Northfield Elementary, NMH collaborate to teach French

  • Northfield Mount Hermon School student Caroline Brown (right) supervises Northfield Elementary School fourth-graders Erik Martineau and Caitlin Hamilton as they make booklets of French words they’ve learned under Brown and fellow NMH student Josh Gamble’s instruction. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • Northfield Elementary School fourth-graders Sadie McKnight and Brayden Thayer work on creating booklets of the French words they’ve learned under the instruction of Northfield Mount Hermon School students since January. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/5/2017 10:05:48 PM

NORTHFIELD — Friday mornings for Northfield Elementary School fourth- and fifth-graders mean coloring, recitation and writing, but all in an unfamiliar language.

Thanks to collaboration between Northfield Elementary School and Northfield Mount Hermon School, the children are learning basic French vocabulary from NMH students, inspiring excited chatter each week.

“It’s very fun and now I know French,” remarked fourth-grader Sadie McKnight.

According to fourth-grade teacher Nolan Kitfield, the program started about four years ago.

“We don’t offer French here, so this is an enrichment for our students,” Kitfield said.

The tutoring sessions run from January to May, Kitfield said, for half-hour blocks. Currently, eight NMH students teach in pairs to four classes.

Josh Gamble, a 16-year-old NMH student, said the tutoring opportunity is offered through NMH’s French IV class, though it is not a requirement. For Gamble, it’s interesting to be both learning and teaching French.

“I’m playing the role of student and teacher at the same time,” he said.

During the week, Gamble said the NMH students design lesson plans with their partners. The tutoring sessions are introductory, teaching children numbers, colors, adjectives and basic readings.

Sadie MacDonald said the activities Gamble and his partner Caroline Brown have designed make for an easy learning experience.

“It’s easier to remember because they put little acts with it,” she said. For example, while learning greetings, MacDonald said the students acted out what to say, and while learning colors, they needed to point to objects in the room of the specified color.

Another student, Rachel Wood, is excited for the day when she can visit a French-speaking country and communicate with its citizens, unhindered by language barriers.


You can reach Shelby Ashline at:

413-772-0261 ext. 257


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