Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Parlez vous Francais?

Alright, today my big kids decide - how I am not sure - that they want to become bilingual. They want to speak French. This is actually quite funny considering I took 4 years of French in high school and a year in college. My high school/college boyfriend (hi, Greg Cooper!) had a niece and nephew who were military kids and were fluent in both French and English. I though this was fabulous and always swore I would raise my children to be bilingual.
But I dropped the ball. The closest we have come to bilingual is the typical toddler-speak babbling. I have pulled a few words from the Brownlow Toddler-to-English Dictionary:
callapidder - caterpillar
grasscopter - grasshopper
lightlinbug - lightening bug
keee yiiii - outside
hnake - (snake) worm
lellow lamborgeebee - yellow Lamborghini
shi fug - sit frog (there was an innocent consonant after the "i" and a not-so-friendly k-sound in place of the "g" - I nearly had heart failure the first time she taught obedience to a large wooden (strange wedding present) frog sculpture in the other room!)
So, I suppose, technically they have always been bilingual although I have not always been able to translate.
Today, after our "PLEASE CAN WE LEARN FRENCH?" hour, I found some great websites and printed out some flashcards and study guides that were at their level - very beginner.
So, a couple posts ago I was talking about how easy it is to make a day/week/month/season fun by finding something the kids in your house are interested in and capitalizing on it. They will not be bored and you will get your own to-do list completed b/c they will be occupied with something that interests them - not just busy work.
We will spend the week practicing our FRENCH...
Having 5 years of conversational French under my belt, I remember a significant amount of vocabulary - my vernacular may be off but I could get the idea across.
I have been asked to use French vocabulary throughout the day as much as I can:
Je t'aime - I love you.
Merci - Thank you.
S'il vous plais - Please.
Je mange vert poulet - I eat green chicken.
Stupide toilette - Stupid toilet. (this is, of course, their favorite!)
We will throw in two art projects.
When you think French artist - who do you think of?
Pablo Picasso! Yes. Picasso was BORN in Spain but is considered one of the most influencial FRENCH ARTISTS in history. An easy project is just a geometric color design like this:

A large square of cardboard - preferably the pressed board instead of corrugated and some acrylic paint and VOILA - Picasso-esque artwork for the walls without having to go to Sotheby's. And how cool to decorate your walls with your kids work - no frames required!

Another amazing artist and one of my favorite is Georges Seurat...LOOK!

The project for this is super fun for any age! Choose a light-colored shirt (one that has a stain is perfect for your bank account) Mask off a rectangle on the front with masking tape and while looking at a landscape photo or torn image from a magazine to paint your scene. Put another piece of cardboard inside shirt to protect from juicy paints. Using acrylic paints and Q-tips will give you the dotted style of the Impressionist Movement. Kids love this and will wear their shirts proudly. Choose a photo from a vacation or favorite place to make their artwork personal.

Although cooking is not my thing - well, it kind of is just because I have 4 people who would starve if I didn't but I am not very creative with meals. Desserts - oh I can hold my own with creative desserts. Therefore, we may be focusing on desserts for our FRENCH WEEK!

Croissants, crepes, french fries ( I know, not a dessert and I don't think it is authentic french cuisine, either...)

Please leave your comments for other FRENCH THEMATIC ideas and give me some ideas of easy, everyday vocabulary!


Debbie Yost said...

One of the first words we taught ourselves in French class was merde. I'm guessing you don't want to teach this to say that one, though. Hee hee. I took about 5 years myself and finally quit when I realized I would never be fluent. Good luck on the lessons. Isn't Monet French, also?

Kalynne Pudner said...

French fries = les frites. They may not be authentic, but they do translate!

Je te presente ma amie Catherine, qui habite a' Paris (Nous 5, sur mon blogroll).

Bonne chance!

Julie said...

Hmm...Bonjour! Comment vas-tu (How are you)? Tres bien (very good)?

I found a little quiz at French.about.com that gives simple French greetings. Maybe it will help?

Adieu! (Farewell)

Dutch Momma of 4 said...

MMM, having lived in France 5 years myself, is it a bad thing to be picky?:
Je mange poulet vert (not vert poulet- switch the words around and voila, there's French! And uhm... I think (know!) Picasso was Spanish! But don't let that get you down on your artprojects!! Love the ideas!
Another thought for you in the culinary department: French Wine!!

Mabunny said...

Wow Michelle, I took almost 5 yrs of conversational French in HS and first year of college too, but don't remember a whole lot...
Don't forget when they do get something right..

Bien - good
Comment t'appelle tu? - what is your name?
Oh ZUT! - kind of like of phooey, if something goes wrong
Quelle heur a'til? -
What time is it? ( sp? on that one)

Tracy said...

I took French for three years in high school and one in college and I sadly remember very little. I do still remember how to say "My name is" but I'm sure you've already got that one.
I love your painting ideas. I'm racking my brain, trying to figure out which t-shirts we can use for your shirt idea.
I did a thing once with my kids where they would get on the web and search popular landmarks of their country and draw them. They could draw (or paint) things like the Eifelle tower and the Arc du triumph (I'm sure that's spelled wrong). They loved doing this.
Have a great French Week!

Michelle said...

I speak fluent Spanish and English, neither of which is my baby language.......my baby language was German, which I don't speak!

Exposure is the key for kids. Learn the grammar, but immersion is better.

The paintings are beautiful I am a Rembrandt fan. This is my favorite: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Rembrandt_Christ_In_The_Storm_On_The_Sea_Of_Galilee.jpg

But, what a cool trick.

Have a great day!

Sue said...

Bonjour, You could be getting a french exchange student like we are getting in August. I am loving the idea of concentrating on a language for a week though!

The first phrase I learned in french was Ou est la bibliotheque?
Where is the library?

Cava?(sa va) is a casual way to say how are you?
Cava bien! (ca va beee/n) is I am fine
Merci for thank you and
De Rien (de reee/n) for your welcome

In Paris, some people live on the Seine river in house boats. You could have your kids write a story about what it would be like to live on one of them. Or they could write about why there are gargolyes on churches.

Yeah, and french fries and french toast are not very french at all. Delicious, although not french. You could have french bread and cheese and fruit for lunch some day (and you could enjoy some french wine!)

Great idea!

Peggy in Iowa said...

You need to go to the head French mama herself-
Mimi!?!?! Are you not giving Michelle any good ideas in this area? :)
(she needs to be given a hard time now and then Michelle!)
Looks like you had a great time at your Relay...Thanks again for including Coleman on your shirt. He thought that was pretty cool. Caden was looking at something else I think? (he is soooo much like his daddy!) lol

If I spoke French, I would leave you with a really good line to close, but how about "tah-tah"?
(no I wasn't talking about your shirt again, I didn't add an "s" to the end!)

Love what you do Michelle!
God bless you.

Peggy and the guys