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...
Yuko Hardy, one of our great Fabulations' supporter gave the writing contest "le concours international des 10 mots de la francophonie" a try. Thank you Yuko for your participation.
Enjoy her lovely story!
Depuis décembre 2011, nous avons deux chats, dont les noms sont Milk et Kuro, une poule et un hamster. Nous avons accueilli un chaton de S.P.A. (Société Protectrice des Animaux), comme cadeau d’anniversaire pour notre fils. Il fallut attendre plus de douze mois pour l’adopter, par conséquence, son visage s’est épanoui quand Kuro, qui était tout à fait calme pendant les transports, est arrivé chez nous. En fait, toute ma famille a un penchant pour les chats, donc c’est vraiment naturel pour lui de demander un chat. J’ai songé que notre vieille chatte Milk aurait pris soin de Kuro, mais ce fȗt le cas contraire. Autrement dit, je n’ai pas bien cerné son caractère, bien que nous l’ayons eu pendant trois ans. Nous ne pouvons pas confier le chaton à Milk. L’ouistiti, comme nous l’appelons de temps en temps, et Milk, ils ne sont, malheureusement, pas des amis de palier. Kuro a l’âme en peine parce qu’il n’est pas l’ami de Milk. Cette situation est unsupportable. Si la méfiante changeait d’attitude pour lui, l’ouistiti écouterait une histoire stupéfiant, épanouie ou à la noix de Milk.
Two weeks ago, Carine mentioned a writing contest in celebration of the International Francophone Week. She first put pen to paper to produce a fantastic text about her childhood. The next week, Jane gave it a try too and transported us to the cosy romantic city of Venice. This week, my turn to give it a shot! Remember the rules? Narrate in less than 2000 characters a vacation memory, imperatively using these 10 words: autrement – âme – songe – transports – histoire – chez – confier – naturel – penchant – caractère. So here we go.
Tous les enfants n’ont pas la chance d’avoir grandi à deux pas de l’océan. Profiter de la plage et des embruns sans pour autant quitter le confort de son chez-soi. La beauté de la côte en été, le phare à la nuit tombée et le soleil rouge, penchant dangereusement au-dessus de la mer à chaque crépuscule.
Malgré ces satisfactions qui font l’âme de notre région, c’est toujours à cette saison que nous pliions bagages et partions pour nos vacances annuelles. Quitter la Vendée, le quotidien et la foule de parisiens descendus piquer une tête, histoire de s’oxygéner.
Bien sûr, avant d’arriver en terre promise, généralement un petit coin de France sélectionné selon le naturel de son environnement, de longues heures de route attendaient notre fratrie. Assis sur nos sièges inconfortables, cherchant tant bien que mal des occupations, ces temps de confinement dans l’habitacle du véhicule produisirent au final des souvenirs indélébiles.
Je donnais généralement le ton : mon imagination débordante requérait l’attention des autres. Commençaient alors des jeux où chaque situation ou question veillait à tromper l’ennui. Parfois, des chants appris à l’école envahissaient la voiture, plongeant mon père dans les songes profonds de son enfance. Par temps gris, les courses de gouttes sur les vitres trempées par la pluie avaient beaucoup de succès. Et quelques fois, en bravant avec patience les files interminables des transports coincés dans les embouteillages, des secrets venaient à être échangés: partager nos idées, confier nos rêves, nos projets.
Il était par instant difficile de supporter le caractère des autres. Des chamailleries éclataient tel l'orage, pouvant entraîner jusqu’à un arrêt soudain sur le bas-côté. « On se calme maintenant. Autrement… on rentre à la maison ! ». Des menaces en l’air qui savaient pourtant nous remettre à notre place.
Et bien que de retour au calme, nous bouillions intérieurement d'impatience. Conscients que nous nous apprêtions à vivre des instants de vies inoubliables.
March 17 to March 25, millions of French speaking people around the globe will come together to celebrate the French language and francophone cultures for the 15th annual “Fête de la Francophonie.”
For the occasion, the French organization AFAL (Association Francophone d'Amitié et de Liaison) launched a writing contest: le concours international des 10 mots de la francophonie
Librarians and young adults (18-25) from around the world are encouraged to share a vacation memory in French incorporating this year's 10 words: autrement – âme – songe – transports – histoire – chez – confier – naturel – penchant – caractère
A panel of writers, journalists and linguists among others will be judging the entries. The best texts will be published in an anthology.
You have until March 20th to submit your entries, so get to your pens (or keyboard) and pass the word around!
to enter the contest or for more information.
I had a set of Russian dolls as a child and loved them. I would pull out a doll out of each hollow body, sort them, nest them back together, only to start all over again. Today I can see with my own children the fascination this nesting system brings to them. There is something puzzling and magical about creating multiplicity out of a single object.
This is this magical and fascinating effect that we are trying to recreate for our set: with as few props as possible, we want the Child (Polycolor's main character) to literally build the world he is acting out.
On a table, the Child progressively builds up the background in which he is evolving with materials at hand. From a variety of blocks, cylinders, cones and pyramids, and with different systems of nesting, rotation and stacking, he slowly builds a multidimensional world that we hope will surprise, fascinate and capture our audience's imagination.
When creating Polycolor, we unknowingly pushed the nesting concept even further since it turns out that Polycolor is in fact a play within a play: it is the story of a child, who is acting out a make-believe, transforming as he plays along familiar and nondescript elements into a grandiose backdrop for the story he has become part of.
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.