Author Archives: madameshepard

Focus on Function in a Unit about Women’s Rights for Intermediate French Students

As some of you might know, I had the great honor of interviewing Laura Terrill, co-author of The Keys to Planning for Learning (purchase here) as part of a #langbook discussion on Twitter.  (Our interview was featured in this podcast.) As I read the 2nd edition of this crucial text, one new understanding that I gained was the vital role that language functions play in teaching for proficiency.  I definitely  have not been intentional enough in creating opportunities for my students to communicate using various functions, so this was one of my goals in designing my latest unit for my French 4 and 5 students.  Here’s a link to the agenda for the unit to which the resources I created are linked. A brief description of each lesson can be found below.

Lesson 1: Since the functions of Describing and Asking/Answering questions are typically the mainstays of my communicative tasks (along with a liberal sprinkling of Telling and Retelling Stories), I wanted to pay special attention to the functions of Expressing Feelings and Emotions and Expressing Advice, Opinions and Preferences in designing this unit.  Here’s a link to the agenda with the resources for the unit I created with this goal in mind and here is a short description of each lesson:

Lesson 1: In order to introduce my students to a few aspects of sexual inequality in France, I’ll begin the first lesson by projecting a short infographic and leading a brief discussion about relevant cultural practices and perspectives in France and the U.S.  Next, I’ll give the students a more detailed infographic and ask them to complete statements expressing their opinions and emotions about facts in their infographic in order to practice the structures they’ll need for these functions.  After discussing their reactions to the infographic in small groups, they’ll listen to a video about La Journée de la Femme and respond by filling in a table with details they have understood.

Lesson 2: As a hook for this lesson, I’ll play and discuss a video about La Journée de la Femme. Next the students will listen to part of a video about the history of women’s rights in France and complete a manipulative activity in small groups.  Next each student will be given one of two different infographics with important dates for  women’s rights in France.  After filling in a graphic organizer with their opinions of the most important events in this movement, they will discuss with a partner (who had the other infographic) in order to reach a consensus about the most important dates.  I think this activity will provide an important opportunity for the students to engage in the function of Expressing Opinion.

Lesson 3: The hook for this lesson is a video about women’s rights in Tunisia that I will discuss with the class in order to provide background information about the perspectives of another Francophone culture. The students will then complete the manipulative for the second half of the history video before beginning work on a short written presentation about one of the women who played an important role in the women’s movement in France.  In order to ensure that the students are focusing on expressing advice and opinions, I have chosen a prompt in which they are writing to the French postal system to nominate one of the women to be featured on a new stamp.  After finishing their letters, the students will discuss their choice with a partner in order to try to convince each other that their woman is the most deserving. (Lessons 4 and 5)

In Lesson 6 I will assign the first summative interpretive assessment, an 1jour1actu article about the experiences of women from different generations.  Because some of these students will be taking the IB exam, I have used used questions types that are part of this test in my assessment.

In lesson 7 I will turn the focus toward women’s experiences in the workplace.  As a hook I’ll present a short video with women’s statements of their experiences and then an infographic with key dates. Next, I will send the students to a website with period videos related to different aspects of the women’s movement, along with the reactions of experts in the field.  Although we’ll only be using the videos related to the workplace, there are a wealth of great videos related to other aspects of gender equality here.  I’ll have the students select one of the videos to listen to and prepare a short commentary.  The next day (Lesson 8) the students will present the video they selected, as well as their commentary, in a gallery-style presentation. Rather than a generic presentational rubric, I have created one that specifically addresses the extent to which the students presented their opinion of the video in order to ensure that they focused on this language function.

Lesson 9: After a short video hook, I will facilitate a brief whole-class discussion of French products, practices and perspectives illustrated in an infographic on sexism in the workplace.  Students will then read an article about work equality from 1jour1actu and fill in a Cornell note-taking template.  The questions they write will form the basis of a small group discussion on the article.

In Lesson 10, I will project an infographic on sexual harassment and discuss it with the students before assigning an A or B infographic to each student. Students will then discuss the information in their infographics in order to compare details in a “top hat” diagram.  The students will then complete a table with information from a video about sexual harassment.  

In Lesson 11, I will introduce other types of harassment by discussing an infographic and drawing. I will then have the students discuss a very short film on the topic of harassment at school.  In order to facilitate their discussions, I have created an Edpuzzle and embedded discussion questions at various points in the film.  The students will then annotate a short article about sexual harassment in Belgian schools and discuss it with their groups.

In Lesson 12 I will give the second summative interpretive assessment–an article about sexism in schools with IB-style questions.

In Lesson 13 I will have the students take a quiz on gender stereotypes (the same quiz I used in this lesson) and discuss their opinions of each item in order to select the correct answers.  I’ll give a small  prize to the pair with the most correct answers in order to encourage the opinion-giving.  We’ll then go over the correct answers in class (this will not be a graded activity). We’ll continue with the topic of gender-based stereotypes in Lesson 14 by completing a short comprehension guide of the answers to the previous day’s quiz and then taking a formative assessment on a video about stereotypes.

In Lesson 15 we’ll look at Tweets in which people express how their lives would be different if they were of the opposite gender.  (Finding PG-rated Tweets on this topic was not as easy as it sounds!) The students will then read and fill in a comprehension guide about an article on the same topic.  Next, the students will write a paragraph of their own expressing how they think their lives would be different if they were a member of the opposite sex.

In Lesson 16, I will have the students sign-up to present one of the political cartoons I have curated about gender inequality.  The students will answer a series of guiding questions about their cartoon. In Lesson 17 they will present their caricatures, gallery-style, to their classmates.

In Lesson 18 the students will complete the final summative assessments of the unit.  In the interpersonal task they will discuss their opinions with a partner in order to select which of several political cartoons (I will select a few of those I included in the Google Slides) would best illustrate a blog post on the role of women in French culture.  As a presentational writing task they will then write this blog post.

I hope that the lessons I have created will allow my students to progress in their proficiency, especially as it relates to expressing feelings and opinions.  Let me know what you think!

Le Droit à l’Education: A Unit for Intermediate Mid/High (IB) French Students

Ahhh, it’s finally my turn to get a snow day! My first goal for the day was to share this unit that I did with my IB students before our holiday break.  This is how I addressed the theme of Education with them, click here for the agenda to which all resources have been linked.

Day 1: In order to introduce our first subtopic, Pourquoi est-ce que certains enfants ne vont pas à l’école?, I began this unit by showing a video from UNICEF to the class. The students then read an infographic about access to education in the world and completed a comprehension guide.  Following this interpretive activity, the students completed a “Give One, Get One” interpersonal activity. Lastly, the watched another UNICEF video, for which they completed a comprehension guide.

Day 2: In this lesson the students took notes on a second infographic, using a Six Thinking Hats technique (although I only incorporated five of the hats). Next the students discussed the infographic according to the perspective of the hat they had been assigned. Lastly, they watched a video from 1jour1actu and completed a comprehension guide.

Day 3: The students began by constructing an interactive word wall in their small groups.  For this activity, I print one copy of each document (words and arrows) on cardstock  for each group.  The students place the words face up on their desk and take turns explaining the relationship between two different words and connecting them with an arrow on their desks.  After this activity the students were given an infographic about education in Mali. They incorporated information from this document in a letter to the benefactor of their choice in which they asked for a donation to help children in Mali go to school.  Here are a few examples of word walls that they created (As you can see, I forgot to copy the arrow cards and had to handwrite some at the last minute-oops!):


Day 4: On the fourth day, the students took an interpretive assessment over the first portion of the unit.  For the listening assessment, they completed a comprehension guide for a Les Petits Citoyens video and then answered IB-style questions about an 1jour1actu article.

Day 5: We began the second subtopic, Pourquoi est-ce qu’il y a moins de filles qui sont scolarisées?, by discussing a video and an infographic as a class.  The students then annotated another infographic and then discussed it based on their annotations.  (Il est intéressant que…, Je n’ai pas compris…, J’étais surprise que.., etc.)

Day 6: The students first watched a video about the education of girls in Guinea and completed a comprehension guide. Next, they read part of a webpage about educating girls and completed a comprehension guide, which they then discussed with a partner.

Day 7:  The students wrapped up their investigation of the causes and consequences of the lack of education for girls by reading one of two articles and sharing the information with a partner who had read the other article.

Day 8: The students used the information they had gleaned from the authentic texts to participate in role plays between the parent of a girl in Guinea and a UNICEF volunteer.  The students practiced both roles with a variety of partners to prepare them for the following day’s assessment.

Day 9: The students completed an interpersonal speaking and presentational writing assessments on the topic of the education of girls.  For the writing assessment, they wrote an interview between a UNICEF volunteer and a Guinean girl’s parent.  As they were writing, I called up pairs of students for the role play. (Each student performed with a partner other than the ones they had spoken to the previous day.)

Day 10: I began the final subtopic of this unit–Comment est une école idéale? by passing out a blog post about an ideal school to each small group.  The groups completed a graphic organizer with details from their post and then divided the information among their members in order to prepare Google Slides in order to present the ideal school from their reading to their classmates.  

Day 11: The students presented the ideal schools from the blog posts and filled in a graphic organizer about their classmates’ presentations.  After all of the presentations, I had the students vote for the school they liked the best.

Day 12: Although I ended up running out of time, my intention was that the students would write a description of their own ideal school and submit it to a discussion post on Schoology, our learning management system.  They would then have commented on each other’s posts. Although I didn’t have time for this activity, I did assign this interpretive reading assessment as well as an IB practice speaking assessment using their choice of these two pictures.

I hope you’re staying safe, warm and dry wherever you are!

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Making Learning Visible

Thursday evening on #langchat we had a great discussion about what had worked well for us in 2017.  When I shared that I had begun having my students graph their progress toward proficiency, several people expressed interest. So I thought I’d type up a quick post about what we’ve been doing and what I’ve learned from the process.

I began by passing out this document when I returned the students’ first IPA of the year. Although I am clearly evaluating classroom performance in my assessments, it is important to me that my students see their progress in terms of language proficiency, so I use the proficiency rubrics from the Ohio Department of Education for presentational writing and interpersonal speaking. As the directions on the graph document indicate, I had the students place a dot in the appropriate square for each IPA and then draw a line connecting their dots.  I had them use the same graph, but two different colored lines for presentational writing and interpersonal speaking.  Here are a few of the graphs from my French 2 classes:



There are a few reasons why I consider the simple task of graphing proficiency/performance progress to be one of my successes in 2017.  For one, I LOVED the conversations that I heard among my students as they completed their graphs each time.  It is so much more meaningful to hear “I moved up to Intermediate Low 1” than “I got a B.”  These graphs are also a great visual for my students.  As we transition toward teaching for proficiency (and away from discrete point assessments) some students question “what” they’re learning.  These graphs help students to see their progress in a concrete way.

These graphs also inform my instructional and assessment practices.  Because nearly every student performed lower on the 3rd IPA, I had to take a long, hard look at this assessment (from this post).  My conclusion is that the prompts that I used for the writing and speaking tasks did not encourage the students to stretch in a way that would demonstrate their highest proficiency/performance.  Few students ask the variety of questions that would enable them to demonstrate Intermediate interpersonal communication and most did not include the compound sentences, creativity and cultural competence described in the Intermediate descriptors for the presentational mode. I clearly need to either change these prompts and provide additional direction and targeted practice the next time I teach this unit. I also wonder whether some of the results may indicate a lack of evaluator reliability on my part.  As with most rubrics, there is a bit of subjectivity and I hope to increase my consistency as I continue to use these rubrics.

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Ma Bonne Résolution: A Unit on Health for Intermediate French Students

 Although this year’s winter break seemed especially short, I managed to fit in some wonderful family time and a short but fabulous visit to California.  Coming home to Missouri’s sub-zero temperatures last night was rough after three days of sunny San Diego! Fortunately, I had a good excuse not to leave the house–a major overhaul of my French 3 health unit.

Since I’ll be starting this unit on January 3rd, I decided to include some aspects of project-based learning by having the students choose a health-related resolution, create an action plan for reaching their goal, and then discuss and document their progress.  I’m hoping that this opportunity for choice and voice will engage these students during our first few days back to school. As they continue working on their personal goals outside of class, they’ll work in small groups to research and present cultural comparisons on health-related topics during class time.  For the remainder of the unit, I’ll repeat some of last year’s lessons about the flu and the Petit Nicolas story, “Je suis malade.”  Click here for an agenda of the new lessons to which all resources have been linked.

Day 1: The students will select the health-related resolution they find most relevant and then take an online quiz to give them some baseline data on the aspect of well-being they have chosen. Lastly, they’ll discuss their resolutions with a classmate who has chosen the same goal. (I’ll seat them with students who have chosen the same resolution for the remainder of this unit)

Day 2: The students will read an infographic or short article regarding the aspect of wellness they’ve chosen to focus on and fill in a graphic organizer to show what they learned. They will then discuss their information with a partner who read a different text on the same topic, adding additional information to the graphic organizer. Lastly, they will write a discussion post on Schoology (our learning management system) in which they share their resolution and reasons for choosing it.  They’ll also respond to the posts of two classmates

Day 3: In order to gather additional information about their health-related goals, the students will watch a video on their topic and fill in the main ideas and supporting details that they understood.  They will then discuss their information with a partner who watched a similar video and fill in a second graphic organizer. Finally they’ll write a SUPER goal. (My attempt at modifying a SMART goal to make it work in French!)

Day 4: Students will write the action steps they believe will help them meet their goal, based on the articles they have read, the videos they have watched and the discussions they have had with a partner. They will then discuss their action steps with a partner and note the information their partner gives them. For “homework” the students will begin implementing some of the action steps they have chosen.

Day 5: The students will begin this class period by interviewing their partner about how the first day’s action steps went and noting his/her responses.  Next, they will individually annotate an infographic about French health concerns in order to prepare them for the cultural comparison project to follow. They will continue working on their action steps outside of class.

Day 6: The students will first write a post on a Schoology discussion board in which they discuss their previous day’s success/failure in completing their action steps toward their well-being goal. I will stop everyone after 15 minutes and give them 10 minutes to respond to two classmates’ posts. Next they will participate in a guided discussion of the previous day’s infographic with a partner. For homework they will continue to work on action steps for their goal.

Day 7: The students will begin by discussing their progress using the same format as Day 5.  I will then assign an aspect of health from the infographic to each group. The students will then research this topic as it related to both Americans and French and fill in a table with relevant information. For homework they will continue working on their action steps.

Day 8: The students will first write a new post on a Schoology discussion board to describe their previous day’s progress toward their health goal. They will then discuss the information they gleaned from their research and fill in a graphic organizer with cultural comparisons related to the aspect of health that was assigned to their group.  They will spend any remaining time in the class period responding to discussion posts and will continue working toward their health goals as homework.

Day 9: After discussing their progress on their health goals, the students will work in small groups to create a Google Slides presentation to support the following day’s oral presentations on the health cultural comparison they researched.  They’ll continue working on their health goals that evening.

Day 10: The students will rehearse and then present their cultural comparisons in small groups as the audience takes notes. After the presentations, I will give a short (open-note) true/false quiz over the information that has been presented.

Day 11: For the summative writing task for this portion of the unit, the students will write a blog post documenting their success or failure meeting their well-being goal.  While they are writing, I will call up pairs of students (from different groups) and have them discuss their achievement (or lack thereof) of their goals as an interpersonal summative task.

Day 12: Having completed the personalized health goal project, as well as the cultural comparison presentations, I will prepare the students for reading “Je suis malade” with a pair of lessons related to the flu.  On this first day, we will take a quiz about the flu as a class and then the students will discuss a cartoon in small groups. Next the students will complete a pair activity in which they discuss information in infographics about colds and flu.  Finally, they will complete an Edpuzzle about the flu.

Day 13: In this lesson the students will individually complete an interpretive activity that will serve as the summative reading task for this unit.  They will also watch a second video about the flu and complete a comprehension guide.

Days 14 – 21: At this point in the unit I will resume last year’s unit (beginning with Day 10).  Thus the students will read the Petit Nicolas story, “Je suis malade,” and complete a series of learning activities and performance assessments related this text.  

While I approached the design of this unit differently than I usually do, I’m looking forward to seeing how my students do with the project-based lessons I’ve prepared to introduce this topic.

Bonne Année!

Note: 1/12/18: I found a song that was a great fit with this unit.  Click here for the document that I created.


Allons en Martinique: A Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

This week’s single-digit temperatures have been a perfect excuse to spend some time creating a new unit on Martinique.  I think my students will enjoy spending time communicating about Caribbean vacations and the exposure to past tense sentences will help many of them demonstrate their ability to perform in the Intermediate Low range.  Click here for an agenda, to which all resources are linked.

Day 1: I will present a short Google Slides showing “my” trip to Martinique. (Unfortunately, I haven’t yet actually been there.)  This presentation will familiarize the students with some of the sights in Martinique as well as the vocabulary for common tourist activities. I will call on individual students throughout the presentation to ask whether they have done each of the pictured activities in order to provide additional input for this vocabulary and these structures. The students will then complete a manipulative activity in small groups in which they match sentences to the corresponding photo.  I will allow them to use their resource guides for this activity, as it was their first exposure to the vocabulary and structures.  I will then project some of the pictures and orally recite sentences which the students will match to the corresponding photographs as a formative assessment. Students will continue working with this vocabulary by completing an information gap activity and then an Edpuzzle for a video about activities to do in Martinique. 

Day 2: I will begin by projecting and discussing an infographic which compares Martinique and Guadeloupe.  Students will then watch an authentic cartoon in which Scooby-Doo and friends go to Martinique.  Yep, finding this video was one of my very favorite Christmas presents–I can’t imagine anything more perfect for this unit! The students will complete an Edpuzzle and then work in small groups on a manipulative activity in which they match screenshots from the video to sentences.  Finally, they will practice and then record a summary using only pictures as prompts.

Day 3: I will first present an infographic about Martinique in order to provide additional input and cultural information about the island.  I will then project a video which features a trip to Martinique. (The video is in two parts as I omitted a short section which showed people drinking alcohol.)  Although there is no commentary in the video, it provides an authentic context for the following activities in which the students check which statements refer to things that happened in the video, and then discuss whether they would like to take this trip. (Examples: Oui, je voudrais le faire parce qu’il a nagé avec une tortue. Non, je ne voudrais pas le faire parce qu’il a vu une grosse araignée.) Finally, the students will write a postcard in which this traveler describes what he did in Martinique.

Day 4: I’ll start this lesson by reviewing “my” trip to Martinique in order to review the vocabulary and structures from the presentation.  Next, the students will complete an interpersonal activity in which they compare “their” trips to Martinique based on pictures they have.  The students will then complete a running dictation activity designed to provide feedback on their ability to use the structures that have been introduced in this unit.  As a formative assessment they will then write sentences based on photographs of Martinique. Finally, they will complete an Edpuzzle for a video about the Michelin guide to Martinique.

Day 5: The students will begin by completing a cloze activity for a song about Martinique, Sur mon ile. The interpretive guide that I created is intended to encourage the students to identify cultural products and practices, as well as to infer perspectives regarding the culture of Martinique and how it compares to that of mainland France.  (Although I did not edit the music video, I did insert a… for the verses about rum, for more conservative school cultures.)

Day 6: After a short presentation designed to introduce the students to a few new vocabulary items, the students will complete a manipulative activity in which they read an article and put historical events in chronological order. The students will then complete an Edpuzzle for a video about the culture and history of Martinique. (Edit 1/17/18: There is a mistake in this activity.  The events on cards C, D, J, K are not found in the article linked here.)

Day 7: The students will read a blog about a trip to Martinique and complete a comprehension guide.  After providing feedback, I will have them interview a partner about a trip s/he has taken and compare this trip to the one in the blog.

Day 8 & 9: The students will complete a project in which they research various sites in Martinique and create a series of journal entries for imaginary visits to these sites.  In order to ensure that the authentic resources are comprehensible to these students, I will allow them to use the readlang app on their Chromebooks when completing this activity.  This app provides an English translation when the user hovers over individual words in an online text.  

Day 10: Students will prepare  Google Slides presentation with photos of “their” trip to Martinique.  They will then use these slides to practice orally presenting their trip.

Day 11: Students will be seated in two rows, facing each other.  They will present their trip to the classmate in front of them as I assess 1-2 presentations at a time.  After 3 minutes, one row will move one seat to the right.  This will continue until I have assessed all presentations.

Day 12 & 13: Students will take the IPA for this unit in which they read a blog, listen to a video, discuss “their” trips with a partner, and then write a blog entry of their own.

I sure hope my students enjoy completing these activities as much as I did creating them!


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Joyeux Noël: Holiday-Themed Learning Stations for Intermediate Low French Students

 Just in case I’m not the only one scrambling for some engaging communicative activities for the end of the year, here are the holiday-themed stations that my French 3 students are doing this week.

Interpersonal Communication: Pair Crossword Puzzles Students take either Partner A or Partner B and give French clues to help their partner fill in the words that are missing from his/her paper.  The words are taken from this packet.

Interpretive Reading: Students read this “Choose your own adventure” story and summarize what they read in English on this document.

Interpretive Listening: Students worked on the following Edpuzzles.

Chansons de Noel: Students completed the cloze activities on this handout and the completed this activity on (Click on “Play Game” and then “Maybe later.” )

Courage à tous!

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An End of the Year Story Project for Intermediate Lows

 In my district level 3 language students are required to complete a semester project of some sort.  I have found that an engaging way for my students to meet this requirement is to write a story and present it to their classmates.  Although I have assigned story writing projects during the holidays in the past, I made some tweaks this year that helped my students produce higher-quality stories.  

Day 1: I began by preparing my students to read a Christmas-themed story by presenting the story using these Google Slides.  This was an effective way to introduce new vocabulary to the students in a contextualized way.  As I projected the slides, I asked both content-based and personalized questions using the new words. For example, in slide #1:

  • Père Noël enfile son costume rouge. Qu’est-ce qu’il enfile? Tu enfiles un costume rouge avant de partir pour l’école?  Non? Qu’est-ce que tu enfiles? Regardez, Qu’est-ce qu’il a déjà enfilé? Oui, il a déjà enfilé son pantalon rouge. Tu as enfilé un pantalon rouge aujourd’hui?

After going through the slides, the students read the actual story and completed a true/false with justification comprehension guide.

Day 2: After discussing the correct responses, the students completed this graphic organizer with the elements of the story. We discussed these story elements and then I explained that while many stories are told in the narrative present, I wanted them to use past tenses to tell their stories.  I gave them this guide with some reminders about the two tenses.  I then gave them a new copy of the story they had read, but on this copy I have whited out the present tense verbs.  I also gave them this handout with both the imperfect and passé composé form of each of the missing verbs.  The students worked in small groups to choose the correct form for each blank and then we went over the activity in class.

Day 3: I passed out another blank copy of the story element graphic organizer and the students completed it with the elements of their own original story. After they had completed the graphic organizer, they used the remaining time to begin writing their story according to the requirements given on the back of the resource guide.

Day 4: The students finished writing their original stories.

Day 5: The students created Google Slides that would help them present their stories to their classmates. They used remaining class time to rehearse their presentations.

Day 6: The students presented their stories to classmates using a speed-friending format.  Students were arranged in two rows and row A presented to the person seated across from them.  Row B then presented. Each row B student then moved one seat over and we repeated the process.  I assessed 1-2 student(s) during each 3-minute presentation, enabling me to assess all 18 or so students in each class. 

I was very pleased with the language my students were able to produce during this assignment.  I have several high flyers that were able to use the correct past tense to narrate their stories.  In  most cases, I heard a mixture of present and attempts at past tenses with errors.  In other words, exactly where these students should be!


C’est quoi, une maison idéale? A Unit for Novice High French Students

This summer, as I worked on updating my curriculum for the upcoming school year, I knew that my “House Unit” needed a serious overhaul. While I had created several fun speaking activities for house vocabulary over the years, the unit lacked a meaningful context and provided very little cultural content. Clearly, I had never considered an essential question that would provide meaning and context to these lessons.  Therefore, before creating any of the lessons for the revised unit, I determined that I would focus on the question, “What is an ideal home?” as I planned to the unit. I then created a series of lessons that I hope will create opportunities for my students to consider this question as we learn about homes in various parts of the Francophone world. I have described each of the lessons I created below and you can click here for the unit agenda with the links to all the resources I have made.

Day 1: On the first day of the unit (which will fall on a 90-minute block day) I will show slides of various houses in France and describe them orally in order to present new vocabulary for describing the exterior of houses via comprehensible input. Following this presentation, the students will read an infographic about houses around the world and complete a comprehension guide. After a short online vocabulary activity (designed to keep my early finishers busy until their classmates finish the reading), the students will complete a pair matching activity (described in this previous post.) Lastly, we will listen to the song, Quatre murs et un toit by Benabar and complete both a cloze and comprehension activity.

Day 2:I will begin by presenting an infographic about ideal temperatures to introduce the vocabulary associated with rooms of a house. The students will then complete another matching activity, designed to allow them to describes houses in terms of the rooms that they have. I will formatively assess the students by orally describing a few of these pictures to the students who will write the letter or number of the house I’m describing. Finally, the students will complete an Edpuzzle for a house-related cartoon.

Day 3: I will use an infographic about home accidents to review the vocabulary for rooms before reading an article about the best placement of the rooms in a home. After filling in a graphic organizer with information from this article, the students will choose which of three floor plans would best suit their own family and explain why, in writing.  Finally, the students will complete an Edpuzzle for another house-related cartoon.

Day 4: The students will begin by watching Trotro joue à cache-cache and completing an Edpuzzle. I will then use a Google Presentation to review the cartoon before having the students complete a manipulative activity in which they will work in pairs to match screenshots from the cartoon to corresponding sentences. The students will then complete a cloze activity as a formative assessment on their comprehension of the (past tense) verbs used in the summary sentences. Lastly, the students will complete an Edpuzzle of a different Trotro video.

Day 5:  I will first project an infographic about the ideal French kitchen and discuss it to make it comprehensible to the students.  The students will then make cultural inferences about French cooking habits based on the infographic and complete a true/false with justification comprehension guide.  Next, they will discuss their own families’ kitchens and eating habits. Lastly they will complete a graphic organizer comparing what they learned about American and French kitchens/eating habits. If there is time remaining in this 90-minute block, the students will complete a pair activity in which they describe a series of kitchen pictures and determine whether they have the same or a different picture for each number.  

Day 6: The students will complete an Edpuzzle for an Ikea kitchen commercial and then write a message in which they describe a French person’s opinion of their own kitchen.

Day 7:  We will watch and discuss a video about kitchen remodeling.  The students will then read a slide presentation and complete a comprehension guide. Next the students will give their opinions of several kitchens and then play Quizlet Live.

Day 8: I will introduce vocabulary for living room furniture by discussing a series of photos. The students will then give their opinion of additional living rooms in the same slide show.  Finally they will read an article about

decorating living rooms and complete a comprehension guide.

Day 9: After discussing a few living room pictures as a class, the students will complete a matching activity with living room pictures. The students will then complete an Edpuzzle for a decorating video before writing a description of their preferred living room photo.

Day 10: I will introduce new vocabulary by describing photos of French bathrooms. The students will then describe additional photos for a few minutes before completing an interpretive activity for two infographics about bathrooms. Next the students will complete a same/different activity to compare images of bathrooms.

Day 11: The students will share opinions of several bathrooms, complete an Edpuzzle for a bathroom video and then orally describe the bathroom in the video.

Day 12:  I will introduce bedroom vocabulary by describing a series of slides showing French teen bedrooms. The students will then discute additional slides in small groups before reading a slide presentation and guessing the meanings of new words based on context clues. Finally, they will complete an Edpuzzle for a cartoon video.

Day 13: The students will complete the following three learning stations: 1)A pair matching activity with bedroom pictures, 2)A note describing items in a bedroom picture, 3)An Edpuzzle for a video in which a teen describes her room.

Day 14: I will use a slide presentation to present some different types of houses from Francophone regions. The students will then complete a comprehension guide for a reading about these types of houses and then an Edpuzzle for a video about “une maison troglodyte.”

Days 15 and 16:  the students will prepare for their IPA by 1)completing a practice reading, 2)describing photos of a home and whether it would be well-suited to their family 3)2 Edpuzzles for videos in which people present their homes/rooms, 4) writing a description of their own homes for a home exchange site and 5)receiving oral feedback on their written descriptions. (No one will be at this station during the first rotation.)

Days 17 and 18: The students will complete the IPA for this unit.

I hope that organizing this unit around an essential question will increase my students’ focus on cultural comparisons as they relate to homes and lifestyles around the world.

Image Credit: By Gachepi (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Communication et Médias: A unit for Intermediate French Students

The next IB Theme that I will cover in my combined French 4/5 class is Communications et Médias. Although I haven’t specifically addressed this theme in the past, I had a lot of fun choosing subjects and creating activities on this theme for my students.  While the plan I’ve included in this post does not include all of the lessons (my fabulous colleague, Nicole, also contributed several great activities), it might help others get started on this theme, which encompasses aspects of both the Contemporary Life and Science and Technology AP themes.

Click here for the agenda to which the resources of each lesson have been linked and see a brief description below.

In order to hook the students’ attention, we started by having the students read an article about popular French youtubers and fill in a table with details from the article.  As a follow up activity, I asked the students to watch one video from one of the youtubeurs they read about and post a review on our Learning Management System, Schoology.  I also asked them to watch one of the videos shared by a classmate and add their own opinion.  It is my hope that introducing my students to these youtubeurs might encourage them to watch other videos in the future.

The next lesson will serve as a quick introduction to French television. As an advance organizer the students will discuss a series TV-related questions in small groups and will then read an article and listen to interviews about TV in France.

The next several lessons are organized around the topic of advertising.  The students will watch a video about advertising, discuss some print ads in small groups and then read an article about print ads before preparing a presentation about a print ad.

After the lessons on print advertising, the students will watch a video about TV ads and discuss a TV ad before reading an article about the possible end of TV commercials during children’s shows in France. After reading this article, they will perform a role play and then write a speech based on this article.

The next series of lessons will address the topic of Fake News.  The students will read and discuss an infographic about Fake News and then interpret an article and video on the subject. Following these interpretive activities, they will select a Fake News article of their own and express their disbelief at facts in the article.  These sentences will allow the students to both demonstrate their comprehension of the “facts” in the article and use the subjunctive mood in a contextualized way. Finally, they will write a Fake News article of their own. 

As always, all feedback on these lessons is appreciated!


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