Sunday, November 22, 2015


This is what our French e-pals had to say about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. Valuable food for thought to all of us.

1) How do you feel about the terrorrist attacks in Paris?

We were really surprised and shocked. We feel very sad and hurt. We are scared and insecure because it could happen here next time. We feel frustrated because we don't understand. We feel sorry for those who died, for those who are injured and for those who lived these attacks. Some of us feel angry and even revengeful.

2) Do you know people who were in Paris that Friday? 

Some of us had friends or relatives who were in the stadium watching the football match. Others had friends watching the concert in the Bataclan theatre but none of them died. They are deeply hurt and/or wounded.

3) How do you feel about the future? 

We are pessimistic. We think there are going to be more and more terrorist attacks. We are at war. There may be a Civil War in France or even a WW3.

Their teacher's additional comments: 

However, most of them say they won't stop going to Paris because of these attacks. (Paris is 2 hours away from Verdun by high speed train or 3 hours by car) Some of them are going to Disney theme park this weekend ! Others are forbidden to go to Paris by their parents. All of them have watched photos of the massacres on TV and on social networks.

They told me that they're afraid of a terrorist attack in Verdun in 2016 when we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Verdun (WW1). French President Fran├žois Hollande will be there. Barack Obama and Angela Merkel will be there too. Verdun will be in the spotlight and, due to the context, it scares them.

They mentioned the dog, Diesel, who was killed last Wednesday. It was a she. She was a police attack dog. She went into the flat in Saint Denis near Paris. There were terrorists hiding in the flat. The police broke into the flat at 4 AM, the dog charged and was shot. They were sad about her death.  

Monday, November 16, 2015


Watching, discussing and reflecting on "Freedom Writers" with my teenage students: The ideal way to celebrate the International Day of Tolerance (16th November), especially in the light of the recent inhumane terrorist attack. An outstanding film on the value of tolerance and the difficulty, but also glory, of learning how to co-exist. Proof of the brilliance of proper educators and the extent of difference they can make, one person at a time, one class at a time, in an ever-changing multifarious world.

Related information:

Quotes as a discussion springboard:

Erin Gruwell: Maybe we should talk about art. Tito's got real talent, don't you think? You know something? I saw a picture just like this once, in a museum. Only it wasn't a black man, it was a jewish man. And instead of the big lips he had a really big nose, like a rat's nose. But he wasn't just one particular jewish man. This was a drawing of all jews. And these drawings were put in the newspapers by the most famous gang in history. You think you know all about gangs? You're amateurs. This gang will put you all to shame. And they started out poor and angry and everybody looked down on them. Until one man decided to give them some pride, an identity... and somebody to blame. You take over neighborhoods? That's nothing compared to them. They took over countries. You want to know how? They just wiped out everybody else. Yeah, they wiped out everybody they didn't like and everybody they blamed for their life being hard. And one of the ways they did it was by doing this: see, they print pictures like this in the newspapers, jewish people with big, long noses... blacks with big, fat lips. They'd also published scientific evidence that proved that jews and blacks were the lowest form of human species. Jews and blacks were more like animals. And because they were just like animals it didn't matter if they lived or died. In fact, life would be a whole lot better if they were all dead. That's how a holocaust happens. And that's what you all think of each other.


Eva: White people wanting respect like they deserve it for free.
Erin Gruwell: I'm a teacher, it doesn't matter what color I am.
Eva: It's all about color, it's about people deciding what you deserve, about people wanting what they don't deserve. About whites thinking they own this world no matter what, you see, I hate white people.
Erin Gruwell: You hate me? You don't even know me.
Eva: I know what you can do. I saw white cops shoot my friend in the back for reaching into his pocket, his pocket! I saw white cops come into my house and take my father away for no REASON except they feel like it! Except because they can! And they can, because they're white. So I HATE white people on sight


Marcus: I've never had a hero before. But you are my hero.
Miep Gies: Oh, no. No, no, no, young man, no. I am not a hero. No. I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do. That is all.


Marcus: Lady, stop acting like you tryin' to understand our situation, and just do your little babysitting up there.
Erin Gruwell: That's what you think this is?
Marcus: It ain't nothing else. When I look out in the world I don't see nobody that looks like me with their pockets full unless they're rapping a lyrics or dribbling a ball, so what else you got in here for me?
Erin Gruwell: And what if you can't rap a lyric or dribble a ball?
Andre: It ain't this.
Marcus: I know that's right.
Erin Gruwell: And you all think you're gonna make it to graduation like this?
Andre: I made it to HIGH school ain't nobody stop me.
Marcus: Lady I'm lucky if I make it to 18, we in a war! We graduating every day we live because we ain't afraid to die, protecting our own. At least when you die for your own, you die with respect, you die a warrior.


Erin Gruwell: So when you're dead, you'll get respect, that what you think?
[murmurs of 'yeah' from the class]
Erin Gruwell: You know what's gonna happen when you die? You're gonna rot in the ground, and people are going to go on living, and they're going to forget all about you. And when you ROT, do you think it's gonna matter whether you were an original gangsta? You're dead, and nobody, NOBODY, is gonna want to remember you, because all you left in the world is this.
[holds up Tito's drawing]


Miep Gies: You are the heroes. You are heroes every day.


Margaret Campbell: You can't make someone want education.

Friday, October 9, 2015


Puppets, crayons, markers, crazy dice and balls:
All at the little ones' service!

Pupil-made alphabet cards.  

Our favourite game applying to all levels:
Ring the bell first, say the correct answer and help your team win!

Pupils asking each other questions by using their own cards.

Toys always do the trick when learning new vocabulary.

Forming words on the magnetic board.

Drawing adds to the fun.

Secret agent I.D. cards

A new game we play: According to the ball they catch, students
need to utter words belonging to the corresponding category.  

Playing roles also urges students to express themselves in English.

Instead of writing a simple paragraph on paper, the young students
sent an actual email in a real-life situation.

All our start-of-the-year photographs can be found here.
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