All posts tagged: penpals

Starting a Pen Pal Exchange

In my two years of language assistant-ing one of my favorite activities has been establishing pen pal correspondences between my classes and American students. Having worked for a year in an American elementary school, I had pretty easy access to teachers interested in participating, and this past year, I managed to hook up no less than six of my classes up with a U.S. counterpart! In primary schools, the concern is often that the students don’t know enough English to truly exchange with a native speaker, but I want to assure you against this idea completely! It’s not always simple, but my students have managed to communicate a lot to their pen pals, and I have never seen them SO excited to read new English words as when they received letters back. That being said, you do have to be strategic about the kinds of correspondence you propose in order to maximize success for all of your students! Luckily, basic things like telling your name and age and describing your family and physical appearance are …

The Waiting Game: making it through the long summer before TAPIF

April 1st, 2015: I woke up in the morning to a text from my friend Giulia: Attention aux poissons sur ton dos! I arrived at school and every child had a little paper fish on their desk that they “sneakily” tried to tape on people’s backs. In France, April Fool’s Day is Poisson d’Avril, and these fish are part of the practical joke tradition. Later, I heard about a teacher who tried to trick her kindergarteners into doing worksheets meant for 5th grade, another who spent an hour teaching his class Chinese, as a “new school initiative”, and another who announced a fake pop quiz. We decorated fish during art class!

Well, this is nuts.

As of today, I have been in Chambéry for two months. This fact is especially remarkable because the last time I was in France, it was for exactly this amount of time. And yet, this has felt like a drop in the bucket compared to that summer. You know what they say….Time flies when you have no idea what you are doing. Here’s a statistical breakdown of my first two months: Museums visited: 4 Mountains hiked: 2 Movies watched: 6 Plays attended: 1 Crêpes eaten: 9 Dinners hosted: 4 Cities visited: 3 Students taught: 195 Pen Pal letters sent: 19 Postcards sent: 12 Official forms and dossiers submitted: 3 Countries my friends are from: 8 Languages spoken in any given outing: 4 Cows seen: impossible to count Times I’ve been baffled by the Celsius scale: every single time Times I’ve understood the metric system: none Times per week I get coffee (or tea) with friends in the same café: 5, at minimum Times per week we go for beer instead: depends on the week….. I could …

Take a ride on the Paris Métro!

Bonjour Westgate!! Today I want to tell you about something important to the life of every single Parisian: Public Transportation!! In big cities like Paris, Washington DC, and New York it’s very important to have an effective system of public transportation  so that people don’t have to drive everywhere. More than 2.2 million people live in Paris; can you imagine if all of them drove to work every single day?! Luckily, Paris has one of the best Metro systems in the world!

Bonjour Westgate!!

Bonjour Third Grade, à Paris! (Hello, from Paris!) I’ve been here almost 2 weeks now, and I’ve been learning so much. Mrs. Donnelly told me you might want to learn about Paris too, so I made this post for you! This is the Eiffel Tower, the most famous building in all of France!  In French we say La Tour Eiffel, but some people call it “la dame de fer” which means The Iron Lady. This monument was built in 1889 for the World’s Fair in Paris. It’s named after Gustave Eiffel, the man whose company was in charge of building it (his company also made the frame of the Statue of Liberty in New York City!).