans les écoles. On finit chaque séance du Conseil d’administration qui comprend professeurs, parents et élèves par une collation avec vin ou champagne.
* Vers la fin de l’année scolaire, on passe le brevet blanc en préparation de passer le brevet.
* La plupart des élèves portent des tee-shirts et des sweats avec des mots anglais sur le devant.
* L’année scolaire se divise en trimestre.
* Le conseil de classe détermine les notes des élèves.
* Les profs décident de la division horaire globale, i.e., ils décident quels cours ajouter, des heures de la journée, de leur emploi du temps.
* Le conseiller d’orientation psychologique aide les élèves à choisir s’ils doivent suivre les cours du général, du technologique, ou du professionnel.
* Les profs n’hésitent pas de toucher les élèves pour y mettre de l’ordre.
* Les élèves tutoient les profs même si ce n’est pas la règle.
* Le Conseil d’administration décide des sanctions à imposer aux élèves telles que l’exclusion définitive et le redoublement.
* La note typique sur le bulletin sera 15 sur 20 ou 22 sur 30.

Un des grands dilemmes pour nous les professeurs américains de français est de savoir quel français enseigner en classe: l’oral ou l’écrit? Ce livre illustre très bien la grande différence entre les deux. Quand le professeur s’entretient avec ses élèves ou avec ses collègues, il le fait toujours selon l’oralité de la langue parlée. A un moment donné dans l’histoire il dit à ses élèves:

… et là vous voyez je viens de dire “vous y pensez pas, et ça vous aide pas”, eh bien à chaque fois j’ai négligé de mettre le “ne” de négation. Pourquoi? Parce que je parle, parce que c’est de l’oral, et qu’à l’oral il est rare qu’on mette le ne de négation, sauf quand on affecte un language soutenu, vous voyez? Mais à l’écrit, on le met. (p. 258)

Le puriste et le grammairien en lisant ce livre se rendent vite compte du fait qu’on n’y parle pas la langue de Molière et qu’on ne suit pas Le Bon Usage de Grévisse. C’est plutôt l’oralité de la banlieue et le langage familier de la conversation que ce soit de la part des professeurs ou des élèves:

Professeurs:

* J’suis désolé mais j’vois en troisième, y’a des élèves ils ont même pas le niveau de sixième, qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire en seconde?
* M’enfin t’es pas foutu d’me dire qui c’était ces troisième 1? C’est quand même dingue ça.
* Ouais, j’sais pas. A un moment y’a une histoire de pelisse dans ta dictée. Bon ben moi j’dis peliche, tu vois, et comme les élèves savent pas c’que c’est ils demandent de répéter, et à chaque fois c’est pire.

Elèves:

* C’est possible les élèves ils changent le prof principal?
* Mais ouais, voilà, c’est n’importe quoi ce qu’elle dit l’autre.
* Jeudi nous serons pas là, c’est pas possible pour nous faire le contrôle.
* J’sais pas, mais si vous savez c’est quoi son âge ça veut dire vous étiez né.

Du point de vue du vocabulaire, ce petit bouquin est plein d’expressions relatives à l’éducation qu’on n’apprend pas dans nos cours préparatifs telles que:

* Le conseiller principal d’éducation (CPE)       Le carnet d’absences
* Une fiche incident                                                  Le conseiller d’orientation psychologue
* L’heure d’aide au travail personnel                  La salle de permanence
* Le cartable                                                                La rapportrice de la séance
* Une exclusion/une exclusion définitive           La scolarité obligatoire
* Le professeur principal                                          Le conseil d’administration (CA)
* Sécher un jour                                                         Le comportement
* Le rebord métallique                                             La salle des professeurs
* Le redoublement                                                     Les aides-éducateurs
* Un agenda                                                                Un contrôle
* Une sanction                                                            La division horaire globale
* L’apprentissage oral                                              Le brevet blanc/le brevet
* Une sortie                                                                  Le conseil de discipline
* L’oralité publique                                                   Calculer la moyenne
* Le bulletin                                                                Annuler les cours
* Le test de capacité                                                  Le duplicateur
* La photocopieuse                                                     La machine à calculer
* La porte coupe-feu                                                  Les feuilles agrafées
* Le tableau de liège                                                  Punaiser

Je recommande à tous professeurs de français de lire Entre les murs (qui vient d’être tourné en film intitulé La classe et qui a gagné la Palme d’or au Festival international du film de Cannes, 2008) parce qu’il fournit un aperçu réaliste du changement qui se réalise dans certaines salles de classe dans les collèges parisiens. Puisque le langage employé suit les règles du français oral, il faut se demander si nous profs de français en enseignant seulement les règles du français écrit préparons vraiment nos élèves à confronter la situation actuelle de l’oralité française.

Soumis par Marcel LaVergne, éditeur, revue de livres français

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English version

the classAwarded the Prix France Culture-Télérama in 2006, this book recounts one year of teaching in a mini United Nations Parisian middle school located in the 19th district. Begaudeau introduces us to a group of teachers who meet daily in the faculty room and whose sole conversations are limited to complaining about getting back to school, whining about their students and their schedules, and who are always looking forward to days off, school breaks, and summer vacations.

Both sad and comical, this glimpse on the changing face of French education paints a picture of undisciplined, warring, and impolite students with very little academic ambitions. Each chapter describes the constant battle of a teacher (admittedly not the best) who tries to teach proper French to 25 students for whom French is not a native language. He is often exasperated by the inattentiveness and lack of respect and discipline of his students who don’t seem to care about anything.

He spends most of his time creating order in class, breaking up fights, and accompanying the trouble makers to the principal’s office. The most common answers to his questions on grammar and vocabulary are “J’sais pas c’est quoi?” or “J’comprends pas m’sieur”, or J’sais pas, moi.” He is partly to blame for that atmosphere when he greets his students of troisième 1 for the first time by saying “On s’assied et on se tait.” He is often frustrated by the ignorance of his students: when Mezut says that a verb is a figure of speech, he shows his indignation by saying ” Enfin, Mezut, quand même, tu sais bien qu’un verbe c’est pas une figure de style. Un verbe c’est un verbe. Enfin. Quand même.”(p. 135)

The American teacher of French who might not know much about the French system of education or whose knowledge of it is outdated will learn the following:

* The changing face of France. On the one hand, the large presence of immigrants in the schools shown by the lack of typical French surnames of the students: Dico, Khoumba, Mohammed-Ali, Amar, Souleymane, Tarek, Jiajia, Ming, Hinda, Youssef, Yelli, Djebril, etc. On the other hand, the teachers are all French: Bastien, Chantal, Claude, Danièle, Elise, Gilles, François, Géraldine, Jacqueline, Jean-Phillippe, Rachel,Valérie, etc.
* Alcohol is allowed in school: At the end of each meeting of the Conseil d’administration, which includes teachers, parents, and students, there is food with wine or champagne.
* Towards the end of the school year, students take a practice pre-final exam in preparation for the final exam.
* Most students wear tee-shirts or sweatshirts with English sayings across the front.
* The school year is divided into trimesters.
* The conseil de classe made up of teachers decides the students’ grades.
* The teachers decide the master schedule, i.e., they decide which courses to add or remove, the length of the day, and their own schedule of classes.
* The guidance counselor helps the students decide which track they should follow: the general, the technological, or the professional.
* The teachers do not hesitate to use physical force to maintain order.
* Students often say “tu” to the teachers even though it is not allowed.
* The Conseil d’administration decides if a student will be suspended, expelled, or held back.
* The typical grade on the report card is reported as 15 on 20 or 22 on 30.

American teachers of French are often faced with the dilemma of knowing which French to teach: the spoken or the written? The difference between the two is well illustrated in this book. Whenever the teacher speaks with his colleagues or with the students he always follows the pattern of spoken French. At one point in the story, he says to his students:

… et là vous voyez je viens de dire “vous y pensez pas, et ça vous aide pas”, eh bien à chaque fois j’ai négligé de mettre le “ne” de négation. Pourquoi? Parce que je parle, parce que c’est de l’oral, et qu’à l’oral il est rare qu’on mette le ne de négation, sauf quand on affecte un language soutenu, vous voyez? Mais à l’écrit, on le met. (p. 258)

The purist and the grammarian reading this book soon realize that the characters do not speak the language of Molière or follow the rules of Le Bon Usage of Grévisse. Rather both teachers and students adopt a more casual and informal manner of speaking:

Teachers:

* J’suis désolé mais j’vois en troisième, y’a des élèves ils ont même pas le niveau de sixième, qu’est-ce qu’ils vont faire en seconde?
* M’enfin t’es pas foutu d’me dire qui c’était ces troisième 1? C’est quand même dingue ça.
* Ouais, j’sais pas. A un moment y’a une histoire de pelisse dans ta dictée. Bon ben moi j’dis peliche, tu vois, et comme les élèves savent pas c’que c’est ils demandent de répéter, et à chaque fois c’est pire.

Students:

* C’est possible les élèves ils changent le prof principal?
* Mais ouais, voilà, c’est n’importe quoi ce qu’elle dit l’autre.
* Jeudi nous serons pas là, c’est pas possible pour nous faire le contrôle.
* J’sais pas, mais si vous savez c’est quoi son âge ça veut dire vous étiez né.

As for vocabulary, this book is full of education-related expressions that one does not learn in French Methods class:

* Le conseiller principal d’éducation (CPE)        Le carnet d’absences
* Une fiche incident                                                  Le conseiller d’orientation psychologue
* L’heure d’aide au travail personnel                    La salle de permanence
* Le cartable                                                                La rapportrice de la séance
* Une exclusion/une exclusion définitive            La scolarité obligatoire
* Le professeur principal                                          Le conseil d’administration (CA)
* Sécher un jour                                                         Le comportement
* Le rebord métallique                                             La salle des professeurs
* Le redoublement                                                     Les aides-éducateurs
* Un agenda                                                                Un contrôle
* Une sanction                                                            La division horaire globale
* L’apprentissage oral                                              Le brevet blanc/le brevet
* Une sortie                                                                  Le conseil de discipline
* L’oralité publique                                                   Calculer la moyenne
* Le bulletin                                                                Annuler les cours
* Le test de capacité                                                  Le duplicateur
* La photocopieuse                                                     La machine à calculer
* La porte coupe-feu                                                  Les feuilles agrafées
* Le tableau de liège                                                  Punaiser

I strongly recommend that all teachers of French read Entre les murs (which has been made into a movie entitled The Class and which won the Palme d’Or as best picture at the Cannes film festival in 2008) because it provides a realistic depiction of the demographic change taking place in some of the Parisian schools. Since the language used in the book follows the rules of spoken French, one needs to question if the teaching of mostly written rules of French in our classrooms will realistically prepare our students to confront the fact that people do not speak the way that they write.

Submitted by Marcel LaVergne, editor, French book review

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From March 2009

The Francophone World as Seen Through the Eyes of Poets of the French Language
By Marcel LaVergne, Ed.D.

In this ever-shrinking world of internet communication, the opportunity for French teachers to research the French-speaking world is literally at one’s finger tips. A Google search of Writers of the French language, of French culture in the world, of the History of the French colonial empire, etc. will reveal numerous sources of information that once would have taken hours of research in a library. Having taken advantage of my leisure retirement hours to do such research, and knowing full well the pressing demands made on your time, I offer the following article to you as a way of expanding your curriculum and of satisfying the Cultures, Connections, and Communities strands of the Foreign Languages National Framework.

As a result of France having stretched its borders through exploration to the New World, its colonial empire in Africa, the Antilles, the Orient, and the Indian Ocean, French today is spoken in every country of the world and on every continent. It therefore makes sense that the French curriculum in our schools reflect that reality and that our students become aware of the history, ideas, opinions, and philosophies of those French-speakers who lived outside of France.

Because poetry is usually much shorter than prose although not necessarily easier to understand, I have chosen to focus on a few universal themes and to present them through the words of poets not of France but of the rest of the French-speaking world, hoping that you appreciate their beauty and their quality. To truly understand the sentiments expressed in these poems, I suggest that you consult the books that I reviewed and the articles that I published previously for the Culture Club about French in Africa, Louisiana, and New England.... Download entire article

 


August 2008

America's French Heritage Lesson Plan
By Marcel LaVergne Ed.D.

In accordance with the Foreign Languages National Standards, the following activities which complement the article America’s French Heritage focus primarily on the Connections and Communities Strands.  Each activity will be identified as achievement or proficiency based.

Goals and Objectives

  • Students will make a Connection to History while learning what role France played in the early years of the United States.
  • Students will make a Connection to History while learning who the French explorers and the early settlers were.
  • Students will make a Connection to the geography of the United States as they discover where those cities and towns with French names are located.
  • Students will make a Connection to the geography of France as they locate the cities in France after which the American cities are named.
  • Students will make a Connection to History as they learn which cities and towns are named after French Royal families, and other notable French people.
  • Students will engage in the Communities Strand as they discover information about their community.
  • Students will engage in the Communities Strand as they discover what role France played in the development of other communities in the United States.

Activity  I (of six)

Using an Atlas of the United States, give each student/group of students  a copy of a map of a different  American state and have the student/group of students

  • highlight each city or town with a French name; (achievement)
  • explain the meaning of the French name; (proficiency)
  • if named after a person, indicate who that person was; (achievement)
  • if named after a French city, indicate where that city is in France and state 5 facts about it; (achievement)
  • present the information orally to the class. (proficiency)

Download entire lesson plan


NOTE: A review of Le Petit Prince by Marcel LaVergne appeared in the June edition of the Library.

Le Petit Prince: Applying the Connections Strand of the Foreign Language National Standards to a Literary Text and a Cultural Icon.
By Marcel LaVergne
Illustrations are from the Little Prince's book, and by the same author: Antoine de Saint Exupéry

petit_prince

Of the 5 Strands of the Foreign Language National Standards, it seems that the Connections Strand is the most difficult for teachers to integrate into the curriculum and into the lesson plans of L2 teachers. It is often misinterpreted as interdisciplinary which would involve working in tandem with teachers of other disciplines or as requiring teachers to teach math, history, geography, etc., in L2 in a sort of total immersion atmosphere. Although there is merit in those approaches, the Connections Strand would be less intimidating if L2 teachers were trained to recognize the existence of other disciplines in the materials that they use regularly in their classes and to adopt the attitude that there are times when one is teaching language and when one is teaching art history in L2.

When reading Le Petit Prince, the first Connection to be made is to Astronomy (chapter IV). In fact, one of my high schools had a planetarium and my French 3 students would often convert Le Petit Prince into a play to be put on in the planetarium. The Director of the planetarium would light up the planetarium sky to provide the accurate backdrop to the different acts of our little play to create the proper atmosphere.

In learning of the world of le petit prince, students would also discuss in L2 what a planet, an asteroid, a universe, and a sunset are. The discussion would naturally expand to the Milky Way, and to the planets of our solar system.

Another Connection to be made is to Geography when in chapter II the pilot meets le petit prince in the Sahara Desert. Students would then examine a map of Africa to determine the exact location of that desert and to learn the countries of Africa that are in it and that touch it. Are there any other deserts in Africa? in the United States? What makes up a desert? Is there life there? How can the author and le petit prince hope to find a well there?

The Geography connection leads naturally to the question: What was the pilot doing flying in Africa? The answer would necessarily lead to the historical presence of France in Africa and to a discussion of the French colonial empire and to the birth of La Francophonie. That would lead to more Geography as the students are presented with a map of the French-speaking African countries.

When le petit prince learns in chapter VI that on earth he cannot just go and see a sunset but that he has to wait for it to happen, he is amazed when the author says to him: "Quand il est midi aux Etats-Unis, le soleil, tout le monde le sait, se couche sur la France." And later when reading chapter XIV about "l’allumeur de réverbères" the opportunity lends itself quite well to a discussion of the different time zones that exist on our planet.

When speaking of the size of the earth in chapter XVII, the pilot tells le petit prince that « Si les deux milliards d’habitants qui peuplent la terre se tenaient debout et un peu serrés,…ils se logeraient aisément sur une place publique de vingt milles de long sur vingt milles de large. On pourrait entasser l’humanité sur le moindre petit ilôt du Pacifique. », this might be a good time to challenge the students to recalculate the size of the space needed to support the current population of the Earth, of the United States, or of their own class, thereby making a Connection to Mathematics.

In chapter IX, we learn that le petit prince has 3 volcanoes on his asteroid, 2 active and 1 inactive. A discussion about volcanoes would bring in Geology and Earth Science. Are there any volcanoes in the United States? In France? Where are they? When was the last major eruption? We also learn how hard he works to take care of his planet to keep his volcanoes in check and in chapter V to prevent the spread of the baobab seeds from overtaking his planet. Like him, we need to protect our environment by taking care of our planet, by recycling, by eliminating global warming, by checking urban sprawl, and by controlling population growth.

petit_prince

Chapter X puts le petit prince in contact with a king. Students could learn what a monarchy is, which countries still have kings, which ones no longer have kings. This would tie into History, Civics, and Political Science. When the king tells le petit prince that he could judge the rat and then « Tu le condamneras à mort de temps en temps", le petit prince replies that « je n’aime pas condamner à mort". The topic of the death penalty could lead to an engaging debate on its pros and cons as well as a discussion on the sanctity of life, thereby making a Connection to Ethics and Morality.

In chapter XI, le buveur typifies the evils of alcoholism and in chapter XIII the obsession to own and to possess comes to life when le petit prince meets "le businessman" who has no time to enjoy his riches. The former could provoke an interesting discussion about addiction and the latter about poverty in the world, in our country and in our own backyard.

In Chapter XXI, is "le renard" speaking the truth when he alleges that: "Les hommes n’ont plus le temps de rien connaître. Ils achètent des choses toutes faites chez les marchands. Mais comme il n’existe point de marchands d’amis, les hommes n’ont plus d’amis. » The discussion about friendship and all that it entails is aptly illustrated by the episode between le petit prince, the fox, and the ritual of having to take the time to « apprivoiser » and to "créer des liens" with someone before earning his trust and friendship.

Those are but a few of the many examples possible that would enrich the reading of Le Petit Prince and make it more relevant to the lives of our students if an effort to integrate the Connections Strand into our readings were made. Those Connections would also encourage the development of the Communication Strand as the students would be engaged in more discussions and writings of the many topics encountered in the texts. It would also integrate a High C cultural literary icon with the world of the students.

If people read to be entertained and to learn, then our activities must go beyond the typical question/answer formats and the retelling of the story that I unfortunately subjected my students to for far too long. Students need to realize that Le Petit Prince is much more than a cute fairy tale, but that it contains a treasury of truths about who we are, what our relationships are, what our weaknesses are, what we value, and who we could be if we took the time to see with our hearts instead of with our eyes because in the words of the fox to le petit prince : "Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." (chapter XXI)

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Lesson Plan: Le Petit Prince and the Connections Strand
Prepared by Marcel La Vergne

petit_prince

The following list of activities is meant to provide some concrete examples of the Connections approach to the reading of literature and to engage the students in learning far more than the facts of the story and the acquisition of vocabulary.

Target audience: French 3 and higher

Goals: To provide a model for teachers on how to make Connections to the various disciplines that are included in a literary text.
To extract actual quotes from a literary text to serve as a steppingstone towards oral or written communication.
To create activities for the students based on those disciplines in order to broaden the appeal of the text.
To engage students in acquiring knowledge other than L2 vocabulary and grammar.

Activity 1. Connections to Art

Dessine-moi un mouton. (chapter II)

  • Students with artistic talent will decorate the classroom walls or windows with reproductions of the art that is in the text.
  • Working in small groups, students will reproduce the story in comic strip form.
  • Students will select important quotations from the story and will draw scenes to represent them. Example: Les grandes personnes ne comprennent jamais rien toutes seules, et c’est fatigant, pour les enfants, de toujours et toujours leur donner des explications. (chapter I) : Ce n’est pas un chapeau, c’est un serpent boa qui avale un éléphant.

Activity 2. Connections to Geography

J’ai volé un peu partout dans le monde. Et la géographie, c’est exact, m’a beaucoup servi. (chapter I )

  • How important is the study of geography? What can one do with geography?
  • The pilot met le petit prince in the Sahara desert. Where is it? How large is it? What countries border it? Are there any deserts in the United States? In France? What is the largest desert in the world and where is it located?

Activity 3. Connections to Astronomy

Je savais bien qu’en dehors des grosses planètes comme la Terre, Jupiter, Mars, Vénus, auxquelles on a donné des noms, il y en a des centaines d’autres qui sont quelque-fois si petites qu’on a beaucoup de mal a les apercevoir au télescope. (chapter IV)

  • Students will create a model of the universe as a mobile to hang from the classroom ceiling with posters containing relevant information about each planet, i.e., size, distance from the earth, characteristics, etc.
  • Students will define the words sun, planet, moon, asteroid, universe, Milky Way, galaxy.

Activity 4. Connections to Biology and the existence of life in outer space

Tu viens donc d’une autre planète? (chapter III)

  • The students will debate if there is life on other planets, if they believe in flying saucers. If they believe that there is life in outer space, do they believe that it is human life?

Activity 5. Connections to Geology, Earth Science, History

Au matin du départ il mit sa planète bien en ordre. Il ramona soigneusement ses volcans en activité. Il possédait deux volcans en activité…Il ramona donc également le volcan éteint. (chapter IX)

  • What is a volcano? Are there any in the United States? In France? If so, are they active or dormant? When did the last volcano eruption occur in the United States and where?
  • Students will name and locate 5 important volcanic eruptions that occurred throughout history and indicate their consequences.

Activity 6. Connections to Environmental Studies

Or il y avait des graines terribles sur la planète du petit prince…c’étaient les graines de baobabs. Le sol en était infesté. Or un baobab, si l’on s’y prend trop tard, on ne peut plus s’en débarrasser. Il encombre toute la planète. Il la perfore de ses racines. Et si la planète est trop petite, et si les baobabs sont trop nombreux, ils la font éclater…. C‘est une question de discipline, me disait plus tard le petit prince. Quand on a terminé sa toilette du matin, il faut faire soigneusement la toilette de la planète. (chapter V)

  • What environmental problems are threatening the Earth? What can be done to protect our air, our land, and our water?
  • Is recycling important? Does your school or town have a recycling policy? If yes, what does it consist of? If not, can you get one started?
  • What can be done to prevent the spread of pollutants in the air? How many automobiles does your family own? What gas mileage do they have?

Activity 7. Connections to Psychology and Human Behavior

Horreur des courants d’air…ce n’est pas de chance, pour une plante, avait remarqué le petit prince. Cette fleur est bien compliquée.…Je n’ai alors rien su comprendre! J’aurais dû la juger sur les actes et non sur les mots…Les fleurs sont si contradictoires! Mais j’étais trop jeune pour savoir l’aimer. (chapter VIII)

  • Students will identify 5 contradictory behaviors, e.g., "Do as I say not as I do."
  • Students will brainstorm things that children are too young to do and things that children can do that adults cannot.

Activity 8. Connections to Language Arts, Life Experience

Il faut que je supporte deux ou trois chenilles si je veux connaître les papillons. (chapter IX)

  • Does the proverb « Behind every cloud, there is a silver lining » have a French equivalent?
  • Students will give 5 examples of how one must suffer the bad before knowing the good.

Activity 9. Connections to History, Political Science, Government

Il ne savait pas que, pour les rois, le monde est très simplifié. Tous les hommes sont des sujets. …Car le roi tenait essentiellement à ce que son autorité fut respectée. Il ne tolérait pas la désobéissance. C’était un monarque absolu. (chapter X)

  • Students will debate the pros and cons of an absolute monarchy, of a constitutional monarchy, of a democracy.
  • Students will research how the excesses and abuses of the monarchy led to the French Revolution.
  • Students will research how today’s form of government in France differs from that of the United States.
  • Students will determine how many countries today have a monarchy.

Activity 10. Connections to Morality, Ethics, Criminal Justice

Tu pourras juger ce vieux rat. Tu le condamneras à mort de temps en temps. (chapter X)

  • Students will conduct a survey in the class and at home to determine the ratio between those who support a death penalty and those who do not.
  • Students will conduct a debate about the pros and cons of the death penalty.

Activity 11. Connections to Government and Foreign Service

Je te fais mon ambassadeur. (chapter X)

  • Students will discover the names of the American ambassador to France, the French ambassador to the United States.
  • Students will research the function of an embassy.
  • Students will state the differences between an embassy and a consulate.

Activity 12. Connections to Geography, History

Tiens! Voilà un explorateur! (chapter XV)

  • Students will explore the role of the French explorers in North America. Who were they? What did they discover?
  • Looking at a map of the United States, students will list as many states, cities, and rivers with French names as they can.

Activity 13. Connections to Geography and the International Time Zone

D’abord venait tous les allumeurs de réverbères de Nouvelle-Zélande et d’Australie. …Alors entraient à leur tour dans la danse les allumeurs de réverbères de Chine et de Sibérie. …Alors venait le tour des allumeurs de réverbères de Russie et des Indes. Puis de ceux d’Afrique et d’Europe. Puis de ceux d’Amérique du Sud. Puis de ceux d’Amérique du Nord. (chapter XVI)

  • If the sun sets at 6:30 p.m. in Sydney Australia, what time is it in Beijing, in Moscow, in Dakar, in Paris, in Rio de Janeiro, in Seattle, and in Washington D.C.?
  • Are there any countries in which the sun never rises in the winter to create a 24-hour night?

Activity 14. Connections to Mathematics

Si les deux milliards d’habitants qui peuplent la terre se tenaient debout et un peu serrés,…ils se logeraient aisément sur une place publique de vingt milles de long sur vingt milles de large. (chapter XVII)

  • Students will recalculate the size of the space needed to support the current population of the earth if everyone stood side by side next to one another.
  • Students will recalculate the size of the space needed to support the current population of the United States if everyone stood side by side next to one another.

Activity 15. Connections to Morality

Quand on veut faire de l’esprit, il arrive que l’on mente un peu. Je n’ai pas été très honnête en vous parlant des allumeurs de réverbères.(chapter XVII)

  • What’s the difference between a lie, a white lie, misspeaking, and perjury? Is being dishonest the same as lying? Is it ever justifiable to lie? Explain.

Activity 16. Connections to Sociology

-Où sont les hommes? reprit enfin le petit prince. On est un peu seul dans le désert. … -On est seul aussi chez les hommes, dit le serpent (chapitre XVII)

  • Students will give 5 examples that support what the snake says and 5 examples that contradict what the snake says.
  • Do you agree or disagree with the statement that we have become a nation of strangers, that people do not know who their neighbors are? Explain your opinion.

Activity 17. Connections to Sociology and to Human Behavior

Les hommes n’ont plus le temps de rien connaître. Ils achètent des choses toutes faites chez les marchands. Mais comme il n’existe point de marchands d’amis, les hommes n’ont plus d’amis. Si tu veux un ami, apprivoise-moi! (chapitre XXI)

  • Students will brainstorm the qualities that make up friendship.
  • Students will interview 2 adult family members to discover who their friends are and how they became friends with these people.

Activity 18. Connections to Psychology and to Human Behavior

Lorsque j’étais petit garçon, j’habitais une maison ancienne, et la légende racontait qu’un trésor y était enfoui. Bien sûr, jamais personne n’a su le découvrir, ni peut-être même ne l’a cherché. Mais il enchantait toute cette maison. Ma maison cachait un secret au fond de son cœur. (chapter XXIV)

  • Students will interview 5 classmates to discover if and why they have a fond recollection of or a special attraction for someone or something in their past. They will then share their results with the class.

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Lesson Plan: Black Writers of the French Language

The context for this activity is presented in Marcel LaVergne’s article, BLACK WRITERS OF THE FRENCH LANGUAGE, in the Speaker’s Corner (August 2006).

An achievement-based activity stresses content and is designed to let the students acquire facts.

A performance-based activity stresses fluency and is designed to let the students show what they can do in the target language.

Each of the following activities has been identified according to the achievement/performance criteria and according to the National Standards it illustrates. Relevant websites have been included as teacher resources.

africa_maps

Bénin - Burkina Faso - Cameroun - Congo
Côte d'Ivoire - Gabon - Guinée - Mali
Mauritanie - Niger - République centrafricaine
Rwanda - Sénégal - Tchad - Togo
Guyane - Guadeloupe - Martinique - Madagascar

1. Name the countries of Africa and the Antilles that belonged to the French colonial empire.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_colonial_empire
Achievement: Connections: Geography, History

2. Locate those countries on a map.
www.africaguide.com
www.infoplease.com/atlas/africa
http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/africa.htm
Achievement: Connections: Geography

3. Draw the flag of each country and explain the significance of its design.
www.africaguide.com
www.infoplease.com/atlas/africa
http://go.hrw.com/atlas/norm_htm/africa.htm
Achievement: Connections: Art, History
Performance: Communication: Presentational

4. Assign one country per student who will research:
o Year of independence
o Population
o Capital city
o Products
o Ethnic groups
o Languages
o Famous author: prose, poetry, drama
www.africaguide.com
Achievement: Connections: History, Geography, Demographics, Literature
Performance: Communication: Interpretive, Presentational

fr_authors

5. Assign one author per student who will research:
o Year of birth and death
o Country and city of birth
o Education
o Profession
o Name of published works and major themes
www.afriqueweb.net/negritude
Achievement: Connections: History, Geography, Literature
Performance: Communication: Interpretive, Presentational

6. Create a time-line of France's involvement in Africa and the Antilles
http://oncampus.richmond.edu/academics/context/20_siecle/francophonie_20
http://french.about.com/library/bl-negritudet
Achievement: Connections: History

7. Create a Venn Diagram to illustrate the cultural similarities and differences between France and its colonies.
Performance: Communication: Presentational; Cultures: Practices, Perspectives; Comparisons: Cultural

8.Create a French Colonial Empire word search in which the students are given statements/questions, the answers to which are found in the word search.
Achievement: Connections: History, Geography, Literature

9. Debate the pros and cons of colonialism
Performance: Communication: Interpersonal; Connections: Public Speaking

10.Divide the class into groups of 3-4. Assign a poem or prose passage to each group to explain to the class.
Performance: Communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive, Presentational; Connections: Literature

11. Compare a poem written by an author of the Negro-renaissance in America with that of a Francophone Black poet in terms of style and ideas expressed.
Performance: Communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive, Presentational; Cultures: Products, Practices, Perspectives; Connections: Literature; Comparisons: Cultural; Communities

12. Create a travel brochure of each of the African countries of the former French Colonial Empire. Include a map, flag, capital city, points of interest, a little history, and any other information that would attract tourists.
Performance: Communication: Interpretive, Presentational; Cultures: Products; Connections: History, Geography, Tourism, Advertising

13. Contact the embassies/consulates of the countries of the former French Colonial Empire to discover their relationship with France today. www.africa-ata.org
Performance: Communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive, Presentational; Connections: Economics, Politics, Foreign Affairs; Communities

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Lesson Plan: Observe and Analyze: Photos and Culture
By Ann Williams, Professor of French, Metropolitan State College of Denver

In 1996, the National Textbook Company published Acquiring Cross-cultural Competence written by the American Association of Teachers of French National Commission on Cultural Competency. This book is in essence an outline of what students need to know to be "culturally competent" at different "Stages" (1 - 4). It also establishes a common core of seven categories of competence; Communication in a Cultural Context, The Value System, Social Patterns and Conventions, Social Institutions, Geography and the Environment, History and Literature and the Arts. Prefacing these areas of knowledge is a section called "Understanding Culture" which shows how learners need observe and analyze cultural phenomena. It also deals with the difficult question of how the students feel about cultures other than their own. Each of these categories is divided into "Stages": Elementary, Basic intercultural skills, Social competence and Socio-professional capability. These stages clarify at what level a student understands and is capable of functioning in the target culture. The learning of culture within this framework can be seen as both horizontal (students learn about a variety of cultural categories) and vertical (students learn in-depth about some or all of these categories). The following activity serves to guide the students through both the horizontal and vertical learning processes. As they look at a photo of French cultural phenomena they are helped by their instructor to see first the concrete nature of culture and then to look beyond the surface to find the values and lifeways that give rise to what they see.

Target Culture: France

Culture Level: Stages 2 to 4 from Acquiring Cross-cultural Competence (Basic intercultural skills, Social competence and Socio-professional capability); appropriate for high school and post-secondary.

Language level: Intermediate and Advanced Time required: Two class periods, minimum.

Objectives: This activity is designed to develop student skills in observing and analyzing culture. It also gives students access to examples of various aspects of contemporary French culture.

Materials: The composite photo below. Computer and projector to allow projection of the photo or a color copy of the photo for each student. Internet access for students (at home or in class) for individual research.

fr_culture

Description of the activity: Students will look at the composite photo and through class discussion with instructor they will decide what aspects of the photo point to cultural content areas. They will then research the cultural content related to these areas and report back to the class to create together an expanded analysis of the photo.

Preparation: Prepare the computer/projector with the slide or make color copies for students. Decide which aspects of the photo you want to have students analyze and expand upon. Prepare a brief presentation on the significance of as many aspects of the photo as you will cover.

For this photo, possible aspects include: selling lily-of-the-valley on May 1 (La fête du travail), PMU (Paris Mutuel Urbain) and the popularity of games of chance, the fresh baguette and the importance of bread and the quality of food, the close proximity of the chairs in the caf� (the notion how interpersonal space is different in different cultures), the information available through the number 92 on the motorcycle license plate (French D�partements and administrative divisions of the country).

Make a list of key words in French that will allow students to do Internet research on the cultural aspects you have chosen.

Possible key words:

  • Muguet, La fête du travail, les fêtes en France
  • PMU, la loterie nationale
  • Baguette, Boulangerie, Pain
  • Le café, les cafés
  • La proxémique
  • Les départements français, les provinces, les Régions, la géographie de la France

Presentation:
Explain to the students that they are going to look at a street scene and use it as a springboard for exploring French culture. Ask them what sections of the photo seem typically French and why. Make a list on the board. After discussion, present the areas of culture that you will be asking them to expand upon. Explain to students that they will be doing research on one aspect of the photo and will be presenting their findings to the class. Make sure that they understand that any relevant information or the culture area will contribute to their understanding of French culture. Assign culture content areas to groups of students. Have them individually (as homework) use the key words to research the areas and encourage them to print out or note carefully their findings. The following class period will be devoted first to having students work with the others who have researched the same area to create a brief presentation. Secondly, the small groups will present their findings (their expansion) of the culture areas.

Evaluation:
You can either evaluate the cultural knowledge students have acquired by testing them on the materials presented in class (using the same photo and asking them to analyze it) or you can evaluate their ability to observe and analyze by giving them another composite photo and asking them to select areas to analyze (take-home exam).

Expansion:

  1. Assign readings about the values shown through the concrete cultural observations that students were able to make. For example, if students study the administrative divisions, the notion of la centralization and the more recent priority of la décentralization can be emphasized.
  2. Select another composite photo from the target culture. A composite photo is a photo with several components to analyze. A street scene is often a composite photo. A photo of an isolated monument is not.

Adaptations:

  1. Use only the cultural content aspects of the photo that correspond to work you are doing in class with your regular course materials. For example, if your textbook has a section on holidays, have students use the "Fête du travail" as a springboard for researching other holidays in France.
  2. Use this format for reviewing cultural knowledge studied in class (in a contemporary culture course).
This process can be used with photos from any culture.

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