Sunday, October 19, 2008


Vide means empty in French. One thing in my life that is vide right now is my French bank account. I have about €6.30 in there right now. I thought I had left about €500 in there when I left for the summer, and came back to the unpleasant news that it was actually under €200. Good thing the exchange rate from the dollar to the euro is the best it's been in over a year or else I would really be suffering. I'm sure my bank is giving me a really crappy exchange rate anyways. That paycheck can't come soon enough! Luckily I haven't been spending my few euro cents on expensive things like clothes, just on pastries. I think 85 centimes for the little piece of heaven known as a croissant au beurre is a pretty good deal.

Other things vide include my head, which is out of interesting ideas for teaching my kids about the election. I had this really cool idea for my older kids that I would assign them each a state and then they'd have to say if they would vote for Obama or McCain based on a fact sheet with things like number of gun owners, unemployment data, etc, but I feel like they just won't get it. Since the average French adult can't understand why Americans continue to vote Republican (and I have to admit to being sort of clueless myself), I really don't think the kids are going to understand the excersize and will end up bored and unhappy. The ideas and values associated with Republicanism are so far removed from their lives that they won't be able to make sense of it. My four classes of CE1 are easy enough: I'll tell them that there's an election, give them some very very basic details about the candidates and political parties, and then we'll color and count with famous US monuments. I love CE1s. With the older guys I'd like to talk about the electoral college and color the map red and blue and all that, but I'm worried it will be way over their heads (and I know that the monster class won't shut up long enough to hear the explanation). Maybe just show them a colored in map rather than have them figure out what color each state will be, and tell them why? Or just have a simple mock election? Or just do the same thing I'm doing with the CE1 but in more detail?

I feel like my creativity dial is on a big fat 0.


shannon said...

Both of my accounts are pretty vide. It sucks. And I spend 2,20 on a cafe everyday, because we practically live at La Rotonde now.

I really like your idea on having the kids "vote". I'd totally still it if I were motivated to put the fact sheet together. But since I only have one group this week where I should plan a new lesson, I probably won't be doing that. I'll probably just do what I did with their classmates last week since this is the first time I'm having them alone.

Jennie said...

I think the kids would live being able to vote, but it wouldn't really work if they had to choose between McCain or Obama. Maybe you can create a different election that you think might be split evenly, and then assign a state to each person to show how the number of electors counts more than the actual citizens.

But yeah, even my lycee students didn't really get the voting process, so maybe just stick with doing the same thing that you're doing in the lower class?

Katie said...

Hey I know how you feel, I have 20€ until the end of the month!
I would do a really really basic explanation of the US elections. I'm just avoiding the idea all together because I think it would be too complicated for my students. I think it could work if the lesson took at least 2 sessions to complete. Good luck with everything!

Monique said...

wait, how old is your "big" class?? My CM1s and 2s could NOT grasp colonization and Thanksgiving last year... so uh, good luck with elections.

Teaching them the states was hard enough! I'm glad I didn't have to teach elections last year :)

au soleil levant said...

Thanks for all the ideas guys! It was definitely helpful, stay tuned for the run down on the election lesson.

mimi said...

you're teaching about the election in primary school? i'm totally avoiding the subject. i can't fathom them understanding the election process in the US...they don't even know how the process works in France. well it's too late this week, maybe i'll mention it next time i see them (after the election of course...). good luck!

Zhu said...

An empty bank account is the sign you are now a true French. Most of my friends and family are broke as well, life is so damn expensive there!

Only croissants, pains aux raisins and pains au chocolat are cheap ;)

Au Soleil Levant said...

If an empty bank account makes me French, I feel like I've been French all my life!