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This day started with a short worship and Mrs. Goorhuis outlining the day’s events in French, as had been her habit every morning. Visiting the magnificent Montmorency Falls, 272 feet tall, was agenda item number one. The students walked as close as they could to the base of the falls, feeling the spray on their faces and hands. A number of students chose to join Ms. Payne and climb up to the suspension bridge above the falls. A short drive later, the class explored the lower city of the Vieille Ville, trodding the same streets walked by Samuel de Champlain a mere four hundred years earlier. Hunger then drove them to study a myriad of menus to choose a restaurant, finally settling on a delicious Italian resto overlooking Place Royal and the true heart of the earliest city, the church Notre Dame des Victoires. At the meal’s end the curious Québecois clients surreptitiously cast glances as Mrs. Goorhuis, with her handy portable white board, explained to our students in French how the Canadians have not one tax, but two, on every purchase. Next came a sprint up the notorious Escalier Casse-cou (Break-a-Neck Staircase), where one could easily imagine breaking a neck on the winter ice, but not before our ears were treated to numerous street musicians and our eyes tempted by the attractive shop windows. Next, we received a quick history of Québec’s inevitable fall into the hands of the English (but not the Americans!) at Musée de Fort’s fascinating multi-media presentation. By now all the students were anxiously awaiting their chance to boost Québec’s economy, so the rest of the afternoon was spent shopping while winding their way through the age-old streets. The day drew to a close when we checked into our new hotel in Lévis and ate a late supper at Normandin, Québec’s equivalent of Denny’s.
Today it was homeward bound - but not before stopping at yet another waterfall of impressive proportions. They are so common around Québec City that even rest areas on the “interstates” sport waterfalls! The spectacular Chaudière Falls was only one of many challenges Benedict Arnold faced in the failed attempt to take Québec and Canada, Mr. Krueger, ever the historian, explained to PTA students. Jumping back in the vehicles, we followed the Chaudière River until we landed an hour later in the small town of Notre Dame des Pins to traverse on foot the1928-29 covered bridge. Crossing back into the USA an hour or so later, we tanked up in Jackman, where English signs seemed strange. Then we made our way down the gorgeous Kennebec River corridor, retracing the steps of Benedict Arnold’s disastrous 1775 campaign. Beautiful in any season, we were privileged to travel the corridor in the height of autumn’s folliage. There are not enough superlatives to describe this journey’s beauty. PIzza Hut was a welcome sight in Skowhegan to many a student. At long last we pulled into PTA’s circle. A safe arrival back at school at 6pm made parents and students alike happy.
Members of the Pine Tree Academy French II class began their first full day in the Province of Quebec by hiking St. Anne's Canyon. The fall colors were spectacular and the canyon and waterfall were breathtaking. After a delightful spaghetti lunch, made by the class, the students had a church service. Later in the day, they visited the magnificent Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupr, 30 kilometers east of Quebec. Continuing east, the students ended up at Le Petit Chateau, in the shadow of the grand Hotel Frontenac, for a cultural experience of the partaking of fondue. After dining, the group walked to La Citadel, a fort of historical importance and an active military installation, for an after dark tour. The students were engaged by fantastic and entertaining tour guides dressed as figures from Canadian military history. The students were also afforded a beautiful nighttime view of the old city from the high ground of the fort. After a stroll down the old streets, the class made its way back for a good night's rest.
What began as a harried tale ended like a fairy tale as seniors in Mrs. Goorhuis' Modern Languages: French II class traveled to Quebec City. After a brief stop at The Falls on route 201 to go a-walkin' in an autumn wonderland, the troupe made it across the border uneventfully and had a late pizza lunch at Le Saber. They entered the old city by the ferry crossing from Levis, then strolled the streets and ascended to the boardwalk in front of Le Chateau Frontenac. After taking pictures, singing worship songs, witnessing a proposal, and enjoying the sounds of street musicians, the troupe happily headed to the condos at Mont Saint Anne's Ski resort to slumber their way into sweet dreams.
Grades 1-4 went on a field trip to Agriculture Day at the Oxford County fair. This year’s theme was “What Would you Like to do When You Grow Up?” Students visited booths where they learned about several agricultural professions including forestry, farming, entomology, landscape architecture, soil conservation, and geology. Students also enjoyed visiting the blacksmith shop and seeing the animals in the barns. A photo of our students watching the blacksmith was published in the Sun Journal newspaper. A link to the article is below.
Elementary students who completed the Summer Learning Challenge were treated to some Classic Custard by Principal Krueger!
September 13 through 16, students from grades 5-8 attended Outdoor School at Camp Lawroweld. The pictures displayed show the canoeing excursion to Mt. Blue State Park. Most of the students in grades 7 & 8 signed up for canoeing. Students spend time on the water familiarizing themselves with the basics of canoeing. They learn how to do a t-rescue with another canoe, some basic paddling strokes, and a few survival tips for the outdoors. In addition, they painted a bathroom for the rangers at Mt. Blue State park as part of a community service project. A highlight of the experience is a night paddle. God's glory is definitely visible through the nature all around us!
Pine Tree Academy's junior class enjoyed three weeks of touring historical sites in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, September 11-13. The tour focused on the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692 and New England's maritime history with a visit to Salem, Massachusetts. Monday focused on the Gilded Age with tours of the Vanderbilt Marble House and a servant's tour of The Elms, home of the Berwinds who earned their money in coal. The theme of Tuesday was presidents with stops at John Adams' and John Quincy Adams' birthplaces, as well as their family mansion. The last stop was the John F. Kennedy presidential library.
As the teacher, I thought it would be interesting to have our seniors’ reactions to being immersed in French once again. Spanish and French are taught at PTA through the “Teaching with Comprehensible Input” method (TCI) which is based on telling stories with a controlled vocabulary. After three days of classes, we are finally through the syllabus and on to our storytelling method. Here are some of the seniors comments after listening and responding to the first story of the year.
“Coming back to French class is awesome. I like the new classroom and I love that I can still actually remember French from last year. It sort of feels as easy to understand as English.”
“My brain’s on fire because I’m learning a lot, but the good thing about French class is that I remember a good amount of the words from last year.”
“I’m surprised I remembered as many words and terms as I did.”
“After not learning more French over the summer I thought it would be a little difficult trying to get back in the swing of things in this class, but actually it was Okay. I like the new classroom and I’m enjoying being back in this class and learning more French.
“Being back in French is a little difficult because I haven’t been using any French over the summer, but I remembered a little more than I thought I would.”
“Entering French II after a long summer break, I was surprised to have retained as much information as I did from last school year. Listening to the stories is no longer intimidating because I’m able to translate in my head.”
It looks like our seniors possess a positive attitude as they march forward into their second year of being bilingual. I will try to create a productive and learning-rich environment in French II as our students continue to advance. Vive la France!
Anne Goorhuis, World Language Teacher