Dordrecht #36

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Dordrecht #36

Contributor: Rosie Smith

Language of text: French
Type of text: Poem
Author or source: Marcel Proust
Intended age of students: Key Stage 2/3
Source reference:
A liberal translation and Proust's drawing are available here:

Attached files:
1 List of target language instructions
2 Poem with translation

File nameFile typeSize
Instructions for Dordrecht activities.docxNo description15.1 kBInfo
Ton ciel toujours un peu.docxNo description15.16 kBInfo

This poem would be ideal after learning how to describe your town.
Use the poem to focus on pronunication.
Students brainstorm the French words they know associated with the word 'bleu' (perhaps 2 minutes).
Using dictionaries, students look at a photo of Dordrecht and write down all the words the photo evokes, focusing on their 5 senses (also a very quick activity).
Using sort cards provided by the teacher, the students create their own poem using the lines from Proust's poem - any order that seems to make sense to them. They have the English on the back of the sort cards and can 'peek' at any words they don't know.
The students listen to Proust's poem and put the lines into the correct order. Consider colour coding the verses for the less able students in the group.
Students look in the poem for words which contain the sounds [é/ez/er], [oi], [ui], [eu], [ou], [i/ie].
Each group has one or two sounds highlighted allocated to them. They listen to the poem again and raise their arms when they hear 'their' sound to create a Mexican wave.
The teacher translates the poem from the board with the whole class, modelling translation strategies and techniques. A good opportunity to focus on [ton/ta/tes].
The class work in pairs from a sheet which has the English and the French on it and coach each other to translate the poem into English - and then back into French.
If there is time, students could evaluate the translation which is available on the 'brainpickings' blog and decide whether a more literal translation is 'better'.
Students play a pronunication version of 'Just a Minute'. Two teams. One player starts to read the poem. If a member of the other team hears an error of pronunciation, they call out 'J'accuse!'. They must explain the error they have heard - 'On ne dit pas ........ . On dit........ ' - to get a point for their team and to continue reading aloud. The team which reads the last word of the poem earns 5 points.
The students work in groups to practise and perform a reading of the poem.
The students write their own poem about a town of their choice 'à la manière de' Proust.

To perfect pronunciation of the key sounds [é/ez/er], [oi], [ui], [eu], [ou], [i/ie].
To practise and develop translation skills.
To look at your own town through Proust's eyes.

Perform a reading of the poem.
Produce their own poem in the style of Proust.

Topics or themes:
Consolidation of the topic 'My town' in Year 7.

Gender and when to use ton / ta / tes.

Using a dictionary to find new nouns and to work out the gender of a noun.
Working in pairs to translate orally and to coach each other.

How much time required:
2 - 3 lessons

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