Parlez-vous français?

Where is France? Why do the French call their country “The Hexagon”? Who is the President of France? What is the name of the French national anthem? What is Louis Pasteur famous for? Who were Louis Braille and Rene Laennec? What happened during the French Revolution? How can we introduce ourselves in French and have a basic conversation? Can we count to 10? With a French teacher, Room 8 embraced the opportunity to learn about a different culture and language during the year. 

One of the main benefits of learning a second language at an early age is that children learn languages faster and easier. They have fewer inhibitions, and a brain designed for language learning. The brain of a child is designed to absorb new information unconsciously. 

In the New Zealand curriculum, the learning area 'Learning languages' is composed of two aspects (Language knowledge and cultural knowledge). 

Room 8 decided as a class to give a purpose for our handwriting. Mrs Loughin created individual French books for each student to write in. The purpose was to integrate handwriting with learning about the French language and culture. It was great to see the enthusiasm of the students to learn about a country on the antipodes. 

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First, we looked at some videos about interesting facts about France. Room 8 learned that France is in Europe with 67 millions people and that Paris is the capital city. We talked about landmarks and the iconic Eiffel Tower. We talked about Bastille Day, the Channel Tunnel and the food (croissants, frog legs, cheese). Others also learned about famous inventions such as mayonnaise (1756), bicycle (1790), and the sewing machine (1830).

I learned that the national anthem of France is called ‘La Marseillaise’ and was written in 1792 by Rouget De L’Isle in Strasbourg. Our Teacher played the anthem and sang it for us. I enjoyed writing a French book this year and I can always look at it if I forget things. I can share what I know with my family and friends. Arion

Room 8 followed the Inquiry topics of each term to integrate the new learning with French. We talked about famous scientists. 

I learned that Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French scientist. He discovered that if you heat milk, you can kill germs in it. This process is known as pasteurization. He invented vaccines for cholera, anthrax, smallpox and rabies. With my class, we learned about these diseases. I made connections with Covid and the current research for a vaccine. Marshall

For Phunky Physics we made a simple stethoscope with a hose and a funnel while learning about sound vibrations. It was very interesting to learn about René Laennec. He was a French doctor and musician. His skill of carving his own wooden flutes led him to invent the stethoscope in 1816. This allowed doctors to hear the sounds of the heart more clearly. Now every time I go to the doctor I will think about him. Sophie 

Room 8 learned about Louis Braille (1809-1852). 

Mrs Loughin told us the story of Louis Braille. He was a French inventor of a system of reading and writing for the blind. He became blind in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident. Mrs Loughin gave us a real letter from one of her friends who is blind and deaf. With Layne, we translated it. It was very interesting to realise how blind people read and write. I showed the letter to my friends and talked about Louis Pasteur to my family. Harrison

I learned that the Hexagon is the nickname of France for French people. This is because the country is roughly six sided. We made a Hexagon out of Popsicle sticks on our wall. Now each time I see an Hexagon I think about France and my teacher. With Brooke, we practised and learned how to have a simple conversation in French. Malia

I enjoyed having a French teacher this year and learning about the French language and culture. If I could go anywhere in the World I would go to Paris. I would love to visit the “Le Louvre” and see exhibitions and fashion. I did some French homework this year and with Emily we can have a simple conversation in French. I feel proud of myself and I want to learn more about France. Ava

Malia and Brooke- French conversation- Room 8 2020 video here

Ava and Emily - French conversations- Room 8 2020 video here

French conversation with translation - Room 8 2020 video here

Zaara - Days of the week in French - Room 8 2020 video here

Layne - Introduce self in French - Room 8 2020 video here

The Inquiry of Term 4 is 'Art in the Park'. Room 8 looked at famous French artists' artwork and talked about their inspirations (Degas, Renoir, Monet) We talked about the largest art museum in the World “Le Louvre” situated in Paris.

Our teacher told us about the time she saw the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Lots of tourists from all over the world come to see this masterpiece. We also looked at some paintings from Monet. The most famous is called ‘Sunrise’ and was painted in 1872. It’s a beautiful painting. Izzy 

Learning about a new language and culture provokes wonder, curiosity and intellectual engagement. Room 8 did very well this year and impressed their Teacher.

Keywords: France, language, culture, The Hexagon, La Marseillaise, Louis Pasteur, Louis Braille, René Laennec, French conversation, Le Louvre, Monet, Bastille Day  

French book Room 8 20201