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Hardwick PROJECT
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Fourth Grade


What can we discover about Hardwick's French-Canadian culture, past and present?

How did the students explore this question?

  • A Johnson State College student spent the fall semester teaching the students French. (See "newspaper article" below.)
  • The students had local pen pals of Franco-American heritage. For a summary of what the students learned from their pen pals, see "French Canadian Letter Reflections" below.
  • A local resident of French-Canadian heritage and author of a book about the local Franco-American community came to talk to the children.
  • Children chose a topic to study independently. Click here for a PDF preview of the " French Canadian Gatherings" book.
  • The children learned traditional French-Canadian recipes. (See "making bagettes" and "Shepard's Pie" photos below.)
  • A pen pal luncheon was hosted with traditional French-Canadian food served. High school French class students taught the children French.

The images on this page are cropped from scanned pages that include text. Click on an image to download a PDF version of the original scan with text.
newspaper article image
Newspaper article
making bagettes photo
Making bagettes
shepherd's pie photo
Shepherd's Pie

French Canadian Heritage Letter Reflections

Robyn and Chelsea

In our 4th grade class we've been studying French-Canadians, and Robyn and I have been assigned to do a project about our French-Canadian pen pals. You see, they have written to us about their heritage, foods, and life style. We are going to jot down some parts of the letters that we've learned.

  • In most of the letters that we received from the French Canadians, they said that they spoke French fluently and that they had to speak English in or before first grade! Luckily families were around 12 kids, talk about a ruckus! But having siblings older than you means that they could teach you some of the language!
  • In a letter we received, our pen pal talked to us about the music back then. They told us that popular songs and country music were the most popular. Back then, popular songs were called "pop ballads". No, this doesn't mean that you heard your dad singing the song in the bathtub or shower. "Pop" is just an abbreviation for "popular" which means that a lot of people liked it. A "ballad" means a song, poem or little story. Pop songs were about the experiences of life. Most of these songs were about love, like the song, "Let Me Call You Sweetheart". These songs were played by the orchestra at dances when boys and girls were dancing together.
  • A lot of the letters that we received were about the food. Here's a small section from Roger LeCours. "Sometimes the teachers at Hardwick Center School would heat up tomato soup on an electric grille and that was really good on those cold winter days when it sometimes was as cold as 35 below zero. A year-round breakfast offering was fried salt pork. We seldom had bacon, but who needs it with this delicacy? The fried pork slices were served with sunny-side-up eggs, hash brown potatoes and fresh apple sauce. The first course was a hearty dish of oatmeal. This may seem too much for breakfast, but you must keep in mind that the day began early. The cows had to be cared for. The day began on an empty stomach at about 5:00 o'clock each morning".