French film engages learners


Sonia Yost

Movie Time! Thanks to the planetarium’s comfortable seats and large area, the students were able to spread out. Around 14 students attended movie night.

By Sonia Yost, Altoona Area High School

Studying a foreign language, especially at a high school age, can be a difficult task. One thing that can help students learn a new language is to listen to and watch media in that language.

On Monday, Nov. 19, French teacher Veronica Skomra invited her students to the planetarium to watch a French film.

“I had a lot more students come than I was expecting,” adviser Veronica Skomra said.

“I attended to spend time with my friend and to test out my French by seeing how much of the movie I was able to understand,” French II student Kevin Smith said.

In order to host this, Skomra first picked out a date and then made sure to ask Jim Krug to watch it in the planetarium so the students could be more relaxed. Then she filled out a form to reserve the planetarium for the night.

Although students were allowed to bring their own food, Skomra provided snacks like popcorn, Rice Krispie treats and cookies. She also provided the students with water and juice. At the end of the night, she made sure that any trash on the ground got picked up.

Showing the film in the planetarium provided for a more relaxed setting and allowed the students to not worry if it was for a grade.

“I can’t show films in class because we have too much content to cover. It was also a way for students to enjoy something together that wasn’t in an educational setting,” Skomra said.

Skomra’s AP French students chose, “Monsieur Lazhar”, a movie about a man who helps students fill the void in their lives and cope with the death of their teacher.

Subtitles helped students understand the film.

“The film increased their knowledge about the language, and they were able to get input into the French language in a more relaxed setting. They were able to recognize phrases and things that French people say,” Skomra said.

“I was able to see what a school in another country looked like and by it being in French that was just more exposure to the language,” Smith said.

At the end of the night, the students held a discussion where they shared their thoughts on the film and what they learned from it.

“There were some criers because there were some deep emotions in the film. I think it was relatable in the sense that it dealt with education and gave a different perspective on things that could happen,” Skomra said.

Skomra is hoping to host another film in December, but scheduling conflicts could lead to the next one being hosted in January.

This story was originally published on Mountain Echo on November 30, 2018.