For the past month or so, I have been planning American Day with my co-teacher. She is totally an ideas person and kept talking about things we could do, like a giant game of baseball and line dancing. I am much more practical and wondered how on earth we were going to pull off the things she proposed while also teaching our normal classes.
The weekend before, I was at the mall in Lyon looking for a t-shirt with an American flag on it. I found a shirt that said USA at Primark for 3 euros in the boys section and called it a day. I also dedicated my entire Saturday before to making chocolate chip cookies for the staff. French cookies are generally hard as a rock so I hunted for weeks to find brown sugar and was thrilled when the cookies came out soft and delicious.
Carole and I continued to wrestle with what to do on our special day. Eventually, we settled on a program.
The littlest ones put together a puzzle map of the US divided into state sized pieces. Our quatrième class helped us create the puzzles and they ended up being so cool!
The cinquième learned about American money by doing a math activity with real American coins and bills. Then I’d show them pictures to create a “roadtrip around America”.
In the afternoon, we set up baseball and line dancing workshops. Somehow, I got stuck teaching and supervising baseball. A week beforehand, I found myself on the MLB website looking up the rules to baseball (I haven’t played since 2nd grade, ok?). I thought I’d have a Phys Ed teacher helping me supervise but I showed up and had 35 students in the gym by myself. I rolled with it and we had a blast.
The line dancers followed a youtube video and then mastered the Cotton Eyed Joe. They were so dang cute.
We coordinated with the cafeteria and asked them to make burgers and fries for lunch. The kids were so thrilled for the treat (even though the burgers were admittedly sub-par. They should probably stick to French cuisine I think).
I had been working with my oldest students for the last month on the American presidential campaign. Their final project was to organize a campaign of their own for the class “head student.” We made posters and leaflets and they had a final press conference with journalists and candidates. We filmed it and played it for a younger class on American Day. The class then got to vote for the election. The whole school was buzzing with the impending results of the campaign.
Finally, we set up a Skype session with an American high school. I coordinated with one of my best friends who’s student teaching for French in America and our students got to ask each other questions. The timing happened to be when the kids in America say the pledge of allegiance and our students had just learned it the week before! So we all said the pledge together and shared a special moment.
I came home from American Day so exhausted but thrilled. From hearing little ones say “hello!” in the halls all day to the laughs exchanged by my students with American ones, I’d say America was pretty well represented in our little French village.