World Language Festival – Day 4

By the fourth day of the World Language Festival, the enthusiasm for language learning was palpable and it felt like the school was abuzz with talk of languages and cultures and internationalism.


Grade 4 and 5 students had the opportunity to listen to a presentation about spices and cooking in Tunisia. It was fascinating to hear about the various spices that are grown and used in Tunisia and we all got to smell them, see them and even taste some in the delicious Chakchouka that Ms Mbarek and Ms Haddad had prepared. It a feast for the senses!


In the afternoon we had some merengue dancing in the courtyard with Mr Santiago – so much fun!


World Language Festival – Day 3

Day 3 of the World Language Festival kicked off by the fiercely challenging competition ‘le Grand Concours’. Students from Grades 3 to 5 were placed on tables in the cafeteria where they worked in teams and used their collective knowledge about languages to guess the correct answer to the quiz questions. It was a fun morning and the children learnt a lot from each other!

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At 11 o’clock Grade 3 students prepared themselves for the International Reading Picnic with Pre-K students. They set themselves up with little stations where they were either reading a book in a foreign language or teaching numbers 1-10 in a foreign language and Pre-K students could come and sit at whatever station they chose. Parents also attended this wonderful event and we even had some foreign language singing by a bold Pre-K little boy. The event was a great success!


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The day ended with Grades 4-5 After School World Language taking part in Tunisian pastry making workshops. At first Ms Mbarek and Ms Haddad explained the origins of certain types of sweets and how the various cultures have influenced Tunisian tastes and cuisine. Then students all got a chance to get their hands dirty and make some Tunisian pastries of their own. The pastries were absolutely delicious and everyone learnt a lot too!

World Language Festival – Day 2

The second day of the festival started with delicious smells wafting along the corridors of the school from under the gazebo. We made over 200 delicious crêpes and waffles. The money raised will go towards covering the costs incurred during the festival and any amount that is left over will be donated to a local charity.

Here is a picture of our wonderful team, ever-smiling and enthusiastic!


The rest of the day continued, with World Language students going into other classes to conduct language workshops in their own language or to read stories in French and Arabic. The audiences were very appreciative and enjoyed what the students had prepared for them.

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Grade Two then had the good fortune of watching an amazing shadow puppet theater performed by two of their peers who study German. It was an amazing visual performance and the students even understood the story (Little Red Riding Hood) and learnt some new German words!


The final activity for the day was for Grades 1-3 After School World Language students – they learnt about Tunisian pottery and were able to paint their own Tunisian darbouka, kanoun, or hanging plate!


World Language Festival – Day 1

The World Language Festival began on Monday with great pomp and splendour at the opening assembly for the Whole School. The presentations consisted of songs in multiple languages, Irish dancing, a skit about messages being lost in translation and some entertaining videos. Have a look below if you missed it:

During the day, we had 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade students visiting different classrooms and being language teachers for ten minutes! They shared their home language with the students, spoke a little about their cultures and traditions, and taught some basic greetings and numbers from 1 to 10. This was hugely popular and we had a wonderful variety of language workshops on offer in Spanish, Finnish, Shona, Ibo, Latvian, Amharic, Swedish, Korean, Dutch, Portuguese, Swahili, Hindi, Urdu, Chichewa, Hungarian, Wolof and Mandinka. It was a great way to celebrate the multilingual abilities that so many of our students have and so inspiring for others to see and hear!



The last highlight of the day and one that was extremely entertaining and enjoyable for the children was to have visiting author Lamia Chahed come and tell stories to the children. She was a fabulous performer and although her story was told in a language that most children didn’t fully understand, the majority of them understood the entire story simply by  her gestures and cues. It was thoroughly entertaining and the kids loved it!








Children lining up for autographs in their Readers’ Notebooks! 🙂

Teaching grammar in context

Long gone are the days of rote learning and memorizing conjugation tables, especially during the early stages of learning a new language. Instead, it has been proven that grammar is much more meaningful when it is taught in context, when children understand WHY a rule exists and don’t just learn it, just because. Oftentimes, it’s experiences like these that make children lose interest in language learning and demotivate them, because it just seems so difficult to memorize verb after verb, with no real understanding of the purpose.

Grade 5 were recently learning about the planets and solar system during their unit of inquiry and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to integrate some Physics into our French lessons. Coupled with that, we explored adjectives that describe the planets and how those adjectives would change, considering ‘une planète’ is a feminine word. Exploratory learning is a particularly valuable because it has ‘stickability’ – students construct their own learning and derive the grammar rules themselves from what is presented to them, therefore they are more likely to remember it!







Power of Pairs

Using pair work and group work when teaching languages is so great because it gives students far more opportunity to speak. In our language classes at ACST, we encourage our students to exchange opinions, practice new vocabulary and listen to their peers trying out their newly acquired language skills. Carefully planned activities and purposeful pairing means that children who are more able can model language for others and those who are less competent feel confident to experiment with language and will feel more at ease taking corrections from a peer rather than in front a whole class.

The photos below show Grade 3 students learning to tell the time, practicing with their partners using a teaching clock to say what time it is in French.

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Quelle heure est-il?

One of the goals for the World Language department this year is to try and develop curriculum and instruction in which language and content reinforce each other to deepen student learning. This means that where appropriate, we will integrate other subject matter into language learning and we will use the foreign language to reinforce and further their knowledge of other disciplines such as Math, Science and Social Studies.

For example, Grade 2 students at ACST have been learning to tell the time during their Math lessons. It’s been really insightful to see them making connections and using their newly acquired Math skills to tell the time in French. We will be doing some fun time-related activities this week and next week – making our own clocks, talking about our daily routine and what we do at certain times of the day, etc. Click on the video below for a sneak preview:

No child left behind? Teach them French!

Dear Parents,

Here’s an interesting article I came across that talks about the importance of speaking another language and how crucial it is in all areas of business. What are your thoughts? How well are we equipping our children with the tools that they will need to survive in the global marketplace? Call me biased, but I definitely believe we’re giving them a headstart in our foreign language classrooms! 🙂

You can watch an interesting video clip of actor Larry Lamb here, who attributes his success to his primary school French teacher! I hope we can inspire some of our students in a similar way.

Have a great week!


Vive les vacances!

Dear Parents,

One of the three principal strands on our AERO World Language Standards is Culture – this means that our curriculum encompasses not only vocabulary and grammar, but also gives students insights into the cultures that are expressed through language and literature. At ACST, we aim to share with students an understanding of the practices, products and perspectives of the culture in the target language we offer (French, in this case). We do this by exposing students to various aspects of French culture such as games, songs, folk tales and celebrations.

Now that the winter holidays are almost upon us, we will be looking at some of the ways in which the holiday season is celebrated in France. In particular, we will look at some of the practices and experiences of French children at Christmas time, making comparisons to our own cultures, and identifying similarities and differences in which we celebrate various holidays.

The presentation I will be sharing with the children is shown below:

Please let me know if you have any concerns or queries about the activities we will be doing next week. You’re welcome to come by my classroom (P07) or email me at , your input is always very welcome. 🙂

Warm regards,


Guess the mystery teacher!

As a culmination of our unit on describing people, Grade 5 students played a game called Mystery Teacher, whereby they wrote a description of one of their teachers and then read it out to the rest of the class so that they could guess who it is based on the description. They did a fantastic job and most of the descriptions were so detailed and accurate that most people were able to guess right away who the mystery teacher was!

Have a look and see if you can guess:

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