Thanks to the efforts of French teacher Angela Phillips, her middle school students connect with students in France, getting a feel for the language, culture, and understanding. Its much more than just pronunciation and verb conjugations.
At Greenville Middle Academy in South Carolina, Phillips is launching a program that connects her students in Greenville with their peers in France over the next two years.
A grant from Public Education Partners paid for five Dell Chromebook computers which are used by Greenville students to communicate with pen als in Clermont-Ferrand, France, where the world headquarters of Michelin is located.
The program will include a literature partnership, in which Greenville students read French books and French students read American literature, and in 2016, a group of students will spend several weeks in Greenville as part of an exchange program.
The pen pal initiative is just the beginning, says Phillips, in her fourth year at Greenville Middle.
“It’s important for the students to get to know each other so that when the French kids come, they already feel like they know them,” Phillips says.
The literature component of the program will involve students who come to Greenville Middle from the French immersion program at Blythe Academy. Those students take Phillips’ French literature class as part of their language arts curriculum.
Those students will read World War II-themed French books, while students in France will read the same books that Greenville Middle’s sixth-grade literature students read.
“We will be blogging to compare thoughts and ideas, themes on the two types of literature,” says Phillips, who taught French in the Lexington 1 school district for 14 years.
France has always held a fascination for Phillips, whose husband, Steve, works for Michelin.
She’s visited many times, and studied in Versailles while earning her master’s degree.