Madame Lehman recently led her French IV students through an in-depth interdisciplinary study of "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince) -- beginning with readings in both French and English and a film adaptation to boost their listening comprehension skills, moving to lively class discussions of themes, and culminating in an artistic expression of what they appreciated most from the story.
The novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupery tells the story of a young prince who recalls his visits to various planets in space to a pilot (the narrator) he meets in the desert. Despite its appearance as a children's book, the fable offers messages about life and human nature while addressing themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss.
"The main message is the importance of love that allows us to really see to the heart and beauty of all things," explained Madame Lehman. She facilitated class discussions with inference-based questions that her students answered with evidence from the text.
For the final project, each student chose a meaningful quote and a scene from her favorite chapter of the book to illustrate and paint on a canvas. The students presented their canvases last week, sharing, in French, how the quotes related to their personal experiences.
"I liked the project a lot because I enjoy painting and creative projects, and I liked the book," said Gabby Sorrentino '21. "I thought [the canvas painting] was a great opportunity to show what I appreciated about the story."
On the day of the class presentations, the class also surprised Mrs. Sciarrillo with the gift of an additional canvas painted by Maggie McCarthy '21. For Mrs. Sciarrillo's canvas, the class chose to paint a scene with the quote: "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux." (English translation: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.")
"As a class we chose that quote because in these uncertain times...it's so important to remember the most important things we can find inside ourselves," shared Maggie.
The canvases, including Mrs. Sciarrillo's, will be displayed on campus for our community to enjoy the students' work and the messages they took away from the story.
"I hope our students will never lose their sense of wonder," said Madame Lehman. "This assignment provided them with the opportunity to individually reflect on this enchanting fable, from the lessons on kindness to the importance of caring for our environment. I'm proud they will be sharing their beautiful visuals of these important messages with our community."