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“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 –

Background information:

Paris Tourism website –
National Monuments –


Jour 1: Visiting Family in Toronto

28 Jun

My mom and I are heading to Toronto to visit family and then I will be flying from there to Paris. So this technically isn’t “A Michigander in Paris” but it’s definitely en route.
We stop in Marysvillle, MI (Right before the bridge to Canada) to get gas and run some errands. Total shock of the day – gas is 30 cents cheaper than it was at home. I thought they would jack up the prices before entering Canada but no. I like you Marysville. I went into Meijer and got some arch supports because you walk EVERYWHERE in Paris and saw this beautiful table outside porch table on clearance for $150. Aside from that there were many rare goodies on sale – I like you A LOT Marysville Meijer. I made one last phone call (during the Paris excursion) to my lovely boyfriend. I’m really going to miss him.

After some arch support-related delays, we get on the bridge and we’re in Canada!

This was pretty hysterical to my mom on the way:

Some odd driving hours later my mom pulls into Husky’s a trucker stop off the highway. I awake from my car nap (with a strong pain in my neck from laying on it weird) and pop inside to get lunch and look at Canadian goodies.
In the States we have this candy (that I thought was German) called Rittersport. It’s basically a chocolate covered cracker… but it tastes a lot better than how I just described it. At Husky’s there were about 5 different shelves of Rittersport a.k.a. oodles of flavors! Including Neopolitan waffers. I got the “pebermynthe” kind (French-Canadian French is weird) and also a Kinder Surprise (Remember those? The Chocolate egg with a small toy surprise in the middle?) Oh right, and my actual lunch was a Chef salad.

I mean, not a lot of exciting things happened before seeing my mom’s cousin because we were driving. Canadian roads are a little different than the ones at home – no Michigan lefts!
Mom drives yet another 1-2 hours or so to downtown Toronto where we were staying with her cousin Patrick. We talked & visited with him, pet his awesome dog, walked around downtown Toronto, and he took us to this nice Italian restaurant. After dinner we sat and talked about all sorts of things, catching up and whatnot then I slept on the really comfy futon. A nice relaxing beginning to a crazy-busy trip.


My Hopes for This Trip

28 Jun

Hello blog – I’ve missed you so.
Before we dive into the first post I want to share some of my hopes & expectations of this trip.
I hope:
– To become more fluent in French
– To take LOTS of pictures/videos 🙂
– To have a great teaching experience
– To learn more about French history/culture
– To be able to sleep/rest on this crazy whirlwind trip

and probably most importantly for you all:
– To be able to post on this blog by 12pm daily (After the first week in Paris, I have no idea if I’ll have WIFI or the time to post. :/ So I will try to keep you all in the loop.)
“Does this mean that we won’t be able to hear of your adventures at all, Courtney?”
Do not fear! I will have a little notebook on hand (well, in purse) so I can always type up some blogs posts if I have an hour free, or you know, when I return home.

Jour 1 (Day 1) Will be posted today at 12pm MI time. 🙂  Merci et bisous!

Coming Soon to Le Tour Eiffel

24 Jun

You can expect to see a whole lot more of this:

Baguette Wars

Baguette Wars: Part Deux


(If you cannot view these videos, add me on Facebook!)

Adventures in Syllabus-Making

24 May

For the past month now I’ve been busy formulating ideas, asking questions to my boss & teachers from previous years, and reviewing emails being sent to me left and right. This is all in preparation for my return to Paris.

Friends, I spent 3 hours today typing up my syllabus, 3 hours straight. My eyes absolutely hate the computer screen right now.  I still have another one yet to do, most likely, I will be revising this current one later this week. But it’s not just the syllabus, it’s the passion to create fun projects, fun topics for essays, and instill a love of learning that keeps me working these long hours. Even though this is tough work, I really like it. I mean, not right now but I keep thinking about the end product and start to get really excited.

Before I was slightly nervous about this trip but through looking at it again more carefully, the nerves disappear. This program offers so much for the students [and their chaperones ;)] to do. It seems like it’ll all be over in the blink of an eye. I hope I’ll be able to update this blog on a daily basis but I think I may be caught grading papers or actually out enjoying and living life in Paris. Don’t fret, I will definitely take tons of pictures and carry my trusty notepad with me at all times.

Good news is I won’t have to do these syllabuses and lesson plans when I get to Paris. (Well, I might have to do a few, but it’ll be more like tweaking the plans) More time to concentrate on being in the moment  and actually teaching since all the work is prepared ahead of time. 🙂

Day 40: Preparing for the Return Home

24 Aug

Well Paris, it’s been real.
I spent the day packing and cleaning my room (again)
Getting ready to leave in the wee hours tomorrow and hopefully get used to MI time again.
There are so many things I’ve done that I never thought I’d have the chance to do. And yet there’s so much more.
A small part of me wishes to go out and do everything, but a much bigger part says, “You’re tired, wait until you can go and travel with someone.” I like the second thought better.

I can’t wait to return to Paris. It’s so overwhelming that it’s really hard to do everything in one trip.
I created this blog for my friends and family to read about my adventures but also for myself.
Some may call it selfish, but I really wanted to remember what I did in France. Photos help but written sentiments help as a reminder.
I’m sure once I get settled back in MI, I’m going to forget various things, speaking French, what’s polite and what’s not.
That’s why this blog was created. For others to learn about the French culture and for me to remember.
Who knows? If I return to France within the next 5 years, things may change!

I’m so happy that (most of you) enjoyed this blog! I really enjoyed writing it and can’t wait for the next adventure.

Day 19: Teaching Time – part deux

19 Jul

Teaching checklist for the day:

  • Watched Disney’s Magic English part 2 DVD
  • Constantin is getting a lot better at speaking and enjoys playing the DVD
  • looking up worksheets to color and practice English

Constantin drew a story and then explained what was happening.
This was a very good exercise but 1/2 of what he said was in French.
I filmed the story, so he has something to reference and we will try this activity again to gauge improvement.

Constantin and I baked cookies today as a belated birthday gift for his mother.
I explained to him all that we needed to do and later I will ask him all the steps we had to go through to make the cookies.
Then we tested a few (to make sure no one else would die from eating them of course).
After the cookies were done, Constantin and I went to the park where he saw his friend Théo.

Constantin was playing soccer (Sorry Europe, football) with Théo and his brother Pablo.
Constantin gracefully kicked the ball into the pond. And we searched for a net.
So I’m struggling on the French word for “net” as we ask the police (Their station happens to overlook the park, how nice)
The lady police officer informs me that there is no such thing like a net and then I find one behind a pole near the door.
“Puis-je l’utiliser?” BAH, OUI. (popular French phrase, it’s also probably the funniest French phrase for Americans.)
I’m attempting to create waves to move the soccer ball closer. Pablo found a very long stick and  began splashing the water as well.
It was counter-productive to my efforts, but I couldn’t think of the words in French at the time.
We finally get close to retrieving the ball when the net falls off of the pole.
Now we have lost a soccer ball and the net to this strange, uniquely magnetic French pond.
Pablo then fishes out the ball with the stick and I use the stick to pull out the net. Last thing I need is the French police after me for net thievery.

Despite the soccer ball disaster, there is one thing that is really cool about France. The town hall is where all the shops are as well as the school, library, park,  bank, pretty much everything. It’s really nice because almost every time you visit, there are people and there is typically something to do. In America you have to decide on a restaurant or a house to meet up at and then drive 20min. In France, you just walk 5/10min and you’re in the center. Or hey, take a train.

The cookies turned out great!
Au Pair mom was ecstatically happy and even though Constantin speaks in French for the most part, he knew a lot of the vocabulary from the baking lesson.
Woohoo! English fluency is on it’s way!