SPRENCH classes

Last week, the entire 8th grade class took a trip from Atlanta to Montgomery, Lowndes County, Selma, and Birmingham, Alabama, and Memphis, TN. The focus was to explore the journey of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. As a French teacher, I think it is important to teach more than grammar.  It is essential for students to understand the struggles that many different groups of people have endured in this country’s history (for example, about 100 years ago, French-speaking immigrants from Quebec also suffered prejudice as they tried to make a better life in New England.) and that they also look beyond our borders so that one day their language skills and cultural understanding may be used for good.

In an effort to tie our 8th grade Civil Rights trip together with our cultural studies, I had the opportunity to team teach a unit on immigration with Mrs. Jiménez (MS Spanish teacher). We discussed racism and discrimination in America against the immigrant speakers of both of our languages. I also presented information about immigration and discrimination against Haitian immigrants in the Dominican Republic that parallels what has happened to immigrants in the USA.   I learned about this during a trip last summer, when I worked with many undocumented Haitians in the Dominican Republic. It was fascinating to see that discrimination against immigrants is something that happens in many parts of the world.

My D period French class has also been researching and making presentations about Haïti as part of a unit on Haïti and Martinique. Both 8th grade French classes have studied a song, in Haïtian Créole, and studied the French lyrics as well.  It was fun to compare and contrast the two languages and find out that we could read it a little bit!Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 10.29.17 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 10.29.26 AM

Today my E period class teamed up again with the Spanish students as we Skyped with Caitlin McHale, director of Project Esperanza in the DR. The mission of Project Esperanza is to create positive change in the city of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. They work with the Haitian refugee population through providing a home for boys and supporting several grassroots schools. Caitlin shared with us what is is like to leave the comforts of the US and start a new life in a community where she speaks three different languages all day long. Students had many good questions, and even learned some Creole. Mesi, Caitlin!