The last few months were busy with Summer camps and preparation to this new school year. New projects, finishing old projects, adapting to changes:
- Carine has accepted a full time position at L'Etoile Immersion School
- Carole went back to France - She is in a Master program in Artistic direction in Poitiers
- Jane had her second child this Summer - Welcome Maceo! and continue to work with the Alliance Française as the Children Program Coordinator & Teacher
We started our Fall classes a month ago already and it is exciting to be able to be present in all the French Immersion programs of the Portland Area. It was wonderful seeing old faces and meeting new students and Families. We could not be everywhere without our new teachers! Their bio and pictures will be soon added to our website but if you sign up for our newsletter, we are sending it this week!
What took us so long to write a new blog entry and sending our newsletter!?
Updating our website and being on top of writing this blog and our monthly newsletter are often last on our to-do list. Some administrative tasks, class preparation and moving some projects forward (New Show, performing > Rehearsing, Francophonie Theatre Festival) have to come first because we value professionalism and the quality of our programs. We value our relationships to our students and Families and with every Schools and team we work with. We are making a difference and that is what's important to us. However, to continue, we need support and help. Money is great, we all know this but everything else is more valuable.
If you have experience, are interested or simply enjoy proofreading, writing, Social Networking management, talk to people about us, have a couple hours to spare this month or every month for projects, consider writing us a quick email :
"Hey, how can I help? I can help with ...."
That will help us continuing to concentrate on what matters : bringing theatre, French, entertainment, education to the community!
After weeks of classes, intensive session of French drama exercises and pronunciation drills, long rehearsals, and... a lot of fun, the Spring term has come to an end. And I can’t help but agree with one of my younger student who said to me "There is only one thing I did not like about that class: it was over too soon".
It has been a really busy term for Fabulations, with more class offered and, as a result, more students. We had kids from 5 to 11 years old, hailing from all over Portland, going to different schools, fluent or not, sometimes even beginners! Shy, confident or true drama queens, they all have been working actively to discover the French theater world. Through games, improvisations, songs and texts, our students have developed new ways of expressing themselves! As Jane says "Theater is just such a great way for them to practice all aspects of French in a non-competitive atmosphere!".
On Wednesday May 30th, the eight girls of the Wednesday's class "Charivari dans les contes de Perrault" (Topsy-Turvy in Perrault's Tales) have given a great performance right on the main stage of the Northwest Children's Theater and School. They had been preparing the show for nine weeks and were more than excited to perform! Costumes, makeup, props, set, “crêpes”, family and friends in the audience...et que le spectacle commence. What an experience!
On Thursday, the drama students of the French American International School gave their parents a lovely theatrical time. While reproducing an improvisation-based “coffee shop” story, they demonstrated their acting skills and talents. They were very concentrated - both on their acting and on their croissants! And what is more satisfying than a Mom thanking you for having turned her reserved daughter into “a lively somptuous butterfly”?
On Friday, we took the way to L’Etoile French Immersion School where two classes of drama students were waiting for us, over-excited to show parents and classmates what is a French Theater class about. Together they gave a 30 minutes demonstration including exercises, games and rehearsed-improvisations (situations we have been working on but have never written a script or guidelines about them). A nice way to conclude a year long program!
Finally, on June 2nd, the Saturday’s “Charivari dans les contes de Perrault” cast had its dress rehearsal! One last chance to practice the play, to rehearse the songs and to make sure everybody knows when and what they have to do on stage. Sunday, at 5:00 p.m., was show-time! After a hair style / makeup / face paint session (for our Oger, Wolf and Witch), the eight girls got ready into costumes backstage. Curtains up and hasta la vista!
For all the kids, not only have they learned how to act, exaggerate or improvise when confronted to an unexpected situation; but they also have discovered new French structures & vocabulary, new group games and new friendships. They had fun performing and that is, for me the most important.
Please, take a look below at some amazing pictures of our Spring Term 2012...
Dear Friends of the Fabulations French Language Theater,
First, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for all of you
who joined us during the French Theater Festival of Portland festivities. It was our pleasure to be able to put a smile on your face. We were delighted to see so many of you together, spending time and sharing laughter with your family and friends.
You have heavily contributed to the success of our event! While contributing to make this year festival an incredible event, you are also helping us accomplish our goal, to introduce a new form of theater in the Portland Metro Area, to create a new type of French Language educational tool.
We would like to thank all of the Donors
which generous donations go a long way in helping the Fabulations development, more particularly our season’s donor Saint Honoré Bakery
. Our thanks also go to the Petite Provence Bakery
, La Brasserie Montmartre
, the Alliance Française de Portland
, and to the Northwest Children’s Theater and School
for letting us using their spaces for the various performances.
We thank our Local Media Organizations
as well, for helping us advertise and promote the festival. Your coverage of Fabulations events helped bring folks to the Festival from all over Oregon.
Please forward our appreciations to your family and friends
not on this mailing list who also spent the First French Theater Festival of Portland with us. We hope to see you again! Please write to us should you have any inquiries. We are always delighted to meet new friends! If you are interested in our organization, please visit our website www.fabulations.org
All of this would not be possible without you - thank you
Jane Fabulet-Roberts & Carine Zimber
Co-directors of Fabulations
In Carine's last posts she mentioned a writing contest in celebration of the International Francophone Week: narrate in less than 2000 characters a vacation memory, imperatively using these 10 words: autrement – âme – songe – transports – histoire – chez – confier – naturel – penchant – caractère.
As Carine, I don't fit the age requirement either to enter the contest but we decided that it would be fun if all our team was pretending entering the contest.
Je me sens comme un auteur devant sa page blanche à la différence seule que j'ai 10 mots devant moi. Je repense à l'histoire de Carine et j'ai beau chercher, aucun souvenir de mon enfance ne vient m'inspirer. Je relis cette première ligne et surprise, j'ai déjà utilisé un mot. Je relis les 10 mots à utiliser et il n'y a rien à faire aucun souvenir personnel ne vient à mon aide. En revanche, mon naturel penchant pour la Commedia dell'arte et certains de ces 10 mots me font alors voyager vers des personnages aux caractères stéréotypés mais si humains. Je me vois déjà chez Pantalone à écouter entre deux portes, j'aperçois Colombine confier à Arlequin le dernier songe de sa jeune maîtresse et Arlequin raconter les transports amoureux de Léandre pour Isabelle. Je me ballade dans le jardin de la maison du Dottore, et je vois Polichinelle, l'âme en peine, lire la lettre de refus que Colombine lui a écrite. Un bruit me fait sursauter, je sors de mes rêveries italiennes et je relis mon paragraphe. Je compte les mots: neuf! Encore un à utiliser mais autrement, j'ai fini! HA! Ca y est! J'ai fini! Finalement, en relisant encore une fois, je me rends compte que tout ce paragraphe me rappelle les deux voyages que j'ai eu la chance de faire en Italie. Je me souviens de me perdre délicieusement un matin très tôt dans les ruelles désertes de Venise à la recherche de la maison d'enfance de Carlo Goldoni.
Ecrit par Jane
When I was teaching adult beginner and intermediate levels, students always came to me to seek advice on how they could extend the classroom experience and practice on their own. Here are six easy tips to practice reading, writing, oral and listening skills at home, whether you've started taking French lessons, picked-up French again or just want to keep up your skills. The best part: you might actually enjoy it!
- Read in French: start with children books, move on to blogs, magazines, comics, non-fictions, novels, poetry, etc. Whatever sparks your interest! Look up some key words in a dictionary but if you understand the general meaning, keep on reading. You can always go back later and check for a definition.
- Watch a movie in French – without the distracting English subtitles. Instead, some DVDs offer French captions for the hearing impaired, try it, it will dramatically improve your French movie experience. Beware though, the captions aren't usually a true transcript of what is being said on screen, but it definitely helps keeping track of what's going on.
- Watch the news in French. The website www.euronews.net lets you watch the news and read the transcripts at the same time, in the language of your choice. www.tv5.org is another great resource to watch the news and other programs in French.
- Listen to French music and podcasts. Check www.listenlive.eu for a list of French radios streaming online.
- Go to a French meet-up group. Speaking with others who are also learning the language can help you shed that fear of making mistakes. Once you realize you can communicate, your confidence will take a boost, and so will your progress. Check out http://portland.sudre.fr/portland-french-groups for a list of French meet-ups in the Portland metro area.
- Find a French or French-speaking pen-pal. It is a great way to practice your French written skills and meet new people. Check out www.polyglot-learn-language.com
Here's a little insight on Polycolor
, our work in progress based on Robert Neubecker's
children book Courage of the Blue Boy
. It is scheduled to premier in April 2012.
The concept: there is only one actor, playing the character of a child who, in the world of make-believes, pretends to be Blue as he creates onstage the different lands in which Blue evolves. His companion Polly-the calf is the child's lovey (a “doudou” in French,) and most of the play's dialogue is the child/Blue talking to Polly-the lovey as he shares his observations, questions and emotions.
The synopsis: True to Neubecker's story, the child/Blue leaves his blue land in a quest to find other colors. As he travels, he comes to the realization that, although discovering new colors is fantastic, the monochromatic lands he explores are still very much like the land he left: plain and monotone. He starts longing for diversity and eventually debarks in a big, polychromatic city. His first reaction is of excitement and exhilaration before realizing that he and Polly are the only mark of blue in the city. Fear of what other people might think, loneliness and longing for his blue land make him retreat, until he finds the courage to share his color and to eventually come back out in the city where a wonderful surprise awaits.We are now working on the set/props and Marc Bescond is composing the original score, so stay tuned for more updates! In the meanwhile, feel free to share your comments and thoughts. We would love to hear from you about what you think of the project!Carine
The other day I followed a link to Betsy Hammond's article on The Oregonian website about Le Monde French Immersion being granted its Public Charter school status, and a comment posted by a reader made me pause and wonder.
It asked: why French? Why not Japanese, Chinese or Hindi? True, despite the fact that French is spoken on five continents and is the official working language of international organizations such as the United Nations, UNESCO or NATO, it is not at this time the language of one of the emerging markets in the world.
And so what? I thought. Does it really matter? Do I put my child's career and future in jeopardy if I choose today for him to learn French over Chinese? Or the other way around: will my son really have more chances of being successful in his future career if he learns Hindi over Tagalog, Spanish over Quechua? Or will he benefit merely for the fact that he is learning a second language?
It seems that a handful of experts in the fields of Early Language Learning and Teaching of Foreign Languages agree to the latest and concur: learning another language enhances cognitive development and mathematical thinking; increases critical thinking, creativity and flexibility of mind; thus, leading to better academic achievement. I am no expert but I might also add that it develops empathy, open-mindedness and understanding of other cultures.
It seems to me that learning another language – and the earlier the better, will set up a child for academic success, regardless of the chosen language. To paraphrase Martha G. Abbott, Director of Education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL): “Knowing other languages and understanding other cultures is a 21st Century skill set for American students as they prepare to live and work in a global society.”
I don't want to delve into politics and the finances of the Public School Systems, but it seems to me that any effort such as the one that granted Portland its first French Immersion Public Charter School ought to be recognized and commended.
Happy New Year to all from the Fabulations' team! We wish you all the very best for 2012.