From Mundane to Memorable!

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By Mary Clements

Last week I talked about the magic of imaginary play, and how it’s been especially important during the pandemic. Turning the four walls of a house into a different world is not only useful for fun and play, but it can also be an amazing tool for learning.

Whenever I’m teaching a class, I try and find ways to incorporate an element of imagination to transport students out of their either virtual or online classroom. This makes the information more engaging, relevant (and fun!) but also more memorable. Recently during winter camp, we “visited France” through a series of skits that had themes like: “à la boulangerie (at the bakery), au marché (at the market), chez le fromager (at the cheesemaker) chez le poissonnier (fish store) and others. The older students made props including the food items and also euros (which was also good for units of money practice and discussions) and then presented their skits to the younger class. The older class was also instructed to teach the younger class the harder vocabulary words to make sure they could follow along. Younger students got to learn from their slightly older peers, providing them a preview into their own french learning futures, older students got to be leaders and role models for the younger students while reinforcing their own learning and then all were entertained by the skits. Lots of learning boxes got checked here all stemming from imaginary play.

If you’re learning or wanting to practice French at home, here is the website I used to get all these skits: Podast Français Facile. I highly recommend it for home learning because they lay out the script for you, have an audio file of authentic French speakers reading it through for demonstration, and even some follow up comprehension questions. There are different levels from débutant, intermédiaire to avancé so check through them to see which would be appropriate. There’s lots of very useful situations to choose from and practice. The only area you might need help is they do not offer a translation of the skit. For this, I recommend you to copy and paste into google translate (to get the idea of it) or to use word reference to look up troublesome individual words. Using these translation tools are also a useful learning practice.

I wish you all memorable, fun and happy French learning!

Some creative props from our “visit” to the French bakery!