I am very excited to have a guest post for you this Sunday for Chanson de dimanche, although I have to apologize for it not being available on Wednesday as was orginally the plan. (A word to the wise... don't let your virus protection expire. There are unpleasant consequences.)

Please enjoy this visit from fellow educator, and proud Franco-Ontarian, Julie G, whose fledgling blog, Mme Julie's Classroom is one all primary teachers should follow.

Ontario is a very culturally diverse province. Of these many cultures, nearly 600 000 people are part of the Franco-Ontarian community. The French language has been present in Ontario for over 350 years and the struggles for equality have lasted nearly as long.

Today, Franco-Ontarians are lucky to have schooling available in their first language and to have many other Ontarians seeking to learn the language.

It was September 25th 1975 in Sudbury, Ontario that the Franco-Ontarian community was given a symbol of recognition in the form of a flag.

The flag has two bands of different colors. The first band is green with a white lily in the center. The green represents Ontario’s summers and the hope and courage of those who fought for our rights. The lily is the symbol of francophones worldwide. The second band is white with a green trillium. The white represents our long hard winters and the struggles our ancestors went through to establish our francophone communities. The trillium is Ontario’s floral emblem.

September 25th, 2010 was the first official Franco-Ontarian day in the province of Ontario. The contribution of Ontario’s Francophone community to cultural, historical, social, economic and political life is officially recognized.  Franco-Ontarians of all origins, whether through maternal tongue, or in immersion schools, now have a day where they can gather and celebrate the French presence in Ontario.

photo by David Macdonald 
That is why as a special edition of Mme Aiello’s “Chanson du dimanche” I am presenting you with the song “Mon beau drapeau” from composer Brian St-Pierre. The song talks about the early struggles for equal rights and how proud we are to have a symbol to represent us.

I encourage all francophone and immersion teachers to speak to students about the history and importance of this day and to have them proudly sing “ Mon beau drapeau”. You can play the song directly from the artist’s website, where lyrics are also available, but I prefer this YouTube video as students can see the flag flying proudly in several establishments and footage from the first official Franco-Ontarian day. Several activities are also available online in FESFO’s FIERS document, including a coloring story book that explains the history of Franco-Ontarians.  The history coloring book story is suitable for grades 3-6.

After reading the story, I also created a Jeopardy game that I like to play with students to see what they have retained, which I'm making available to you for free with a Google account by clicking the link above or the picture below - download it where you wish to save it, and print the last slide to have the answers in front of you while the class plays.

Bonne journée du drapeau franco-ontarien!