Friday, April 10, 2020

9 Francophone Songs Connected to the Ontario Geography Curriculum

I love to use music with my students. I wish I did it even more than I currently do. With that in mind, I started keeping a list of songs that might be used in Geography or Social Studies class. Here are 9 French songs for you to check out and see if they suit your students, school climate and teaching style.

Nous quitterons la maison

A pop song about flooding in Quebec, helps students to discuss the effects humans have on the environment and the effects changes to climate have reciprocally on humans.

Samian

Samian is an Algonquin rapper from Quebec. He has several songs which may tie in to your topics of study in Social Studies or Geography. You may have to consider how political your teaching environment allows or encourages you to be, as well as to do some pre-teaching around cultural sensitivity to effectively use his music, but if you can, I find it's worth the work.

Enfant de la Terre
La paix des braves - Quebec provincial government-Cree agreement
Plan Nord - environmental damage through government-sponsored development.

Bidonville by Claude Nougaro 

(Warning: Contains the 5-letter word starting with "m" in French that is an "s" word in English & a passing reference to prostitution ("Les filles qui ont la peau douce; La vendent pour manger" - Girls with soft skin sell it to eat)
IN the grade 8 curriculum, slums or shantytowns can be a difficult concept for kids in privileged environments to get their heads around. This song would be just one tool to address that curricular concept.

Here's another version on Youtube from 2013, performed live as part of a concert against racism, hatred & discrimintation, which is another excellent curricular connection.

And I found a third slightly jazzier version, from the acoustic ska band Tryo available here, without a "real" video. I personally feel that my students would appreciate this version the best.

Les Enfantastiques

Brought to you by kids in Belgian schools, there are several traditional and original songs to explore with a Geo class. If you're familiar with Kits United and like their school-friendly sound, then this is a fantastic find. They have 170 songs currently listed on the Les Enfantastiques website!  Take time to explore those beyond what I've lsited here and please do share your observations and connections in the comments below!

L'Union fait la force is great when exploring the changes near the turn of the 20th century in working conditions in Canada. It's also a fabulous opportunity to learn about the cultural significance surrounding this French phrase, and to compare it to English equivalents.

Polyglotte Bruxelles is a song celebrating linguistic diversity, which could come into play even in Primary-level Social Studies classes, when discussing our families in an inclusive way and learning about our communities.

A song that focuses on access to water and bodies of water around the world, Le trésor de demain, could come into play in both Science and Social Studies or Geography classes.

Drought and having to walk long distances to access water are covered by Est-ce que la pluie tombera bientôt?

I hope that you and your students benefit from at least one of these suggestions in the near future!


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