How/Where Carnival is celebrated in France.
How children celebrate at school.
French Practice using ON + Verbs.
Video Clip + Translation Practice
Le Carnaval(Carnival) is celebrated all over France.
French nursery schools (écoles maternelles) organise carnival processions and festivities for the children, and there are big city and town celebrations too.
Internationally famous French carnivals include: Nice, Albi, Douarnenez, Annecy …
Carnival season begins on 6th January (Epiphany) and ends on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent: Mardi Gras= Shrove Tuesday Le Carême= Lent
Gras= Fat Mardi Gras= Fat Tuesday …
A good name because it is Pancake Day and time for a feast before many still try to give up favourite treats for 40 days until Easter Sunday. Mardi Gras = Shrove Tuesday = Pancake Day Une crêpe(f)= A pancake
Carnival Celebrations in Schools:
Le Carnaval is a time when children, parents and teachers get involved in making costumes, preparing a feast, organising a procession (un défilé) for all the children, and then returning to burn Monsieur Carnaval before feasting on crêpes and other treats.
What/Who is Monsieur Carnaval?
Monsieur Carnaval is a figure that is made and then burnt to help people to move on from winter, bad behaviour and negative thought, and so look forward to Spring and better times.
Sometimes children write down the negative things that they are going to try not to do or think anymore, and these notes are burnt alongside Monsieur Carnaval.
Le Carnaval en France – Que fait-on?
(Subtitles in French + English)
Video Transcript for Translation Practice:
On fait un Monsieur Carnaval.
On prépare la fête.
On se déguise.
On défile dans les rues.
On chante. On fait du bruit.
On marche beaucoup.
On retourne à l’école.
On fait la fête!
On mange des crêpes! Et Monsieur Carnaval?
On brûle Monsieur Carnaval.
On brûle Monsieur Carnaval avec toutes nos mauvaises pensées.
On oublie l’hiver.
Le printemps arrive!
Learn the basic tune, lyrics and easy guitar chords for Cielito Lindo.
Read the English translation below the video clip.
Cielito Lindo is an old folksong in triple time (3 beats in the bar).
It is in the shape of a ‘Seguidilla’.
The tune lends itself to being sung to different words.
For example, how about beginning a verse with: G “Somos los estudiantes de
……………………….. D7 la clase de don/doña ……..”
What next? Be inventive, be nice, and make sure the words fit in with the tune …
Cielito Lindo means ‘pretty little sky‘, used as a lovely nickname for a beautiful girl in the song.
Lyrics + Guitar Chords: Refrain: G ……….. C
Ay, ay, ay, ay, D7 ……….. G
Canta y no llores, ……………………… D7
Porque cantando se alegran, ……………………… G
Cielito Lindo, los corazones.
Verse 1 G
De la Sierra Morena, ………………………. D7
Cielito Lindo, vienen bajando,
un par de ojitos negros, ………………………… G
Cielito Lindo, de contrabando.
Verse 2 G
Ese lunar que tienes, ………………………. D7
Cielito Lindo, junto a la boca,
No se lo des a nadie, ………………………… . G
Cielito Lindo, que a mí me toca.
Verse 3 G
Una flecha en el aire, ………………………. D7
Cielito Lindo, lanzó Cupido,
si la tiró jugando, ……………………………. G
Cielito Lindo, a mí me ha herido.
– – –
English Translation It is not a literal (word for word) translation. Refrain:
Oh, oh, oh, oh,
Sing, don’t cry,
Because, Cielito Lindo,
singing cheers the heart.
Verse 1. Cielito Lindo, a pair of black highwayman’s eyes
is coming down the Morena mountain range.
Verse 2. Cielito Lindo, don’t give that mole next to your mouth to anybody else, it is mine!
Verse 3. Cielito Lindo, Cupid fired an arrow into the air.
Even if he fired it for fun, it has hurt me!
There are countless versions of Cielito Lindo online for ideas of how to liven up a performance and incorporate more sounds and instruments.
Find out about the Spanish Festival of Las Fallas, which has UNESCO World Heritage status, and takes place in Valencia, Spain.
Video clips in Spanish (and Spanish/English) explain:
– The fallas statues and their history
– The ninots – Little figures on the fallas
– The parades of falleros and falleras carrying flowers
– The gunpowder displays (mascletàs)
This extraordinary family festival is planned for throughout the year and takes over the whole city for 5 days.
It culminates in a huge fiesta when the fallas are set fire to and there is an enormous firework display on the night of 19th March, St Joseph’s Day: El día de San José.
Valencia is known as the city of gunpowder:
Wherever you go during the period of Las Fallas, especially in the early morning during la Despertà and at lunchtime during la Mascletà , you will hear the noise of gunpowder, and firecrackers are set off by people all over the city.
The biggest, noisiest gunpowder display happens at midday on 19th March. It is called El Terremoto – The Earthquake! (Video transcript + Comprehension Questions below)
Las Fallas Video Clip:
Repeat in Spanish AND English:
Repeat with NO English subtitles OR audio:
Video Transcript in Spanish: (Spanish AND English subtitles on two of the video clips)
Gente disfrutando del sol,
Petardos por todos lados … ¿Qué pasa?
¡Estamos en Valencia para las Fallas!
¡Es una fiesta ruidosa y maravillosa!
Por toda Valencia hay escenas como esta …
¡Y durante varios días!
¡La pólvora es una tradición valenciana!
¡Esto es una falla!
Cada barrio construye una grande y una falla infantil.
La costumbre viene de las figuras que hacían los carpinteros con su ‘basura’ de invierno.
¡Hay premios y competiciones!
Las Fallas y sus NINOTS incluyen chistes y comentarios sobre la vida y la política.
Por ejemplo, esta falla se dedica a Grecia.
¡Y en el año de esta falla no se siente bien!
¡Todos los niños tienen tres días de vacaciones!
Las Fallas reune a todos.
Mira la peineta de las falleras.
Miles de falleros y falleras desfilan por las calles.
Las falleras llevan ramos de flores,
Los falleros también …
Flores para la manta de la Virgen de los Desamparados.
El día más importante es el Día de San José,
El 19 de marzo:
¡Al mediodía ocurre la más grande ‘mascletà’ de todas!
¡Durante la noche hay una fiesta enorme!
¡Con fuegos artificiales por todos lados!
Y queman las fallas.
Se llama, en valenciano, la NIT DEL FOC.
Rescatan los mejores NINOTS para el museo:
¿Reconocen estas figuras?
¡Y mira este chico!
– – – – – –
English: What is a very noisy Valencian tradition? . . .
Who are the flowers for that are being carried by the ‘falleros’ and ‘falleras’? . . .
How many days’ holiday do the children have? . . .
Which is the most important day of the fallas? . . .
When do they burn the fallas? . . .
Where do they put the best ninots?
. . .
¿Qué es una tradición valenciana muy ruidosa?
. . .
¿Cuántos días de vacaciones tienen los niños?
. . .
¿Para quién son las flores que llevan los falleros y las falleras?
. . .
¿Cuál es el día más importante de las fallas?
. . .
¿Cuándo queman las fallas?
. . .
¿Dónde ponen los mejores ninots?
. . .
(notice that Valencian accents go the opposite way to normal Spanish accents)
La Despertà – Gunpowder early in the morning to announce the Fallas
La Mascletà – Gunpowder at midday to announce the Fallas
La plantà – Time when the fallas are officially put into place
El llibret – The booklet attached to each falla to explain its theme
La Nit del Foc – The firework celebrations on 19th March
La cremà – The burning of the fallas +
El Terremoto – The biggest Mascletà, 19th March (an earthquake of noise!)!
La Ofrenda – The parade & offering of flowers to the Virgen de los Desamparados
Rusty French? Lacking in confidence? These workshops might help …
A Green Mouse has been asked to pass on the following information from the Alliance française:
“In partnership with the French Institute in London, the Alliance française de Manchester is organising a series of 6 workshops to support any practitioners involved in teaching French in Key Stage 2, especially class teachers and teaching assistants, who would like to get started with French or to use it more regularly in the classroom, from 14th January 2014 onwards.
These workshops are aimed at practitioners who have little or no knowledge of French, including those who feel rusty and lack the confidence to use their French in the classroom and will be led by Catherine Cheater, renowned trainer both nationally and internationally, and author of Catherine Cheater Schemes of Work for French.
With a maximum of 20 participants, these sessions of 3 hours each aim to be friendly, supportive and fun. As such, participants need not feel anxious about their level of French. Handouts with key language will be provided at each session.
For further information on dates and times, please refer to the following link on our website: KS2 French Workshops ”
Hopefully research like this will encourage more families to search out interesting songs and nursery rhymes in other languages to sing with their young children. Of course there is far more to learning a language, but singing really can help to loosen those vocal chords!
Maggie est coquine! Maggie is mischievous!
This is a very short, friendly story and subtitled video clip in French for children which clearly illustrates the idea of possession:
Billy says a toy belongs to him, but Maggie steals it! Mon jouet = my toy C’est mon jouet= it is my toy
C’est à moi= it’s mine
Learn to say that things belong to you in French: Mon and Ma are called Possessive Adjectives
They describe words by saying who they belong to: C’est mon jouet(m)– it’s my toy C’est ma maman(f)– it’s my mother
Mon describes a masculine word Ma describes a feminine word.
MON is also used with ALLwords that begin with a vowel:
Eg: Monamie (f)= my friend
(‘Ma amie’ would be harder to say, wouldn’t it)
Watch and join in with the video, read the story below, and do the translation exercise:
THE STORY IN FRENCH:
Maggie est Coquine!
C’est le matin.
Bonjour Maggie! Bonjour Billy!
Au secours! Maggie a mon jouet! C’est à moi! C’est mon jouet! Je veux mon jouet! Tu as mon jouet!
Maggie est coquine!
Elle aime cacher le jouet de Billy!
Qu’est-ce qu’elle fait?
Elle enterre le jouet!
Le jouet est caché!
Maggie tu es coquine!
Pauvre Billy. Il ne comprend pas.
– – – – – – –
Translation into English:
1. C’est le matin. … 2. Tu as mon jouet. … 3. C’est mon jouet. … 4. Qu’est-ce qu’elle fait? … 5. Maggie est coquine. … 6. Billy ne comprend pas.
Act out the story!
To meet Maggie’s whole family click here: Ma Famille
A wonderful Easter activity is to blow eggs and paint them.
Try to get hold of white eggs if possible.
Drill small holes carefully through both ends of the raw egg, either with a fine drill or by pushing and twisting a skewer slowly through the shell:
Blow the raw egg out (the smaller the hole, the harder it will be to blow the egg out!) and then dye with food colouring. Ideas:
– Drip hot wax in blobs onto the egg before dyeing or before adding another colour. Then pick them off after the egg is dry.
– Draw on the egg with a wax crayon before or after dyeing.
– Painting over the dye is fun too, like this little pig (petit cochon) chosen because of all the chocolate eaten over Easter!
Just as pâte à sel is great at Christmas time for decorations and presents, it is also a fantastic activity for the Easter holidays. Why not make a figure like the angry bird in this picture but turn it into a yellow Easter chick instead?!
Here are the instructions. Watch and listen to the video for some French practice too: the recipe
Broadcast on the BBC Today Programme, 24th January 2013: “Music and singing should be central to education and children’s lives” …
We all want our little guys to fly …!
Music and singing are excellent for introducing sounds in other languages. A Green Mouse is creating and sharing free French and Spanish listening practice for any child:
Songs for young children, and many video resources to link sound to words in accessible visual contexts for early listening and speaking practice.
Here is an example of one of the songs:
El Perro de San Roque …
El Perro de San Roque is a Spanish tongue twister.
(Tongue twister = trabalenguas in Spanish)
Use this tongue twister to practise Spanish R sounds
They are so different from English ‘Rs’, and French ones too (which come from the throat as if you are gargling).
To make an ‘R’ sound in Spanish, the tongue needs to be touching the roof of the mouth just behind the bone that holds the top front teeth . The Spanish R sound should be longer for double Rs, and shorter for single Rs. Here is some practice to join in with:
‘El perro de San Roque no tiene rabo porque Ramón Ramírez se lo ha robado’ Translation:
San Roque’s dog doesn’t have a tail because Ramón Ramírez has stolen it.
August/September, the season for sunflowers!
Think of French countryside with its fields and fields of sunflowers all turning their heads to the sun as it moves across the sky:
Sunflower seeds are full of nutrients.
They are a traditional and very popular playground snack for children in Spain and in South America: ¡Pipas!– Pipas are sunflower seeds.
Small bags of salted sunflower seeds (Pipas) are a traditional sight in school playgrounds, where they are allowed:
A very messy business because each ‘pipa’ has to be cracked open to get the sunflower heart inside, usually done using the front teeth, and then there’s the problem of what to do with the discarded shells ….
Piles of slightly damp ‘pipa’ shells ..?!
A little too salty and messy, but otherwise a great idea … And today ‘pipas’ are also sold without their shells!
Buenos Aires is a melting pot of many cultures and traditions.
There is even a small Scottish Dancing group! – It is a tradition handed down by those who moved to Argentina to help build the railways perhaps.
Walk through one of the parks and you might just come across somebody practising the bagpipes!
Buenos Aires has several bilingual schools which offer Scottish dancing lessons! Eg:
Of course TANGO is the dance which Buenos Aires is best known for. It originated in the area of the city known as La Boca – an old and very colourful area near the port:
‘El Viejo Almacén’ is an example of a well-known tango venue. It is also most enjoyable to stroll through the streets of San Telmo where, at weekends, there are often people dancing the tango in the street. Here is a picture taken of people enjoying themselves in San Telmo on a normal weekend:
Vocabulary + Video clip for Listening Practice Short simple phrases are used to describe fruit in the video.
J’aime les cerises = I like cherries.
J’adore les abricots = I love apricots. Les citrons sont amers = Lemons are bitter.
Les = the (which is a definite article).
Notice how les is in all the French examples above, but the is left out of the English translations.
That is because the is only used with fruit in English if the sentence explains more about the fruit, such as taste, appearance or where it is or from. E.g. The strawberries look delicious. (Les fraises ont l’air délicieux)
I like the cherries in Grandpa’s garden. (J’aime les cerises dans le jardin de mon grand-père)
To say fruit looks delicious in French, use the verb Avoir instead and say it has a delicious look: Avoir l’air délicieux = to look delicious E.g. The strawberries look delicious = Les fraises ont l’air délicieux.
The fruit is introduced using indefinite articles –
un, une, des: Un = a, an with masculine singular words Une = a, an with feminine singular words Des = Some with all words in the plural
un melon(m) a melon un citron(m) a lemon un raisin blanc(m) a white grape un abricot(m) an apricot une mangue(f) a mango une cerise(f) a cherry une figue(f)a fig une nectarine(f) a nectarine une pêche(f)a peach une mandarine(f) a mandarin (tangerine) une pomme(f)an apple une poire(f)a pear une prune(f) a plum une banane(f) a banana une fraise(f)a strawberry
Fruit in French Video Clip:
Phrases included on the video:
Les citrons sont amers – Lemons are bitter.
D’autres melons = Des + autres = Some other melons
J’aime beaucoup les cerises –
I love cherries
Tu aimes les figues? Do you like figs? Moi, j’aime les figues. (Me), I like figs.
Elles ont l’air délicieux. They look delicious.
Des raisins blancs aussi – Aussi = as well Some white grapes as well.
Les pommes sont rouges – (The) apples are red.
Maintenant des poires – Maintenant= Now Now some pears.
Ces = These/Those Ces fraises ont l’air délicieux – These/those strawberries look delicious.
Enfin = Finally
Enfin des abricots – Finally some apricots.
Homemade French Strawberry Tart:
Delicious and impressive as it is, Tarte aux Fraises is just a simple, thin shortcrust pastry base, a thick custard filling (crème pâtissière), and chopped strawberries topped by a sugary glaze. Recipe Instructions:
30cm metal tart tin
Oven Temperature: 180 C
Start by making the pastry:
The general rule is 1/2 fat to flour. E.g: 50g butter needs 100g flour.
For a richer pastry, include a little more butter and a teaspoon of icing sugar.
50g/100g will be a bit tight for a 30cm tin. 75g butter + 150g flour is safer but there should be some leftover: Method:
Rub fat into the flour using just the tips of your fingers.
Bind together with just enough cold water to make a dough.
You are supposed to leave the pastry somewhere cool for about 30 minutes, but … Sometimes it is easier to roll out if you don’t!
Roll out the pastry on a cool floured surface making it as thin as possible (no need to use all the pastry)
Put the pastry carefully into the tin. Cut off the edges with a knife and press a fork around the edges.
Cover the pastry base with greaseproof paper and put ‘baking beans’ or similar on top to hold the pastry in shape:
This image shows the small imprints left by the beans if the greaseproof paper is left out, as well as bubbles in the pastry caused by not enough beans being put in the pastry case:
Neither is a disaster, nor visible once the tart is finished, but it can be avoided, and it is certainly best not to burn the edges!
Bake for about 15mns at 180 C, removing the beans and paper 5mns before the end.
Check that the base is cooked, and leave to cool.
Crème Pâtissière (thick custard):
1/2 litre milk
4 egg yolks
1 tspn vanilla
30g plain flour
pinch salt Method:
Warm the milk in a saucepan.
Blend together the egg yolks, sugar and flour in a bowl.
Then gradually pour in the warmed milk, stirring all the time.
Pour everything back into the saucepan and gradually bring to the boil until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add vanilla + a pinch of salt and continue stirring for about a minute.
Turn off the heat, wait a few seconds, and then pour the custard into the pastry case.
Cut the strawberries in half, or quarters if very large, and place neatly to cover all the crème pâtissière, starting from the outside of the tin and moving in circles into the middle.
Heat 2 tablespoons of fruit jelly/jam (Blackberry jelly is great) with 1 teaspoon of water, and brush over all the strawberries with a pastry brush.
– – – – TARTE AUX PRUNES (Plum Tart): Delicious variation on the recipe for Tarte aux Fraises:
Follow the recipe for tarte aux fraises but replace the strawberries with 2lbs of fresh plums prepared as follows:
Cut the plums in half, take out the stones, and place them flesh down onto a heavy-based non-stick pan.
Sprinkle them well with plenty of caster or granulated sugar.
Bake until the skins of the plums look/taste quite caramelised.
Slide them carefully onto the custard trying not to disturb the plums’ shape and keeping the skins on the top.
Cool and eat!
– – – – –
TARTE AUX POMMES (Apple Tart):
Another absolutely delicious variation on Tarte aux Fraises!
This time lightly butter two baking trays.
Slice about 6/7 apples (thinly but not too thinly) and lay them on the trays.
Bake them until soft.
Peel them off the trays and put them on the crème pâtissière.
Brush the glaze on top as above.
Bought from a good pâtisserie, these pastries are quite expensive, but they are beautifully made with care and precision. You can buy much cheaper versions in large supermarkets, but they never look or taste quite as special.
The image of the goldfinch chick below, beak open, hopeful and enthusiastic, symbolises the carefree energy and enthusiasm of children, and all that A Green Mouse stands for.
Children can develop very good pronunciation in a second language if they are exposed to it early enough.
It is a question of opportunity, not one available to all children, so this website is accessible and free to try to reach out and provide it for any child.
Accessible French & Spanish Practice for anyone …
We all want to help our little guys to fly …!
Having a second language feels good, it makes life more interesting, it is good for the brain.
By starting young we give our children a better chance of success.