Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DAC Intermediate French Weeks 11-12

Bonjour à tous!

Happy holidays!! Vacation has started, and unfortunately, due to a TA'ship conflict, last week was my last week as a regular teacher for T.A.L.K. I've really enjoyed working with these kids, and I wish them the best in their future endeavors.

During the last couple of weeks before break, we covered some of the basic verbs that follow a regular conjugation pattern: the verbs that end in "er." I was pleased to find that somewhere along the way, the kids seem to have already learned the majority of these words already just by assimilation, which has helped immensely with their listening comprehension.

In addition to knowing the basic words, I've also been introducing some conjugations. As I told them, you wouldn't say "I are studying French" or "She am my mother." So just like in English, we change the words depending on who or what we are talking about. Fortunately for the regular "er" verbs, the endings follow the same exact pattern every time! And here it is:

Parler / To speak
Je parle / I speak
Tu parles / You speak
Il/elle/on parle / He/she/one speaks
Nous parlons / We speak
Vous parlez / You speak
Ils/elles parlent / They speak

In this class, I've only covered the singular forms and the "vous" form. I did not spend time on the "nous" or the "ils/elles" forms because they are more complicated and the "nous" form is rarely used in spoken French anyway. One thing to note is that in French, consonants at the end of a word are very rarely pronounced. As a result, all of the above forms, aside from the "-ons" and the "-ez" endings, are pronounced exactly the same (and this is why even native speakers struggle with spelling and grammar).

Here is a list of words that I covered that follow the same conjugation pattern:

Les verbes en "er": aimer (to like), adorer (to love), parler (to talk/speak), écouter (to listen), danser (to dance), téléphoner (to telephone/call), chanter (to sing), chercher (to look for), trouver (to find), entrer (to enter), rester (to stay), demander (to ask), étudier (to study), dessiner (to draw), souligner (to underline), jouer (to play), donner (to give), porter (to wear), laver (to wash), sécher (to dry), voler (to fly), inviter (to invite), voyager (to travel), regarder (to watch), travailler (to work), enseigner (to teach), nager (to swim), dîner (to dine), manger (to eat)

The only slight exceptions in the above list are "nous mangeons" and "nous nageons" because if they were spelled without the "e," it would change the pronunciation of the "g" to a hard "g."

Aside from some fill-in-the-blanks and our weekly mountain tag, I had the kids draw what I asked them to draw, to practice the verbs. The results were somewhat interesting and fully demonstrates the kids' imagination.

Une pomme qui travaille à New York
Une pomme de terre qui étudie le français (pour conquérir le monde)
On Tuesday, I also decided to do a game in which the kids had to roll a cube to see if they would have to draw, write, answer, translate, search, or act. I then gave them a question or sentence based on the result of their roll, and the kids worked together to find the answer or do whatever they are told to do. I drew an ugly picture of myself on the board. If the kids got the question right and could tell me which body part to erase, then they got to erase one of my body parts (which Chloe decided to replace with stitches). By the end of class, this was left. Yikes! Gotta beware! These kids are really something!

In addition to our normal learning objectives, we added a couple of other activities to stay with the holiday spirit. The first was a scavenger hunt that we did on Friday. The kids absolutely love these scavenger hunts, especially when they get to keep the prizes. For prizes, I gave out oranges, plastic candy canes with Reese's pieces inside, sports erasers, cookies and personalized Christmas cards. I hope the kids took the right cards! I wrote them all in French. Ask your kids how much of it they can read!

The second activity involved the song "Silent Night" in French. I apologize for not checking with the parents over the Christmas theme, but I assure you, this song and the holiday treats are about as Christmas-y as we got. This is actually not the traditional French version of "Silent Night" but an easier and less religious version. I only did the first verse in class.

Douce nuit, sainte nuit / Gentle night, holy night
Sous le ciel de Noël / Under the sky of Christmas
Une étoile est bien seule aujourd’hui / A star is rather alone today
Une étoile a besoin d’une amie / A star needs a friend
Elle attend la naissance / She waits for the birth
De espérance infinie / Of infinite hope

With that, I have to say that these kids have taught me a lot over the past year and a half. Thank you to all the parents for trusting me with them. They are all a very talented bunch, and I hope that they will continue their French studies in the future and maybe, just maybe, we will run into each other ten years down the road and start conversing in fluent French.

À la prochaine!

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