Monday, 6 January 2014

Trees is a website that's a bit like, as it has stories (which you can listen to), comptines, crafts and - my favourite bit - dossiers thématiques which are great for primary French and intercultural understanding.

On New Year's Day I received from them a lovely Bonne Année greeting

and a link to their instructions for making an Arbre à Voeux.  It's an activity which is ideal for this time of year, in particular for writing resolutions.  In fact you could use it for lots of different things, and not just in French.  It could be real tree branches, or you could make a big tree on your display board and stick on writing on leaf-shaped pieces of paper. Like mini-books, the labels only require a small amount of writing and so are non-threatening for the learners.  However you choose to do them, they will make an eye-catching display.  As PetitesTetes says: une idée d’activité de groupe qui permette à chacun de s’exprimer - an idea for a group activity which allows each person to express themselves.

The Arbre à Voeux is inspired by Japanese wish trees, where people tie ribbons inscribed with their wishes onto trees.  Because of this, it reminded me of the Arbre à Coeurs in the French village of Saint Valentin, home of the ultimate Valentine's Day experience.  I recently had to research what goes on in Saint Valentin for a resource I was writing, and the celebrations would certainly make for an interesting Valentine's lesson for secondary students.  The village has its own website, which explains how it came to be at the heart (excuse the pun) of Valentine's celebrations, and describes all the things that happen there now.

So there is a lot of scope for using trees in the languages classroom.

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