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.
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.