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Cajun tales come to life

June 10, 2016 3:00 PM
Alicia Duplessis Jasmin aduples@tulane.edu
In this example of an illustration from Contes Cadiens, the text translates to: "Pierre has invited everyone to the celebration on the bayou." (Photo provided by Sophie Capmartin)


Hot off the press comes Contes Cadiens — a book of French/Cajun tales co-authored and illustrated by Tulane University students and third-grade French-immersion students at Audubon Charter School in New Orleans. Tulane students enrolled in Advanced French Grammar and Composition worked with the third-graders weekly during the spring semester.

The project is the brainchild of Sophie Capmartin, a Tulane doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of French and Italian within the School of Liberal Arts. Capmartin had the idea to add a creative writing component to her course and give college students the experience of working with younger students who are also studying the French language.

“My students had the opportunity to use French outside the classroom by teaching in a foreign language,” says Capmartin. “It was a pretty big challenge for them because some of the immersion students were more advanced than my students.”

“My students had the opportunity to use French outside the classroom by teaching in a foreign language.”

Sophie Capmartin, teaching assistant

Capmartin’s class of seven students worked with the elementary students on writing the tales while paying close attention to the use of tense, description and dialogue. Funding from the Tulane Center for Public Service allowed enough books to be printed so that each Tulane student and third-grader could have one as a souvenir of their learning experience.

A copy of the book is also available for viewing in the Louisiana Research Collection, whose mission is to document, collect, and preserve Louisiana culture and history.