“My Trip to Paris” Project for Students

12 Jun

This project encourages skills in properly using technology for research purposes as well as gathering knowledge of French history and culture.

Students will be required to look up 3 monuments and talk about a long weekend in Paris! There should be a minimum of 5 blog posts documenting the arrival, stay and departure. Each post should include text describing thoughts about visiting the monuments, facts about the monuments and history, and thoughts about Parisian Culture. Please include at least one new slang vocabulary word or phrase.

Be creative! Students can add photos, voice memos, video, images, and drawings; almost anything you can think of!


Connections – 3.32 Point of View: Students acquire information and recognize the distinctive viewpoints that are only available through the world

language and its cultures.
Comparisons 4.42 – Comparing Cultures: Students demonstrate understanding of the concept of culture through comparisons of the cultures studied and

their own.

Resources to help students:
Blogging site – wordpress.com

Background information:

Paris Tourism website – http://en.parisinfo.com/
National Monuments – http://www.monuments-nationaux.fr/


Jour 9: La Fin of a Mini-Vacation

6 Jul

Tomorrow it all begins. This past week has been a mini-vacation until now.
I will be spending every waking moment with other teachers and high school students for the next 5 weeks.
What have I gotten myself into?
Just kidding. I’m really excited!!
I will be moving to a new location to begin my new teaching adventure in Paris. I’m so happy to have gathered all of my worksheets and lesson plans before coming to Paris. Whew, that was a lot of work.

So today I spent most of the day packing, continuing to do laundry and Watching Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs with the kids (again)
I will miss my Au Pair family, but Au Pair mom has told me if my schedule allows it I’m welcome to visit.

5:00 pm – The staff met for an apero, which is probably the equivalent of a Starbucks hangout with alcoholic drinks.

The people are super nice and I think this will be a great experience to be among some very talented people who are excited to teach.

After meeting these lovely people and hearing more about the intensity of the program, I’m sorry to say that the blog will have to go on hiatus. 😦
Though it is rewarding to reflect on my adventures, this job is very time-consuming and I’d like to focus my blog-writing attention on preparing lessons/taking advantage of free time to relax.

That being said I would still like to involve you all through posting photos of my travels. I’ll have to see how the WIFI connection is when I get to the place, but I’ll try to upload a few pictures if I can.


Jour 8: Lea receives her diplome!

5 Jul

I spent most of the day preparing my stuff to leave in two days. Laid out in the sun, read, transferred my photos to Google Drive so there would be space on the iPhone to take pictures, you know, the usual. I also did some laundry from the time I’ve spent here.
It was a very nice relaxing day. Tomorrow the kids have a day off so it’ll be nice to spend it with them.

Upon receiving my acceptance letter for a Masters in Teaching in the mail (Thanks for the email, Dad!) I decided to look/apply for scholarships.

Lea came into my room asking for an opinion on clothing because she had a boum (party) tonight. Assuming she had another sleepover at Sophia’s or something with her girlfriends I helped her put an outfit together but nothing was working. She asked me what my size was then tried on my clothes.
People, I’ve hit an all-time-low. First I’m only taller than some of the 6th graders in the school I substitute for and now my clothes fit the 5th grade girl in France whom I Au Pair. There must be something in the water…

So Lea borrowed my shorts.
About an hour or less later Au Pair mom comes up and asks me if I want to see Lea get her diplome from 5th grade. (She’s going into middle school next year so they had a 5th grade graduation.) Oh! They’re having a party for the grade AFTER the graduation. Got it.

So we went to the park nearby (Have I mentioned how much I love French towns?! Everything is there! It’s such a cute little community. I’ve met the same people 3/4 times at different gatherings. It’s so nice!) and we sat in this beautiful ampitheatre!

The woman who was speaking at this event mentioned the tradition of giving dictionaries every year. Apparently this has been going on for many years and she talked of her personally graduating from the school and keeping the dictionary on her bookshelf for at least 20 years.


Lea received her “diplome”/ dictionnaire and so did all of her friends.

At the end this woman came up to Au Pair mom and I. She could not stop talking. She totally thought I had a kid at the school, (quite a surprise from Michigan where I’m mistaken as one of the students,) I come to find out she’s running for Mayor of the town and was trying to chat us up.


I only WISH we had this to play on in Michigan.

So Lea and her friends left for the boum and I stayed back with Constantin as he tried to play on this.

Jour 7: Les Soldes encore!

4 Jul

Happy Birthday USA!! 4th of July! 🙂

Woke up at a decent time and went shopping! I LOVE THE SOLDES.
As I mentioned last year, in January & July it’s MANDATORY for all stores to at least have one sale rack in the back. Everything is marked down at least 20% sometimes more (like that t-shirt I got for 3 euros, 80% off)

I went around the usual places I discovered last year. Going through the stores again I remembered which were my favorite and searched through their stuff. I visited Zara, Promod, Mango, H&M, and of course, les Galeries Lafayette.

I really focused on speaking and thinking in French. Today was a fun, girly day but I also went to continue to have my ear adjust to the way the language is spoken. I also spoke with some of the cashiers and got compliments. YES.
Maybe I’m different than most but when I’m back home, I try to talk to the cashiers at the store. It must be hard to have people just buy something and leave, then there is the others who get really angry because a price isn’t marked down for whatever reason. So I talk to the girl at the counter, “Hey, How’s it going today?” It’s an acknowledgement of, I know that you’re a person and not a machine and I care about you. I mean, some people just don’t want to be talked to and then I back off but I think I might have made a slight fool of myself in Paris.

So at a few of the stores, I tried to start up a conversation in French with the sales people (not to take them away from their job but while they were putting my clothes in a bag and such. So for this one girl I asked, “Comment ca va?” How are you doing?
She stopped in her tracks. “Comment?” (It literally means “What”  or “what did you say? but it’s a polite way of asking, the equivalent to our “pardon?”) It’s almost like she’s never been asked this question in her life.
me – “Comment ca va?”
Smiles and giggles, “Oui, ca va.” (Yes it’s going well.)
My stuff was packed up at this time. me – “Bonne Journee!” (Have a good day!)
“A vous aussi” (to you as well!)
Well, I hope it brightened up her day. I asked a guy at the counter of another store and he seemed more receptive, but still weirded out. So friends & family should I keep this up or not? I think I’ll ask my host mom if these words have another connotation in a store setting.

Some of the words I’ve heard being spoken in Paris are definitely not the ones I learned in French class in high school. Just like in America, French people have slang they used on a daily basis. At the Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette
Gorgeous, right?!

I found a great book to help better understand the French slang, Pardon My French: Unleash Your Inner Gaul by Charles Timoney. This guy is an American (I assume) and his wife wanted to move back to her native country, so he found a job in France. Even with high school years of French under his belt, he felt left-out of daily office conversation and it took awhile to get the hang of many slang words. This book is a sort of dictionary where he lists the word then a detailed explanation of what it means, (in English of course) He lists funny stories/anecdotes about how he and his friends misheard the words or thought they meant something else entirely.  I read a few pages on the Metro home.

I like Paris the #2 time around, it’s not as daughting. There is still a lot to discover but at least this time, I have a basic understand of where I’m going and what certain areas have to offer. I definitely feel more comfortable here than I did last year.

My craving last year was Chipotle, I had to wait for that one until I got home but this summer it seems to be Oreos and Peanut Butter.
The kids informed me that France doesn’t just have peanut butter lying on the shelf. During my shopping trip I found this lovely window display:

Home sweet home
Feels like home.
I went to see if there was peanut butter and found it – FOR 9,90 EUROS. Umm, I’m not paying almost $13 for a jar of peanut butter.
Luckily Carrefour had another jar for 3 euros, a more reasonable price.

I never thought I’d say this but I’m liking the Metro too. I’m so spoiled in America. By having a car I can go anywhere I want to at any time (also Paris is a much busier town than where I live. Even if I had a car, I wouldn’t be able to get around very quickly.) Riding the Metro creates a nice break in between moving around all the time. Nice time to just sit, relax, read, eat and just be.

When the kids got home we had a lazy day and watched TV. Typically we eat dinner close to 8:30/9 so right after dinner Constantin has to go to bed. It’s hard to get used to. Maybe it would help to go for a little walk afterwards- attempt to burn off the calories.

parent trap

Jour 6: Joyeux Anniversaire, Constantin!

3 Jul

Personal news update – It’s my boyfriend’s birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Joyeux Anniversaire!! 🙂

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

**Reminder** This blog a few days delayed due to posting pictures and overall enjoying the experiences that I’m apart of.

So this post is about Constantin’s birthday, but it really happened a little bit ago (and his real birthday was the week before that.)
Yay! Post dedicated to birthdays!!

First, the family went to the grocery store and I “profited” from the sun. (J’ai profite du soleil. It’s a common thing to “profit” take advantage of something.)
Here is my view of the Seine while I was tanning. Life is so hard in France.

La Seine!
After tanning in the morning, I helped the family set up for the party. French “anniversaires” (birthday parties) are very similar to American ones. Constantin had goodie bags, a pinata, presents, cake, and birthday-themed decorations.
IMG_1813This made me laugh.

While the kids played outside Lea and I painted each other’s nails and hung out.
Then it came time for the Pinata.
pinataConstantin and his friends went crazy for the candy and Lea asked her parents if I could go with her to the soldes -YES.

Driving in France: take deux. It’s really not that difficult, driving is fine it just takes awhile to get used to the size of the car so as not to scrape anyone else’s car.

Lea and I went to La Halle et Halle chassures. I remembered my French shoe size, but had difficulty with the clothing sizes (Last time the tag had a little American flag with the equivalent size and it was TOTALLY wrong. American sizes are actually smaller than European sizes (number-wise)
I took a stab at my size (it was the same as my shoe size- score!)
I got a top and a dress for 18 Euros – total steal, I love the soldes.
I also got 2 pair of shoes and a scarf, because it’s France.

Lea and I went back, the family had dinner and the mom turned on her favorite TV show – Capital. It’s basically like those segments on the news (Ruth to the Rescue? Is that what’s it’s called?) that talk about false advertisements and go in-depth on what businesses offer for hotel/language exchange programs. (At least that’s what’s happening in this episode.)

I’m going to try to get to bed at a reasonable hour. I plan to explore the city of Paris and listen/talk in French as much as possible.
A demain!

Jour 5: La Kermesse (School Fair)

2 Jul

9:00am – I got up at a normal time this morning (after resting my head on the pillow and being unable to properly fall asleep until 3am) and feel pretty rested right now. Let’s see how that lasts…

I got breakfast for me and Constantin where he was helping me with my French again. (I said “petite” instead of “petit” and he was mad because I basically called him a girl.) This 7 year old actually seems to like teaching me French. Which is weird because I taught him English last summer. I guess he’s returning the favor? Cool!

I’ve always had difficulty hearing and speaking French. (I’m more of a visual learner.) I can read, write, and understand it very well but my ear hasn’t yet full attuned itself to the Parisian accent and the correct pronunciaton of words. Surprisingly I can say 90% of words correctly but there are a few “japonais”, “enseigne”, and some others that I can’t remember in which I either have trouble pronouncing them  or was taught the wrong way to in class.

These difficulties are teaching me how important it is to learn a language through hearing it first then to introduce the writing/reading of it. I’ll really try to focus on that when it comes time to teach in my future classroom.

10:30 am – Constantin’s spectacle!
His grade put on a dance where he played the waves in the ocean, a crab, and a kangaroo.

Here’s the blurry crab: (with the red/orange gloves in the middle)

It was very cute and after the family threw a BBQ lunch before the Kermesse.

There is always a Saturday “Farmer’s Market” in town so Au Pair mom picked up some items for the BBQ lunch.
Meat from the Boucherie, and lasagna & fruit from the market.

Instead of having supermarkets with everything in them (like Walmart or Meijer) France has little stores that sell a lot of specifics. There was so much fresh meat in this boucherie. I mean Paris does have a Carrefour or Monoprix (super markets) but they’re far away and these stores are just a walk away in town.

2:30 pm FT – Sophia came over and Lea wanted to show her the short film I recently was in “Say Cheese”. Sophia is Lea’s best friend and one of the children that Courtney 1 au paired for last summer (MISS YOU, COURT!) We all ate lunch then left for the Kermesse. At lunch I asked the mom if France had peanut butter (it was something I had mentioned to Lea before when we got candy at the store yesterday.) Au Pair mom said it’s in some specialty stores. Au Pair Dad had no clue what it was, (he’s from France) WHAT? France doesn’t have peanut butter?! Strange.

3:45pm FT – The girls went off and hung out and I followed constantin around while he played different games. He absolutely rocked this one.



I mainly spoke in French with Constantin at the Kermesse to continue to practice speaking and to make it seem like I was not American to all the other kids and parents -SUCCESS. All of them spoke to me in French. 🙂

After spending most of the day at the fair, I headed back to the house to relax, take a shower and have a few minutes away from the craziness.
Day 2 of the first fun-filled weekend in Paris –  Tomorrow is Constantin’s birthday party! Mentally preparing for 13 six-seven year old boys to be here all day.

Jour 4: Lea’s Spectacle

1 Jul

12:00 pm France Time – I slept for about 11 hours but I’m feeling great! (So long stomach issues, HELLO French Chocolate Dunkaroos!)
The kids were at school and the parents are at work so I’ve been having a lazy morning, writing back to friends on Facebook, updating the blog so on and so forth.

Lea has a school play tonight (Spectacle in French) then this weekend is packed with activities for the kids, Constantin’s birthday party, Sophia’s (Lea’s friend, Muriel’s daughter) going away party – they’re moving to London!, and Au Pair mom & dad’s annual 4th of July Party in France. Whew, I think I may end up having some later mornings, but that’s okay because I’ll need to be up late for the teaching program when it starts.

2:00pm FT – Watching French TV to become more fluent.
There are so many American shows that are translated including Real Housewives. What a great representation of American culture- NOT.

I ended up watching a show called “Pas ma fille” about a girl in an abusive, drug-induced relationship and how her parents fight to pull her out of it. Super happy, huh?

3:30pm France Time -I had the chance to Skype with my boyfriend for a little bit where he told me the weather in Paris is very similar to that in Michigan.

4:30pm France Time –  I picked the kids up from school, we came back and hung out before Lea had to leave for the Spectacle.

I tried to get a picture of her but the lights washed her out. This is the best I could do: (Lea is pictured on the far left in both)

Bowing The principal

She played a principal talking to the parents of a boy who misbehaved in class. It was all in French and the kids didn’t talk into the microphone always so I couldn’t always hear the story, but I understood most of it. There were 3 stories, one took place in the Middle Ages where someone had stolen an important piece of paper (with a secret code), another was a mixture of a bunch of different fairy tales- so funny!, and last was Lea’s about a boy getting in trouble in class.

Kids are so funny, no matter where they are in the world they all act similarly onstage. Some talk really fast, most get nervous, then there are those natural actors who place themselves in front of the microphone and have the best emotion.
8:00 pm FT – After the Spectacle, I made dinner for Constantin and we watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to practice his English. When I received my French degree, I never thought I’d have to explain to someone what a ratbird is in French.
Tomorrow is Constantin’s Spectacle and la Kermesse (School Fair)!