Category Archives: French 3 Units

Halloween: Incorporating one theme across three proficiency levels


Every year my students look forward to spending a few days on communicative activities related to the theme of Halloween.  This is what I have planned for them this year:

French 1

Day 1: I’ll introduce some vocabulary associated with Halloween by showing them this video.  As we are watching, I’ll pause and ask questions—mostly about colors since their vocabulary is so limited at this point. After the video, I’ll pass out this vocabulary handout that the students will use as a resource throughout the mini-unit.  Next, I pass out a baggie of picture cards to each student for a Bingo game.  I created these cards by printing the 30 copies of this document on tagboard and then cutting the squares apart.  I strongly recommend using as many different colors as possible—This really helps when you find that one spare card on the floor! Once each student has a baggie of cards, I’ll instruct them to choose 25 of the cards and organize them on their desks in 5 columns of 5 rows.  (There are 30 cards, so 5 won’t be used). I then call one word at a time, and the students turn over that card if they have it. The first student who turns over 5 cards in a row is the winner and must say the words s/he used for the bingo before receiving a prize.  Although this game only practices vocabulary in isolation, it does allow the students to hear the pronunciation several times and begin to create meaning between the picture and sound of the word.  After several rounds of Bingo, I’ll have the students play “Go Fish” with a partner using their combined sets of cards (I make sure that each partner has a different color so that the sets can be separated at the end of the game.)  At the end of the period, I’ll play this video  as a closing activity.

Day 2: I’ll begin this lesson with this song and then review the vocabulary by asking questions about these slides.  (C’est une sorcière ou un vampire? La sorcière a un balai ou un os? La sorcière porte un chapeau pointu ou un masque ?) After a couple of quick rounds of Bingo and a quick introduction to prepositions using this video  the students are ready to begin communicating with the new words in this matching activity. For this activity, students are paired up and one is given a Partner A paper, while the other is given a Partner B paper.  Both papers have the same pictures but in a different order.  The students take turns describing a picture to their partner who will tell them the number/letter of the corresponding picture on their own papers. Both partners will then write their partner’s letter/number on the corresponding picture on their paper.  I like to follow up these matching activities with a short formative assessment in which I describe a picture orally, and the students write the number/letter of the picture I’m describing.

Day 3: I’ll start this lesson by reviewing the vocabulary using these slides of Halloween scenes.  I ask questions about the first few slides and then have the students describe the next few. (I give them a minute to describe a slide to their partner, and then choose one student to describe the picture to the class as a formative assessment). Next, the students will complete this Same/Different pair activity. As a final activity for this lesson, I’ll project one of the Halloween slides and have the students describe it in writing.

Day 4 – 8: Now that the students have practiced the vocabulary for a few days, I’ll divide them into groups for these learning stations, each of which will take one class period.

Speaking: The students will complete this matching activity (following the same directions as the Day 2 activity) and then a “Sticker Game.” For this activity, each student has the same set of stickers and a simple numbered grid.  Students face each other, with a notebook between them so that they can’t see each other’s grid. Partner A places her pictures on the grid, and then describes each sticker to Partner B, who places her corresponding picture on the same square on her grid. After Partner A has described all of her stickers, the students remove the notebook so that they can see whether their grids match.  Then the students repeat the activity, switching roles.  Here’s what it looks like:


Reading: The students will complete comprehension guides for three Halloween-themed stories. Two of the books, Le Couloir and Le Chapeau can be downloaded for a reasonable fee (which includes the additional books in each series) from this site: .  L’Halloween de Maria is found here: . A video of the story being read aloud is also available.

Writing: The students will describe a series of Halloween stickers (or pictures) that are found at their station.

Computer : The students will watch a video and answer comprehension questions.

French 2

I’ll begin this unit with the same vocabulary-building activities that I use with the French 1 students.  Because two-thirds of my French 2 students took French 1 at the middle school, they may not have been exposed to this vocabulary in the past.  Since most of these activities are games and pair activities, even those students that I taught last year don’t mind repeating them.  Here’s what the unit looks like for these students:

Day 1-3: Same as French 1.

Day 4: I’ll read the story, “Histoire Terrifiante” (p. 1, p.2,p. 21/2 p.3, p.4) aloud to the students, who then complete the comprehension questions in their packet.  Next, the students  will work in small groups on this manipulative activity, in which they put sentences about the story in order.  (I print the document on tagboard and cut apart each sentence.) The students will then complete a series of activities in the packet designed to introduce them to the use of direct object pronouns.  Although I do little direct grammar instruction, I have found that this particular structure is not easily acquired so I like to have the students work with it enough that they can recognize these pronouns when they see them.

Day 5: The students will practice summarizing the “Histoire Terrifiante” story using only pictures.  I’ll then choose a few students to present for a formative assessment.  They will then finish the direct object pronoun activities and complete this pair activity to reinforce these structures.

Day 6-9: Learning Stations (Stations)

Listening: Students will watch a series of Halloween-themed videos and answer comprehension questions.  (I’ve included the questions here, but have created multiple-choice “quizzes” on Canvas that I will use with my students.

Reading: Students will read a story called “Six Petites Citrouilles” (p. 1, p. 2, p. 3, p. 4, p. 5, p. 6, p. 7, p.8 )from a book called “L’Halloween de Napoleon.”  Some of the students read books about Napoleon (a dragon) as young children, so they love reading this story!  Because the print is hard to read on some of the pages, due to the background color, I typed the story in this document, which I will also pass out to students.

Writing: Students write a note to a French penpal explaining how Halloween is celebrated in the U.S.

Speaking: Students complete the same Matching and Sticker activities as the French 1 students, but also two additional activities (#1-a, #1-b, #2-a, #2-b) in which they discuss pictures in order to find the differences.

French 3

Because each of these students was in my French 2 class last year, they are familiar with the Halloween vocabulary.  Therefore, they’ll only need a quick review before beginning their learning stations.

Day 1: Students review vocabulary with a partner crossword activity. For this activity each partner receives a crossword puzzle (A, B) in which half of the answers are filled in.  The students must use circumlocution to help their partner fill in his/her missing words. When finished the read this article about Halloween and complete a comprehension guide.

Learning Stations

Reading Students read a story about a witch named Grasseboudine (p. 1, p. 2, p. 3, p. 4 ) and/an article about bats (p. 1 p.2) .

Speaking: The students complete three different activities in which they discuss pictures in order to find the differences. Here are files to the pictures: (#1-a, #1-b, #2a, #2b, #3a, #3b)

Listening: Students will watch a series of Halloween-themed videos and answer comprehension questions.  (As with the French 2 students, I’ve included the questions here, but have created multiple-choice “quizzes” on Canvas that I will use with my students.

If you decide to try any of these activities, I hope your students enjoy them as much as mine do!

Picture Credit:

Les Vacances: An Integrated Performance Assessment for Intermediate Low French Students


vacation-149960_640As promised in an earlier post, I’ve prepared an IPA for the vacation unit I developed for my French 3 students.  Before administering the IPA, though, I want to make sure that my students are prepared for the types of tasks they’ll be asked to perform.  Therefore, I’ve created a series of learning stations (Vacation Stations) that the students will complete during the four days preceding the IPA.

Listening Station: At this station the students will watch a series of videos related to the theme of vacation.  The videos I’ve selected include both cartoons, similar to those that the students watched during the unit, and news stories like those they will hear on the IPA.  I got a little over-enthusiastic while I was working on these stations, so I ended up with more comprehension activities than my students could possibly finish in a 48 minute period.  I’ll probably assign a few of the videos as homework instead, as I think the more listening they do, the better!  Note: If you use these listening comprehension tasks as written, you need to add additional spacing for the responses.  After creating these questions, I decided to make multiple choice quizzes on Canvas for these activities, so I have not included the spaces here.

Reading Station: At this station the students will read an article from 1jour1actu (connais-tu-lhistoire-des-grandes-vacances-en-france). Because the interpretive reading activities during the unit were infographics, I wanted the students to prepare the students for the more challenging reading (also from 1jour1actu) that they will read on the IPA.

Speaking Station: Here the students will interview the other members of their station group about their summer vacations.  This activity will give the students lots of practice asking and answering the questions they will need on the interpersonal task on the IPA.

Writing Station: At this station the students will write an essay about their real or imaginary vacation. It is my intention that the feedback they receive from me on this assignment will increase their success on the presentational writing task of the IPA.

After completing these stations, and receiving personalized feedback, these students should be ready for this IPA (IPA )in which they:

  • Read an article (Moins de vacances) about the history of summer vacation in France
  • Watch two news videos about summer vacation
  • Interview a partner about a real or imaginary summer vacation
  • Write a blog post about an imaginary summer vacation

My students have done a great job on the first two lessons of this unit and I’m looking forward to seeing them demonstrate their progress on this IPA!

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.



Implementing a Passion Project with Intermediate Learners

Untitled-1For the first 90% of the school year I planned units that I thought would be relevant and interesting to most of my students. I was thrilled with the progress they made in their proficiency and for the most part they remained engaged throughout the year.  As a result, I’ve decided to try something new with my Intermediate learners. For the last two weeks of the semester (and as their final exam grade), I’m going to put each of my Intermediate learners in charge of designing his or her own curriculum. Each of my French 3, 4 and 5 students will research a topic of their choice and then present what they have learned to their classmates.  Their presentations, as well as the journal entries they will write to document their research, will determine their final exam grade.

Never having implemented this type of project, I did some quick research on Genius Hour and Passion Project ideas.  There are so many great ideas out there!  Based on what I found out, I’ve developed these guidelines: passionprojectdirections

The students will first complete a Google Doc with general questions about their topic, how it relates to a Francophone culture, their big idea question, some beginning research questions, and how they will share what they learn. ( Here’s a Word version of the document that I made:googledoc ) Afterward, they will have 5 class periods to research their topic in class.  I have encouraged each student to considering bringing in a device for this research and I have 8 classroom computers for those without a smart phone/tablet/laptop etc. They will only be permitted to read/listen about their topic in French while in class.  During the last 10-15 minutes of each class period (or at home), they will complete a blog entry (on the same Google Doc).  As indicated on the project guide, I will randomly select one or more blog entries to grade for each student.  For the second week, the students will create the visual aid for their presentation, create index cards, and practice their presentations.  Finally, they will present their projects to the class.  While I think many of the students will choose a Powerpoint/Google Presentation, I’d also accept videos or possible other formats that they suggest.

Although we won’t begin researching until this week, most of my students are excited about being able to study “anything they want.”  While I’m thrilled that they’re engaged by this project, I’m also more than a little nervous about putting them in the driver’s seat.  Like many teachers, I might have just a tiny bit of a control issue!  As a result, I’ve decided to assign a daily participation/interpersonal speaking grade. Although I don’t normally grade participation, I wanted to make sure to have some documentation about their work on this project. In order to justify this grade to the “proficiency voice inside my head,” I added a descriptor about discussing their research with Madame.  As I circulate among the students as they work, I plan on conducting quick interviews to gauge their progress, as well as make them accountable for staying on task. Even though I’m a little nervous, I can’t wait to see what these students come up with!

If you’ve implemented a Passion Project or Genius Hour, I’d love to hear your words of wisdom!


La Préhistoire: A project-based unit for Intermediate Low French students

prehistory My French 3 students will spend 4th quarter learning about a few different eras in French history.  I haven’t taught this content for a few years, but when I did so my students were engaged by the project-oriented approach to the mini-units.  In most cases my students know little about early man’s way of life and are naturally interested in it.  In addition, the numerous prehistoric caves in France make this content-based unit culturally relevant.

In order to provide the students with important background knowledge about prehistoric humans, I will begin with an interpretive task in which the students will read an article about two prehistoric people—Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal (p.1p. 2). Because it is my intention to provide content knowledge, rather than assess in-depth comprehension, I am providing only a supporting-detail task for this article.  The students will respond in French in order to prepare them for next year’s assessments which will all be in French, as well as to enable my recent non-English-speaking new student to fully participate in the lesson. After the reading activity, I will play part of a Ce n’est pas Sorcier video about Neanderthals. Here’s the document with these activities (prehistoryunit)  In order to familiarize the vocabulary for this unit (vocabulary pics), we will play Password.  I have also chosen to insert a quick lesson on relative pronouns here.  I have done very little direct instruction of grammatical structures this year, and most of my students are correctly using qui/que, but I wanted to do a brief presentation to reinforce their understanding. I will also introduce dont, which they will most likely not be able to use correctly for some time, but might at least recognize after this lesson.

After these activities to develop the students’ background knowledge and vocabulary for this content, I will move onto the project portion of the unit. As the packet (prehistory project ) explains, I will give each pair of students a photograph of a prehistoric artifact used by either Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon people. This Google Presentation contains the photographs I will use: and this document (slide links) lists the sites where I found the pictures, to serve as a key.  The students will begin by filling in a graphic organizer with their hypotheses regarding the object. The students will first jot their own ideas in the graphic organizer, and then discuss their ideas with their partner, adding his/her ideas to the table.  On the following day, the students will read articles about various aspects of prehistoric life in order to support or refute their hypotheses.  Because I have a collection of children’s books about prehistory, I will photocopy relevant pages and make them available to the students.  While scanning all of the pages I will use is time-prohibitive at this point, this step could easily be completed using online resources. As the students research, they will fill in the graphic organizer with information that either supports or refutes their hypotheses about the objects. They will then share their information, so that each has a completed graphic organizer with both of their research findings.  The students will then use the information they have recorded to write a letter to a prehistoric art dealer to whom they would like to sell their artifact.  They will then present their information orally to the art dealer (me), answering any questions that “I” may have.  As a final assessment the students will complete these IPA-style interpretive tasks on an article and video about Lascaux (Lascaux IPA).  While I have included pdf’s for the relevant pages of the article (p. 10p. 11p.12p. 13p. 14p. 15), you will also find a link to a site that will enable you to buy a copy of the article in its entirety.  I was thrilled to find the video that I have used here.  Not only does it include wonderful images of Lascaux, but it is narrated by elementary children which will make it comprehensible for my students.


Jour de la Terre (2): Les Espèces Menacées

environment 2In between the endless hours of standardized testing and weather delays, my French 3 students have been working on a unit on the environment. (If you missed the first half of this unit, see this post) While this topic might not be as engaging as others we have studied this year, I think it was important to develop the students’ vocabulary on this subject, as many of them will be enrolled in AP French next year. As those of you who teach AP already know, the environment is an important subtopic for the “Defis Mondiaux” theme that is part of the AP curriculum.

Having completed lessons on global warming, pollution, and preservation, we were ready to move onto the most interesting part of the unit- a series of lessons on endangered animals. I have included a unit about animals in my French 3 curriculum for the past several years and have found that my students, like me, are especially engaged by this topic. While my treatment of the topic was quite simplistic in past years (students chose an animal from Francophone Africa, researched it, and presented it to the class), I wanted to kick it up a notch this year by focusing more on how global perspectives relate to the problem of endangered species.

Here’s the packet of activities that I prepared:Environment Unit – Pt 2

For the first lesson, we watched a Brainpop video about endangered species. I projected the video and played it to the whole class, using the French subtitles for additional scaffolding. I stopped the video frequently to check for understanding and give the students time to answer the written comprehension questions. Although I have previously used English for these questions, we have recently welcomed a new student into our French 3 class who speaks very little English. Having been educated in Rwanda, she is a fluent speaker of French so I am using as much target language questioning as possible. Following the video, the students took the quiz that is included with the video as a formative assessment. The following day, the students read an infographic about poaching and rhinos and completed an IPA-style interpretive task. They incorporated the information in this article into a letter to the government of the Ivory Coast.

After this introduction to some of the causes of animal endangerment, I began preparing the students for an individual research project/presentation on an endangered species. Although I do very little direct vocabulary instruction at this level, I felt that these students would need to develop a bank of shared vocabulary for their upcoming presentations, so I devoted the next couple of days on activities designed to build this vocabulary. On the first day, I gave the students this illustrated vocabulary list:Animal Unit Vocab . I then placed my collection of Beanie Babies on the chalkboard ledge and asked various questions, using the new vocabulary. (Quel animal a une corne? Combien de pattes a l’autruche? Quels animaux ont des griffes? etc.) Next, I divided the class into pairs and gave each pair a Beanie Baby. (If you don’t have a collection of Beanie Babies, pictures of animals would, of course, work just as well.) The students practiced describing their Beanie Baby with their partner for a few minutes, after which I randomly selected students to present their animal to the class for a formative assessment. I concluded this lesson by showing the class the ever-popular Capucine video: .

I began Day 2 of vocabulary instruction by again placing the Beanie Babies on the chalkboard ledge. This time the students played 20 questions. (Students picked an animal and their partner asked yes/no questions in order to guess which animal they had chosen.) Next, the students completed a pair crossword puzzle communicative activity. For this activity, student A is given a puzzle in which the horizontal answers have been filled in [Pair XW (A)] and Student B is given the same puzzle, but with the vertical answers filled in[ Pair XW (B) ]. (Neither partner has any clues, just a puzzle grid.) The students use circumlocution to provide clues to each other until both students have a completed puzzle. As a follow up to this activity, we played a round of $100,000 Pyramid. For this game I project a Google Presentation on which I have typed four vocabulary words per slide. I divide the class into two teams, and then choose two players from Team 1 to begin. Player A is facing the screen and Player B has his/her back to it. Player A uses circumlocution to give clues to Player B, who earns one point per correct guess in the 60-second time limit.

Now that the students had become familiar with some of the vocabulary they would need to discuss various endangered animals species, it was time to begin preparation for their individual research projects. In order to provide an element of student choice, I downloaded this sign-up sheet (Sign-up Sheet) into a Google Doc that I shared with the class. For homework the students typed their name next to the endangered animal they wanted to research and present. I then gave them one class period to complete the research guide on the front page of this document:Endangered Animal Project. We used the department Ipads for our research, and I circulated among the students to make sure that they were using only French resources. The students will then use this information for the written and oral presentational tasks that are described on the second page of the project document. In order to use my eight classroom computers effectively, the students will be divided into groups and will rotate among these three stations as they prepare for the summative assessments for this unit. Station 1: Students write the rough draft of the written presentational task. Station 2: Students watch a series of videos about endangered animals, which will serve as their interpretive listening grade for the unit (Endangered Animal Videos). Station 3: Students read a series of children’s books about animals. At this station, students choose from several children’s books about animals and complete short interpretive activities designed to further develop their reading proficiency. After each group has circulated among these three stations, they will present the animal they have researched to the class. Lastly, the students will read an article about an endangered animal and complete an IPA-style interpretive task for their unit assessment.

It’s nice to see how much the students have been affected by learning about endangered animals. The decreasing numbers of many of the species really shocked a lot of them and there were plenty who asked about what they could do to help. I felt it was my duty to provide them with resources like the GoFundMe blog which would give them further information on that.

Although the students won’t be presenting for a few more days (more standardized testing!), they’re excited about their work and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with!

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!

Chaque jour est le Jour de la Terre

earthThis week my French 3 students began a unit on the environment.  This is the first year that I’ve included this unit in French 3, but I thought it was important for the students to learn some of the vocabulary and ideas related to environmental topics before delving into the topic in greater detail next year in AP.  I am also using this unit to introduce the subjunctive to these students.  As with other grammatical topics that I’ve introduced this year, I’m not teaching this structure for mastery.  Instead, I’m introducing the verb forms to the students and creating activities in which these structures will be used.  The activities I’ve developed for the unit are all found in this packet:  environment unit

Here’s how I plan to conduct these lessons:

Lesson 1: Global Warming (2-3 days) I will introduce the students to the vocabulary associated with global warming by showing a Brainpop video.  In addition to being authentic, these videos can be shown with option subtitles (click on the ST button).  Although I would not allow the subtitles if I were assessing their listening comprehension, I think they are valuable when introducing the complicated vocabulary associated with this topic.  An additional advantage to this resource is that the site includes a quiz based on the video which makes a great formative assessment.  Although I will project this video on the screen, it could also be watched individually if students had an appropriate device. After the video, the students will read an authentic magazine article about global warming (Global Warming02072015,  Global Warming 202072015). Although I would have liked to incorporate more current articles for this unit (the magazine is from 2007), I chose these articles because a)I had them, b)They are written at an appropriate level for my students, and c)They lend themselves to the types of extension activities that I wanted to include in the unit.  I have altered the interpretive task so that the students are using French in the supporting detail portion.  My goal is to begin preparing them for next year, when all of their interpretive tasks will be in French only.  After the reading, the students will interview a partner about his/her actions related to global warming.   As a follow up presentational activity, the students will write a note to their partner with suggestions about how s/he can be more ecological.  Before assigning this activity, I will quickly point out the expressions of necessity/wanting and the subjunctive conjugations that I have included at the end of the packet.  After the writing, the students will practice a role play in which a teenagers tries to convince his/her parent to adopt some of the suggestions given in the article.  In general, I like to choose a pair or two to present their role play after giving the class time to practice.  After the role play, I have included two additional videos and a song.  I usually like to project any videos that I have at the beginning of the period, so I will probably use these before the end of the lesson—It just depends how far I get in each class period.

Lesson 2: Pollution (2-3 days) As with the previous lesson, I’ll begin this one with a Brainpop video and quiz, followed by an article (Pollution 102072015Pollution 202072015).  After the article, the students will again interview a partner and then write him/her a message with suggestions.  I am considering having them write these messages as e-mails/google docs, rather than on paper so that their partner can respond (in writing).  Lastly I’ve included another role play and an additional video.

Lesson 3: Preservation (2-3 days) As with the first two lessons, the students will watch a Brainpop video/quiz, read an article (Deforestation 102072015Deforestation 202072015), interview a partner, write a message, and practice and present a role play.

Although I haven’t yet created all of the materials, these lessons will be followed by a series of activities designed to prepare the students for a culminating project on an endangered animal.  Stay tuned for these materials!

L’Amour – A Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

je t'aimeWhew!  This unit was a lot more challenging than I expected it to be when I typed the word “Amour” as a unit theme writing my French 3 syllabus in August.  Never having taught this theme without a textbook, I had my work cut out for me when planning this unit.  There is such a wealth of authentic written and recorded resources related to this topic that I didn’t know where to start.  Deciding that it would be simplest to start at the beginning, I chose a chronological organization for the unit (La Rencontre – Le Rendez-vous – L’Amour – La Rupture – Le Mariage), and then began the process of selecting materials that I hoped would be engaging, comprehensible, and appropriate to my students’ ages/developmental stage.  Trust me, as soon as you type “amour” into any search box, you will get a lot of hits that you would never want your students to see!  As an additional challenge, I wanted to make sure that the resources I chose helped to establish an inclusive classroom environment for my GLBT students, as well as respect for the beliefs of my students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.  Lastly, I wanted to focus on the language function of giving advice, which was a natural fit with the theme of this unit.  Here’s the 15-page activity packet that I came up with—I’d love to hear your feedback! Amour Activities

Here’s an explanation of the activities in the packet, and approximately how long I think each lesson in the unit will take.  Note: My lessons tend to take longer than I think they will!  If it seems that this unit is taking too long, I will assign some activities as homework, or eliminate them, based on the needs of my students.

Etape 1 – La Rencontre (Days 1-3). In this lesson the students will first read an article with tips on how to approach someone that they’re interested in.  I thought that the students, who often feel socially awkward at this stage, would be interested in the concrete advice given in the article.  After this reading, the students will discuss some of the suggestions from the article in their small groups.  I have included a space for them to fill in their group members’ responses, in an effort to ensure that all students are actively participating in the discussion.  I will also circulate around the room and provide feedback during this portion of the lesson.  Next, the students will watch a video in which an animated character gives advice to a human teenager.  I wasn’t familiar with this series of videos, but I think that the animation in the video might be engaging to the students.  As a culminating activity, the students will write a message to a friend in which they give advice on how to approach a potential love interest.  As with all of the learning activities in this unit, I have kept the directions gender neutral in order to be as inclusive as possible.  On the second (?) day of this lesson, the students will both read an infographic and watch a news story on the theme of dating websites.  They will then practice and perform a role play between a teen and parent who are in conflict over the teen’s participation on a site de rencontre. I envision giving everyone about 10-15 minutes to practice, and then randomly choosing 3-4 pairs (not the same dyads as the practice activity) to present in front of the class for an assessment.  Because there are several role plays in this unit, I will be able to assess all students by the end of the unit.  Furthermore, by focusing on this type of interpersonal communication, rather than personalized discussion, I can avoid requiring students to discuss feelings that they might not be comfortable sharing.   For a presentational activity, the students will then write a message in which they make suggestions to a younger sibling who has enrolled in a meeting website.

Etape 2 – Le Rendez-Vous Amoureux (Days 4-5) In this lesson, the students will watch a video on how to call someone to ask them on a date, and complete a role play in which one calls the other for a first date.   They will then read an article with first date advice (Le premier rendez-vous) and write a note to a friend which incorporates suggestions from the article.

Etape 3 – L’Amour (Days 6-7) The students will begin this lesson by watching a video in which young children explain their ideas about what love is.  They will then read an article in which French teens discuss how they expressed their feelings/kissed someone they liked for the first time.  (Quand se declarer…) One of the couples in this article is a same sex couple.  While I thought about eliminating this portion of the article, I decided to leave it in to support my desire to provide an inclusive classroom environment.  While I do not expect this to create problems in my school, I understand that the same might not be true in other school cultures.  After these interpretive activities, the students will practice and perform role plays in which they give each advice about giving a first kiss, and then write a real or imaginary story about their own (hypothetical?) first kiss.

Etape 4 – La Rupture (Days 8-9) Since all good things must come to an end, the students will watch another video in the previously-described partially animated series with advice about breaking up.  They will also read an article with break-up advice, before discussing the suggestions in the article with a partner.  As a follow up activity, they will write a note to a friend who is going through a break-up and offer him/her advice.  The students will then read a more in depth article with suggestions to parents about how they can help their teenager survive his/her first broken heart.  They will then role play a conversation between a parent and teenager.

Etape 5 – Le Mariage (Day 10-12?) This lesson continues to be a work in progress, and I am not sure whether I will actually use it.  I struggled to find materials related to marriage that I thought would be engaging to students who are most likely several years away from being married.  While I wanted to introduce some cultural connections, as well as vocabulary related to marriage, I’m not finding a good fit between the videos and articles I found about Mariage pour Tous/French weddings and making suggestions/giving advice.  I may keep working on this—and add my revisions to this post, or drop it all together.  In the meantime, I’m leaving what I came up with in the document, in case it’s of use to anyone else.

Bonne Année!

A literature-based Christmas lesson for Novice High learners


Although I created a complete unit on the theme of Christmas for my French 1 students, my curriculum allowed me to spend only a few days on Christmas with my French 2 and French 3 students.  Since these students had learned Christmas vocabulary and French holiday traditions in previous years, I decided to focus on literature-based activities and assessments for these students. I felt that it was especially important for my French 2 students to get some exposure to narrative texts, as they have read primarily informational texts so far this year.  Although my French 3 students have read a few Petit Nicolas stories, I knew they would enjoy reading and writing holiday-themed stories during the last few days before Winter Break.

I began this lesson by having the students read a Christmas-themed story.  I prepared a simple set of English comprehension questions to help guide their comprehension, but did not assess them.  The purpose of this first story was to provide a model of a narrative text.  The French 2 students read Le cadeau du Père Noël (le cadeau) and answered these questions : lecadeau The French 3 students read La Galette de Père  Noël (la galette) and answered these questions: galette

Next, I had the students fill out the following graphic organizer with the plot elements for the story that they read.  Because I had never specifically taught plot elements in the past, I didn’t know what background knowledge they had regarding narrative texts. Fortunately, they were able to match up the French vocabulary for various plot elements to those that they had learned in language arts classes and were able to complete the graphic organizer in a few minutes. This is the graphic organizer I prepared for this activity: conte_graphicorg

Now that the students had reviewed the plot elements of a story, they were ready to begin writing their own.  I passed out a blank copy of the same graphic organizer, and asked the student to fill it out with information about their own story.  I hoped that by beginning with this step, the students might be less overwhelmed than if I had just asked them to make up a French story.  Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, the students seem very excited about writing their stories and one even mentioned that, “This is the most fun thing we’ve ever had to write in French.”

Now that each of the students has an outline of his/her story, I am going to have them continue to work with narrative texts over the next few days as they complete a series of learning stations (which will be their IPA for this mini-unit, as well as their Midterm Exam grade).  At the Listening Station, they will watch to 2-3 videos about Santa Claus and complete a comprehension guide.  At the Reading Station, they will read another Santa-themed story and complete an interpretive reading assessment, while at the Writing Station they will write the first drafts of their stories. The French 2 classes will have an additional Interpersonal Speaking station at which the students will describe the pictures on Christmas-themed stickers to a partner who will choose the correct match from his/her set of stickers.

French 2 Learning Stations/IPA:French 2 Noel IPA     French 3 Learning Stations/IPA: noel_ipa 3

Note: I have one French 3 student whose religion prevents her from participating in any activity which relates to any type of holiday/birthday celebration.  These are the alternative reading and listening activities that I developed for her: Alternate Interpretive

After the students have completed these stations, they will produce a final draft of their story as well as present it orally to the class.  I think these presentations will be a great way to use the block of time that is set aside for our midterm exams, as the students will have already completed the other portions of their performance-based exam while at their learning stations.  For the presentations, the students will prepare a Google Presentation a visual aid to support their storytelling.  The images on the Google Presentation can be drawings, clipart, photographs, etc.—any media that will help the students retell their story and help their audience (classmates) to comprehend it.  I know the students are nervous about this part of the assessment, but I explained that they don’t need to memorize their written story exactly, they just need to summarize/retell it to the class.

The students seem excited about this project and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re able to produce!