La galette des rois ( The Kings’ cake/ cake of the Kings) is traditionally served on January 6th, a Christian holy day called the Epiphany/ L’Épiphanie. This was the date when the 3 wise men were thought to have visited Jesus.
In France, the tradition of serving this puff pastry and almond cream tart can be traced back to the 14th century.
According to French tradition, a small charm (la fève) is baked inside the cake and whoever receives the little favour is then crowned king or queen for the day.
As part of their French lesson, our sixth class girls baked a chocolate cake on Friday 12th January (we took the liberty of modifying the recipe as we felt that puff pastry was a bit ambitious for us!)
Following the tradition, the youngest child in the class, Betsy, closed her eyes and decided who got each slice. The person serving asked ” C’est pour qui celle-la?” ( For whom is this slice) and Betsy had to answer “C’est pour……” ( It’s for…..). She did a great job of remembering everyone’s name with her eyes closed!
Another tradition asks that you cut the pie according to the number of guest plus one. The extra slice is known as ” La part du Bon Dieu” God’s slice) or ” la part du pauvre” (the poor man’s slice. We gave Ms. Tiernan the extra slice!)
Abilily was the lucky girl who found ” la fève” in her slice of cake. She had to shout, ” J’ai la fève” ( I have the charm) and then she came forward and was crowned “la reine” ( the queen). She then picked Ella to be the king. Everybody then had to shout ” Vive la reine, Vive le roi” ( Long live the queen and king!) before tucking into their cake!
We are learning about the season of winter in Ms. McKay’s room. We wrote acrostic poems. We talked about what happens in winter in other countries. We also learned how to say and write the word ‘winter’ in different languages.
In our school, we can write in many languages. Here we have described our homes in English , Moldovan, Farsi, Mandarin and Slovak. We discovered that even though our languages are different, they have many sounds and words in common.
Many countries all over the world have pancakes as part of their food traditions. In France they’re called crêpes or galettes; in Russia, blinis; in Ireland, pancógaí. In Spanish-speaking countries, Pancake Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras. It is Máirt Inide in Irish. Máirt and Mardi are really the same word!
We eat pancakes on Pancake or Shrove Tuesday which is the day before Lent begins. This is because, traditionally, people were expected to fast (eat very little) during Lent. In order that food would not go off, the people used up their eggs and milk the day before Lent began – and so, Pancake Tuesday came about.
Mr. Maguire’s girls had great fun making very delicious pancakes on that special day.
On November 18th, the group One Voice For Languages (OVFL) welcomed over 130 participants to its event Live, love, learn languages – The changing faces of Ireland in the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity’s Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Below is a link to the proceedings on the day. It makes very interesting reading for all of us involved with Scoil Bhríde (Cailíní).
The girls in Sixth Class had a wonderful experience when M. Olivier Bonnardot visited the school in February for a three-day workshop in French. Olivier spoke only in French for the three days that he was here. Although the girls have been learning French since Fifth Class, only one or two have French as their mother-tongue. This meant that the girls had to concentrate very hard to follow everything that was going on. However, at the end of the time, they were able to stage a play, in French, for the rest of the school and for their parents. Even though most of the children in the audience did not speak French, they were able to follow the play. Everyone laughed in the right places and everyone knew who the villain was! So the language skills of all were developed over the course of the three-day workshop.
Not only did the girls act in the play, they also designed the set – after discussion with Orla Kelly, our resident Room 13 artist. They made invitations and organised costumes. There was singing and dancing involved too.
Overall, it was a really great experience for everyone involved.
A big “Merci” to Olivier and to Orla.
Mr O’Toole rightly speaks of schools where all children are welcomed equally. A worthy aspiration but how do we do it? How do we respond and show all the children in our school that they are equally valued? We start by valuing who they are and what they bring with them. Appreciating their culture and traditions empowers them personally and socially. Valuing their home language – the power-house of their thinking and learning processes – empowers their educational development.
In a school such as mine, where almost 80 per cent of the pupils are non-native speakers of English, we cannot formally teach all their home languages, of which there are more than 40. What we can do is encourage their parents to maintain and develop their home language while we incorporate it in our approach to teaching and learning in school.
By valuing every language in the classroom, we cultivate a plurilingual milieu where children are encouraged to use all the languages within their repertoire.
The cognitive benefits of such an approach are well documented. The skills learned are transferable and so inform all areas of learning. Appreciating that their knowledge is valued allows children to take pride in their ability, making them confident and motivated to learn more.
There are huge benefits for monolingual children in such a learning environment, too. From a very early age, they begin to realise that there are different ways to say the same thing, other ways to view the world.
As their newcomer peers learn English and Irish, indigenous Irish children learn that a plurilingual milieu is an exciting and interesting place to be. There are many obvious educational benefits, one of which is an increase in status for the Irish language. Children see Irish as a means of communication, just like any other language, so it is learned and used with enthusiasm. This leads to exploration of additional languages to which they are attracted. In a large intercultural milieu, where all languages are valued, they have a wide variety of languages to choose from and friends to help them learn, thus contributing to social cohesion. With the introduction of a modern language in fifth and sixth classes, children begin to develop the ability to express themselves in three, four and more languages. Far from this being a deficit model of education, every child in this country should have the benefits and enrichment of growing and learning in such a socially cohesive, diverse, plurilingual milieu.
While it is true, as Mr O’Toole asserts, that official complacency can lead to disaster, credit must be given to the Department of Education and Science for the supports – admittedly severely reduced in recent years – given to children whose home language is neither English nor Irish. However, it is also true that the inability to see the opportunity inherent in challenge can result in neglect of some of our potentially richest assets. This is where we need an approach to teaching and learning that allows the attributes of all to be utilised for the benefit of all. For this to happen, it is vitally important that teachers are prepared both at pre-service and in-service levels and given the skills to harness these benefits. Language is, after all, the conduit through which learning takes place.
Why have monolinguals graduating from our schools, when we could have people with facility in a diversity of languages? – Is mise,
Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
您好！你好吗？Hello! How are you?
This term, the girls in Mr. Maguire’s First Class will be learning Mandarin.
First of all, they will listen to Mandarin. Then they will repeat what they hear – just the way we learn any language.
First we Listen, then we Speak.
They will also be introduced to the written characters used in Mardarain.
They will learn to recognise – Read – and then Write the words and phrases they are learning.
This is a pilot project for teaching Mandarin. It will last until Easter and we are doing it in conjunction with University College Dublin.
Watch this space for more updates!
Listen to podcast on the following link
Credits: The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and Nearfm
Next Friday, 25th September, we will celebrate European Day of Languages. Schools all over Europe, and further afield, too, will join each other in celebrating the importance of valuing all languages. We have more than 40 languages in our school community and each one is important to us. If you speak a language other than English at home, please continue to do so. Help your daughter to learn to read and write in her home language. This will help with all her learning, including English.