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Wayland Students Study, Cook and Create for French Class

Wayland Middle School takes a "Pause Francais."

The cafeteria a Wayland Middle School Nov. 14 featured plenty of food and laughter, but it wasn't a typical lunch.

Instead, students, teachers and parents meandered through booths featuring research the students had conducted on the 22 regions of France and various Francophone countries around the world.

Jada Williams, an eighth grade French teacher at WMS, explained that eight grade students presented the regions of France while seventh grade students researched the Francophone country for the Pause Francais (French Break) event.

Around the room, cheese, baked goods and even chickpea salad (representative of Morocco, for which France once served as protectorate) disappeared from the tables in front of elaborately designed display boards featuring information about each region or country's history, economy, famous people and important places.

Partners Arielle and Elizabeth presented the region of Champagne and said they were surprised to find that textiles -- specifically, wool -- are a major resource in the region. But the students, of course, also had to address the famous sparkling wine for the region. They created a clay replica of a monastery where Champagne production began.

"They taught me more about Champagne than any other group has," Williams said of her current students.

Ben, an eighth grader, said he and his partner selected the Midi-Pyrenees region of France because the Southern France region has a lot of Spanish influence. They learned that the region is home to a museum dedicated to Spanish painting and named after artist Francisco Goya.

"I enjoyed it [the project]," Ben said. "I thought I learned a lot."

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