As you may know, I teach in a francophone school. We are in rural Nova Scotia, in a minority community - French is rarely spoken in our community and many students only experience French at school/school activities and sometimes at home. A HUGE part of our students' education involves helping them learn to become proud of their heritage and their "francophonie". My school hosts many concerts and events to help students celebrate their culture and feel pride that they are francophone, and we are expected within our classrooms to provide students with as many opportunities to learn about and experience French and Acadian culture as much as possible. One way that we can do this is by playing mainstream music in our classrooms - students may not always have the opportunity to listen to the radio in French at home.
Even if you teach immersion and not at a francophone school, I still feel that mainstream music is equally important for your students to hear! Music is fun, and it is wonderful for young students to see and hear examples of French celebrities and learn to sing along in their second language. They will be exposed to new vocabulary, and you will probably catch them singing along to a French song stuck in their head throughout the day. Being bilingual (or on their way to being bilingual) is very special! It is important to provide our students with opportunities to celebrate and appreciate their language-learning. They may even find a new favourite song!
I aim to play some mainstream music in my classroom every day - usually during Free Play, snack time, or when they are working on a quick worksheet. Generally, I play it during times it is okay to talk with our neighbours (I do play other types of music throughout the day, as well - instrumental music during writing time (or any time I want them especially quiet and focused), and we do comptines/nursery rhymes in the mornings during our morning meeting). I always try to carve out some time to play mainstream music each day!
Since they are usually working or playing when I am playing mainstream music, I usually do not show the video (even though I use Youtube) along with the audio. Some parents may also not deem certain videos appropriate for their age - everyone is different and has different beliefs and values, so this helps avoid that problem. I will occasionally show a video during snack time, or if we are playing a game that involves music.
We listen to lots of different stuff, but we have a few songs that we seem to come back to again and again. Here are 10 of my and my students' favourite artists/songs!
Raffy came and played a concert at our school this year, so they are currently very popular with our students! Their songs are catchy and easy to understand and sing along with. This one is my favourite!
Il n'y a que toi
2. LE GROUPE SWING
Swing has come and played a concert at my school as well, but it was quite a few years ago now. Their concert was SO fun!! Their songs are mostly SUPER upbeat, and many are a mix of French and English - which is the way that most of the Acadian families in my province actually talk ;)
These ones are my students' favourites:
La tête me tourne encore
But they honestly love ALL of their older stuff - you can't go wrong!
And here is another, newer favourite:
Stromae's songs are also super catchy - you have probably already heard of Alors on danse and Papaoutai. Papaoutai is my favourite! There is also a Just Dance video that your students can dance along with. A couple of Stromae's songs aren't super 5-year-old-appropriate, so just make sure to listen to them first.
This song is soooooo old. I remember watching it on French Kiss on Much Music when I was little!!! However, it is a student favourite year after year.
Dans ce monde
This is a great one for Freeze Dance or any time you want your students to get moving!
Elle me dit
This song is neat because it is in French and Arabic! It is great for dancing and the chorus is easy to sing along to. The students also love the break dancing in the video!
C'est la vie
These guys are a favourite from Kindergarten right to grade 12 in my school! Also, they have lyric videos for their songs - no need to worry about them being inappropriate or distracting. These two songs are our favourites:
Au pays des mirages
8. KIDS UNITED
Kids United has some great songs for primary grades! They also do some covers of other popular French songs, sometimes with the artist themselves. They are easy to sing along to, and my students LOVE the videos.
On écrit sur les murs
L'oiseau et l'enfant
9. BLACK M
For some reason, Youtube won't let me post the video to the original Sur ma route. So, below is the Kids United/Black M duo. I like the original better - here is the link!
Sur ma route (avec Kids United)
Indila has some very pretty songs! Here is our favourite:
There you have it! Our top 10 favourite songs/artists to listen to at school. There are of course lots of others, but these seem to be the songs that are played over and over! What are some of your favourite songs by francophone artists? Let me know in the comments!