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Letters to ‘Père Noël’ help teach language
by By LOUISE R. SHAW
Dec 23, 2012 | 522 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
STUDENTS IN LAURA LARSEN’S second grade French immersion class have to be familiar with the French names of vegetables and fruits to win in this version of Bingo. Activities such as this, and writing letters to Santa, help students learn to communicate more naturally in the new language.       					 Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
STUDENTS IN LAURA LARSEN’S second grade French immersion class have to be familiar with the French names of vegetables and fruits to win in this version of Bingo. Activities such as this, and writing letters to Santa, help students learn to communicate more naturally in the new language. Photo by Louise R. Shaw | Davis Clipper
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NORTH SALT LAKE – In their letters to Santa, students at Foxboro Elementary reported that they’d been “très gentils cette année” and were hoping for “un chien” for Christmas.

One student told of how she had helped her mother “avec la fête de ma soeur,” and added “merci pour le i-Pod du Noël dernier.”

Student writers were assuming Santa understands French. They wrote in the language they have been studying since kindergarten.

Foxboro Elementary is one of nine language immersion schools in the district. One other school offers French study, three are Spanish immersion and four teach Chinese.

English-speaking students write of being very good this year (très gentils cette année) and wanting a dog (un chien), or helping their mother with their sister’s birthday party (avec la fête de ma soeur). One thanked Santa for last year’s i-Pod (merci pour le i-Pod du Noël dernier).

Foxboro students not only write to Santa in French, but talk to each other in their second language.

“I have my students write letters to Santa to get them thinking and comunicating as much as possible in French,” said Laura Larsen, their teacher.

“They were determined to let ‘Père Noël’ know what they wanted for Christmas and why they deserve their gifts,” she said.

The class is a noisy place, said Larsen, since most activities are done with a partner or in a small group so that students must communicate, interact and problem-solve together entirely in French.

“Before long they are able to play and work together as naturally as they do in English,” she said. “It really is amazing.”

lshaw@davisclipper.com

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