On the French Frontier 1700-1800

Teachers Level One

Learning Goals and Objectives--Grades 3 - 5

Voices and Choices--Antoine Bienvenue
Note: It is a good idea to print Level One for easy reference.

Voices and Choices--Antoine Bienvenu

Antoine Bienvenue is now 12 years old and needs to decide if he will participate in the New Year's celebration like a man or pursue more "boyish" pursuits.


These themes can be explored with either a social studies or language arts curriculum. Use these themes to tie in other resources to your class discussion, i.e., other books, other cultures, students' own lives.


What do you think?

These questions which come at the end of each story, minus "the answer", can be used to start class discussions or be assigned as homework.

Have you taken on new responsibilities in your family since your last birthday?

Explore the idea of family responsibilities with your students. Does each birthday bring new jobs within the family? How do different cultures view the roles and responsibilities of children within the family?

What new responsibilities does Antoine have now that he is 12? How are they the same or different from yours?

At the age of 12, Antoine was growing up. He was now considered man enough to carry a gun and protect the village. His sisters expected him to join in the festivities surrounding New Year's eve.

Why did Antoine ask St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) for a gun?

As much as he feels himself a child, Antoine wants to become a man. A gun was a symbol of manhood in French colonial society, plus he will be able to show it off to his Indian friends.

What do you look forward to doing when you turn 12?

Find out if your students regard the age of 12 as a time of coming of age. Will they be able to do "adult" things like having their ears pierced or being able to go places by themselves?

Do you and your family celebrate New Year's Eve in the same way that Antoine and his family did?

The French celebrated New Year's Eve by going to church for a midnight mass and preparing for the Twelfth Night Ball held on January 5th. Everyone in the community would have participated. Before the ball, young men dressed in costume would go from door to door begging food for the ball and entertaining each household by singing the Guignolee and dancing the rag dance.

Why are Antoine's Indian friends important to him? In what ways are your friends important to you?

His Indian friends have taught him to hunt with a bow and arrow. Explore the idea of friendship with your students. What do we do with our friends that we don't do with members of our family?



These are suggested classroom activities and student projects that you may want to use with your students or as models to create your own.

1. Diary Writing

Pretend to be Antoine or one of his sisters and write a diary entry about what took place New Year's Eve. Begin your diary like this:

January 1, 1743, Kaskaskia
Dear Diary,

2. Map Drawing

On a piece of paper, draw a map of your neighborhood. You might want to show where you live, where your friends live, where your school is located, where your family buys their groceries.

How does your neighborhood compare with a French village in the 1700s?
Go to Maps and find outMaps

3. Creating a mask for New Year's Eve

You can design your own mask out of thick paper or cardboard or buy premade paper masks at the store. Use scraps of construction paper, fabric, tinfoil, tissue paper, and bits of string or tinsel to glue onto your mask as decoration.



© Illinois State Museum 31-Dec-96