Bonjour à tous!
Welcome to the 2015-2016 T.A.L.K year! Before we knew it, the first five weeks have already passed! The first couple of weeks have been hectic with Rachel (the beginning French teacher) and some of the kids sick for much of the second week. But our two classes have re-separated since then and it looks like we have been able to get back on track with our original lesson plans. That said, I have definitely enjoyed getting to know the new kids in the beginning class. They are absolutely adorable.
I plan to post in this blog every couple of weeks to let you know what our class has been up to and ways you can engage your kids. So without further ado, here's a list of the words and expressions that we've covered thus far.
Les introductions: je m'appelle (my name is), il s'appelle (his name is), elle s'appelle (her name is), comment t'appelles-tu? (what is your name), comment s'appelle-t-il? (what is his name), comment s'appelle-t-elle? (what is her name), j'ai __ ans (I am __ years old), il a __ ans (he is __ years old), elle a __ ans (she is __ years old), quel âge as-tu? (how old are you)
Les salutations: bonjour (hello), bonne journée (have a good day), bonsoir (good evening), bonne soirée (have a good evening), salut (hi/bye), au revoir (goodbye), à bientôt (see you soon), à demain (see you tomorrow), à tout à l'heure (see you later), ça va? (how is it going), oui ça va (yes, I'm fine), ça va bien (it's going well), ça va mal (it's going badly), ça peut aller (it's all right)
Les marques de politesse: s'il vous plaît (please - singular formal or plural), s'il te plaît (please - singular informal), merci (thank you), c'est gentil (that's nice of you), je suis désolé(e) (I am sorry)
Les expressions communes: je comprends (I understand), je ne comprends pas (I do not understand), je sais (I know), je ne sais pas (I do not know), comment dit-on (how do you say), qu'est-ce que c'est (what is it), c'est quoi ça (what is it - informal), que veut dire __ (what does __ mean), c'est (it is), ce n'est pas (it is not), ce sont (these are)
Les couleurs: rouge (red), orange (orange), jaune (yellow), vert(e) (green), bleu(e) (blue), violet(te), marron (brown), blanc(he) (white), noir(e) (black), rose (pink)
Les formes: un cercle (a circle), un carré (a square), un rectangle (a rectangle), un triangle (a triangle), une étoile (a star), un cœur (a heart), un losange (a diamond)
La salle de classe: un stylo (a pen), un crayon (a pencil), une gomme (an eraser), un livre (a book), un cahier (a notebook), une feuille de papier (a sheet of paper), une règle (a ruler), une calculatrice (a calculator), un sac à dos (a backpack), les ciseaux (the scissors), le ruban adhésif (the tape), un élastique (a rubber band), un tableau (a board), un tableau d'affichage (a bulletin board), un bureau (a desk), une agrafeuse (a stapler), un drapeau (a flag), une horloge (a clock), une carte (a map), un calendrier (a calendar), une corbeille (a wastebasket), une école (a school)
La famille: le père (the father), le papa (the dad), la mère (the mother), la maman (the mom), le grand-père (the grandfather), la grand-mère (the grandmother), l'oncle (the uncle), la tante (the aunt), le frère (the brother), la sœur (the sister), le cousin (the male cousin), la cousine (the female cousin), le neveu (the nephew), la nièce (the niece), le mari (the husband), la femme (the wife/woman), le fils (the son), la fille (the daughter/girl), le petit-fils (the grandson), la petite-fille (the granddaughter), le jumeau/la jumelle (the twin), marié(e) (married), célibataire (single), enfant unique (only child), jeune (young), vieux/vieille (old)
Les animaux: un chien (a dog), un chiot (a puppy), un chat (a cat), un chaton (a kitten), une tortue (a turtle), un coq (a rooster), une poule (a hen), un poussin (a chick), un canard (a duck), une oie (a goose), un corbeau (a crow), un renard (a fox), un ours (a bear), un loup (a wolf), une âne (a donkey), une chèvre (a goat), un agneau (a lamb), une chauve-souris (a bat), une fourmi (an ant), une mouche (a fly), une moustique (a mosquito), une sauterelle (a grasshopper), un papillon (a butterfly), une abeille (a bee), un ver (a worm), une grenouille (a frog), un crapaud (a toad), un mammifère (a mammal), un insecte (an insect), un reptile (a reptile), sauter (to jump), voler (to fly), nager (to swim), la mer (the sea), la montagne (the mountain), la forêt (the forest)
The coolest part about the animals unit is the homophones. Un ver is a worm, vert is the color green, and un verre is a glass, but all three words are pronounced exactly the same! As I told the class, if I were to ask them to bring me un verre, I'm probably not asking for a worm, although the kids said they'd bring me one anyway...
For this animals unit, we also briefly went over some more common animals such as fish, dog, bird, mouse, rabbit, cow, pig, sheep, horse, monkey, lion, zebra, giraffe, elephant, but I discovered that the kids knew all of these incredibly well, so I decided to go along with their desire to know even more animals. I ended up focusing a large part of the lesson on various insects.
The beginning and intermediate classes have a very similar curriculum in terms of content. What I am doing with the intermediate class that differentiates us from the beginning class is incorporating more grammatical concepts and verbs, as well as making more use of complete sentences and phrases, with a focus on listening comprehension. One activity that I've been doing, for instance, is trivia games. Sometimes I would ask a question with single-word answers, other times I would tell the kids to draw or make something from Play-Doh, things like un écureuil avec une fourmi sur le dos (a squirrel with an ant on its back). For the family unit, I had them race to retrieve cards of, for instance, your father's mother, your parents' daughter who is not you, your grandmother's husband, what Sam would become if Saskia had a daughter (we have an Uncle Sam flashcard that we joke about), etc.
The grammatical concept that I'm now drilling into the kids is the idea that all words have a masculine and feminine. To emphasize this, I've started writing masculine words in blue and feminine words in red and making sure that they understand that masculine words are described with masculine adjectives and feminine words with feminine adjectives. I'm very impressed with how much they already know. Last year, I taught my class that for words that have both masculine and feminine versions, the feminine is usually longer than its masculine equivalent. The kids seem to remember this pretty well. I haven't talked about possessive pronouns (which don't follow this "feminine-is-longer" rule), but I use them all the time, and I hope that they will eventually pick these up. Since the beginning of this year, I've also started trying to use French word order to facilitate their comprehension of how things match up. One phrase that I've repeated over and over is je vous donne (I give you...or literally...I you give).
This week, we will be covering opposites, and next week, we will be going into one of our favorite units: Halloween! I will update this blog after that with all the stuff we do. Until then, stay healthy and happy!