14.12.2007 0 °C
I have to admit my lessons this week have been kind of selfish, although I'm sure also beneficial to the children. In each class I told them all about English Christmas traditions (in French with varying degrees of detail according to age and with the help of 'real' 'props'- a cracker, a christmas card etc), and then asked them to have a discussion with me comparing my traditions with their own, meaning I got a whole load of information about *French* Christmas!
So. My key topics were:
-Giving and recieving Christmas cards (far less "done" over here...family maybe, friends -possibly, but almost certainly not the milkman/that random friend of a friend whose husband's name you're not sure of)
-School carol services/nativity plays (not done here - secular school system although one boy did tell me he was doing one at Catholic school and got to be "le boeuf"
-Decorating houses - christmas trees and kissing under the mistletoe
-Christmas Eve - stockings, leaving something for Father Christmas and Rudolph
-Presents- where? when? from who?
-Christmas lunch - when? what? crackers!
I think the two most popular parts of the speech were the bit about the mistletoe and the crackers! Despite being inspired by French wrapped-up sweets crackers don't exist here (nor in America apparently); I took some in to show them and they were, as you may imagine, very excited by the whole thing particularly that you HAVE to wear your "crown" for Christmas dinner. he he! As for the mistletoe, I think some of them may have left the room with this odd idea that British people go through a very deprived year with no "bises" and then suddenly become kissingmaniacs "catching" people under the mistletoe...and really that's not so different from the typical "Christmas office party" image! err...oops!
For me what was most striking about their "French traditions" was the amount of variation. The class was pretty much split 50-50 those who had their main meal on Christmas Eve and those who ate on Christmas day. Similarly there were children who opened their presents in the evening of the 24th, at midnight or the next day!
It was cute to hear them talking about Father Christmas. The CE1s generally didn't show any sign of not believing in him, there was a mixture in CE2/CM1 I did the "well he visits me in England" card and hope I wasn't resposible for breaking any illusions and the CM2s were all very keen to begin their sentences with "when I still believed/because my little sister/brother/cousin/dog believes in Father Christmas...".
A few weeks ago I asked some of my oldest children to make a few Christmas cards to send to Redhills school in Exeter (am hoping to do some kind of letter correspondance with them next year). They made 6 cards as homework and here they are on display in England:
I've just been to say the Golden Compass. I read the books when I was younger. Enjoyed it....it's a shame to be another one of those books that comes as the first part of a series and so doesn't roll out amazingly well as a standalone film. But yeah nice film. Will have to watch it again in English to get all the voices I think, although was pleased that my French did me proud tonight, understood it all fine! Then Catherine, Cathy and Molly came back here and we had a really nice chat for a few hours.
Miss Joe. Looking forward to being at home a week today!
Has got very very VERY cold here the last 2 days....brrrrr.....