In the Spring Term in Year 5, the focus in the French curriculum is on learning how to produce accurate descriptions. In the first half-term, pupils learnt how to use a wide variety of adjectives to describe animals. This included describing their size, colour and characteristics. A bit of mental gymnastics is required as the word order is different in French and adjectives need to be agreed with the noun.
With this under their belts, the boys approached the second half-term’s topic with great enthusiasm! Learning how to describe a painting in French is one of the most popular topics in the French curriculum. The aim was for boys to write a description of a famous French painting and to present it to their classmates. Just as important as grammatical accuracy is the delivery of the presentation and the clarity of pronunciation.
To enthuse the boys and to take advantage of London’s great cultural offering, a trip was organised to visit the Tate Modern gallery. Everyone was excited to hear that we would be visiting an exhibition on the French artist Paul Cézanne.
For many boys it was their first visit to an art gallery, while others enjoyed taking the tube for the first time. As such, it turned out to be the best kind of school trip and exactly the kind of opportunity they we have all missed for the past few years.
A hush descended over the boys as they entered the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern. The size of the former power station and its striking industrial architecture really made an impression on them!
We were divided into two groups and pupils had the chance to visit both the Cézanne exhibition and the General Collection. During their visit, boys took notes on the paintings they liked and wrote short descriptions on their favourite paintings. It was lovely to see them diligently reflecting on the paintings.
Once back in school, the boys approached the preparation of their presentations with gusto. Great care and attention were put into the writing of the presentations and boys provided valuable feedback to each other. It was very pleasing to see how complimentary they were about each other’s work. A wide range of mostly French artists’ works were chosen and this cultural insight further added to the value of their work.
The ability to describe what one can see in a photograph or a painting is a valuable skill on which pupils are examined right up to GCSE level. As such, Madame Jones and I have been delighted to see how well boys have approached learning this skill!
Mr Foxall – French Teacher