Can you believe another school year is upon us?If you don’t already know me, my name is Madame Efi Mouchou.This is my 2nd year at OJCS and I look forward to forming relationships and teaching your kiddos. It has been a pleasure working with your children and I have seen so much growth and learning already in the short amount of time we have had together. Last week we spent time getting to know each other and establishing the classroom rules.We played games revising the letters of the alphabet and practicing the calendar,we did some writing activities and we read lots of books.This week”s focus was on the french greetings and saying our name in french.I look forward to meeting you all at back-to-school night on the 19th when you will have the chance to see your kids’recordings.
If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me through email or a phone call.
Here is the blog with many fun activities and games for the students to do over the summer.I highly encourage them to spend some time when they feel like it because they can revise everything they have learnt this year.Have fun!
Our educational journey is almost coming to a close for this school year, with lots of positive moments and maybe a few challenging ones, at times. Speaking for myself, one of the greatest moments was when I joined the OJCS school, meeting such beautiful people and appreciating the Jews values and heritage that are celebrated. Being a diplomat’s wife, I am certainly used to developing an appreciation for different cultures and traditions and making lifelong friendships, but teaching in a school with a trilingual curriculum is unique. Shifting from “Good morning” to “Bonjour” and “Shalom” daily, opens a door to a whole new world not only for our kiddos but for us, the teachers as well. I don’t want to start listing the advantages of such education because; I am sure you all know them very well, and you can see the results everyday. However, I would like to stress that as we all try to achieve our goals, it is important not to lose sight of the journey. Ithaca, in Homer’s Odyssey, symbolizes this idea of a destination as a long and winding journey, where the supreme aim is to find fulfillment, such as changing careers, getting a new job, passing an exam, coping with a serious health problem, moving to another country, or school, going through the loss of a parent, and so forth. Constantine Cavafy (one of the most renowned Greek poets) wrote the poem “Ithaca” in 1911, inspired by Odysseus’ journey home after the end of the Trojan War. Cavafy describes Odysseus seeing amazing things, without caring for the destination as he is, advised: “Do not hurry your trip in any way.” That’s what we should all pray for dear friends and students, a long trip full of adventures, difficulties that grow us, and numerous learning opportunities so that when we reach our destination, we will be rich in maturity, knowledge, and wisdom. No matter the hardships, never give up!
Now I would like you all to listen to the poem recited by the amazing Sean Connery and set to the music of Vangelis Papathanassiou.
The school is buzzing right now! There has been so much activity lately at the school, and students are shining. Kids enjoyed spending a morning with their grandparents doing fun activities in all three languages, and they proudly showed them their work. For Mother’s Day, they made beautiful cards with wishes in French, and we read how people celebrate this special day in other countries. They keep practicing their reading and writing skills through reading buddies and playing games so that they can review all the new vocabulary, such as spring, the parts of the body, and animals. We are currently learning about animal habitats like the sea, the jungle, the farm, and the type of food they eat, and of course, as the weather steadily improves, we spend some time outdoors. As the end of the school year is getting closer, I insist on reading with the children daily so they can finish Grade 1 positively and successfully.
The students had another two weeks of great learning at the OJCS. Spring is finally here so we started exploring the vocabulary, reading stories and short poems, creating sentences with the words and doing fun and educational activities. We also visited the restaurants that Grade 5 created. We saw the menus, we spoke with the owners, ordered food and drinks in French, and we voted for the best restaurant. The kids enjoyed it a lot.We celebrated the 75th anniversary of Israel by working in different stations, making the salads for the pitas and the falafel,l and dancing traditional dances. Finally the students learned the song ”tête, épaule, genou et pieds” because the body is our next topic. On Friday they did reading buddies with Grade 5. Grade 1 proudly read to them, wrote a few simple sentences related to the story, and played word games. As we are slowly heading to the end of the school year, I see my stars truly SHINE!.Their talent to switch from Hebrew to French and vice versa is staggering.They learn from me, and I learn from them!!!!!!
Alors les amis, why celebrate la Francophonie? I can think of thousands of reasons why but it comes down to one thing: we love the french language because it is smooth, rich, and flowing: we love speaking french because, with its nasal vowels and melodious intonation, it sounds very musical to a non-native ear. We want to learn French because it is also called the language of love, cooking, fashion, theater, visual arts, dance, and architecture.
During la francofête at our school, we had the pleasure to admire all the students from JK-grade 8 sing, dance, act, and recite poems in french!!!! All the teachers worked hard to make that happen. The students were proud of themselves, and their energy and passion were evident throughout the afternoon. During the week of the francophonie, they read books, heard stories, watched movies, played games, learned the ten magic words, and tasted french treats. Alors mes amis as the legendary teacher Dorothy Grace Boyajian once said, “Let us keep the flame of knowledge alive so we can light the candle of our children.”
A different week Rush Week full of happy faces, fun, smiles, and dazzling colours has finished. Purim allowed me, along with my kiddos discover what this celebration means and symbolizes. Through fun activities, we watched, heard, and told the story of Purim in French. We discussed the good and bad main characters of the story. We learned new vocabulary and hid by dressing up in costumes, appearing as something else, while our true selves remained hidden underneath the masquerade. It was an incredible experience for ME and a fun time for THEM!
Both classes got together on Purim to have Ruach filled day. We made graggers. We loved listening to the Megillah Reading Rabbi Kenter. We had a fabulous fashion show. It was amazing how everyone got the same overall score from our judges. Moreh Saar, Ms. Karissa, and Mrs. Bennett claim all participants gave their best performance, so they had to give everyone the best possible score.
It’s time for a well-deserved break for all of us! The kids have been working beautifully, enriching their vocabulary, improving their writing, and practicing speaking French. After the winter clothes, they learned geometrical shapes by playing games and activities like building structures. They were quite amazed to discover that most words derived from the Greek language, like pentagone,hexagone, etc. We also worked on the winter vocabulary, and we learned everything that is associated with the snow. They played charades, memory games, and puzzles to help them remember the words. Going outdoors during recess gave them the opportunity to practice the vocabulary. The children studied prepositions, and drew pictures of their room. The students presented their room pictures to the class while describing the location of some objects with the prepositions sur,dans,sous,devant, etc. In writing the children produced their first complete sentences using est( is). They were very proud of themselves. We are continuing with our complex sounds like CH and OI, and the best way to practice is by doing ‘Je lis’ regularly. I insist on them listening to the story many times before recording so they pronounce the words correctly. I am happy to see that they have become more comfortable with common words like Voici, C’est, Mon, Regarde, etc. During the break, try to expose them to the French language as much as possible, outings to museums, french cartoons like Caillou(there are over 400 episodes on the YouTube channel), french songs, and free online Apps like Duolingo, Hello-World French Children’s Activities can all make this journey for the kids educational and fun.
The last two weeks we have been talking about winter clothes and we have been doing different fun activities so that the children can remember the new vocabulary. It goes without saying that we regularly review previous words such as the colours, the numbers, the days etc. Next week we are learning the geometrical shapes. As far as reading is concerned, I follow their reading daily insisting on the correct pronunciation and the meaning of the words. In addition, I read with each one of them almost every day in order to boost their confidence. Since they are familiar with the books in Je lis, I started giving them simple comprehension activities related to the stories so they get the chance to see, write and read the words again. Regarding the sounds, we have started exploring the complex ones like U, and OU and we will continue doing so because once they can recognise them, their reading will improve considerably. I strongly encourage you to go over the sheets they bring home when you have some free time, or even when you are out, and you see a sign in french ask them to identify any sound they know. The great thing about Canada is that everything is written in both languages so even a simple walk to the supermarket can be a learning experience. Don’t forget that repetition is the mother of learning.