What have we been up to in FSL 5 & 6?

imageSince coming back from Christmas holidays, the students in LC 5 & 6 have been exploring the question, “What do celebrations real about language and culture?”

We began our exploration with a discussion around the following questions:

  • What celebrations are important to you? (society or family)
  • What would it mean to you if you were told you could not celebrate those holidays?
  • What does it tell you about what these celebrations mean to you?
  • What is culture?

After this discussion was completed, it was explained to the students that they were going to be adopting the role of cultural anthropologists in this inquiry.  In student friendly language, a cultural anthropologist:

  • Makes observations about the culture of a group of people
  • Makes inferences based on observations
  • Compares cultures and identify similarities and differences
  • Shares knowledge of cultures studied

As a class, the students and I listened to two picture books, Sammy Spider’s First Shabbat and Moishe’s Miracle. As we listened to the stories, we wrote down the traditions and symbols that were shared. We then compared our lists and created broad categories of things that were the same in both such as food, gathering together/fellowship, music etc.

Next, the students were then asked to compare a story and a video clip and flesh out the broad categories that were the same. Once this was completed, we decided as a class if celebrations included food, music, gathering/fellowship, decorations etc. Always, Often or Sometimes.

Today we switched gears and began exploring the symbols that are associated with two French-Canadian celebrations: Festival du voyageur in Manitoba and Carnaval de Québec in Québec City. I introduced the idea of symbols by wearing une tuque rouge and une ceinture fléchée. I asked the students if they knew what symbol I was trying to depict. Students in each class then brainstormed google-able questions to help them generate their response to the question “What do symbols reveal about language and culture?” The students will be spending the next two classes researching their symbols and writing simple sentences in French to teach a new partner about their symbol so that their partner is able to get the gist of what the other is saying. This will allow the students to work on language learning strategies and to become good linguists.

We will be wrapping up this unit with a Carnaval hosted by Le Club Français de GCMS on February 2, 2016.

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