By Ely Schosek
Education is constantly evolving, which means that teachers must adjust to new material and standards. Some teachers mix class up every once in a while to keep students engaged, but for students in Madame Brown’s French class at SGI, that’s every day.
Brown’s class is innovative. Students are never bored in her class and the vast majority look forward to her class each and every day. This class is far from the standard of notes and grammar packets. Students participate in games and activities, which allow them to expand their knowledge of the French language while having fun.
Jaime Dickinson noted that the class, “breaks the stereotype of what classes are like,” and Julie Bartoszek added that it “doesn’t feel like a typical classroom.”
The learning environment is relaxed and attentive, and Brown acknowledges that you are going to make mistakes when speaking in French and that’s okay.
Each Wednesday, Brown plays a French song for all her classes as a part of “Musique Mercredi,” which translates to “Music Wednesday.” The songs she plays are of a variety of genres and are often the current top songs in France. Often times, these songs end up stuck in students’ heads and some even download the songs later in the day.
Brown Brown never assigns homework unlike nearly every other teacher, but she says, “If you go home and listen to the song I played in class, it’s a win for me because you’re listening to French outside of the classroom.”
She also acknowledges that, although we may not admit it, lots of students complete their homework assignments the day of in other classes, which isn’t very productive for them. It goes unsaid but her students love “Musique Mercredi!”
With her classes, Brown Brown will sometimes play Kahoot, Gimkit or Quizlet live; all of which are interactive online games. Students enter a class code on the selected website and are automatically put in the competition with their other classmates. Sometimes the students are grouped into random teams and other times they play individually.
These games are focused on vocabulary words in a non-traditional sense. Students are not just going through the list, they are forced to remember the words in order to rank well in the game. Depending on the class, some students get very competitive!
Another activity that Brown does with her students involves the students each picking a random object and putting it in a paper bag, which Brown then goes through and describes. The students have to guess what the object is and who it belongs to.
Recently, the junior class played a game where they had to describe an object to their partner and try and get them to guess it. For the most part the students won’t know the specific word so this game forces them to think around that. The junior class played the latter just last Friday and nearly every student in that class listed it as one of their favorite activities overall!
“My all-time favorite game to play is the highlighter game,” said Julie Bartoszek. During this game, Brown will say a word and students have to find the translation on a sheet of the words scattered and mixed up in different directions. The first person to find the word in each group highlights it on their paper and gets that point.
“It becomes very competitive and it is a good way to test out knowledge of specific words,” Julie added.
Each Monday, the class thinks of “two smiles and two frowns” from the past week. Some students call it “two positive; two negative.” They go around the class and share these, doing their best to say them in French with Brown’s help if need be.
Beginning around Halloween, Brown would tell her classes classic French stories. As she spoke, she would draw pictures on the whiteboard or show pictures on the smart board to help anyone who may not know the words. These stories are always entertaining, which is likely why Jaime listed it as one of her favorite activities.
During the month of November, Brown started a competition between the junior and senior classes to see who could speak the most French during class. Brown will make the winning class crêpes. Being in the junior class, I think it’s safe to say, we’ve never spoken so much French!
Eve Doherty mentioned the fact that there is absolutely no judgement in the classroom and how Brown “makes sure to include everyone.” Eve also added, “she really is such a great educator” and it’s safe to say that everyone taking French at SGI High School agrees.
French class is and always will be something to look forward to, at least as long as Madame Brown is in charge of it!