Sunday, 9 December 2012

American CP Lesson 1 : How the Bear Lost Its Tail (and Native Americans)

Last week, I did my first of 6 American culture  lessons in Suzanne's CP class. I was really nervous about it and planned for worst case scenario...

I decided to start out by asking the class if  they knew why I wasthere. Once boy replied, "parceque vous êtes anglaise!" which is a mistake even my daughte makes. I explained to them that I speak English but come from America.  In a sign of proper deference to the teacher,  I told them I would teach them a little English and some things about the United States but that I wasn't going to teach them English like their teacher, Madame G. In order to bring the idea closer to home, I showed them a comic book they all seem to know : Yakari which is s a French comic about a little native American boy.

Since I couldn't actually get my hands on a book, I had to make my own with a compilation of pictures I grabbed off the internet and color copies form books I'd found at the library. I began by  testing the kids on the words in the way I'd learned to as a trainer at Berlitz so many years ago. Once they'd gotten works like bear, fox and tail and the name of the American animals I'd chosen (racoon, chipmunk, moose, eagle...), I told them the story.

I was inspired by this video by professional storyteller Mike Lockett when I told the story. I tried to be as animated and slow as he was lines each time, making it easy for them to understand, inspired by this telling of the story.  This was a great resource. 

When I finished, I asked the kids in French what they understood and, not surprisinly, the kids seemed to understand exactly what happened.

I then showed the kids a picture of foods we know thanks to Native Americans and tested  them on the English. Foods such as: corn, beans, pumpkin, tomato, potato, turkey...

And to finish, I asked the kids if they knew any NAtive American words. They of course said no to which I replied, "Je suis sûre que si". I'm sure you do! From this wikipedia list, I'd chosen words that exist in the English language that are also used in French. I said the words in English and asked the children to guess the French. I was surprised how quickly they got things like avocado and tomato. And amused how long it took them to figure out anorak, which they guess anything from a food to an animal.

Since the focus wasn't a real English lesson but rather a cultural lesson about the United States, I was free to explain in French which I think got the point across better.

At the end of the lesson, the teacher thanked me and I said bye to the kids. And as a sign of what I consider success, the teacher used the informal tu with me as I was leaving!

I'll also add how proud I was of Suzanne who spoke up in front of her whole class in English without a second thought. It shows me that she's not ashamed or scared to show others that she's different which is every parents' goal...

For next week's lesson, I plan on building on the Native American theme and using the food vocabulary as a segway into an explanation of Thanksgiving and other American holidays.

2 comments:

Tallulah@Bilingual Babes said...

So great that the lesson went well, the school is lucky to have you! Congrats on your hard work.

Reb said...

thanks Tallulah. The kids really appreciate it and the teacher even learned some things.

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