French Friday, Radio France Internationale

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This morning, like on any morning while I am preparing breakfast pour mes petits, I turned on Radio France Internationale on my cell phone. I usually listen to the news in easy French (Le Journal en Français Facile), which I have to download first.

French Flag

If you have not yet taken advantage of rfi.fr resources to learn French, I am here to encourage you to check them out. They have a whole site dedicated to learning French from newscasts. You can get the transcript of Le Journal en Français Facile, too.

Somehow, this morning, I just wanted to push play on the regular broadcast, which is streamed live.  Continue reading »

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French Friday, Madeleine Cookies

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I have been thinking a lot about the passage of time as my son, my eldest, turned eight this week. What better way to celebrate memories than with a madeleine?

Home made madeleines

A staple in French cuisine, madeleine cookies are delicious and relatively easy to make. You will need a special pan to give the batter their typical shell shape. I got two pans, because it is more practical and my recipe calls for two anyway.

Madeleine pans

For those of you not familiar with French literature, Marcel Proust wrote about a madeleine cookie in A La Recherche du Temps Perdu.

Madeleines cooling on rack

Cooling on rack

As he tasted the cookie, it reminded him of things in his past – which is why the Merriam Webster gives you a second definition of madeleine as “one that evokes a memory.”  Continue reading »

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French Friday, Tu or Vous?

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Once and for all, let’s settle the discussion about the familiar “tu” or the formal “vous” in French. I found this witty flow-chart which will take you through all sorts of social situations.

You will find out how to address God in French, among other things. (You might be surprised…)

tu ou vous - french friday

Also, how to address your boss if you are upset with him and you want to let him know about it. (I would like to be a fly on the wall, provided your boss speaks French and you talk to him/her on a regular basis in French… Riiiight!….)

Continue reading »

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French Women Don’t Get Fat

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If you are up to 30 lbs. overweight, love to eat, and hate gyms, French Women Don’t Get Fat is zee book for you. Here’s my review of this national best-selling book.

I read this book for the sheer pleasure of learning more about French culture. To my surprise, I was already doing many things French women do. But it makes sense. Because Romania is a Francophone nation, we grew up with many French ideas about life, liberty and the pursuit of good food.

Like a French/Francophone woman, I happen to hate gyms and love to eat, but I am not overweight. That’s because I pay attention, a concept hinted at in Bringing Up Bébé, as well.

Continue reading »

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French Friday, Petra Lingua Review

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We love French in our homeschool. I have started teaching my children French on a regular basis this spring. We joined the Alliance Française of Knoxville, signed up for Popi, and watched Caillou on youtube. However, I felt the need for a systematic approach to learning French. Enter Petra LinguaContinue reading »

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French Friday, Allons Danser! Review

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For a couple of months now, the kids and I have been listening to Allons Danser! – a CD with French music for kids, produced by Whistlefritz. It has been such a great tool for my French Play Group, not just for my children. We use the Bonjour, Les Amis song to start the meeting and Au Revoir to close.  Continue reading »

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French Friday – Our First Play Group

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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.  Continue reading »

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French Friday – French Play Group Lesson Plan Numéro 1

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About two months ago, I had a burning desire to start a French Group. All the details have been worked out and, in a few days, we will have our first meeting. So, so exciting.

This is a post for all the parents bringing their children, but I thought it might inspire others, too.

 

Here’s the lesson plan for the first French Play Group:

1. Start with Bonjour, bonjour les amis, a song from the CD Whistlefritz, Allons Danser. I will have the kids sitting on the floor, girls on one side and boys on the other side. That’s to demonstrate the difference between masculine and feminine nouns and adjectives in French. Also, to be able to point at the girls when we say “copines” and to point at the boys when we say “copains.”

I will bring the CD and we will sing along twice. I am making up some hand motions.

You can listen to bits of the song on the Amazon link above, to get an idea. I have not found a youtube video for it. – 5 minutes

Whistlefritz French Learning Allons Danser CD

2. Read several books to them:  Continue reading »

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L’Alliance Française de Knoxville

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About a month ago, I took a more intentional approach toward teaching my children French in our homeschool. I started gathering resources to teach my children French.

Books and language lessons lay the foundation of mastering another language. Immersion and interaction with other speakers of French continue the process and solidify the vocabulary.

So I joined L’Alliance Française of Knoxville.

We attended two get-togethers already:

(1) Picnic and petanque tournament (pique-nique et tournoi de pétanque) at the Cove at Concord Park

(2) Immersion meal (table française) at the French-Belgian restaurant called “Northshore Brasserie” in West Knoxville.

The window of Northshore Brasserie

The window of Northshore Brasserie

Through the Alliance Française, we met people from Québec, France, Iran, Switzerland and even the United States (ha!). The conversations cover a multitude of topics and we all enjoy the interaction in the language of Molière. We definitely plan to join them for Bastille Day, our next “réunion.”

Here are the details

During the first event, we met everybody and played pétanque. Then, we had a picnic. Most of the dialogue was in French, but some of our spouses spoke to each other in English because they do not speak French at all.

Pétanque is a game like its Italian cousin, bocce. The difference is that, in bocce, you run before tossing the ball. In pétanque, you don’t. You stand and toss your ball from the launching spot.

Even though the weather was cold and my children were not too sure about speaking French to any of our new friends, we had a good time.

To say that I was inspired by the fellowship in French would be an understatement. I went home and worked on some more resources for our homeschool, like subscribing to different TV5 Monde newsletters and reaching out via email to a French family living in Knoxville, who were recommended by the members of this group.

By the second meeting, the immersion table, my children had more courage to interact in French. I am surprised by how quickly they pick up a language, but I should not be. Children under 12 are biologically wired to pick up multiple languages.

Alliance Française of Knoxville members enjoying lunch and French conversations  at Northshore Brasserie

Alliance Française of Knoxville members enjoying lunch and French conversations at Northshore Brasserie

After one month of teaching them, they understand simple phrases (what is your name? how old are you? come here, look at me, please, thank you etc) and they can count to ten. My son already uses “Eh, voilà!” when he brings me something.

When asked how old he was during the immersion table, he answered he was six years old. He constructed his sentence half in English and half in French. Progress.

Here’s another observation: their third language, French, is pushing their mother tongue, Romanian, to the forefront.

I spoke Romanian with my children since birth, but they answer me in English 99% of the time.

Today, my son and I were watering the garden. My daughter came over and asked to help, too. We took turns. When she asked to go over her allotted time, my son said, “In nici un caz!” in Romanian, which means “No way!”

I had never heard my son say that phrase before. Ever.

I knew he knew what it meant when I said it, but I did not know he could pronounce it so well and use it in an appropriate context. So I am really, really encouraged to see a bit of the fruit of my labors.

À bientôt!

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French Friday, 4 Calendar Vocabulary Games

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If you need a bit more fun in your homeschool, use the French calendar vocabulary flash cards I made a few weeks ago with the following four games:

1. Attach the French days of the week vocabulary cards to your calendar display. Cover the days of the week in English with your French cards. If the English words are bigger than the French cards, you can glue the French flash cards onto bigger paper, like construction paper.

Attach the cards with push pins or clothes pins onto your calendar board. Ask your students to recite the days of the week in French first. Then, reveal the English words.

French Days of the Week Calendar Games

2. If you have eight or more students, have seven students carry a day of the week flash card and another child arrange them in order. Take turns. If you have less than eight, you can have your students carry two cards each, in order.

Another variation: the students can arrange the flash cards in sequential order on the table. For kinesthetic learners, put the cards on the floor, on a hopscotch rug or on a hopscotch outline you made with pencils or popsicle sticks.

If the weather permits it, play the game outside, on a hopscotch drawn with chalk in your driveway. They can say the name of each day as they reach the respective square.

3. Have your students make up a song with the days of the week to the tune of an English song they know well. Try “Twinkle, Twinkle” or “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

4. To rehearse the names slowly, show them how to break the word into syllables, e.g. “mar-di.” Clapping the beats of the syllables is a great way to experience the pronunciation in slow repetition – essential for memorization.

Hope these games bring a bit more variety and fun to your homeschool learning. A bientôt!

For more French Friday posts, click here.

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