mercredi 12 décembre 2007


In the 1900's, even though slavery was abolished, black people were still discriminated against in jobs, housing and education. In the south of the USA, there were segregationn laws. Black people couldn't go to the same schools as white people, for example.
One day, in 1955, a black woman named Rosa Parks, was arrested for refusing to leave her seat to a white person on a bus. Shocked by this unfair arrest, the black population decided to boycott the buses in Montgomery, Alabama. They were led by a young clergyman, Martin Luther King. This man decided to create the "Civil Rights Movement" to fight for Black people's rights. He made his famous speech, "I have a dream", in Washington in front of 200,000 people.
In this speech, he told people that he was dreaming of a better world, a world where everybody would be equal.
In 1963, John F. Kennedy created the "Civil Rights Act"which made all segregation illegal. This was a hundred years after the abolition of slavery, when President Lincoln signed the "Emancipation Proclamation".



Rock'n roll comes from the work songs the slaves sang while they were working on the southern plantations in the US in the 19th century. The slaves couldn't use their native language or African instruments because their masters wanted to prevent them from expressing themselves, communicating or rebelling. They had to use English. Nevertheless, they managed to communicate by creating a new kind of music, the Gospels. As they couldn't express themselves directly, they used biblical stories in order to communicate hidden messages of rebellion.
The Blues was born after slavery was abolished in 1863. But in spite of the abolition of slavery, Blacks were still discriminated and there were laws of racial segregation in the south of the US. This went on until Martin Luther King fought for their civil rights in the 1960's.
Jazz was born in Louisiana at the beginning of the 20th century. Jazzmen were poor, therefore they used brass instruments left over by the army after the civil war or cheap instruments, like the banjo.
Rock n' roll was born in the 1950's with black performers. Elvis became the King of Rock'n roll. He was white, and yet he sang like a black man.

mardi 4 décembre 2007


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Thanksgiving is over and Xmas is at the door! Decorations are out and the evening drive home is lit by a multitude of lights that tell us that Xmas is in the air. Americans love Xmas! The radio plays Xmas songs all day long. My daughter plays Xmas songs on the piano to practice for her piano recital. Actually, she started already in October and by the time Xmas rolls in we are actually fed up with Xmas tunes.
As I said earlier, Americans love Xmas. It brings out their childlike spirit and their "shop till you drop" philosophy. They decorate their houses with an incredible amounts of lights almost bordering tacky. It is almost impossible to fall asleep at night because the houses are all lit up. Everything is on display, from Santa to Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Mrs. Santa to Frosty the snowman and the Nativity scene, candy canes, snowflakes, etc.etc. We have red lights, white lights, big lights and small lights, everywhere in the front yard, back yard, on the roof and on the windows, bushes, trees, patios and porches. The more the better for all the children's delight!
During this season, people go to concerts to hear choirs singing Xmas carols, they go to the ballet to see "The Nutcracker" performed by big ballet companies and by small obscure ballet companies. They bake cookies, fudge, brownies and they give them as presents to family and friends. Children eat candy canes in all colors and variety and go for sleigh rides with Santa organized by local church groups.
I do not like shopping very much at Xmas time. There are too many people out and about and everybody is rushing to get the last gifts. There are queues at the cash registers and people are stressed and impolite. The true Xmas spirit has to be enjoyed at home around the Xmas tree together with family and friends. And what if there are not a million presents under the tree! Just one thoughtful present is enough to make my heart content. I am also thinking that this year I will send less Xmas greetings, I might save a tree or two. I will use the email, it is more environmentally friendly.
Merry Xmas, everybody!

samedi 1 décembre 2007


Every year, Macy's, the world's largest department store, organizes very popular events. Its Thanksgiving Day Parade is a real institution in New York City.
On the fourth Thursday in november, the same day that most Americans gather around the dining table and eat turkey to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade marches through the streets of New York City. Elaborate floats, marching bands, clowns and celebrities creatre a carnivalesque atmosphere.
But the main attraction is the parade's giant helium balloons, many of which represent cartoon characters.
For more than 80 years, the parade has drawn spectators who line the streets and cheer on the participants.
The holiday event grew ( and grew) over time from a small parade of floats and live animals organized by Macy's employees- the majority of whom were emigrants-into a large scale annual tradition. The parade showcases 10,000 participants, and crowds of 2 to 3.5 million spectators cram Manhattan streets for a close-up view. Another 50 million watch the parade on TV.

To make online puzzles on the theme of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade :

dimanche 25 novembre 2007

THANKSGIVING 2007 - Thursday, November 22nd

To see a video about the history of Thanksgiving :


Every year, on the eve of Thanksgiving, in a ceremony at the White House, the President of the United-States pardons a turkey, which means the bird is not killed and eaten.

The animal is chosen from a different farm every year, among a group of birds hatched in April. In August, when the toms ( = the male turkeys) have reached 11kg, six of the most beautriful birds are selected. For four months, they are periodically petted and hand-fed so that they get used to humans.

The week before the presentation, two toms are chosen. They are brought to Washington DC and prepared for the Ceremony. In the meantime, thousands of Americans vote for a name on the White House website, names like Stars and Stripes, Pumpkin and Cranberry, Freedom and Liberty. This year,the names chosen were May and Free. On the day of the Ceremony, the larger and more colourful of the two birds is brought to the White House and hoisted on a pedestal in the Rose Garden, to become the National Thanksgiving turkey.

During the Ceremony, the President pets the bird, makes a few jokes and photos are taken. Afterwards, this year, the pardoned turkey was put in a plane and it travelled first class to Los Angeles where it will live peacefully ( in Disneyland ) until its death ( which usually occurs within two years ).

See the video of President Bush pardoning the 2007 Thanksgiving turkey :

To learn more about the history of presidential pardon :


Here it comes again, that time of the year when everybody starts getting ready to celebrate "Thanksgiving" with family and friends. Mothers are busy buying turkeys for Thanksgiving dinners and fishing out old recipes to figure out how long the "Big Bird" has to cook in the oven. No matter how big or small the family is, big turkeys ornate the table while the whole family flies across American skies to be once again reunited around the table.

Thanksgiving is a typical American tradition. It stems from the times of the Puritans, when the early settlers were able to survive the harsh New England winters with the products of the land. The native Indians taught them to cultivate corn, and so corn became a very important staple on Thanksgiving day. A typical meal consists of Turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, corn, and pumpkin or sweet potato pies. The family gathers at around 3 or 4 o'clock and they spend a few hours together eating and having fun. After the meal, they gather around and play games or they sit and watch the football game on their big screen TVs. This is the first big holiday after the summer, and everybody looks forward to see each other again.

The day after Thanksgiving, the official Christmas holiday shopping begins. Many people, gather outside the department stores before opening time to get the early birds deals. I have never done it. I do not see the point of getting up so early to spend money. Anyway, I look forward relaxing at home and getting together with friends to laugh and have a good time!

mercredi 14 novembre 2007


Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

dimanche 11 novembre 2007

NOV. 11 - VETERANS DAY - 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

People gathered on the Mall in Washington these days to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which was built in 1982. There was a reading of the Names ceremony on Nov. 7th 2007. All the names engraved in the Wall were read over a three-day period.

vendredi 9 novembre 2007


During the holidays, I went to New York city where I met Mrs Cherubin , our American penfriends' teacher ! She drove all the way from Washington to New York and we met in Grand Central Station, which is a huge railway and subway station situated right in the center of Manhattan. I had already seen photos of her, but she was turning her back to me when I caught sight of her; but then,she turned round and she recognized me first. It was very strange to meet a person I've been chatting with on the net for nearly a year without actually knowing her. We had never met before, but we have so much in common that it felt as if we had always known each other. We had very long conversations together because Mrs Cherubin is amazing !she can talk about everything. She is of Italian origin, but she has lived in England, Germany and Switzerland, so she knows Europe very well. Together, we had a walk in Central Park; we visited the Whitney Museum ( a museum of American Art ), we walked a lot in Manhattan and finally, she very kindly invited me to see a show in Broadway. This show was entitled " The Three mo' tenors"; it was a musical show with three very talented black singers who recounted the history of black American music ( from the gospels to rap ). I gave Mrs Cherubin the photos I had taken of my pupils (on a CD), and she gave me a package of letters to deliver on my return to France.I had a great time with this person I can now call a friend,and will keep excellent memories of the moments we spent together. I hope she'll come to France one day to visit me !
( I will soon send a video of our meeting ! To be followed... )

Here is a photo of the show I saw in Broadway with Mrs Cherubin : " Three Mo' Tenors"

mardi 6 novembre 2007


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Yesterday, I saw the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which I really appreciated. Here is the summary of the film !:

New York 1940. Holly Golightly is a pretty and mysterious American starlet who likes to take her breakfast in Tiffany’s jewellery. To her, it is every evening alcohol, holidays and men don’t miss! Holly wants to find a rich husband. She meets her neighbour whose name is Paul Varjak. They become friends and Paul discovers that behind her amazing character, Holly is hurtled by life and she isn’t allowed to fall in love with somebody. But with the time, a strong passion between Holly and Paul is going to be born of an amicable relation.

This film is really fantastic and sometimes funny. It’s the moving portrait of a lost young woman, brilliantly interpreted by bright and radiant Audrey Hepburn. Her interpretation of the song “Moon River” is a big instant! New York is filmed in an original manner, and the visit to Tiffany’s, is the most delightful stage of cinema which I have never seen!

Here is the song " moon River" ...

jeudi 25 octobre 2007

STARDUST - Mathias

Stardust is a fantastic movie. A young villager, Tristan Thorne ( played by Charlie Cox ) is in love with the prettiest girl in the village. He promises to bring back to her a star which has fallen from the sky. To do so, he crosses a wall and arrives in a world inhabited by strange creatures and other mysterious characters. There are funny moments in the movie, with an effeminate captain, for instance ( played by Robert De Niro ).
A movie you should go and see if you feel like spending a nice moment in a heated room !!

Stardust - bande annonce VO - wideo
Stardust - bande annonce VO - wideo

mercredi 24 octobre 2007

MY FRIENDS AND I - Yéléna ( 4°)

I have got a lot of friends but I have two best friends whose names are Anais and Anne. If I am sad, they cheer me up by making me laugh. They are big laughs and I can confide in them. They are good-hearted and ... very greedy ! Anais is resentful whereas Anne is forgiveful. Anais is a bit clumsy ! She always breaks things ! Together, we have invented nicknames for us: Anais's nickname is " Naisou le caritoux", Anne's is " Nanou' and mine is... " Yélou le poux" ! We have the same tastes : we love music, shopping, fashion, the cinema..
There are some people I don't like because they are quarrelsome, stupid or aggressive..
For me, a perfect friend is a person who makes me laugh, who is intelligent and who has the same tastes as me.
For me, Anais and Anne are perfect friends because they never get on my nerves !


I'm a good mixer, therefore I've got plenty of friends. My best friend is Camille because we've got the same tastes and she is very understanding and considerate. Each time I'm down, she cheers me up. She is a good laugh. Both of us like going shopping. I can rely on her, that's why, whenever I've got a problem, she is here for me.
Unlike my cousin, Camille is a reliable person. I can't stand my cousin who is a boaster. He gets on my nerves. We quarrel all the time whereas I get on very well with Camille.
According to me, a perfect friend has to be reliable, understanding, considerate and attentive. As Camille has got all these qualities, I think she is a perfect friend.

FRIENDSHIP - Benjamin ( 4°)

AS I'm quite sociable, I get along with most of the people I know, that's why I have got loads of friends and I don't hate anyone in particular. But of course, there are a few people I get along better than with other people, like my friend Kevin for example. I have known him for some years. We have the same tastes and, as he is a good laugh, we like having fun together.
For me, the perfect friend is someone who helps you when you're sad or dejected. A perfect friend is someone you can trust all the time as much as he trusts you. Finally, in my eyes, the perfect friend is someone who likes sharing lots of things with you, and maybe just some time.

lundi 15 octobre 2007


Here is the address of our American penpals' blog. There are nice photos of the students and messages about all the different events organized by their school - Eleanor Roosevelt highschool. Don't hesitate to post your comments !

+ why don't you go and visit their school's official site ?


Johnny Allen Hendrix ( Jimi's real name) was born in Seattle on November 27th 1942. For his sixteenth birthday, his father bought him his first accoustic guitar. Shortly after, Jimi joined a group called "The Velvetones"which he left after only three months to persue his own interests. In 1961, he enlisted in the United-States army but he was discharged for he got hurt during a parachute jump, that's how he started working as a guitarist. He played with famous artists such as Tina Turner or Little Richard, among others. Then , he formed his own group: "Jimmy James and The Blue Flames". In the sixties, he became successful thanks to his first single, "Hey, Joe" and his first album, "Are you experienced", which became one one the most popular albums of all times. His participation in the Woodstock Festival in 1969 remains in history especially because he played the American national anthem ( "The Star Spangled Banner") on the guitar. Finally, he died of an overdose of sleeping pîlls in 1970, at the early age of 27. But he still remains one of the greatest rock legends of his time.

samedi 13 octobre 2007

SELF-PORTAIT ( Anne - 4°)

Norman Rockwell-Self-portrait- 1960
Dear friend,
To know each other better, I think we should both introduce ourselves in a letter, so I will do the first step. My name is Anne ; I was born on the the thirteenth of April 1994, so I'm thirteen years old.
My parents are married, but my father has already been married before, so I've got four half-brothers. In his second marriage (with my mother), my father had three other children : my older brother, my older sister and me. In all, we are a very large family ! What about you ? Is your family bigger than mine ?
To come back to me, I'm going to describe myself : I'm a brown-haired and brown-eyed girl, I'm quite tall and slim. I think I look like my mother more than like my father.
Concerning my personality, I can tell you I'm very clumsy as everything is broken in my room (and not just in my room... ). That's quite simple : when I go somewhere, I break everything which is around me. My nickname is "La Pas Douée"-in French- and in English, I guess it would be " The not talented girl", or something like that. When I'm not breaking things, I'm sleeping, working or playing (on my computer, playing badminton or just playing with my cat!!). No, maybe, I'm a bit exaggerating in what I'm saying (but just a little bit!).
What about my tastes ? Well, I love sports, particularly badminton and tennis, I love the cinema, especially fantastic movies... but I like "Bridget Jones' Diary" and that's not fantastic at all. As a conclusion, I'm just fond of the cinema in general, I love going downtown with my friends, or just going to the restaurant with them to talk about everything. Have you got a lot of friends ? And do you do the same things as me with them ? If you come over here one day, I hope you like cats because I have one in my house. He is called Mika, and he's always stuck to you !
Lots of love from your friend, Anne.

mercredi 10 octobre 2007


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Here are a few photos of hippies or hippy vans in the 70's.
Hippie refers to a movement that began in the United-States during the early 1960's and that expanded to other countries before declining in the mid 1970's.
Originally, the hippies were part of a youth movement composed mostly of white teenagers and young adults, between the ages of 15 and 25 years old. They rejected established institutions, criticized middle-class values, opposed nuclear weapons, opposed the Vietnam War, were often vegetarian and eco-friendly, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs and created communities. They used folk music and psychedelic rock as a part of their lifestyle and as a way of expressing their vision of the world and life. They promoted peace, love and personal freedom as in The Beatles' song "All You Need is Love".

samedi 6 octobre 2007


Hey ! you if you like background music, take a look at that myspace page :
That's the label of my brother, Alexandre Navarro ( like the Indians).He does music too on his label under his name.

mercredi 3 octobre 2007

ELEANOR ROOSEVELT HIGHSCHOOL - our American penpals'school in Maryland

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LET'S TALK ABOUT MY SCHOOL - Mrs Cherubin, French teacher in Eleanor Roosevelt Highschool

Hi everybody! After contributing to your school blog for about a month, I decided it was time to send you an article of my own and some pictures of our school in Maryland. It is a high school situated in Greenbelt, Maryland, half an hour from Washington, DC. It is simply the best school in the county and one of the best schools in the state of Maryland. Can you hear how proud I am of my school??? Well, there is a lot to be proud of. It is called Eleanor Roosevelt High School. It is a magnet school, which means that we offer a Science and Technology magnet program for very talented students. There are also a lot of students who are in a comprehensive program with regular classes.

The students are very lucky to be at our school. They have the opportunity to work with some of the finest teachers in the state and participate in a lot of activities. We have the finest music program you could ever imagine. We have various bands and orchestras, not to mention the various choirs.
There are hundreds of after school clubs that students can join and, for the most athletic ones, we have sports teams that compete at the regional, county and state levels.
Students who first come to ERHS are inducted to the "Roosevelt Way, The right way of doing things!" It is not just about academics, but also about building a character and continuing the tradition of community based service that has shaped the lives of many students who came through our school.
If you think I am bragging then you need to spend a few days at our school to realize that we work harder than anybody else and, may be not all the students appreciate it, but after they leave they tend to come back. They recognize the uniqueness of their school and they want to be a part of it again!

Mme Cherubin

dimanche 30 septembre 2007


I arrived four years ago in Bordeaux. Before that, I used to live in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, near the big Imperial Palace of kyoto. Around the Palace, there is a large expanse of pebbles with a lot of gardens and parks for kids and picnics, with beautiful cherry trees in spring and maple trees in autumn.In the middle, there is the Palace itself which was built during the Middle Ages of Japan.
I went to school named EFK ( école Française de Kyoto ). We were only 20 students for all the levels from CP to CM2 every year (!!)because there were not many French-speaking people in Kyoto. But, as it was located inside a former Japanese public school which was no more in use, it was a big school and we shared it with an American school ( Kyoto International School or KIS ). There was a big sand playground ( much bigger than Casignol's), with a gym and toys. In the class we were all friends. Even more, we were like brothers and sisters. In the classroom, there was a little place to read with cushions and bookcases. There were also a piano for the music lesons, some computers and two blackboards.
We had class every day from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm. When we finished lessons, we could go and play with interactive games on computers or read books. It was really cool as there was just one teacher, it was very different from now. Our teacher always gave us exercises to do and then went to see the other students. I remember that I was with two boys in CM1 but I always spoke with my sister and her friend. The teacher said nothing when we talked or when we stood up and walked in the classroom. On Mondays, Wednesdays ( we worked a full day on Wednesdays in Japan) and on Fridays, we had Japanese lessons because it's useful to speak Japanese when you are in Japan !!
For lunch, we ate in the classroom with our "bento" ( Japanese name for a box containing our packed lunch)...
So, it was very different from now. Changing from 20 to 800 students is a very big change, you know !

mercredi 26 septembre 2007


On Wednesday, I saw the movie entitled "Death at a funeral" ( = "Joyeuses Funérailles", in French ). This film is very funny although the topic is rather sad as it's about a family gathering at a funeral. The director's name is Frank Oz - he played Yoda in Star Wars. It's super, so you should go and see it !

Joyeuses funérailles - Bande-annonce 1 - Anglais - wideo
Joyeuses funérailles - Bande-annonce 1 - Anglais - wideo

Joyeuses funérailles - Bande-annonce 1 - Anglais - wideo
Un homme tente de révéler le sombre secret d'un patriarche d'une famille britannique à problèmes, récemment décédé. C'est alors le chaos.


My band's name is the Wild Cactus. Three people play in this band. There is Adrian, Pierre and myself Paul Nivelle. We play rock pop punk like blink 182 or the rolling stones. The video which is on our myspace page was taken in Carbon Blanc during the show organized by the Russian learners. We have some of our own compositions but we haven't recorded them.
Everybody is welcome to have a look at our myspace page !

lundi 24 septembre 2007


After a short film (" lick the star"), which was quite successful, Sophia Coppola directed a full-length movie entitled " Virgin Suicides", which was even more impressive. This is the real story of a girl who decides to kill herself. This first film, by Francis Ford Coppola's daughter, was inspired by an atrocious piece of news. Some people may think that the movie is a bit slow, maybe even boring. Actually, as early as the beginning of the film, the exceptional music track created by the French group AIR, casts a spell on the spectator. For Sophia Coppola, music is something essential for the progress of the film. It works as a sort of third character that we also find in her two major following movies : "Lost in translation" and the brilliant "Marie-Antoinette". I'd like to insist on the awesome performances of kirsten Dunst, James Woods and Kathleen Turner.
So, I recommend all movies by Sophia Coppola for she is extremely talented.
It is to be noticed that Sophia Coppola made members of her family participate in her films (among whom her brother Roman and her cousins Chris Niel and Robert Schwartzman- the Louis XVI of Marie-Antoinette).


Dear diary,
I have been worried and I dreaded the start of the new school year. At present, I reckon that the year looks promising. Indeed, all my friends are in my class and I get on well with all my schoolmates, therefore I'm delighted. However, a friend of mine has repeated and I'm upset. But she is a good-mixer and I fancy that she will have a lot of friends.
As far as I'm concerned, I feel that the form teacher, Mrs Philippe, is pleasant and we have a good time-table. so, I think I will spend a good year even if we have to take our final exam at the end of the year and even if the works is harder than last year !

jeudi 20 septembre 2007


Dear diary,
On september 6th, I discovered my new school and my new schoolmates. This school is very different from my previous one. Here the pupils dress differently and I think they're more sensible. In my class, many pupils look clever and some boys are beautiful. Our class is not very noisy. I like my teachers, some are funny. I think we have got much homework for the beginning of the schoolyear. I'm in the same class as Camille, whom I already knew, so I'm happy. I live in a town now. I'm saying that because I used to live in the country, but I like Bordeaux very much.

I HATE SCHOOL ( Julien )

Dear Diary,
Today, it's the start of the new school year. All my friends seem disappointed to be back to school. In my class, I don't know anybody. When I look at all those people with whom I'm supposed to spend my last year in Cassignol, I'm sad, I don't like it. But I'm very satisfied with my teachers who are nice, especially Mrs Sauliere, the English teacher. She's so funny and so cool. At the moment, my physical education teacher is giving us our timetable while I'm chatting with my mate Johan. I'm rather happy he's in my class. From now on, things will be the same everyday. I hate school !


Dear diary,
It's the first day back to school. I'm really afraid of having to go back. The head is calling my name and I'm asked to rejoin my class. The only pupils I know are Simon and Ana. I'm very sad because I don't like the pupils of my class. I cry for a long time and I look so ridiculous. We stay in a classroom for two hours and our form teacher gives us information about the year. I don't listen. I'm thinking of my friends who are together. But I'm reassuerd as far as teachers are concerned. Adélaïde, Iris, Marjory Marie ... I imagine they must be so happy to be in the same class. I'm sad too, because I think of Maylis and Célia who have gone to another school ( La Benatte ) this year. Well, I have to go. I'm going to see my friends and then, I'll go back home.

HERE WE GO AGAIN... ( Paul-Adrien )

Dear diary,
My first day back to school was OK. However, once more, I was disappointed to see all the teachers again. A whole year of wasting time ! I'm the only student to be repeating this class.
I have a feeling that this school year is going to be long. My class is not a difficult one. It seems to me that they are rather good pupils., unfortunately for me... or happily, I don't know....We will see what turn the schoolyear will take ...

NEW AT SCHOOL ( Camille )

Dear diary,
Today is my first day in my new school. New school, new city, new friends.., so it's a whole new life ! I come into the quad and I think to myself:" what are those clothes ? They look like English pupils !.. well, don't be prejuficed, Camille !". But where is the crowd of pupils who ask me: "Are you new? What's your name ? Where do you live ?". Nobody asks in this school. It's so different from my former school. Then , we come into the classroom. My schoolmates look nice but I must be invisible because nobody seems to be noticing me. My friend Alice thinks just the same.
Finally, this first day is over.
Day after day, things turn out differently : more pupils speak to me, I find new friends, I buy new clothes. It's difficult to become integrated.