The Write Way

French III students thrive through their pen pals from France.

Photo+by+MaryAnn+Johnson
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The Write Way

Photo by MaryAnn Johnson

Photo by MaryAnn Johnson

Photo by MaryAnn Johnson

Photo by MaryAnn Johnson

Victoria McCoy

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Parlez-vous francais? Now there’s a chance to learn French and get a real feel for the language. At the beginning of the year, French teacher Jessica Lumetta was given the chance to have pen pals in these upper French level classes.

Principal April Adams came to Lumetta with the idea before the school year even started. Adams was contacted by a French teacher who went to school in Kearney when she was in high school, but now lives in France.

“I am very grateful Dr. Adams shared this with me,” Lumetta said. “My students are so excited and I love to see their excitement of contacting their pen pals.”

After Lumetta got into contact with the teacher from France, the students started to do activities with their pen pals.

In this process, the French students have gotten involved by sharing popular traditions in America, including Thanksgiving and Homecoming.

“We got to share Homecoming and all of our experiences that we have at our school with them,” sophomore Ele Bruning said. “We get their feedback about our customs they don’t have.”

The French pen pals also have shared about themselves. Each student got to know their pen pal by looking at pictures and trying to guess who they were through their voices.

Learning about their pen pals has also helped them comprehend more about the language and what everyday life in France is like.

“It’s a really good way of improving our fluency by having an actual person to talk to,” sophomore Emma Davolt said. “It’s nice to have their perspective on American customs and we can ask them questions about French culture.”

When the students know someone who speaks the language, they can see how it is actually used.

“When you learn it in class, all you learn is the grammar and the words,” junior Evan Moody said. “When you do it with a pen pal, there are no grades involved and you learn a lot more because there’s not the pressure of taking a test or working grammar in.”

Having a counterpart in France who corrects their French has also let the students see no language is perfect, and learning one can have its difficulties, whether its French or English.

“They make the same mistakes as we do when we’re writing French,” Bruning said. “Our French isn’t going to perfect, just like how their English isn’t perfect.”

While the students have learned quite a bit from their pen pals, most of them will admit they want a stronger relationship with their pen pals. Some of them will contact each other apart from their pen pal projects.

“Some of the people in my class have found some of the people in their class through Snapchat,” junior AnnaClaire Matz said. “Some people in my class have Snapchat streaks with the pen pals and will talk to them while we are in class.”

Lumetta has also seen a change in her student’s learning through the new pen pal system. She notices how well they pick up the language when they have someone to discuss it with.

“It makes the language real to them and has made them more interested in our curriculum,” Lumetta said. “Interacting with people who speak the language opens your eyes to all the possibilities in the world.”

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