French-immersion teacher in International French-American School, New York City
Distribution of nationalities amongst students :
Mixed (French/American): 33%,
Other: 27% (Spanish, Chinese, Arabic)
1st Academic Year 2014-2015
La galette des rois
In order to discover the story and tradition of La galette des rois, students participated in the preparation of a traditional French cake. Students were asked to prepare all of the necessary ingredients, utensils and accessories (fève and crowns) needed and then follow all of the steps in the recipe in order to prepare the meal. While doing so, they were also recording a step-by-step audiobook of their recipe. In order to foster their creativity, they were able to add their own spin on the recipes via different flavors, ingredients, etc.
Date: Tuesday, January 6th, 2015.
Location: Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church located at 155 East 22nd Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenue.
Audience: French and American children and families.
Number of participants: 10 Pre-Elementary students + 20 parents and grandparents.
Every year on January 6th, French people celebrate the famous Galette des rois by preparing and feasting on this French traditional cake. I brought my students to the supermarket to buy all the ingredients. Then, they cooked the cake following the steps in a French recipe book. While prepping the cake, we used the «BookCreator» application in order to explain the steps of the recipe and share it with people by sending the audio book by email. Once the Galette meal was completed and everything was done cooking, the students invited their families in order to share the tradition. Per tradition, students celebrated their King and their Queen at the end of the meal.
In most of my classroom projects, the goal is to expose the students to different cultures and traditions. By having the students actively participate in the cake and celebrating, they were completely enamored with the entire tradition. They constantly were asking questions about the different galettes across the country, the crown and the fève (some of them want to collect their future fève) and how the table is set up. Aside from learning a new tradition from another culture, students also were able to learn and use additional French vocabulary via the recipe (ingredients, cooking and baking process, utensils, etc.) The audiobook served a dual purpose as well: it kept the students engaged with new technology and enabled them to share this tradition with their friends and family.
Photos & Video:
Pen Pals with French students in France
Students were paired with French first graders from Lavelanet (a city south of France) as pen pals. They primarily were writing to each other and describing two traditions: Halloween and Carnival (mardi Gras). In order to understand how these holidays are celebrated in two different cultures/countries, the students were asked to share personal stories, experiences, and family traditions with their pen pal.
Medium(s) of communication: Letters/emails, notebook, pictures.
Dates: October 31th 2014 (Halloween parade), March 4th 2014 (Mardi gras).
Countries: United States and France.
Audience: French and American children and their families.
Number of Participants: 10 Pre-Elementary students and 25 first grade french students.
General overview of the activity, including the topic:
My students participated in a Halloween Parade in Madison Square Park where they were dressed in traditional American Halloween costumes (skeletons, witches, ghosts, etc.) After the parade, the students took pictures of themselves as well as drew traditional Halloween scenes in order to share their experiences with their French counterparts. In a similar fashion, the French students partook in a similar parade for Carnival (Mardi Gras) and shared their costumes and experiences with our class.
Students learned about the different ways to celebrate two traditions from two different countries, France for “Mardi gras” and United States for “Halloween”. Students were able to learn first-hand how each culture celebrates their respective holiday. By sharing the traditional costumes and customs both, all students became more aware of the similarities and differences between both holidays.
Field Trip to a Farm
Discover the beauty of nature by spending the day and exploring a pumpkin and animal farm.
Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Location: Demarest Farm 244 Wierimus Rd, Hillsdale, NJ 07642.
Audience: French and American children and families, community of the Demarest Farm
Number of Participants: 10 Pre-Elementary students + 4 parents, 5 Pre-Elementary students from american public school, 4 adults from the Demarest Farm.
At the beginning of the day, my students met up with a group of public school students where they played games and learned more about farming and animals. They were then brought to a massive pumpkin patch where they were able to pick their own pumpkins to bring back home. They then sat and learned more about the pumpkin tradition in the United States and why they have been linked to the Fall/Halloween. Next, they had the opportunity to meet and interact with a variety of farm animals. This led to a group conversation about the differences farms in France and the United States as well as the similarities in the animals that they house. The day then came to an end by reading of two stories, one in french and one in english, both revolving around farmlife.
The students and people from Demarest Farm were able to share ideas on differences and similarities between farms in the US and in France. Much to their delight, there were much more similarities than they had originally thought. By engaging various dialogue and reading stories about Farm life, the students were able to expand their French vocabulary. Finally, students were able to see how easy it was to find common ground between two vastly different cultures and this moment was a special experience to be shared together.
Photos & Video: https://vimeo.com/109878004
2nd Academic Year 2015-2016
Distribution of nationalities amongst your students :
Mixed (French/American) : 8%
Other :19% (Spanish, Chinese, Arabic)
The students were instructed to create a song in celebration of “La Francophonie”. In order to discover the vibrance of the French culture, students chose a cultural topic and then composed both the lyrics and the melody to their songs. Once the songs were completed, they were able to record their songs to CD in an effort to share their creations with as many people as possible.
Date or Dates: Week of March 14th from March 22th.
June Wednesday 15th.
Location(s): School and Calvary
Audience: The students’ friends and family, the Calvary Church community, other students in the school, and prospective students including their families.
Number of participants:
70 students from K to Fifth grade.
“La Fête de la Francophonie” is an international event where people around the world celebrate French language and culture. On this occasion, I instructed and supervised 70 students while they composed an original song about Paris called “Si la Tour Eiffel avait des ailes”. The students studied the history of Paris, its architecture and its traditions, to create the lyrics of their song. Upon hearing the famous, French song “La Foule” by Edith Piaf, the students were inspired to have their song feature the accordion, a famous French instrument. Additionally, they needed to feature at least one other traditional French instrument. Next students had to record the song in a professional environment in order to put the song on a CD. Finally, they sang the song for the opening of “La Fête de la Francophonie” and once more in the Calvary Church during their end of the year show.
The end result of this activity was twofold: to help the students learn more about French culture and to promote greater cultural understanding through knowledge and education. Throughout the process of creating their songs, the students learned the history, language and traditions of the French people. A specific example of this would be them discovering the beautiful music of Edith Piaf, which hopefully unlocked a whole new world in music for them. Not only were they able to make these discoveries for themselves, but they were able to share with the rest of their friends and families.
Pen-pal program between the EINY Kindergarten class and French Kindergarten students from Paris
Medium(s) of communication: Email, Correspondence Notebook (individual and collective letters), USB key (videos & photos)
Applications such as Audacity (audio recording), Photofiltre (photo editing), etc.
Dates: December 2015 to June 2016.
Country: United States and France.
Audience: Students and their families from the United States and France.
Number of Participants: 10 Kindergarten students from EINY and 28 Kindergarten students from France.
My Kindergarten students corresponded throughout the year with a Kindergarten class located in Paris. Students used a pen-pal notebook to exchange with their counterparts in Paris. During this correspondence, students from both countries exchanged information about the architectural, culinary, and educational systems of their country using photo albums, newspapers, activity & school trip reports, recipe books, etc. The project was finalized with the visit of the French teacher, Pierre Leroyer, and one of his students to our classroom in New York. They brought a gift from France: the French mascot of their classroom and a French book that the French students wanted to share with their new friends from New York.
My students realized that in the world, other students also speak French in an environment which is very different from their everyday environment. They discovered the city of Paris through the eyes of students on the same age. They shared information about their life in New York and discovered what was life in Paris. They compared how classrooms are set up and organized in France and in New York (how many students are in a class, how many teachers per class, school supplies, etc).
Students discovered architectural differences between the city of New York and Paris. They also learned that food served at school for the students was very different from one country to another. After the visit of the French teacher in our classroom, some students went to visit Paris during the summer and met Pierre in his own country. Some of them still exchange with their pen-pals. To conclude, this activity was useful because it enabled the children to develop many skills beyond proficiency in the French language. They discovered interesting topics for conversation, expressed ideas, used new technologies to communicate, and showed interest on forging relationships with people all around the world.
Photos & Videos:
Workshop with American teachers about music-teaching methods
Date: April 23th 2016.
Location: Columbia University
American teachers from public and charter schools with different specialities: Language, Arts, History, Social Studies, Music and Performing Arts.
Number of Participants: 25 teachers.
The Overall Goals of the Workshop was to make educators aware of the deep connections between music and a larger historical and cultural context, with an emphasis on the dialogue of the creative process between an individual and their environment. The goal was also to give educators experience with a variety of learning methods to lead musical activities for musicians, teachers, and non-musicians. During the workshop, I shared my French approach of teaching music in the classroom with the American teachers community . I also shared different teaching methods that I learned when I was in France. Finally, I introduced to the American teachers a famous French poet (Guillaume Apollinaire). I presented to them his life and his approach to writing poetry. I also shared with them an active listening session and analysis of one of his poems “Le Pont Mirabeau”. Then we made a comparative study of the French poem by Apollinaire with the American one by Emily Dickinson.
During the workshop, teachers learnt significant information about the life and work of famous American poets (Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson) but also about French poet, Guillaume Apollinaire. Teachers deepened their understanding of American and French poetry of Whitman, Dickinson, and Apollinaire through their engagement with the musical settings of selected poems. They gained techniques and strategies to engage students in American and French poetry and music through participation in creative activities adaptable for classroom use. Finally, American teachers had an opportunity to discover French music teaching methods and also one of the famous French poet (Guillaume Apollinaire).
3rd Academic Year 2016-2017
Distribution of nationalities amongst students :
Mixed (French/American) : 14%
Other :13% (Spanish, Chinese, Arabic)
Concert of traditional French songs
All school grades participate together in order to contribute to the integration of students around a French artistic dimension of the school project.
Date: Friday December 16th 2016.
Location(s): Anderson Hall (61 Gramercy Park North, New York, NY 10010)
Describe audience: French and American children and their families, Anderson Hall Community
Number of participants: 77 French and American students from first to fifth grade.
General overview of the activity, including the topic:
Students learned songs from the French traditional “repertoire”. Students studied the history of famous French artists and singers such as Nino Ferrer, Jean Jacques Goldman and Laurent Voulzy. Students learned all the vocabulary and some expressions of the French songs. They had to understand the lyrics and interpret the songs during the concert. Students also learned how to sing in a French choir configuration through a weekly music group-lessons. Students had the opportunity to sing front of an audience in the French tradition at the Anderson Hall in Manhattan.
The students reinforced their French musical culture by discovering the style of “La Chanson Française”. They learned about the style of French poets and singers such as Nino Ferrer, Jean Jacques Goldman and Laurent Voulzy. They understood how these artists influenced music in France and connected that influence to modern French music. They understood the heritage of the songs they learned for the concert. Students also learned how to stand properly in the style of a French choir, how to sing in French, how to interpret a song in French for the audience and how to work on their respiration and on their voices.
For the people in the audience, it was an opportunity for them to listen a French concert performed by the students and to discover the lyrics and songs which are an integral part of French musical culture.
Digital Pen-Pal program between EINY Kindergarten and French Kindergarten students from Paris
Medium(s) of communication (check any that apply): Skype.
Other: QR-code, Soundtrap, Ipad, Voicethread.
Dates: From November 2016 to June 2017.
Countries: United States and France
Audience: Students and families from United States and France.
Number of Participants:
14 Kindergarten students from EINY and 30 Kindergarten students from France.
My students exchanged correspondence with Kindergarten students located in France, using essential communication technologies such as Skype, Voicethread and QR-code. Each month, a new subject is chosen by the students to talk about history, culture, language, gastronomy, daily life of their own country, etc. Communicating in French, students shared their experiences living in the United States and France, making some links between the two countries and their educational systems and their traditions. They exchanged games, pictures and short videos made with the Ipad to share their knowledge, feelings and experiences. They also shared books teaching French and American literacy from each country. Students communicated using QR-code technology to promote oral language. To finalize the project, a Skype meeting will be organized with all the students to discuss their progress in both languages and to converse with their Pen-Pals in real-time.
Students discovered another form of communication with QR-code, and Skype. American students experienced a real dialogue with French students and improved their approach to the understanding of French culture and language. They reinforced their skills in technology as they recorded their voice using the SoundTrap software and put their recording on QR-code to be able to be heard by French students in France. They also created digital audio cards with the Ipad. Using those technologies, students examined and analyzed how both French and American students can borrow words from other languages. They gained an understanding of how a language is always evolving in concert with other languages, and were able to connect some French and English hybrid words. Finally, they understood the different methods that American private schools and French public schools use while incorporating technology into the classroom. The partnership will continue with a Pen-Pal program between the two schools to reinforce the connections they have made.
Photos & QR Code:
Interview with my American music band
Location: in a local newspaper about cultural differences and the exchange between French and American musicians.
Date: Thursday, October 20th 2016.
Location(s): The Sun Chronicle, Attleboro, MA.
Describe audience: Sun Chronicle readers.
Number of Participants:
5 adults: London Egg members (Julien Budrino, Chris Payne, Carl Hernandez, Robes London) and Kayla Canne (Sun Chronicle journalist).
Kayla Canne, journalist at the Sun Chronicle, invited London Egg, my American band, to participate in an interview about our musical approaches and the history of the band. We talked about how we collaborate together musically despite our cultural differences and our different musical backgrounds. During the interview, I had the opportunity to talk about famous French artists who influenced me in music such as Serge Gainsbourg, Georges Brassens, and Jacques Brel. We also talked about our song-creation process in which we mix all of our personalities and cultural influences to create songs that speak to everyone.
The interview hopefully allowed some French artists to become known that hadn’t previously been known to the American public. The interview may have inspired Americans to come and discover London Egg in concert. For them, it will be an opportunity to discover certains songs interpreted by me in French.The interview also showed that the cultural exchange is something very positive, especially in the process of artistic creation. In other words, mixing influences and cultures often leads to very beautiful things. Finally, the interview made it possible to fight against certain stereotypes claiming that the French are not talented musicians and that French music is disconnected from American music.
Photos & Website: http://londonegg.16mb.com/
Interactive student workshop about two different french musical styles: French Opera and “La Chanson française”. Meet the artists and discuss their passion. Identify the relationship between the music, lyrics and their interpretation.
Live concert of French Opera and Chanson Française with an interactive live experience with French musicians, to share with Americans the best traditional french songs and famous french singers.
DATES: During Francophonie Week from March 20th to 26th.
AUDIENCE: Students and adults interested in French culture and French music.
Number of Participants: 70 students / 150 adults.
On the morning of Wednesday, March 22th, I will invite professional musicians coming from France to perform an interactive workshop for the students, bringing them on a trip amongst the most famous French singers such as Brel, Brassens and Gainsbourg but also with the best repertoire of the French Opera composers such as Berlioz, Bizet, Lully and Debussy.
Students will work on identifying and classifying instruments, themes, characters, and sound elements so that they will be able to understand a global meaning of the music, followed by words, structures, and expressions. In order to celebrate the end of the Week of the Francophonie, the artists will perform a French music show in front of people from outside the school to share the French Music Culture in different types of themes, from the French Opera to the La Chanson Française.
Students will have the opportunity to interact with the artists, sing French songs, ask questions in order to learn about all the artists and songs they will hear. In this activity, students will learn how to take reference marks in the musical time and will understand the sources of the inspiration of many French singers discovered at the time.
For the people who will attend the French music show, it will be an opportunity to learn about the history of the French music in all of its phases. It will be also an opportunity to meet talented French artists and talk with them and share their own vision and passion for the music.
Photo & QR code:
Other educational videos conducted during 3 years in J-1 visa status: