Janet's pied-à-terre

To be at home in French


 It’s time I redirect this blog to share my passion for French language learning.

Though fluent, I don’t pin down just the right word (le mot juste) nearly as often as I would like. I am completely at sea (je nage complètement) using expressions and idioms. I’m always looking for ways to listen, read, write and speak in French.

Why? I’m sure my real self (mon vrai moi), was meant to be French! I know I’m not the only one.

When I first learned French (in the Middle Ages), French radio or TV channels weren’t available at home. Classroom teachers used multimedia: a filmstrip and tape recorder. University students had language labs: How thrilling!

Now there are better, fun ways to fine-tune French language skills: That’s what I seek.

If you do too, s‘il vous plaît, join me and share your finds. BIENVENUE !



















The “Dance Walk” Movement

Here’s a “feel good” YouTube video to enjoy. Adapt it to France, and you would certainly meet people!

You can also find a follow-up YouTube video, to see what happened next…

To celebrate my tenth blog…

When cartoons say it best…  Thanks, Dawn!

Funny Cartoons About Blogging

Course for language teachers on using technology

Mount Royal University – ESL (Teacher Training) – Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I started blogging as a requirement for a Mount Royal University online course about using technology for language teaching.  It is a terrific course, by the way!  And I’m not just saying that for the bonus point I hope to achieve through the endorsement!  Like the original Star Trek’s opening lines, this course led me, figuratively, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go…” 

Well, actually, many others have boldly gone before me.  I look forward to continue exploring and sharing special finds.



L’art de téléphoner

I have spoken French fluently for some time but I am still daunted when using the phone!  In fact, I stumble over what to say when someone answers, then what to say to close the conversation.  When leaving a voice message, I really become a second-language-disaster!

En m’aidant de ma gaucherie générale au téléphone, j’ai trouvé:

Un petit vidéo YouTube qui démontre les essentiels au téléphone. La publicité à la fin n’a rien à voir avec le leçon – désolée!


C’est promis:  Je vais les étudier moi même!




April in Canada

I hate to lament the weather but…

My boss says that in April it doesn’t snow, but we have “white rain”.

Fellow Canadians, join in the chorus with Bartley Kives, Winnipeg Free Press.  All the rest, be glad you aren’t here in April!

Talk to your 10 year old self

Here’s a great creative writing idea (not mine!). This heart warming video was found on the website and originated from You Tube: SoulPancake.

Pourquoi pas en français?

“I am deeply heard in English”

I want to share a creative use of technology to teach language, which I learned about during a presentation on Engagement and Narrative Approaches by Karen Matthews and Judy Sillito at the ATESL 2013 Conference (ATESL = Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language).

The process they shared, which I have overly simplified here, began in class with an oral story circle.  From there, students were asked to develop a three-minute personal story to relate using We Video.


Students wrote their stories, recorded their narration, collected photos, video and audio, and assembled them into a short movie with We Video.

The presenters highlighted that using a digital format puts “adult” into storytelling.  The stories conveyed were rich and powerful, even though created by relatively new speakers of English.  One of the participants related that, through this storytelling experience, she felt “deeply heard” in English!  Far more powerful than merely saying she can speak English!

The language learning benefits were numerous.  There was a real sense of accomplishment and engagement as well.  The caution to teachers was ensuring the work belonged to the student (no distribution or sharing publicly by the class).

House in Hyères, France
House in Hyères, France

Wish I were there! 

I’m just practising embedding a photo, so why not add to my collection of potential pied-à-terre photos?  I am unsure that this gorgeous photo taken in Hyères France will automatically be attributed to its creator.  To be sure credit goes where it is due:  this image was created by John Payne and found on Flickr and is under licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0!

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