Monday, April 22, 2013

Recharging with French Dinosaurs

April 22-28, 2013: Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families. Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!

In coming up with activities for the week I've been tending to follow the seasons, piggybacking on whatever is happening at the moment.  

This includes whatever the theme happens to be at Zach's preschool, which, this month is dinosaurs.  He is très into triceratopses and t-rexes at the moment. So last week we tried a new show I saw on CanalJ (the French version of Nickelodeon) called "Dinosaur King" (not "rois") which follows a band of adventurous kids who can make dinosaurs jump to life out of magic cards.  It has quickly become a favorite (his--my imagination is not that good). More on this in a minute.  

First, a little musing about my using videos as a way to relax and practice French at the same time. I know that passive watching of TV is not the best way to teach foreign languages (or anything) to children and that they - especially the little ones -  learn much better through human interaction.  But sometimes if we are at home at 3pm when my internal siesta mechanism kicks in, it's either a screen or a power nap (confession: sometimes both).  And while I am most definitely not immune to turning on the TV with the admonishment that it must be in French in order to enjoy some me-time (like unload the dishwasher while listening to NPR: seriously, what else is there unless it's girl's night out), I generally try to watch with Zach. 

Also, honestly, videos are a great way to promote French and for both of us to learn. Especially when you can pause at any moment during the viewing to comment/ask questions, I find I can create interaction where it would otherwise not happen. Today (back to the dinosaurs) this took the form of commenting on the weird hairstyles of the characters on this quirky show. It went something like this:

Me: Pause video. "Attends, il y a quelque chose de bizarre. As-tu vu les cheveux de ces personnages? Tu ne les trouves pas bizarres?"
Zach cracks up laughing and says: "Oui - regarde-lui. Ses cheveux c'est comme ca, lui comme ca"
Me: "Oui, ça ressemble un escalier!"
Zach laughs.
Pause video. "Attends. Qu'est-ce qu'il a dit? Je ne comprends rien quand il crie comme ça, et toi?"
Zach. Moi non plus.... (opportunity to discuss what happened and clarify, teach words...)

And so on.  

Forget bubble bath and Norah Jones.  I am fully recharged after 20 minutes with a Tyrannausaure.

Bonne Semaine!

Out and About

($) indicates there is a cost for the event. 

Thursday, 4/25

Friday, 4/26

Saturday, 4/27
10:50am- Storytime at the Alliance Française  

At Home

In honor of Earth Day: 

Build an eco-friendly city on Ecoville (for older kids)

Recycle with Boowa and Kwala - a great game that includes French audio feedback and teaches recycling terms (metal, paper, cans...)

Read J'aime la Terre by Todd Parr- available at multiple DC libraries

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