A group of 25 eighth grade students recently traveled to Québec, a predominantly French-speaking province in eastern Canada, to experience and immerse themselves in the culture. During their trip, the students practiced speaking French, learned how to curl and explored various sites in Montréal and Quebec City.
“Many of the students stepped outside of their comfort zones, using French for the very first time with native speakers,” said middle school teacher Emily Cloud, who accompanied the students along with fellow French teacher Toby Gillen and social studies teacher David Katz. “Much of the middle school French curriculum centers around daily life and getting around town, and the trip was a perfect opportunity for students to practice these basic French language skills they’ve been developing for the last three years.”
On the first day of their trip on Jan. 18, the students visited Old Montreal, the 17th-century French settlement known for its European charm and cobblestone streets. From there, they moved on to the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, where they gazed at the Milky Way, as well as the Olympic Stadium, which was built for the 1976 summer games. The evening concluded with indoor ice skating at the Bonsecours Basin located near the St. Lawrence River.
The next day, the students and teachers headed to 360˚ Observatoire Place Ville Marie, where they took in the views of Montréal. They also explored the Redpath, a natural history museum, as well as the Underground City, a network of subterranean stores, hallways, eateries and office buildings. In addition, they visited Basilica Notre-Dame, which impressed the students with its stained-glass windows, gold statues, woodwork and classic architecture.
On their third day, the students traveled to Quebec City, where they toured the quaint Musée du Fort, depicting 17th-century battles using a diorama, and Montmorency Falls, which originates more than 80 meters above ground and is 1.5 times taller than Niagara Falls. As a culminating experience on their last day of the trip, the students stopped in at Club de Ville Mont-Royal, where they learned how to curl, before heading home.
“It was a great trip,” Cloud said. “The students were able to see the language in authentic contexts such as on restaurant menus, street signs and local businesses. They ordered food in French, asked vendors about clothing, asked for directions, and provided personal information about hobbies and interests.”