Harriet J. Bauman
OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
I prefer using a variety of activities in which students can participate, to a format of lectures and notetaking. Students remember what they did, far longer than what they were told. Therefore, the following discussion of objectives and strategies will contain ideas for large group, small group, and individual learning activities.
OBJECTIVE 1: To learn about the French Creoles in Louisiana- how their customs, work, leisure time, food, music, etc. unite them as an American ethnic group.
For an introductory lesson to this unit and the first objective, the whole class would be involved in a discussion of ethnicity, in particular, what ethnicity is and is not. The students might discuss whether or not the U.S. is a melting pot in small groups and present their opinions to the entire class. Some discussion questions might include: What is an ethnic group? How does an ethnic group preserve its culture in the face of overwhelming pressure to become Americans?
A follow-up activity might be to ask the students in small groups to discover several ethnic groups in the United States (German-Americans, Chicanos, Swedish-Americans, Japanese-Americans, Franco-Americans, for example). Each group could do some research to find where these groups settled, when they came, why they came to the United States, how they influenced the growth of their area or state, what evidences of their culture are shared by all North Americans in the U.S. and which are kept within the group. When the research i8 completed, each group of students would share their information with the rest of the class.
OBJECTIVE 2: To learn the history of French Creoles in the United States, concentrating on Louisiana.
To focus more closely on the French Creoles of Louisiana, the students could read excerpts from various sources about early Louisiana history, and about French explorers such as Ia Salle, Champlain, and Marquette and Joliet. These excerpts could be in French or English depending on the level of French the student is learning. In addition, excerpts from a journal written by an early settler such as Iberville (see Bibliography), would be interesting to the students. The students could prepare short skits depicting the most important events for presentation to other French classes and U.S. History classes.
Students could make timelines of important historical events or dioramas depicting different events. Some students could trace the various routes for French settlers arriving in Louisiana. Other students could draw pictures illustrating costumes and houses of the Creoles. Still others could study Creole music and food. As a concluding activity, they could prepare a typical Creole meal with Creole music and dancing as the entertainment.
OBJECTIVE 3: To learn about Creole life today.
Students would be responsible for finding out about Creole life today. Some students might write to Louisiana asking for the information. Once the research i8 done, the students could share their information with each other in small discussion groups. Then they might write a paragraph or two in French or English, describing the custom. They could draw a picture showing the custom. These pictures and paragraphs might be used as a display on a bulletin board or in a display case.
OBJECTIVE 4: To use the Creoles and their culture to motivate students to learn French.
The students might study Creole holidays and celebrations typical of Louisiana. They could prepare skits, displays, booklets, dioramas, etc. highlighting the most unusual or interesting customs. While working toward this objective, they would be encouraged to discover the typical French customs, etc. which have become Creole.
OBJECTIVE 5: To use the Creole language to learn aboutCreoles and their culture.
The students would learn vocabulary and would read simple texts written in Creole French about life in Louisiana, or legends or fiction (short stories). Students could make a chart listing Creole terms, their equivalents in standard French, and their English translation. They might want to include a list of words or expressions that reflect life in America for which there are no French equivalents.
Another activity for students might be to find magazine pictures of common objects and label them in Creole French and standard French.
Students might write a children’s story using Creole vocabulary, customs, and beliefs.
OBJECTIVE 6: To use Creole literature to learn about Creole culture.
Students could read excerpts of Creole short stories, legends, etc. in French or English. The class could be divided into groups for vocabulary study, as well as discussion of the elements of these excerpts that reflect Creole life or thought.
The students could find pictures from magazines that treat the same topics as in their readings. They could label the pictures in Creole French or standard French. They could write simple stories using the same themes as their readings. They might even write skits and present them to another class.