The information below comes from District 112.
District 112 Board members honored Northwood French teacher Noelle Young and Elm Place French teacher Heather Palmer, who have developed innovative and engaging ways to teach their students, including hosting an annual student-run French Cafe.
The two teachers gave two presentations this summer at the 85th annual convention of the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) held July 5-8, 2012 in Chicago.
“It’s always an honor to be selected to present at a national conference,” Superintendent David Behlow told the two teachers. “The board values your professional commitment, and your students reap the benefits.”
One presentation--Chez Notre Cafe Francais--was about the French Cafe, an Elm Place tradition for 35 years. Heather has run it with enthusiasm at Elm Place since she began teaching there six years ago, and Noelle was inspired to launch the French Cafe at Northwood when she began teaching there two years ago.
Students spend weeks preparing for the cafe, which is held on a school day. They invite community members in and prepare and serve French breakfast and offer up entertainment. This interactive, culturally authentic experience allows students to learn French recipes, expand their French vocabulary and also learn about French music and culture. Beyond that, they learn practical life skills, like washing dishes and waiting tables.
The second presentation was entitled "Promoting Verbal Communication Through Literature", where Noelle and Heather reviewed how they use literary texts to encourage discussion and promote their students’ French speaking skills. They have developed a variety of engaging activities, including having students role-play interviewing a character from a book, and having students draw pictures that represent a scene in a story, and then use their French vocabulary to describe the scene they have drawn.