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Francophonie Day at HCH

Students and staff came together to celebrate our annual Francophone Day on Wednesday.

The Early Years (Daycare to Nursery) were treated to a special French lesson. The children did really well and thoroughly enjoyed the activities brought to them, which definitely triggered their imagination and got them to practise their French skills. It was so exciting for them to be able to connect with different teachers, something that has been sorely missed during the pandemic. It is hard to say who had the most fun: the children or the teachers!

The Lower Years (Year 1, Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4) had a special timetable designed for the morning. Each Year group enjoyed at least 2 workshops related to the Francophone world. They had a lot of fun using their skills in various activities: singing, stories, TV games, arts and crafts. Having other French teachers speak in a Lower Years group is always a great way to put the children’s understanding to the test, and the teachers were all unanimously impressed by the pupils!

A year 1 pupil summarised the day saying: “Today was the day of the francophonie. So it was one big party!”

Year 10 had a Yoga lesson in French, delivered by their former teacher Dominique Vellutini. Dominique, who was the Year 5 form tutor of some of our Year 10, had prepared quite a challenging routine for our pupils, who beautifully rose to the challenge. Hearing Dominique’s voice in the main hall once again was a very special thing and at the end of the session, the stretching and exercises had brought a sense of serenity to the group. A few students reported they had a lasting feeling of calm and serenity throughout the day.

Our Year 5 discovered Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s most successful work: Le Petit Prince. After studying the cover of the book, the plot and the main characters, the students observed the watercolour paintings completed by the author himself. They then made their own cover of the book using watercolour paint which resulted in beautiful and delicate works of art that will be framed to decorate their classroom. Following this creative session, Claire showed them the trailer of the animated movie which inspired them to make their own thaumatrope to understand the persistence of vision and how stop motion works. A very enriching and creative workshop that combined French literature and art!

The Year 6, Year 8 and Year 9 enjoyed a unique cooking workshop with chef JP Gravier (from the restaurant Le Petit Nantais in Hampton Court). As the whole lesson was delivered exclusively in French, the students practised their understanding with a guest speaker, as well as creating “Le dessert du printemps” (a type of Eton Mess) using various cooking techniques. At the end, JP awarded a special prize for the best chef, before all our apprentis went off to enjoy eating their own creation.

Our Head of Humanities, Clarisse led a fantastic Year 5 to Year 12 Quiz assembly. The questions were organized by topic, and the students were able to keep track of the scoreboard at the end of each section. The points were discussed and awarded by Manon and some Year 13 French speakers (Imogen and Fuchsia). One highlight of the event was when two form groups were neck-to-neck on one section: the Y5 and Y12! Lovely to see that age is no advantage when it comes to Francophone culture in HCH.

During their history and geography lesson, Year 7 discovered one of the lesser known yet most important slave revolts in history: the Haitian Revolution. After a short introduction on the topic, Tom Clery and Clarisse organised a ‘trial’ where the main objective was to determine who was to blame for the disastrous consequences of the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. The students were divided into groups such as “The French Government”, “The Haitians” or “Papa Doc, the Haitian dictator” and needed to defend themselves in front of a jury. An excellent opportunity for students to travel to a lesser known island of the Francophone world, as well as practise their public speaking skills.

The day was also a great learning experience for our Year 12 students as they assisted the teachers with several workshops. This enabled them to completely step out of their comfort zone and use their French skills outside of lessons. Though initially challenging, our students very much enjoyed the day and are keen to be able to do this more often.

The Year 13 had a French movie afternoon, along with popcorn, snacks and drinks. What a perfect timing for them to be able to enjoy the (awaited) latest adaptation of the novel Sac de billes, on which they are assessed this Friday as the final part of their formal assessment. “Voilà” a refreshing way to revise for the essay!

Our great catering team produced a unique menu linked to the Francophonie theme: a portion of camembert, butter and baguette, a tasty chicken tajine, side of french (belgian?) fries, complete with a lemon and sugar crêpe. “Bon appétit”

Some lovely feedback from our students:

“Today was the day of the Francophonie. So it was one big party.” (Year 1)

“Manon came to read and that was fun. And Caroline, not my Caroline, but the other one, she came as well, it was so good.” (Year 1)

“C’était une bonne expérience intergénérationnelle entre les étudiants du lycée et les enfants de différentes classes. Cela m’a rendue plus confiante sur mon niveau de français.” “It was a good intergenerational experience between the 6th formers and children from different year groups. It made me more confident with my level of French” (Year 12)