Newsletter: week 12

Weekly English Fix

This week: Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins

Photo by Taylor Grote

By Klaudyna Piatek March 22, 2021

Wonderful news everyone, we are now an official business and have received our temporary SIRET number! And, what better way to celebrate than by baking Chocolate Chip and Banana Muffins this Saturday, March 27th?! Join us for this week’s workshop and delight in the deliciousness of these scrumptious muffins! 

Also, don’t forget that you can now sign your children up for our online English lessons over the Easter holidays. We will play games, learn about music, talk about films and help them find their comfort zone in English. Each lesson is 45 minutes long, for elementary aged children we offer 1 lesson per day; for middle and high school, it is 2 lessons per day, Monday to Friday. 

Don’t miss them! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP STORIES

Spread the love! 10 scrumptious Marmite recipes, from roast potatoes to spaghetti

Stuart Heritage

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/mar/22/10-scrumptious-marmite-recipes-roast-potatoes-spaghetti

Okay, Marmite is really not my thing, but I think that we should all be open to trying new foods and experiencing other cultures. So, have a go! Read about all the different ways that you can prepare Marmite, and who knows, maybe you’re one of the lovers?!


Arrests after 6,000 people gather for illegal ‘carnival’ in Marseille

https://www.thelocal.fr/20210322/arrests-after-6000-people-gather-for-illegal-carnival-in-marseille/

Want to read about French news in English? Try out The Local. Here’s an article to get you started about the recent “carnival” in Marseille! 

THIS WEEK’S

TOP TIPS

Long Term Improvement

I recently saw a post on Facebook advertising Yoga in English. I think that’s a great idea. Pick an activity that you enjoy, and do it in English, or in whatever language you are trying to learn! It’s important to find enjoyment in language learning and it doesn’t really matter how you do it as long as you get to practice enough. 

Vocabulary

I have been learning lots of new words lately by reading books with my young son. Children’s books are great because they’re often written in a very rhythmic way, they rhyme, and we tend to read them aloud! Great practice! 

Grammar Spot

Since I mentioned reading in the vocabulary advice above, I’ll mention it here too. While I was learning French, reading books with lots of dialogue really helped me understand how to use the imparfait and pasé composé tenses. They helped because I could follow the conversation on my own time, and I didn’t have to worry about interrupting the people speaking to ask about a word. Dialogue-rich novels are fabulous! 

GroupEtude SARL

21 AV Jean Giono

13090, Aix en Provence

7 BOOKS FOR YOUNG ENGLISH LEARNERS

Since I’ve already written a post about what to read to your young kids, here’s another about some things you can give your (slightly) older kids.

So here is a list of 7 books that we either have, or that have been recommended to us.

All Right Already, and others by Jory John and Benji Davies.

I like this series, with Bear and Duck because of its simple drawings and witty turn of phrase. They really make for a great introduction to autonomous reading.

I also think these books are really fun for young English learners because the language is still quite simple, while the comic book style illustrations will help your child follow the story without too much trouble. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids who don’t have any notions at all of English, but certainly for those who are exposed to it regularly.

This brings me to my next series.

I Really Like Slop, an Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems

Ok, I know, I know, I’ve already put this on a previous list for young children, but these are also fab for early readers. They are funny, and easy to follow, even for children who are still learning English.

There Must be More than That by Shinsuke Yoshitake

This book is a little more difficult for English learners, but you could definitely read it with your middle schooler who has much more English in school. It’s a book that I would absolutely read with my grade 6 and 7 students (6ème and 5ème).

I love it because it’s a realistic but hopeful account of how kids might interpret the information they see and hear in the grown-up world. I love the style of drawings and I love how it creates a world of possibilities for young imaginations.

Tiny Titans by by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani

This series was recommended to me. I’ve included it on the list because I think comic books and graphic novels can be great introductions for reluctant readers and young English learners. As with the previous book, these ones will be for middle school aged kids who already know the basics of English. Best practice will be to read them with your kids so that they don’t feel like a chore, unless of course you’ve got avid readers!

These next titles are also recommendations from other parents and readers’ circles

Scooby-doo Team Up! By Sholly Fisch

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

Fairy Tale Comics by Chris Duffy

Once again, these could be great introductions to the world of reading in English. They may be for elementary aged children, but the stories, illustrations and the fact that they are graphic novels and comics will take away from the idea that they’re “little kids’ books”.

While my own son is still too young to read these, I’m really looking forward to the day when he’ll begin asking me for more things to read on his own, or with me!

TOUT LE MONDE PEUT APPRENDRE UNE LANGUE ÉTRANÈRE, MAIS IL FAUT S Y METTRE SÉRIEUSEMENT!

Nous avons tendance à penser que dès qu’il s’agit de quelque chose qui nous demande de l’effort, on est forcément ‘nul’, or, quasiment tout demande de l’effort d’une manière ou d’une autre.

Quand les gens découvrent que je suis trilingue, et que je leur parle de l’apprentissage d’une autre langue, ils me disent : ouais mais c’est facile pour vous car vous êtes douée. Vraiment ?! Non, pas de tout, je ne suis pas douée. Le polonais, j’ai appris car c’était la langue que parlait ma famille. Bon, là-dessus, pas trop de choix, surtout quand on est bébé. L’anglais, j’ai appris car, encore une fois, pas de choix; mes parents ont décidé quand j’étais très très jeune, de déménager au Canada. Jusqu’ici, on est d’accord, qu’il n y a rien de ‘talentueux’ dans mon parcours. Maintenant pour le français.

scenic view of city
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

J’apprend le français depuis l’âge de 6 ans. Au Canada, un pays bilingue, on y est obligé. Par contre, entre 6 et 22 ans, où j’ai passé 15 ans à essayer d’apprendre cette langue, j’arrivais à peine à m’en sortir quand je voulais commander un café dans un restaurant. Voilà, on peut dire que je ne suis vraiment pas douée, si j’ai passé 15 ans à apprendre une langue sans résultats.

Donc, comment se fait-il qu’aujourd’hui j’arrive même à écrire des articles entiers en français ? Eh ben, quand je suis arrivée en France en 2008, à 22 ans, j’ai travaillé très très dur; j’ai passé des mois à fréquenter des personnes et aller en soirée où je ne comprenais et ne disais RIEN, or, j’adore parler. Je me suis mise à la lecture en français, avec un petit dictionnaire électronique posé sur mon livre (c’était encore les jours avant la démocratisation des smartphones et des liseuses électroniques); je me suis forcée à parler uniquement en français même avec des personnes qui parlaient parfaitement l’anglais, car je savais qu’il fallait que je pratique; j’allais aussi à l’école pour apprendre, le CUEFA à Avignon, et je faisais des exercices, j’écrivais, je passais des tests… Bref, j’ai bossé, je me suis concentrée comme jamais, et je continue d’apprendre.

Donc, voyez-vous, il n y a rien de naturel dans l’apprentissage d’une langue. Il y a, parfois, des facilités de prononciation. J’admets que même si j’ai un accent quand je m’exprime en français, après beaucoup de pratique et peut-être un peu grâce à mes deux autres langues, je n’ai pas énormément de difficultés à prononcer les mots en français. Cependant, ces facilités là pourront uniquement vous donner un coup de pouce dans l’apprentissage, elle n’apprendront pas pour vous.

Ma conclusion est donc celle-ci : les français ne sont pas plus nuls que les autres en langues étrangères, mais avec une attitude aussi défaitiste et sans être exposés aux autres langues, tel que l’anglais, par exemple, comment voulez-vous apprendre ?

wood man people desk
Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

Ce n’est pas que les scandinaves, les allemands, les polonais ou les tchèques sont plus doués que les français, c’est que dans ces pays, l’anglais existe plus naturellement. Les enfants regardent leurs séries américaines en anglais, les adultes aussi; puis avec la pop culture, la musique, la communication, etc., tout devient plus simple.

Si vous avez vraiment envie d’apprendre une langue étrangère, la première chose à faire c’est de vous enlever de la tête que vous n’êtes pas doué. Ensuite il faut s’exposer à la langue, puis il faut travailler, pratiquer et s’acharner pour le faire. Trouvez des activités que vous appréciez, à faire dans votre langue cible, et faites les. Il n y a pas de raccourcis, il faut s y mettre.

*Si vous avez besoin de conseils ou les cours que propose mon école vous intéressent, n’hésitez pas à me contacter!

REVIEW: KHAN ACADEMY KIDS

During the first lockdown, I discovered Khan Academy Kids. I already knew about Khan Academy, the website which became famous for helping students all over the world with their math and science homework. I also knew of their English as a second language section, because I had used it with my middle school students. Well, their kids app is just great! 

Even though I tend to think that young children should generally steer clear of tablet use, my husband and I really had very little choice of activities for our son, then 3, if we wanted to get any work done at all. 

Here is why I like the app:

  • It evolves with your child. When you first download it, you are asked to enter your child’s age. As they grow, the activities become more challenging. 
  • Interesting and fun activities that children enjoy: drawing, searching, tracing, songs, books, sorting, etc. 
  • It’s varied: your child won’t do exactly the same thing twice in one session. 
  • The library: although I’ve read better books, my son seems to love their selection. They’re also educational, teaching kids about the natural world, cities, and other general topics. 

All in all, if you’re looking for something to help your kids learn English and occupy them with something educational, then try this app. 

Glossary

lockdown the period of time when we all have to stay home
famous something many people know about
middle school students kids from about 11-14 years old
tend to to have a tendency to do something; have a habit of
evolves adapts
tracing to draw along a line that has already been drawn/printed
sorting separating things into boxes, for example: sort the trash = separate the glass from the plastic and the garbage, etc.