JOYEUX CARNAVAL! Students and staff at Fairmount Public School experienced a bit of Quebec City’s Winter Carnival for this year’s “Semaine française” – French Spirit Week! Everyone in the school was encouraged to participate in dressing up for each of the theme days like “Le Jour des Tuques” (Toque Day) and enjoy some traditional and popular Quebecois music played throughout the building in the mornings. Darren Overby, Fairmount’s French teacher, was extremely impressed by the high level of participation and students’ eagerness to learn about the Quebec culture and put their French skills into practice.
Students in Grades 4 to 8 who receive French instruction enjoyed a variety of cultural and cooperative activities during the week to boost their winter spirits and make connections to French Curriculum expectations. Many students helped run French Week by decorating the halls with murals and giant 3-D snowflakes, creating poems about “Carnaval”, providing interesting facts during the morning announcements, and presenting a slide-show with music and dancing to primary classes.
On the Tuesday morning, coinciding with Mardi Gras (i.e. Fat Tuesday), the Grade 8 students, staff and parent volunteer, David Ross, took the lead in staging “La Cabane à Sucre” - a Quebecois-style Sugar Shack dining hall in the gymnasium. Classes visited “La Cabane” to practice how to order and comment on traditional foods like pea soup, sugar pie, Quebecois cheese, and pancakes with real maple syrup! Other activities included spoon playing, the Jig Freeze, and face painting.
On Thursday morning, student groups rotated around the school for the Winter Carnival Activities such as Marshmallow Bonhomme Carnaval, Snow Sculptures, the Winter Relay, Sash-Weaving, and Human Table Hockey were some of the favourites.
Fortunately, the weather cooperated and allowed for a Snow Dance behind the school to wrap up the exciting week! Groups of Grade 7 students presented their dance routines (a project for French class) to popular French music and encouraged the rest of the intermediate and junior classes to join in. Amidst the falling snow, hot chocolate and maple cookies were served, students continued to dance to a variety of songs like the French version of “Gagnam Style”, and all experienced “la Joie de vivre” which is what Quebec’s Winter Carnival is all about!