These past two weeks, we started off by targeting some of the harder to pronounce sounds in the French language last week and the letter combinations that yield these sounds. In particular, we touched upon these following nasal vowels:
/ɑ̃/ – “an” and “en” as in blanc and doucement
/ɛ̃/ – “in” and “ain” as in un cylindre and la main
/ɔ̃/ – “on” as in bon and marron
I did not use IPA symbols with the kids, but I am including them in this blog for reference. In addition to the nasal vowels, we reviewed the pronunciation difference between the French “e” and “u.” The “u” sound in French is especially difficult. The IPA symbol for this vowel is /y/, and it is pronounced by puckering the lips and bringing the tongue forward. We also went around the room talking about how our own names would be spelled and pronounced in French. Chloe (Chloé) soon became the source of envy for the class, as she is the only one who can claim an accented letter on her French name!
We spent three days on letters and pronunciation. Starting last Thursday, we had a change of plan and began covering dates and the months of the year instead. We introduced the lesson by telling and drawing out our birthdays using the expression je suis né(e), which means “I was born.” The parentheses indicate that the second “e” is used only when the subject is female.
Chloé est née le 17 novembre.
Alee et Corrie sont nées le 11 décembre.
Miles est né le 24 février.
Sam est né le 29 avril.
Henry est né en août, mais il a voulu garder son dessin, donc je n’ai pas eu l’occasion de prendre une photo. Il a néanmoins créé un autre dessin le lendemain. Cette fois-ci, il s’agit de mars, et pour illustrer le mois de mars, il a dessiné la fête de la Saint-Patrick.
This week, we continued where we left off by covering the seasons of the year. On Monday, we introduced the seasons using a video and a song. During the subsequent days, we covered about a season a day by looking at relevant vocabulary, identifying objects outside, and going over a mini storybook that I wrote myself. Friday was a review day. To review, I said a word and told the kids to either draw, write, or translate the word on a piece of paper and then bring the paper to a designated area. The student who did this the fastest got a point. For the terms for which the meaning was obvious, I had them spell out the word as the only option.
The winner was…Alee! Sam was a very close runner-up. These two were well ahead in the game, but Chloe, Miles, and Corrie all did excellent as well and received several points each. All of the kids are winners and deserve praise for their participation.
Here is a list of the words we covered this and last week:
Les mois de l’année: janvier, février, mars, avril, mai, juin, juillet, août, septembre, octobre, novembre, décembre
Les saisons: le printemps, l’été, l’automne, l’hiver
Au printemps: la feuille, la fleur, la pluie (il pleut), la planche à roulettes, le cerf-volant
En été: aimer, jouer au foot, le soleil, la glace, la plage, les vacances, j’ai chaud (il fait chaud)
En automne: un arbre, une feuille
En hiver: la neige (il neige), j’ai froid (il fait froid), le Noël, le Nouvel-An
Voici une chanson que vous pouvez montrer à vos enfants pour mieux apprendre les saisons et les termes qui y sont pertinents.
While I doubt the students retained every word, I will make a mental note and keep using and reviewing these terms as well as those covered previously. In the mean time, I have begun writing the date and day of the week on the board every morning so that the kids would automatically look at it. This coming week, our class will be learning about school supplies, which the beginner class covered this past week. Many of the intermediate kids have friends and siblings in beginning French, so it would be nice if our two classes are roughly on the same track. It would give the friends and siblings a chance to talk about it with each other.