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Language Comes to Life with Snail Adoptions

Students in Dr. Teresa Todd's French classes have adopted des escargots as pets to bring to life their language learning.
The annual adoption is tongue-in-cheek, as les escargots are really just snail shells. To bring the program to life, Dr. Todd explains, "The shells come with little paper slips that describe the personalities and basic likes and dislikes of the snail.”

Students also learn about how global the French language is, picking a nationality for their snail from the world’s 29 francophone countries.

To make it seem even more like an official adoption, Teresa had Head of High School, Nowell Hesse, recite the Oath of Escargot. "He did an amazing job on this," she recalls. "He spoke French to the kids, too, which was inspiring."

The program even reaches beyond the classroom. The students can also write to le Grand Escargot—a retired French teacher out West—who will email them back for a whole calendar year.

Students have fun with the snail adoption program from year to year and even beyond. “Many of them have asked for a second snail so their first snail has a friend,” Dr. Todd explains. “All levels of French continue the snail project because when they go to college, they have links to vocabulary and explanations of tenses and structures that they can look back on to review.”

photo credit: tsimandlova šnečí blues via photopin (license)

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