French in DC

Decidedly Different…Extremely Effective

Two Classic French Children’s Songs (And How to Teach Them)

I like to open my children’s classes with a song or two as a “warm-up” activity.  Two of the first songs I teach my students are “Sur le Pont d’Avignon” and “Frère Jacques”.

I teach the children movements to do as they sing the song.  I find that helps them remember the words well; not surprising as children tend to be kinesthetic learners.  When I teach children songs I do so in three stages:  First I sing the song and have them repeat the verses after me (while acting out the accompanying motions).  Then I have them repeat the verses to the song and do the accompanying movements very quickly (They LOVE doing this) with me.  Finally I do the motions to prompt them and have them sing the song alone.

Below I have included clips of the songs, their lyrics and English translations.

Sur le Pont d’Avignon

Refrain
Sur le pont d’Avignon
On y danse, on y danse
Sur le pont d’Avignon
On y danse tout en rond

Les beaux messieurs font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

Refrain

Les belles dames font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

Refrain.

Sur Le Pont d’Avignon (English)

Refrain
On the bridge of Avignon
They are dancing, they are dancing,
On the bridge of Avignon
They are dancing all around.

The handsome gentlemen go like this
And then go like that.

Refrain

The pretty ladies go like this
And then go like that.

Refrain

Frère Jacques
Frère Jacques,
Frère Jacques,
Dormez vous?
Dormez vous?
Sonnez les matines,
Sonnez les matines,
Din, din, don!
Din, din, don!

Frère Jacques (English)

Are you sleeping,
Are you sleeping?
Brother John?
Brother John?
Morning bells are ringing,
Morning bells are ringing,
Ding ding dong,
Ding ding dong.

May 20, 2010 - Posted by | Educational Activities

3 Comments »

  1. I grew up in Africa and did study in French, it was 40 years ago. We used to sing a lot of songs in French. I came upon this site because I was looking for those songs and sing along. Now, my French is so rusty and I’m very sad.

    Comment by Doris Maxson | November 26, 2011 | Reply

  2. I am so looking forward teaching my future granchildren french and Dutch songs.

    Comment by Nadine | August 3, 2012 | Reply


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