Playing “Guess Who?” in French
A dispatch from the French classroom from fourth and fifth grade French students:
In fourth and fifth grade French class, students start writing to pen pals in September. The pen pals live in southwest France, in a small town near Toulouse (where Madame Ducroux is from) called Auterive. Each student is paired with one or two pen pals from the same grade, who they send letters to throughout the year. Our French friends seem very curious to meet kids from another country who are motivated to learn French.
We started with postcards: We introduced ourselves in French, writing our name, date and location of birth, our age, and what we dressed as for Halloween. It was also fun to wish the French kids a Happy Thanksgiving (even though they don’t celebrate it) but this time in English so they could learn from us. After sending our big envelope with 23 postcards of scenes from New York, we were very impatient to receive our pen pals’ notes. When their envelope arrived from France, we were excited to discover their details in English and pictures of the area where they live.
After this first contact, we wanted to send the French students our pictures, but with some mystery. We have created a “Guess Who” game for the kids in France so they can get to know us better. For that project, we used vocabulary that we learn in fourth grade and review in fifth grade to describe ourselves. So for example, we’ll say: J’ai les cheveux châtains, longs et ondulés. J’ai les yeux noirs. That means: I have brown, long, and wavy hair. I have black eyes. With our name and description, we prepared a “Guess Who” grid with our portrait so they had to match our text and picture. It was a fun gift we sent them before the winter break by email. They recently emailed us in French to ask us to add more details about our clothes to make sure they found a good match. It was a good quick review for us, even though their email was challenging to understand. They also shared that they loved it so much that they are making one for us now. We can’t wait to see their faces and play in French.
In the future, we want to learn about their hobbies and their favorite things, as well as some details about the school system in France. We will use more emails since it’s faster than regular mail. This is a fun experience and it allows us to learn more about France and the children that live there!