Category Archives: French 1 Units

Noël for Novices

christmas-1084884_960_720It’s hard to believe that this is the third year that I am posting a Christmas unit! This year’s plan, based on my current French 2 students’ needs, includes many resources that I have used in the past with either French 1 or French 2 classes.  However, I’ve added some new resources (some of which were created by an awesome new colleague!), and linked each resource to the corresponding lesson on the agenda.

Here’s the agenda and a quick summary.

Day 1: I’ll introduce some vocabulary by discussing pictures and then play a commercial Loto game. I’ll pass out this vocabulary packet as a reference during the unit.

Day 2: This lesson, which focuses on Saint Nicolas, includes an introductory video, short reading, Edpuzzle and pair activity in which students describe pictures in order to determine whether each one is the same or different.

Day 3: This lesson, on the topic of Santa, includes a reading and pair matching activity.  I didn’t have a great copy of the reading so it’s kind of blurry.  If anyone has a better link, I’d be very grateful for it!  After the pair matching activity, I’ll orally describe a few of the pictures and have the students write either the number or letter (depending on which they have) for a formative assessment.

Day 4: This lesson on Christmas traditions throughout the world includes a video from a family living in France, an infographic about international traditions, and an info gap activity in which students fill in an agenda of Christmas activities.  As a follow up assignment, the students will write a message describing their week’s activities. (This lesson will take place on a day on which we have 90-minute classes.)

Day 5: This lesson, which focuses on traditional Quebecois holiday activities, includes an introductory video and info gap activity.  I hope to add an Edpuzzle to this lesson, too!

Day 6: In this lesson we will watch a video from a site about decorating Christmas trees as a class before the students complete a series of interpretive activities for the text from the same site. The students will then practice explaining the steps to decorating a tree using pictures they have drawn.  Although I’ve included a pair matching activity here, it seems unlikely that we’ll have time for it.

Day 7: The students will interpret an infographic about Christmas eating habits in France, discuss their own eating habits, and then compare them by creating a Venn diagram.

Day 8 & 9: The students will complete a series of learning stations designed to prepare them for the summative assessment on this unit.  Each station is designed to be completed in about 30 minutes.  Because Day 8 is a 90-minute class, the students will have one station remaining for Day 9.

  • Listening Station: Christmas Edpuzzles
  • Reading station:  Story about Santa
  • Speaking station: Students will be given the role of either a French or Canadian student and will discuss their holiday pictures.  
  • Writing Station: Students will write a draft of their summative assessment.

Day 10: The students will complete the interpersonal speaking and presentational writing portions of their summative assessment. (Described on this IPA.) The interpretive portion of this assessment, their midterm, is still a work in progress as we are creating a multiple choice version to accommodate our school’s requirements.

Joyeux Noël!

La Famille: A work in progress

familleOver the past couple of weeks a few of my virtual colleagues have requested suggestions for designing a unit on family. Although this is a theme that I think almost all of us address in our level 1 classes, I haven’t yet gotten around to sharing my materials for this unit, mostly because I’m not completely satisfied with them. In the absence of any better excuse, I’ll blame timing. This is the 4th unit in my French 1 curriculum and it comes around in early November. Like many of you, I find this time of year a bit of a struggle. By this point, I’ve implemented all of the unit plans that I spent the summer creating and am trying to design four upcoming units while at the same time grading the endless stacks of papers for those units I’m currently teaching. I’m definitely not at my creative best at this time of the year! While I have put this unit as number 1 on my To Do list for this summer, I am sharing some activities that I used this year for those of you that might want to incorporate some of them in your own units.
As I mentioned in this previous post, I’ve chosen the context of an au pair for the IPA. This theme provides an authentic context for using both family and adjectives for describing people, which are high frequency structures that are appropriate for these Novice Mid learners. Here’s a quick outline of how I prepare the students for the IPA.  Most of these activities can be found in this packet.
Day 1: I begin this unit by presenting lots of comprehensible input with a slide show of pictures of my own family. I give each family member’s name and explain how each one is related to me as well as each other. I pause frequently during my presentation to check for understanding. Here are a few sentences from my (unwritten) script:« C’est ma fille, Bethany. Je suis la mère de Bethany. Comment s’appelle ma fille? Qui est la mère de Bethany. Et toi, Emilie, comment s’appelle ta mère ? Ta mère a combien de filles ? C’est mon fils, Richard. Richard est le frère de Bethany. Bethany est la sœur de Richard. Comment s’appelle le frère de Bethany? Qui est la sœur de Richard ? Qui est la mère de Richard ? Et toi, tu as un frère ? Il s’appelle comment ? Tu as une sœur ? Elle s’appelle comment ? » The students are therefore exposed to not only the family vocabulary but also the formation of possession with de and possessive adjectives. After this presentation, the students read Les Familles and complete this comprehension guide. (I’ve included a link to the book, which can be downloaded with a free trial subscription, in the packet.) At the end of the period, I play this silly song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFk9YmJv-jc
Day 2: I review the vocabulary using my family pictures and then have the students interview three classmates and fill in the table given. After these interviews they write about three family members in a presentational writing activity.
Day 3: The students begin the Lesson 2 by reading an infographic about blended families and completing a comprehension guide. After this interpretive activity they interview a partner in order to fill in his/her family tree. The time remaining is spent filling in the missing family words in the riddles, which is to be completed as homework.
Day 4: We begin this lesson by discussing the families on these “Awkward Family Photos”  After spending time describing these families, first in small groups and then as a class, the students complete the comprehension guides for the two infographics about pets.
Days 5-8: The students spend the next four days completing these learning stations.
Reading: Students read three simple authentic picture books and completed comprehension guides.
Conversation: Students complete a pair crossword puzzle, played authentic 7 Familles games and the American board game, Guess Who.
Computer: Students take Canvas quizzes on these not-quite-authentic recordings and then completed online vocabulary review activities.
Note: These videos, along with corresponding quizzes are available at http://gabfle.blogspot.com/ (See Presenter d’autres personnes on left side.)
Writing: Students write a script for the family presentation they will do.
Day 9: Family Presentations
Day 10: I introduce the students to what an au pair is by showing this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3REkrkAxy10 . The video includes English subtitles so that these Novice learners can understand it, and features a male au pair, making it more inclusive for my students. After the video I had the students complete this questionnaire with their preferences as future au pairs. After the students had completed the questionnaires, I passed out several posts from an au pair website and the students completed this graphic organizer and the map on the back. While the posts that I distributed are probably not available any longer, the graphic organizer is quite generic and could be used with most of the posts from this site.
Day 11/12: The students completed the IPA for this unit. Click here for the listening comprehension questions from the Canvas quiz that I used with my students.  The video is called Caillou devient un grand frère and here’s a link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ruKT7ML6HYM&list=PLvqYK_RkmMZoBQ9od0qF3oz2R7TVE4hdn . It’s only the first 4 minutes of the video (which includes several stories.)

While I’m looking forward to improving some of the activities in this unit, I’ve been pleased with the authentic context of this IPA. Several of my students have expressed interest in maybe pursuing an au pair experience of their own—a great motivation for continuing their study of French!

Le Petit Déjeuner: An IPA for Novice French Students

petitdejOne of the great things about being in the second year of the process of becoming more proficiency-based in my teaching is that I am able to rely on some of the materials I created last year.  While I’ve found myself modifying many of these units, I’m also trying to reuse those lessons that I found were effective in accomplishing the goals that I have identified for my students.  Having chosen Balance as my #oneword for this year, I definitely have to resist the urge to completely recreate each unit (Although I’m tempted!).

One unit that I’m hoping to change very little is the Food and Mealtimes unit that I used with my French 1 students last year.  This unit, which I shared in three separate posts last year (post 1, post 2, post 3), was effective in developing my students’ cultural competency regarding Francophone mealtimes as well as their proficiency across the modes. On a practical level, however, the length of this unit caused some minor record-keeping problems.  Because 80% of my students’ grades are based on end of unit IPA’s, these students had no major grades for several weeks.  In order to remedy this issue, I’ve decided to give a series of IPA’s throughout this unit. In this way I can assure that my students and their parents have adequate information about their progress throughout the unit.

This first IPA, therefore, will assess the students’ ability to communicate in each mode on the topic of breakfast.  In the interpretive reading they will interpret an article (page 1, page 2  )from Astrapi magazine about making breakfast in bed for Father’s Day.  In the interpretive listening they will watch a video about healthy breakfasts.  Although I included short answer questions here, my students will actually take a multiple choice version on our Learning Management System, Canvas. As always, I do not expect my Novice Mid students to be able to correctly answer all of these questions! I like to build lots of stretch into my listening comprehension, but to assess based on their current proficiency.  In this case, the students are only expected to be able to answer a handful of the questions by identifying key words that they have practiced for the last few days.  After these two interpretive activities, the students will complete an interpersonal communication task in which they play the role of either a Belgian teenager or American exchange student.  As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I’ve found that I can more fully integrate culture across the modes by assigning the students roles that will allow them to demonstrate the cultural competence they’ve gained as a result of their work in the unit. Finally, they will write a blog entry about Belgian breakfast habits.

Although it will take a little additional time to grade multiple IPA’s, I think the feedback that my students receive will make this extra effort well worth it!

Using Cartoons to Assess Interpretive Listening with Novice Learners

COUV. La Balle.indd

This week’s #langchat discussion about interpretive listening revealed that we language teachers are very diverse in the way we approach this skill, especially with novice learners. Although I reflected at length on the topic of assessing listening in an earlier post, I’d like to specifically address a few of the questions that came up during Thursday night’s discussion.

Question #1: What resources are appropriate for novice learners? While some teachers are hesitant to use authentic resources with early novices, I have found that first semester French 1 students can successfully interpret carefully selected authentic materials when given level-appropriate tasks.  My go-to resource for these students are cartoon videos for the following reasons:

  1. These videos were made for novice language learners—young children in the target culture! As a result, the vocabulary and sentence structures are relatively simple and the linguistic input is supported by strong visual cues. This is exactly what our novice learners need.
  2. The wide selection of these videos ensures that there are several choices available for any theme we’ve included in our novice curriculum. My favorites for my Level 1 and 2 students are Trotro, Petit Ours Brun and T’choupi et Doudou, because of the broad range of topics covered and the comprehensibility. I also occasionally use Peppa Pig with my level 2 students. Although originally recorded in (British) English, the French translation was clearly intended for French-speaking children, so I do consider these to be authentic resources.  However, the target culture would not, of course, be represented in these videos.
  3. Cartoons are very engaging to my students. They look forward to their turn at the computer and a few students have even mentioned that they have watched additional episodes of the series at home, “just for fun.”
  4. As authentic resources, these cartoon videos often integrate cultural products, practices and perspectives of the target culture. When Petit Ours Brun puts his shoes under the Christmas tree, his grandfather comments on the delicious turkey, and he wakes up to presents on Christmas morning, my students learn relevant cultural practices regarding Christmas celebrations in France.

Question #2: What types of tasks are appropriate for novice learners? I realized as I participated in Thursday night’s #langchat that I have interpreted ACTFL’s descriptors regarding interpretive listening differently than many of my colleagues. The Novice Mid (my goal for level 1) NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do Benchmark for interpretive listening reads, “I can recognize some familiar words and phrases when I hear them spoken.”  If I understood my colleagues’ responses correctly, many of us may be assessing listening by having students list the words and phrases that they hear.  Because it isn’t clear to me how this type of task would demonstrate interpretation/comprehension, I ask students to answer questions to show comprehension of the video, but phrase these questions in a way that the students can use previously-learned words/phrases (along with visual context clues) to respond.  This year I am using a multiple choice format for my formative listening assessments using our district’s recently-adopted Canvas learning management system.  Although I don’t feel that multiple choice is appropriate for many language tasks, this platform has the advantage of providing immediate feedback to my students.  In addition, since creating and assessing them requires a minimal time commitment on my part, I am able to provide more opportunities for listening than I was using other task types.  Lastly, this format provides students with additional context clues.  Their listening is more purposeful as they are listening for a specific response, as well as to eliminate distractors. While I typically use open-ended question types on my IPA’s, these multiple choice quizzes, which the students complete individually at a computer, provide the majority of my formative listening assessments.

In order to save time, I create these quizzes directly in Canvas, which unfortunately makes them very difficult to share.  For the purposes of this discussion, I’ve uploaded a Word document of screenshots from a quiz I made this morning for the video, Trotro et les cadeaux de Noel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRcv1pVaitY ). As this document shows, the questions that I’ve created enable these Novice Low-Mid students to demonstrate their ability to interpret this text using only previously-learned words and phrases and visual clues. While most of the items assess literal comprehension, I’ve included a few questions that require the students to make inferences and guess the meanings of new words using context clues. Here’s a quick explanation of my thought process for each question.

#1: While each of these questions would be appropriate to the context, my students will probably understand “pour moi” when they hear it.  They will also be able to eliminate the 2nd choice, because they know the word for Santa.  Although I’ve used the other question words in class, the students are not using them yet.  I included them in the distractors to encourage the students to start thinking about how questions are asked.

#2: This question is a “gimme.”  The students know the word for book and have visual clues as further support.  I created the question to improve the students’ confidence, enable all students to have some “correct” answers, and to provide more context for further questions.  As you can see, I write LOTS of questions, because I find the questions themselves provide important context and help the students follow along with the video.

#3: “Chouette” is a new word for these students, but it appears in a lot of children’s literature/videos and I think they’ll enjoy using it.  The context should make the meaning of this word clear.

#4/#5: The students have learned the word “jeux-video” so I think they’ll get “jeu.”  Also because Trotro also uses “jouer” I think they’ll understand it’s something to play with rather than listen to.

#6/#7 Students can answer by recognizing the previously-learned words “gros” and “belle.”

#8: Although this question does not assess listening comprehension (the word appears in written form), it does provide a contextualized way to introduce a new vocabulary word.

#9: The students can listen for the word “content” as well as eliminate the distractors based on previously-learned words.

#10: The students have heard “maintenant” repeatedly, but it hasn’t been formally introduced.  If they don’t recognize it, they should still be able to eliminate the other choices.

#11: Although the students will not understand the entire sentence in which it appears, they should be able to answer this question by identifying the word “cadeaux.”

#12: I’m curious what my students will do with this inference-based question.  They should recognize the phrase, “Moi, aussi” which should enable them to infer that Boubou got the same gift.

#13: The students should recognize the word “jouer” as well as be able to eliminate the distractors based on previously-learned vocabulary.

#14: The students should be able to use the visual context to guess the meaning of this new vocabulary.

#15: The phrase “c’est moi” should enable the students to choose the correct response for this one. As with several other items, I’ve included the transcription of the entire sentence to introduce new vocabulary—the verb “gagner.”

#16: Although my students won’t be able to use the linguistic content to answer this question, I’ve included it to encourage inference based on visual context clues.

#17: I’ll be curious how they do with this one.  “Bateau” is an unknown word and although they’ve seen “mer,” I’m not sure they’ll pick up on it.  Some might pick out “pirate” but I’ll be curious how many are able to answer this one correctly.

#18: The students have heard “rigolo” and this word even appears in Trotro’s theme song.  In addition, they should be able to eliminate the distractors based on previously-learned vocabulary.

While there’s nothing especially innovative about this assessment format, after completing many similar tasks during their first semester of language study most of my level 1 students are pretty accurate when completing this type of formative assessment.

Question #3: How should interpretive listening be assessed? I did want to make a point about grading these formative assessments.  Although I do my best to create questions that are mostly at the students’ current proficiency level, with a few items thrown in to encourage “stretch,” I rely heavily on my students’ results to determine how close I came to hitting this target.  Therefore, I do not decide how to grade these assessments until I have data on how the class scored as a whole.  In other words, this particular formative assessment will not necessarily by worth 18 points.  If, for example, the highest score is 16, I might make this the maximum score. For teachers that do not record a score on formative assessments, this isn’t an issue of course.  I only suggest that we expect and allow for student errors when assessing interpretive listening (even using objective evaluations) just as we do when assessing the other modes.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are willing to share your experiences and ideas about assessing listening with novice learners!

Image credit: www.gallimard-jeunesse.fr

Integrating Culture in All Modes: A Noël Unit for Novices

noelAs a result of a recent #langchat discussion, I’ve been reflecting a lot about how to more fully integrate culture into my instructional practices.  In an earlier post, I shared the essential questions I developed based on my current units that I will use as a baseline for increasing the focus on cultural competency in my classroom.  A greater challenge that I identified as a result of the #langchat conversation, however, is the importance of integrating culture across all communicative modes. While my first thought was that I was that was providing my students with ample opportunities to develop their cultural competence by interpreting authentic materials, this is clearly not enough.  Encouraging students to identify the cultural products, practices and perspectives reflected in these authentic resources is only a first step. The cultural knowledge which is gleaned from these interpretive tasks must be carried over into the other modes to maximize student learning.  With this goal in mind I’ve begun modifying my Christmas units to provide a greater emphasis on cultural integration in each mode.

My French 1 class, with a targeted proficiency level of Novice Mid, provides the greatest difficulty when it comes to fully integrating culture, especially in the interpersonal mode.  The NCSSFL-ACTFL Can-Do’s for this level (which I use to guide my instructional design) are very speaker-centered.  Students are expected to communicate basic information about themselves and people they know and communicate basic information about their everyday life.  These objectives clearly aren’t appropriate for this cultural unit.  As I explained in last year’s post regarding my Christmas lessons, my students come from varied cultural and religious backgrounds and I consider it vital to honor this diversity. Therefore, it clearly wouldn’t be appropriate to design interpersonal activities that require students to interview classmates about their Christmas traditions (and then make comparisons), as I do in units on family, leisure activities, school, etc.  In the past, I assigned interpersonal tasks that required students to describe holiday-themed pictures in order to avoid personalized questions in this unit.  While these activities helped the students to acquire the new vocabulary, they did nothing to develop the students’ cultural competence regarding Francophone Christmas celebrations. Therefore, this year I’ve decided to use some role-play activities to integrate more culture while at the same time respecting both the cultural diversity and the proficiency level of these learners. While I think that we must ensure that our students are able to express their actual preferences, surroundings, and experiences in the target language, the same memorized phrases which enable communication at this level can be used to play the role of a speaker in another culture.  In these role-plays, in which pairs of students play the roles of French-speakers in Quebec and Paris, the students will not only integrate their understandings of the cultural practices of these regions as they relate to Christmas, they will also learn vocabulary and structures that will enable them to participate in authentic conversations in the future.

Here’s the unit plan I’ve developed for this year. Click here for the student activity packet.

Lesson 1: I’ll play this video to introduce the students to some French Christmas traditions and corresponding vocabulary. Then they’ll complete this pair role play activity to practice talking about cultural traditions associated with Christmas. This resource guide will help them interpret the pictures in the role play.

Lesson 2: I’ll start this lesson with the short video about Christmas traditions in Quebec, pausing frequently to discuss.  Then I’ll assign this guided role-play. As a follow up presentational writing activity, the students will write a message from the person belonging to the culture they played in the role play to a person from the culture that their partner played. In the message, they will demonstrate their new cultural competence by including appropriate facts and asking relevant questions.

Lesson 3: The students will watch and video and read an article about decorating a Christmas tree.  Next they’ll draw pictures showing the steps given in the article, and then present the steps to their partner using their pictures.

Day 4: The students will read an infographic about French holiday eating habits and then interview a partner. Afterwards they’ll complete a Venn diagram comparing French Christmas eating habits to those of their own family during any special celebration.

Day 5-8: The students will spend one day each at these learning stations:

  • Listening: The students will watch Christmas-themed authentic cartoon videos and complete on-line comprehension quizzes.
  • Reading: Students will read an article about Christmas traditions in various European countries and then one about Christmas in France and complete comprehension guides.
  • Speaking: Students assume the roles of a French and a Canadian teen and discuss “their” holiday traditions using a set of pictures. (Noel Speaking)
  • Writing: Students will write a message about French holiday traditions.

Day 9-10: IPA

Reading: Students interpret an article about Christmas traditions throughout the world.

Speaking: Students assume the roles of a French and a Canadian teen and discuss “their” holiday traditions using the pictures on these Google Slides. Slides #1-#7 will be used by the student from France, and #8-#14 will be for the student from Quebec.

Writing: Students write final draft of writing station.

If time permits, I’ll make some modifications to my French 2 and 3 units , but in the meantime click here for the units as I used them last year.

 

Le 13 novembre: A Lesson Plan for Novice French Students

paris

Like many of you, I have spent the weekend processing how to address Friday evening’s terrorist attacks with my students tomorrow.  Although I consider myself a planner, this is not a lesson that can be planned.  As of this time, I do not know how much my students will understand about what happened, what questions they will have, and to what extent they have been affected by these horrible events.  So, although I won’t have a plan, I will have some resources available, and will decide how to implement them based on the needs of my students.

In order to show my students the extent to which people around the world have been affected by the events in Paris, I’ll probably show them these pictures:

http://www.npr.org/2015/11/14/456045436/photos-the-world-responds-to-the-paris-attacks?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=2040

Depending on their interest, I’ll also show this video of Francois Hollande speaking (with English subtitles):http://www.nytimes.com/video/world/europe/100000004036880/french-president-on-paris-attacks.html?playlistId=100000004037210

I think that my students would also benefit from seeing Cecily Strong speak French, in Saturday Night Live’s intro:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ_hoMig06M

In addition to these audio-visual resources, I have prepared both a French 1 and a French 2 comprehension guide  for this Astrapi article: Attentats-Paris

Finally, I will also encourage any interested students to express their condolences here: http://franceintheus.org/spip.php?article7170

In addition to curating these materials for my Novice students, I’ve chosen this post by Rick Steves to share with the families of the students who plan on traveling to France with me in March: http://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/dont-be-terrorized/

Image Credit: Jean Julien

Halloween: Incorporating one theme across three proficiency levels

halloween

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:

1007151311

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: https://www.envolee.com/en/du_plaisir_a_lire .  L’Halloween de Maria is found here: https://www.readinga-z.com/book.php?id=827 . 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: http://magiedelumiere.centerblog.net/2784634-joyeuse-fete-d-halloween

Ce que j’aime – A unit and IPA for Novice Mid French Students

j'aime

Having spent the first few weeks of the school year addressing the NCSSFL-ACTFL Novice Low Can-Do Statements, I know that my students are ready to take their first big step on the proficiency path toward Novice Mid.  I’ve chosen to focus on the theme of expressing personal preferences in this unit, as this topic is mentioned for each mode in the examples given for the Can-Do Statements. Based on my prior experience, I’m sure that these students will be excited to start sharing their own opinions of various activities, sports, music and school subjects.  Here’s packet of activities that my students will complete during this unit (French-1-Unit-2-Packet (1)).

In the first lesson, they will read an infographic about French leisure time activities.  Click here for a Word document with the frames of the infographic.) This authentic text will introduce them to the important vocabulary that they will be using throughout this unit. After completing the comprehension guide, the students will interview several classmates by asking a series of yes/no questions incorporating vocabulary from the infographic. As a presentational writing task, they’ll write a letter to a prospective exchange student expressing their own preferences, as well as asking him/her some questions.

In the second lesson, the students will read a very simple online story about a girl playing basketball and complete a short comprehension guide.  They’ll also watch their first Trotro cartoon.  Although I’ve included the short answer questions I created in the packet, my students will instead take an online multiple choice quiz on Canvas, our learning management system.  At the time I originally wrote this comprehension guide, I hadn’t yet begun using Canvas, but I’ve since discovered that I really like using it for listening comprehension activities.  The multiple choice format provides valuable scaffolding and the program also provides immediate feedback to the students regarding the accuracy of their responses. For the interpersonal activity, the students will interview a partner about their preferences, and then complete a Venn diagram. They will then write 10 sentences comparing their preferences to their partner’s.

In the third lesson, the students will read another infographic and complete the corresponding comprehension guide as well as watch another Trotro cartoon. For the interpersonal task, they’ll play their first “Guess Who” game and then write sentences about one of the characters for their presentational writing task.

In the fourth lesson, the students will read an infographic about the Fete de la Musique. In addition to providing information about an important cultural event, this infographic will introduce the cognates used to describe different music genres. After another Trotro cartoon, they’ll ask a partner whether s/he likes a series of activities (represented by pictures). For this task, students will provide a more detailed response which includes a reason they like/dislike an activity.

In the fifth lesson, the students will read the first three pages of a document (originally found at: http://www4b.ac-lille.fr/~ecfg/download/questionnaire.pdf)  that gives the results of a survey about French students’ preferences regarding school subjects. Although I haven’t prepared a comprehension guide, we’ll listen to and discuss this video as a class: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi3xReaZlIQ .

In addition to the activities in this packet, I’ll project a few of the Tweets in this document at the beginning of each lesson to provide a hook.  Based on the discussion from last week’s #langchat, I am also toying with the idea of having the students respond to these Tweets (or others that I will curate at the time) in order to provide a more authentic context for their new language skills.

IPA

The context for the IPA in this unit is finding a keypal.  For the interpretive reading, the students will read posts to a keypal website. Although not closely integrated with the keypal theme, the students will watch an excerpt from the French film, Entre les Murs, for their interpretive listening task. The students will then write a post for the same website for their presentational writing task. (Students will be encouraged to actually post their response on the website.) The students will then interview a prospective keypal (classmate) about his/her preferences. Note: Due to logistics, I will be assessing the interpersonal task while the students are writing the presentational one.

Feel free to respond with any questions or comments you have about this unit!

Image Credit: https://sites.google.com/site/mesetnoslecons/home/classe-premiere/j-aime

Bienvenue Partie 2: Designing IPA’s for Novice Low Learners

bienvenue2 In conversations about Integrated Performance Assessments, my fellow teachers often share their concerns about using authentic texts with beginners. There seems to be a widespread belief that true beginners cannot derive meaning from texts created by native speakers for native speakers. I hope that these assessments, which will be implemented during the unit I shared in yesterday’s post, will demonstrate that even Novice Low learners can read and listen to authentic texts when the tasks are designed to correspond to their proficiency level.

As I explained in yesterday’s post, I created two separate IPA’s for this unit.  As often happens in real-life school settings, instructional decision-making is influenced by many factors.  Because this unit will not yet be completed before the interim progress report grades are due, I prepared a short IPA to be administered after about three weeks of instruction.  This assessment will provide information to my students and their families regarding their ability to use their brand-new language skills in an authentic context.

IPA #1 (Revised 9/14/2015)

As you can see, I did not follow the exact order (Interpretive-Interpersonal-Presentational) that is recommended in designing IPA’s.  In this case I used an alternative format to better meet the context of the assessments, which was a visit to a Francophone school.  Therefore, in this IPA the students will first listen to an authentic video about holidays and then read an article about France from an authentic children’s magazine (Les Pays…08082015) Next, they will respond to a note from a student in the class.  Lastly, they will answer the school secretary’s questions.  Although all of my previous IPA’s have incorporated student- to-student interaction for the interpersonal task, I will play the role of the school secretary in this instance, as the Novice Low ACTFL Can-Do’s reflect the students’ ability to introduce themselves at this level, but not to interview others. This is the “secretary’s” script:

Bonjour.

Comment ça va?

Tu t’appelles comment?

Comment ça s’écrit ?

Tu as quel âge ?

Quelle est la date de ton anniversaire?

Merci, Bonne journée.

Au revoir.

IPA #2 (Note: the video used for the listening assessment is no longer available, but a search on “Mes fournitures scolaires” on Youtube might provide a similar video.)

In this summative assessment for the unit, I continued the context by explaining that the students were now preparing for their first day of school in their temporary home in Morocco.  Before the first day they will 1)Read the school’s list of required supplies (Interpretive Reading), 2) Listen to a video in which a student presents her school supplies (Interpretive Listening), 3) Discuss their school supplies with a neighbor (Interpersonal Communication) and 4) Make a list of school supplies they need to buy (Presentational Writing).

French 1 Unit 1 Formatives

As shown in the tentative agenda I included in yesterday’s post, I will administer a quick formative assessment after each lesson.  These quizzes are designed to assess the extent to which the students are able to identify new vocabulary words.  Any student who is not successful on any of these quizes will be given an opportunity to receive additional instruction and retake the assessment. As with the first IPA, the red text is teacher script and will not appear in the student copy.

Image Credit: http://claire-mangin.eklablog.com/

Bienvenue à la Classe de Français: A Novice Low Unit

bienvenue

In planning for the upcoming year, I really struggled with how to approach my introduction to French 1.  I have so many goals for these students, including:

  • I want to encourage the natural excitement that new learners have.
  • I want them to realize that language learning is fun.
  • I want them to understand that they are responsible for their own learning.
  • I want them to realize that they already have skills that they need to understand French resources.
  • I want to move them to start learning some aspects of the target culture AND (most importantly)
  • I want to help them achieve a Novice Low level of proficiency.

With these goals in mind, I designed the first unit as a sequence of lessons in which I would present a few basic words and phrases and then the students would complete a series of learning stations designed to help them acquire the vocabulary. By using learning stations as the primary vehicle for delivering this instruction, I hope to create a sense of self-efficacy in my students as well as provide multiple pathways to developing their emerging language skills. In addition, this lesson design will allow any students who miss the first few days (a common occurrence due to schedule changes, summer vacations, etc.) to work independently to make up missed lessons.  Lastly, using learning stations allows me to incorporate games and manipulatives that engage my students.

On the first day of class, the students will get an activity packet (French1unit1packet) and I’ll share this tentative agenda (french1unit1agenda) via Google docs.  I’ve designed each learning station to take about 15 minutes, so in each 48-minute period, I will begin by spending a few minutes introducing or reviewing the vocabulary with the whole class, have the students complete two stations, and then conclude with either a short whole class activity, such as a video, or a formative assessment (if it’s the second day of the lesson). Because I haven’t used these particular stations yet, I’m not sure about the timing.  If I find that the stations are not taking 15 minutes, I will modify the schedule accordingly.  Some of the reading activities may take longer than 15 minutes, so I will encourage the students to finish them when they have time at other stations.  Many of the computer stations are long, too, so I will encourage the students to work on uncompleted activities at home.

Here’s a quick explanation of the stations I’ve designed for each lesson, as well as links to some of the materials I’ve created. .

Lesson 1: Les Salutations

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice greetings.

Speaking: Students will practice two conversations, one formal and one informal.

Game: Students will play Memory to match French and English greeting words. Here’s a template (Greetings memory cards)

Writing: Students will write the conversations from the Speaking station.

Lesson 2: L’Alphabet

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice recognizing the letters of the alphabet.

Speaking: Students will dictate names to a partner, who will write them on a whiteboard.

Reading: Students will be given several authentic articles about forest animals and will fill in a table with cognates and other words that they can figure out based on context clues.

Game: Students will play an authentic board game that I purchased several years ago in France.

Lesson 3: Comptez à 10

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice the numbers 1-10.

Speaking: Students will 1) Dictate numbers to each other, 2) Play a loto game ( ABC_123 Loto )and/or 3) Play Memory using regular playing cards.

Reading: Students will complete an authentic color by number.

Game: Students will play Go Fish with regular playing cards.

Lesson 4: Comptez à 30

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice the numbers 1-30.

Speaking: Students will 1) Practice dictating numbers using a whiteboard, 2) Quiz each other using purchased flashcards, and 3) Play a guessing game.

Writing: Students will practice writing out the numbers by filling in a crossword puzzle (Crossword 1-30)

Game: Students will play Loto, Memory (Game Cards 1-30), and Go Fish.  (The same cards are used for both Memory and Go Fish.)

Lesson 5: Présentations et Géographie

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice asking and giving names and ages.

Speaking: Students will practice a conversation which incorporates several of the skills attained in the introductory unit.

Writing: The students will write out the same dialogue that they practiced orally.

Reading: Students will read an authentic article about France (France) and complete a comprehension guide. (This article can also be accessed through this link: http://www.lepetitquotidien.fr/fiche-expose/la-geographie-de-la-france/carte-d-identit-de-la-france-f1015)

Lesson 6: Le Calendrier

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice calendar vocabulary.

Speaking: The students will complete a pair information gap activity (Famous French Birthdays )in which they ask each other for the birthdate of several famous French people.

Reading: Students will read an article about French holidays and complete a comprehension guide.

Game: Students will complete a pair activity in which they give each other clues to enable each other to fill in missing words on a crossword puzzle (xw Axw B) .

Integrated Performance Assessment #1

As the agenda shows, I’m going to give the students their first performance assessment at this point.  Although there are still a few lessons to go in this unit, I wanted my students to have performance grades on their interim progress reports, so I’ve included the short assessment described in the agenda. I plan on sharing this assessment in a future post.

Lesson 7 : Dans mon sac à dos

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice school supply vocabulary.

Speaking: Students will 1) Ask each other whether they have pictured items and either circle or cross out each picture and 2) Play Memory or Go Fish (I’ll use the pictures from the packet to make pairs of cards).

Writing: Students will list items in their backpack and complete a crossword puzzle (sac a dos xwcrosswordpuzzle) .

Game: Students will play Pictionary and Hangman with new and previously-learned words.

Lesson 8: C’est comment? (Students will complete all 4 stations in one day—they’re short.)

Note: Due to the nature of the teacher-created activities, which require the use of color, I’m not able to share them here.

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice colors.

Game: Students will play teacher created Loto game.

Speaking: Students will play Pictionary with colored markers.

Writing: Students will fill out a crossword puzzle.

Lesson 9: Dans ma salle de classe

Computer: Students will complete a series of interactive exercises to practice classroom object vocabulary.

Game: Students play Pictionary and Hangman.

Speaking: Students complete pair matching activity (classroom matching )

Writing: Students write sentences describing classroom.

As the agenda shows, I’ve planned one review day and then it will be time to implement the 2nd IPA of the year.  I’ll share this assessment in a later post.

Note to Readers: All of these materials are newly-created and haven’t been used with students.  In fact, I haven’t even printed them for my own use yet.  As always, please proofread carefully!

(Photo Credit: http://www.rvrradio.fr/-Bienvenue-chez-nous-49-.html)

Bonne Rentrée à Tous!