Students hold first French market days in Kennebunk

Robyn Burnham
May 06, 2009
Journal Tribune

KENNEBUNK – Parents and volunteers helped students at the Middle School of the Kennebunks practice their French Tuesday at the school’s first French Marketplace. French teacher Tad Williams organized the two-day event, which he has held at other schools before, with the help of French teacher Amber Burks. Students had a chance to practice their language skills in a simulated marketplace, customs station and bank.

“It’s fun to speak French with people other than your classmates, and try French food,” said Emily Carman, 12, as she ate a crepe after making her way thr/ough the market. “I want to go to Paris.”

Carman and her classmates have studied all year and had to speak French with volunteers running the bank, shops and passport control in their simulation Tuesday. If students could successfully make it thr/ough the market speaking only French, they were able to buy a crepe with euros they acquired at the bank.

“I’m having a ball,” said Stella Comeau, a customs agent for the day. “I spoke French at home, my parents were Acadian French, in fact, I went to a French school.”

Comeau spent the day speaking with students as they traveled thr/ough customs. Her grandson, Zachary Comeau, is a seventh grade student at the middle school. Pat Putnam joined Comeau at passport control for the day. She learned French studying in Switzerland during college. Her son, Dylan, is in sixth grade.

“It’s been real playful with the kids,” Putnam said. “It’s been a lot of fun – and made the French more fun for the kids.”

Williams and Burks agree the French marketplace is fun for the students and many expressed their particular enjoyment of the crepes. Williams said students are often hesitant at first, but once they start speaking with the adults they feel comfortable.

Williams and Burks said they hope the French market days will become an annual event.