A few days ago, I ran our first French Play Group according to Lesson Plan Numéro 1.
We had five children ranging from one to ten, two girls and three boys. One family traveled 45 minutes to attend and said they would be back.
Everybody behaved well. All the kids showed great interest in learning French. They made an effort to sing and pronounce the words when I asked them to.
The Library moved us to a different meeting room and it actually worked for the better. They needed the larger, Burchfield Room, as an art studio for now, because they were busy painting large props for their upcoming Summer Reading Program workshops.
They gave us the Community Classroom – a smaller, more intimate setting, perfect for our purpose. The small quarters discourage running, roughhousing, and talking.
I placed the blocks in one corner, the Lincoln Logs in another, the Madeline puzzle on a table, and the felt board on another table. I encouraged the children to play while I set up the rest of the materials.
The Library sent their technology person to help me connect my laptop to the large screen in the room. We had a great atmosphere as I played Allons Dancer from Whistlefritz while the kids were playing and getting to know each other.
We start on time (that’s the plan, at least) and do not wait for stragglers. However, given our new location, I waited five extra minutes to make sure people had time to get their bearings and find us. It is a larger building – by small town standards.
We ran through the Bonjour song twice, then I read them the books. Petra Lingua was a hit – maybe because the kids loved operating the laptop and seeing their work projected onto the large roll-down screen.
They actually took turns doing the exercises over and over, which only gave them more practice.
We sang another song – Dans la forêt lointaine.
We barely had time for free play – which tells me we really need to start on time AND I need to read less books. No more than three books, I think. And, maybe, no extra song for now.
We sang our Au Revoir song twice and then we actually said “au revoir” to each other on the way out. On parle français déjà!
Later, I checked with the building manager and she agreed to move us into the Community Classroom from now through Aug 24, when we go to Bridgemont – another smaller, more intimate meeting room.
I am glad to be completely out of Burchfield, which is a huge room. I ran a LEGO Club in there two years ago and it just feels like you get lost in it, especially when you have less than 10 students.
Several of the families interested in our Play Group went to the Petting Zoo that day – a field trip they had planned for four months, long before I started the French Play Group. So we will have to repeat the lesson and that is just fine by me. Repetition is the mother of learning.
I did not mean to create a scheduling conflict, but I had to start somewhere and working with a Library gives you only so many options.