Professional Biography Russell, Madame Lisa
World Languages Chair and French teacher
I am a long time veteran teacher of Loudoun County and of Loudoun County Public Schools, in particular, of which I am very proud. I greatly enjoy teaching French and hope to pass along my passion for learning and using French authentically in my classroom and outside of it every day to each student whom I teach.
My 2018-19 Schedule:
1st Department Chair 5th Planning 2nd French 1 6th AP French 3rd Seal of Biliteracy 7th French 4 Honors 4th French 4 Honors 8th French 5 Honors Course Information Gradebook & Class Page School ResourcesPhoenixParents may view grades here: Extra Curricular PositionsA message from Madame Lisa Russell
Welcome all to the 2017 - school year!I am the French teacher of levels 1, 4 Honors, 5 Honors, and Advanced Placement French, as well as, the World Languages and Cultures chair here at Briar Woods High School.
In class, I try to communicate and demonstrate to my students that French is not "just a class or a subject" but rather a way of thinking and living life! More than 40 countries in the world use French as the official or a main language in daily life! I have a genuine passion for the French language and the different cultures around the world of the people communicate in it! It is my sincere hope that my enthusiasm and passion is contagious in my classroom. In the past, we have truly enjoyed the linguistic and cultural adventure! In addition to the fun, however, it is a fact that with the ability to proficiently use French, your children will be before an open door leading to many opportunities at universities and in the world.
I received my B.A. and M.A. in French at Illinois State University. I have studied more than 30 university hours beyond my M.A. in French at Iowa State University, the University of Northern Iowa, Virginia Tech. and the University of Virginia, the French Embassy (l'Université d'Été in Washington D.C. in 2011) as well as abroad at the l'Université Catholique de l'Ouest, and l'Université de Grenoble in France.
Teaching ExperienceI have been a teacher in Illinois and in Loudoun County in the United States for my whole career, but through Loudoun County, I have had wonderful opportunities for unique teaching experiences - including ones abroad. I was Loudoun County's first Fulbright Exchange Teacher. In the academic year 1999-2000, I was a Fulbright Exchange high school teacher at Saidou Nourou Tall Public High School in Dakar, Sénégal. There I taught 220 students English as a Second Language while immersing myself in the Wolof/Francophone culture so that I could bring it back to my Loudoun County students. In 2004, I accepted a position to teach French at a community college in West Africa where I taught African and French literature, French grammar, and Francophone civilization to anglophone teachers preparing themselves to become French teachers.I returned to be part of the inaugural staff at Briar Woods and have enjoyed sharing my varied foreign experiences with my students and colleagues ever since. In the spring of 2006, I taught at the Governor's French Academy on the campus of VCU during the summer, and I had a wonderful total immersion, teaching experience with Virginia's most talented French students and Francophone colleagues. I had the honor of teaching again at the Governor's French Academy at VCU in 2007 and again in 2009. I encourage all language students to set the Governor's Academy experience as a goal!Our French students were also selected to attend this academy in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. The students attending the Governor's Academies in French, Spanish, German, Latin, and Japanese academies always have wonderful life changing languages experiences with which they always enrich their language classrooms the next year culturally and linguistically.In the summer of 2007, a group of students and I took a study tour of western and southern France. This was such a varied and interesting tour which provided students the opportunity to use their French in an authentic context. Meeting and coming to know so many people as we traveled was a wonderful experience. Everyone used his/her French to ask uniquely pertinent questions and learn so much! I try to offer such linguistic "laboratory experiences" every other year and bring home the reason for working hard to learn French! It is my hope to offer a two-way exchange experience between Briar Woods High School and a sister school in France during 2017 - 2018.
Our (school sponsored) study tour/family stays in Quebec and Montreal for levels III, IV H, V H, and AP during the Carnival/winter season of 2014 and again in 2016 were an overwhelming successes!! Our students' home stay with families in Old Quebec provided them with authentic opportunities to speak French and offered students unique winter, cultural activities in the evenings with their families. Hopefully, this home stay experience will be a new cultural tradition at Briar Woods repeating every other year.In the fall of 2007, I participated in a mini-exchange of 6 weeks with a Moroccan high school and family. While there, I presented and taught at public high school in the mountains and lectured at the university level for several weeks. My Moroccan students expressed great eagerness to communicate with my Briar Woods ones. My Moroccan counterpart's time here in the spring of 2008 was unique as it brought Northern Africa to Briar Woods. Students in my classroom greatly enjoyed showing him many aspects of American life while also learning about Morocco - all in French. Mr. Said El Mouhtarim, team taught French with me for six weeks.French one-way exchange student spring staysThe spring of 2015 was the 4th consecutive year that Briar Woods students have welcomed students from France into their homes and classrooms. Briar Woods French students have made it a tradition to invite students for a one week stays in the spring. There is much enthusiasm and excitement during each stay as our students have had the opportunity to use French in "real life" situations and to help their French partners do the same with English. Friendships continue to flourish as participants correspond at home with each other through texts, email, and Skype. Several French students have returned to visit their American partners, and Briar Woods students have also traveled to France to enjoy the wonder of France through the hospitality of their French partners. With 6 such wonderful years of experience, Briar Woods will continue to offer this one- way exchange to students who wish to host French teens their age for a week of true immersion fun! This exchange inspired and motivated to create a sister school exchange that would bring our students into homes again in France during the spring of 2017 - 2018. This one-way exchange will continue along with our Sister School Exchange.Our New Two-Way Sister School Exchange inauguration in 2017 - 2018! See Proposed Program and Itinerary by clicking on the page below this Overview to the left.Last year, Briar Woods inaugurated its first reciprocal exchange with le Lycée Belmont in Lyon, France. We began our exchange through email and video exchanges to introduce ourselves. Students traveling to France in December 2017 developed a pre-travel friendship through exciting regular contact which they shared with their classmates in French 4H, 5H, and AP French. Students not traveling created videos to introduce our school community, Brambleton, and places of interest in the nearby area. Our first group of Briar Woods exchange students traveled to meet their families on December 1st. Students were greeted very enthusiastically by the 24 students and their teachers participating in this exchange at the Lyon airport. For the next week, American students were immersed totally in French, living with their match families and attending their host partners' full high school class schedule with them. After school and during the weekend, Briar Woods students enjoyed meeting in groups to enjoy the sites of Lyon , going on family excursions, and attending the Christmas Market (le Marché de Noël) the spectacular Fête de Lumières for which Lyon is known world-wide. Though quite sad to leave their new families, friends, and high school which they had adopted, and which had adopted them, students took the TGV to Paris for a whirlwind tour of the "must see" sites as well as those which most connect the American and French shared histories. Students enjoyed dining on the Eiffel Tour, visiting the Louvre, Versailles, the Opera Garnier, the Cathedral of Notre Dame (climbing to the top of "her" towers, the Basilica of Sacré Coeur, the Arc de Triomphe, shopping on the Champs-Elysées and at the historic multi-block department store which is an historic site as well - les Galleries Lafayette. Students returned home as citizens of the world and with much advanced French skills! In class, students shared their experiences through group and mini-group discussions with classmates who had also been studying Lyon and Paris with their native French substitute teacher. The correspondence, now between students who had become close friends, continued through email, videos but also through other venues of social media. All students were included in this continuing contact. In April, Briar Woods students hosted their match students for two weeks. During this time, all students visited Mount Vernon together as George Washington and Lafayette were close friends and allies. French students attended classes with their host students each day. During tree time, host students planned events such as a bonfire complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, and of course, s'mores as well as shopping trips and cultural and historical excursions which our area lends itself so well. The second part of the exchange culminated in a formal reception for all participants, parents, teacher sponsors, administrators of Briar Woods, and dignitaries form the Superintendent's office. Students presented PowerPoint and videos of "Our exchange in review" narrated in French and English for parents, teachers, administrative guests and visiting dignitaries. Pins with the American and French flags joined were exchanged between American and French students, teachers, and offered to Briar Woods administrators and visiting dignitaries. Briar Woods then offered an American flag bunting embroidered with sister school names to le Lycée Belmont teacher sponsors. The good-byes were very difficult, but the friendship continues today through social media!
This exchange provided incredibly authentic learning opportunities as well as a world perspective gained by foreign travel. Students who took part in the physical exchange unanimously agree that this exchange not only gave them a true passion for learning French and about France's culture, but also guided them along the path of self-discovery - something they had not expected and which they valued highly. These were my professional goals for inaugurating our sister school exchange!
It is, consequently, my pleasure to announce that the C'est la Vie reciprocal exchange, will again be offered this year pending Administrative approval in process! For those wishing to take part a second time, the Paris itinerary has been altered to include sites not included the first time - while keeping the "must sees". It will be my pleasure to invite students in levels 4 Honors, 5 Honors, and Advanced Placement French this incredible opportunity once again.
Check-back for time and date of the informational meeting for parents and students about this exchange opportunity for thie 2018 - 2019 school year!
Fulbright teaching in Excellence Grand Award and Project 2016 -2017 and its continuing impactDuring the Academic school year 2017 - 2018, French 1 - AP French students had the opportunity to study West African/Senegalese culture in a personal and authentic way as I traveled to Senegal in October and November and sent pictures and explanations of daily life in Dakar and our sister high school and their student partners at this school every day through "Whatsapp." In January of 2018, my Senegalese partner team taught all levels of French with me. Levels 1 - AP studied West African culture uniquely in French during this team-teaching time. The upper levels worked on a Fulbright Association Grant project with their students matches in back in Senegal. Student partners in both countries wrote emails to each other about the cultural objects they have sent to each through me and my partner. The emails exchange enlightening picutre, audios, and videos from each other's every day world relating to 4 AP themes. The answers they received to questions they asked along with those pictures and videos personalized there cultural perspective and were used to create a personalized documentary dispelling cultural stereotypes and myths they may have had. These student-produced documentaries which address all 6 of the Advanced Placement themes students study through-out high school are being used as we continue our exploration of what it is like to walk in the "sandals" of a francophone in West Africa and how all facets of life have similarities to our own but our uniquely, culturally different as well.
It is a great pleasure being the French teacher of your children at Briar Woods High School again this year. We enjoy talking about just about everything "in French." Please join us for a visit any time!
If you have any questions about French or the our World Languages and Cultures department, please click below to email me.Madame Russell