Category Archives: Infographics

Les Vacances: A Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

vacation One of the first units I created when I set aside my textbook in favor of authentic materials was on the topic of vacations. I’ve learned a lot in the year since that time, so I decided to revise that unit to reflect my new understandings.  This packet (2015 Vacation) includes the following lessons:

Lesson 1 The first lesson in this year’s version incorporates one of the same infographics that I used last year.  However, this time I created French rather than English questions for the supporting details in the interpretive task.  Due to the simplicity of the text, the students I am confident that the students will not have any difficulty providing the correct responses. Using French in the questions allows me to model correct past tense conjugations which will then be repeated orally when we go over this activity in class. These same verb forms will then be used in the interpersonal and presentational tasks.

Lesson 2 The interpretive tasks in the second lesson comes from a Trotro cartoon, which was also included in last year’s unit.  This time, however, I created an interpersonal and presentational task to accompany the cartoon.  In the interpersonal task the students will discuss images from the video in order to co-create a summary. Although I have included the pictures in the packet, I prepared an alternate activity (trotro pair) which would require more significant negotiation of meaning. The students will use these same pictures to guide an oral and/or written summary of the video.  Both the interpersonal and presentational activities provide opportunities for students to continue developing their ability to discuss past events, an important step in increasing their proficiency.

Lesson 3 In this lesson the students will interpret a quiz provided by an RV rental company.  I think this will be a high- interest text, because teenagers naturally enjoy taking quizzes like this. For the interpersonal task, the students will predict their partner’s responses to the quiz questions, and then interview this same partner in order to verify whether the predictions were correct.  It is my intention that incorporating the present tense here will help avoid the students’ overgeneralization of these forms. The students will, however, use the past tense to present (orally and/or in writing) their own ideal vacations, giving the types of information that was targeted in the quiz.

Lesson 4 The students will interpret another cartoon video in this lesson—Le Petit Ours Brun.  Screenshots are again provided in order to support the interpersonal and presentational tasks.  Here is an A/B activity (pob pair) which will require greater negotiation of meaning.

Lesson 5 In this lesson I have re-used an infographic from last year’s lesson.  The value of this particular text is that it introduces a variety of vacation activities.  Due to the nature of the infographic, I could not authentically integrate the passé composé in the interpersonal task.  I did, however, use the incorporate the imperfect of vouloir.  I believe this is a good way to implicitly introduce this verb form, which could be used in later tasks. The corresponding interpersonal activity is a highly scaffolded interview (repeated from last year’s unit) which provides the students with the opportunity to see and use a variety of verbs in the passé composé in a communicative context. The presentation tasks require the students to describe a miserable vacation. I think the students will enjoy the creativity of this task, which I may assign as a Discussion (blog) on Canvas, our learning management system.

Lesson 6 In this final lesson, the students will watch a Peppa Pig video and then summarize it, first with a partner and then as a presentational speaking and/or writing task.  Due to the number of images included, I think the A/B tasks would be overwhelming for the students.  However, I may create an opportunity for more negotiation of meaning by copying the pictures on cardstock, cutting them apart, and then having each student take half of the stack.  They could then discuss the picture cards in order to put the story in order, using the manipulatives.

I’m anticipating that each of these lessons will take from 2-3 days, depending on whether I assign both the speaking and writing presentational tasks for each lesson, whether the writings are completed in class or as homework, whether I have the students work individually on the videos or we listen to them as a class, etc. As has been my practice, I will most likely assign the preparation of the speaking presentations as homework, and then randomly choose a few students to present for a formative assessment.  In a later post I’ll share the IPA that I will use as the summative assessment for this unit.



Bon Chemin!

Le_Puy-en-Velay,_Église_Saint-Laurent_et_Aiguilhe_PM_48569Just a quick post to let my regular readers know that I’ll be off the grid for the next three weeks.  Tomorrow my husband and I are headed to Le Puy-en-Velay for a 200-mile walk on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques de Compostelle (known to my Spanish readers as the Camino de Santiago).  Having completed the most popular route of the pilgrimage, from St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Santiago during the past two summers, we’ve become addicted to spending our vacation in Walk-Eat-Sleep mode.  After a busy, but very satisfying school year, I’m looking forward to a bit of relaxation.  (Yes, walking a half-marathon a day, for 18 days in a row, with all of my possession on my back IS more relaxing than teaching!)

So, while I won’t be able to respond to any comments or questions during this time, please keep leaving them.  I’ll look forward to re-connecting with all of you when I return!

Bonne Fin d’Annee,  Bonnes Vacances, ou Bon Chemin!


Everybody loves Stromae!

stromaeThis week I needed a quick lesson for my French 4/5 class.  I was being observed by the professor from the college from which my students earn dual enrollment credit, so I wanted to create a lesson that allowed my students to show their communicative abilities in a subject that would be of high interest to them.  Because they were familiar with Stromae and the animated video for Carmen had recently been released, I decided to develop a lesson around this song. Here’s the document that contains the materials for this lesson: Carmen

I introduced the lesson by projecting this infographic which explains various social media in terms of hamburgers.


After a quick discussion of the image, I had the students discuss their experience with various social media in small groups, taking notes so that we could then have a short whole class discussion.   Next, I passed out three different infographics showing the role of these social media, especially Twitter, in France.  I designed a task in which the students would discuss similarities and differences between French and American culture in regards to Twitter, but this was difficult, as the students didn’t have the same type of statistical information for their own culture.  I would amend this part of the lesson by either providing some American statistics or changing the task completely.  I do think, however, that it is important that the students have some background knowledge about the use of Twitter in France in order to understand the theme of the song.  In addition, this information was a good resource for the upcoming AP test.  At the end of the period we had just enough time to watch the video.

When I continue this lesson tomorrow, I’ll begin by playing the second video so that the students can see Stromae singing the song.  As they listen, they’ll fill in the graphic organizer with their thoughts and reactions to the song.  Then I’ll pass out the lyrics and have them discuss the vocabulary, key verses and theme of the song.  Lastly, they’ll write additional verses for the song.

Bonne Fête de Saint-Valentin

valinte I took a few minutes in between parent-teacher conferences this evening to make a few short interpretive activities to go with some of the Valentine’s Day infographics that I found on Pinterest.  Here’s what I came up with:

French 1: V-Day French 1 Infographic

French 2: V-Day French 2 Infographic

French 3: V-Day French 3 Infographic

Note: I’ve placed a few text boxes over the content that I didn’t feel was appropriate for my students.  If you do any reformatting of the infographics, you might want to double check that the text boxes are still covering the adult content.

Bonne Fête!

Five Steps to Creating a Lesson Using an Infographic

As a follow-up to my earlier post about using infographics, I’ve written a five-step plan to designing a lesson based on an infographic.

1. Find the infographic.

Most of the infographics I use have come from Pinterest.  I have a separate board for each theme that I teach, so that as I begin each unit this year I will start by checking the appropriate board.  Feel free to follow me (Madameshepard) if you need someplace to start.  I have also found infographics on my own by typing in a theme (vacances/education/famille/etc.)  and the word “infographie” under Google Images at  When choosing infographics, I look for those that are easily comprehensible (based on visual clues, previously-learned vocabulary/cognates, etc.), contain a wealth of cultural information, and are relevant to the students’ lives.

2. Prepare the infographic for student use.

Many infographics are too large to be printed in their entirety on a sheet of paper for the students (the print would be too small to read).  I use the snip tool to snip separate sections of an infograph and then copy the section to a Word document.  I can then enlarge each snip so that it can be read by the students.  I also like to project the original infographic so that the students can see how it is set up, how colors are incorporated, etc. in the original image.

3. Design an interpretive task.

I use a modified version of the ACTFL Implementing Integrated Performance Assessments ( to design my interpretive tasks.  Most of my infographic interpretive tasks include the following sections: Key Word Recognition, Main idea, Supporting Details, Guessing Meaning from Context, and Cultural Comparisons. I found that these activities really help the students to build the vocabulary they need for the unit in a contextualized way.

4. Design an interpersonal task.

For novice learners, I provide personalized questions related to the content of the infographic.  The students interview each other and then I choose a few students to present their information to the class as a formative assessment.  For intermediate learners I design a more open-ended task such as a role play, graphic organizer, etc. These interpersonal tasks are a great way to help the students develop the skills they’ll need on the IPA.

5. Design a presentational task.

The final step to using the infographic is to design a presentational task.  I usually make this a written task that requires the students to relate the content of the infographic to their own experiences.  The students can use the feedback they receive on this task to guide their summative writing performance on the IPA.

Here’s another lesson using an infographic for a unit on Vacations. vacationlesson2

How do you incorporate infographics in your lessons?

Five reasons to use infographics in a proficiency-based classroom

1. Infographics are authentic.  

Infographics which originate in target language articles, advertisements, etc. are an authentic source of target language. Fortunately, infographics are available to support a variety of common unit themes.  My French 2 students will begin the year by reading an infographic about the daily life of French teenagers, as an introduction to a unit on daily routines. My French 3 students will first read an infographic about current educational reforms for their unit on schools and education.

2. Infographics are full of cultural content.

As authentic resources, infographics contain current, relevant information about the cultural practices, products and perspectives of the target culture. When reading an infographic, the content of the lesson becomes the information given, rather than the vocabulary and structures used to present this information–a major goal of proficiency-based instruction.

3. Infographics are easily understood, even by novice language learners.

Infographics are full of context clues!  Images, graphs, tables, etc. provide the extra-linguistic support that these learners need.  In addition, the colors and graphics sustain the attention of novice readers without overwhelming them with lengthily text.  The cultural information included in many infographics lends itself to making the cultural comparisons that are an integral feature of the interpretive mode.

4. Infographics lend themselves to interpersonal tasks.

Many infographics represent information collected through polls, surveys and questionnaires. As a result, the teacher can quickly develop questions that the students can use to interview each other in order to gather the same types of data that are given in the infographic.

5. Infographics are readily available. 

Long before I knew how I would be using them, I began collecting infographics on Pinterest.  As I began to exploit these resources in a more purposeful way, I was able to find additional examples by searching for a specific topic, such as “Vacances Infographies”  on Google images.  Feel free to follow me on Pinterest if you’d like to see some of the infographics I’ve collected.

Here’s an example of a lesson I created, based on an infographic about vacations: vacationlesson1

I hope these ideas will get you started using infographics in your classroom!

If you have other ideas or suggestions, please leave a reply!