Category Archives: French 1 Units

Paris: A Novice Unit and IPA

paris  Based on social media posts from my virtual colleagues, it seems that many of us are ending the year with a unit on Paris for our French 1 students.  In my case, I found that this unit was a great way to bring in some vocabulary for places in a city and transportation.  In addition, the students are gaining important knowledge about a city that many of them will have an opportunity to visit at one time in their lives.

Because I think it’s very important for the students to become familiar with various attractions in Paris, I began this unit with a series of learning stations designed to introduce the students to the tourist attractions they might visit on a trip to Paris.  Although these stations are based on authentic resources that I have accumulated over the years (and can’t realistically share here), I’ve included a quick explanation of each station.

Paris Monument Cards: The students read a series of cards, each of which had a photograph of the monument as well as historical information.  These cards were originally attached, forming a fan, but I separated them so that they could be read individually.  I bought the fan in Paris, but it may be available elsewhere.  If anyone else has this resource,  here are the questions I wrote: Paris Monument Fan (3/30/16: Here’s a link to purchase the fan from amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/%C3%89VENTAIL-MONUMENTS-PARIS-COLLECTIF/dp/2842033965/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459360983&sr=1-1&keywords=eventail+des+monuments+de+paris)

Paris Listening Station: The students watched two authentic videos and responded to questions in English.  Here’s the document I created with the links and comprehension questions: Listening Station

Paris Children’s Books: I have two children’s books that students could read at this station.  They worked with a partner on the comprehension activity, so that four students in the group were able to read a book in its original form, without relying on photocopies.

Paris ID Station: At this station students completed a series of teacher-created activities designed to help them learn to identify each monument visually.  I included a Go Fish game that I made with photographs of the monuments, a matching activity in which they had to identify unlabeled photographs by comparing them to Paris monument postcards, a lotto game in which they had to fill a board by drawing pictures of monuments from a pile , an activity in which they had to identify monuments based on photographs I had taken at unusual angles, etc.

Paris Brochures: Here, the students read brochures that I have brought back from various monuments and answered comprehension questions. These brochures were a great way to reinforce vocabulary for days of the week, months of the year, and telling time!

After the students had completed all 5 stations, we spent a few days reviewing the monuments using a Google Presentation ( https://docs.google.com/a/hilliardschools.org/presentation/d/1_3jd7FibPFNenBeXS8ujpSEERbnQ4cLU0c9ax_S3PFY/edit?usp=sharing) which I would project and ask questions about. To further reinforce this information, I had the students create Bingo boards on a sheet of paper.  For this very low-tech activity, they made a grid of 5 x 5 squares and wrote the name of an attraction on each one.  I would then give a clue (either a picture or a fact about the monument) and they placed a chip on the square with the appropriate monument.  Note: There are more than 25 attractions, so some students won’t have some of the monuments I describe, just as with regular Bingo.  Due to the simple nature of the language used, the students were able to understand my questions and clues for these activities with very little difficulty. As an additional resource, I created this Google Presentation with photographs only. (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1THhX7NIaLmQoImP3RgGxYQUJm1apE9J5Lg3QxnchJ5g/edit?usp=sharing) .  Because I will eventually hold the students responsible for identifying the monuments visually, I wanted to provide an easy way to practice identification. (Note: There are currently a few extra attractions on this presentation. When time permits, I’ll update them so that they have the exact same attractions.) The students have access to both presentations, so that they can further review the facts and images from home.

After the students are able to identify the monuments and know some factual information about each one, they will begin preparing for their IPA.  This document contains a few structures and vocabulary items they’ll need to know and a couple of quick activities to practice the skills they will use on the IPA (Paris IPA Practice ) Namely, they will list activities they would like to do in Paris, practice discussing these activities with a partner, and then will create an itinerary for a trip.

After these practice activities, they should be ready for their IPA (French 1 Paris IPA ) which contains the following tasks.

Interpretive Listening: The students will watch a video about 10 Paris attractions and complete an interpretive task. Interpretive Reading: The students will read several pages paris 1paris 2paris 3paris 4paris 5paris 6paris 7paris )from a children’s book about Paris and complete comprehension activites. Interpersonal Communication: The students will discuss possible activities to do in Paris and co-create a simple itinerary. Presentational Writing: The students will write a letter to a family member in which they describe their itinerary and ask for a financial contribution for the trip.

This IPA, along with a simple assessment on Paris monuments, will be the final exam for these students.  I’m so proud of what these students have accomplished this year and looking forward to following their progress in the years to come!

 

 

 

A Novice High IPA on “Les Loisirs”

computer

This week my students will be completing their IPA on Les Loisirs.  I’ve been really pleased with their work throughout this unit, and I’m looking forward to seeing their results on this IPA.  While I began my journey into proficiency-based/non-textbook/non-explicit grammar lesson teaching with a significant trepidation, I am thrilled with the results of my new methodologies.  These students are now writing comprehensible connected paragraphs about how they spend their free time and using a variety of present-time verbs with some accuracy.  They are able to discuss these activities with their peers and they can understand some details given by native speakers on these topics.  While their writing and speech are not grammar-free, I did not produce perfect speakers and writers when I taught using more traditional methods either.  What I know for sure is that this year was the most satisfying of my 26-year career.  My students, many of whom have diagnosed learning and behavioral disabilities, are experiencing academic success and feeling proud of their achievements.  I couldn’t be happier for them!

So, here it is, my penultimate French I IPA:  loisirs_ipa

For the interpretive reading task, they will read an infographic about French opinions of an ideal weekend and complete interpretive tasks based on the ACTFL template.  I have designed this assessment based on the ACTFL Can-Do “I can sometimes understand short, simple descriptions with the help of pictures or graphs.” My students have been reading increasingly complex infographics all year, and I know that they will be able to accomplish this task without much difficulty.

For the interpretive listening task, they will listen to two different news reports about leisure activities that are of interest to these students. The first is about technology-related leisure activities, and the second about sports and exercise. These resources will be significantly more difficult than previous videos, many of which have been cartoons, but I chose them because of their relevance to the topics we covered in class. The fact that many of the requested details are numbers, a notoriously difficult linguistic concept, will further challenge these students. Because this task is closer to what would be expected of an Intermediate Low-Mid learner, I will score it accordingly.

For the interpersonal task, the students  will discuss their leisure activities with a partner.  While I have not always written an interpretive task that is clearly dependent on the interpretive one, it is my goal to do so as I evolve in my understanding of evaluating students’ language performance and proficiency. Therefore, I have included a requirement that they discuss how their leisure activities compare to those that are listed in the infographic. Therefore, this this task will address the Novice High Can-Do “I can exchange information using texts, graphs, or pictures.”

For the presentational writing task, the students will write an e-mail to a hypothetical exchange student about their leisure activities, therefore addressing the Novice High Can-Do “I can write information about my daily life in a letter, blog, discussion board, or email message.”  After receiving feedback on similar messages that they wrote throughout the unit, I think the students will be prepared for this task.

While my district and state have established the expectation that students will reach the Novice Mid level of proficiency by the end of French 1, it is my opinion that this Novice-High assessment is appropriate for these learners.  Because each task is based on the theme we have been studying, I have higher expectations of this performance-based assessment, than I would for an unrehearsed assessment of overall proficiency.

Les Loisirs: A Novice Mid unit on leisure activities

browsing-15824_640As I began planning my French 1 units for fourth quarter, I took a fresh look at the ACTFL Can-Do Statements for the Novice Mid proficiency level. This is where I expect my French 1 students to be by the end of the year and I wanted to make sure that I addressed any areas in which they needed additional preparation.  As I looked at the Interpersonal Communication Can-Do’s, I realized that I definitely had some work to do.  The statement “I can ask some simple questions” jumped out at me.  Many of my Level 1 students rely heavily on yes/no questions in their interpersonal communication.  Although they have recently begun using qu’est-ce que and qui, I have not adequately prepared them to be able to ask and answer when and where questions as mentioned in the example Can Do statement.   I also realized that they need a lot more vocabulary in order to adequately address the statement “I can communicate same basic information about my everyday life.”  While they learned how to talk about what they like to do, I have not spent nearly enough time on activities that would teach them to talk about what they do/are doing.  With these goals in mind, I began developing this unit on Les Loisirs .

Lesson 1: The students will begin by reading an infographic on French leisure activities and completing an interpretive task. They will then interview a partner about his/her leisure activities and the frequency with which s/he does each one.  Next, the students will write a short paragraph about their own leisure activities.

Lesson 2: The input for this lesson comes from a video about French leisure activities.  I will play the video as a whole-class activity, pausing when necessary to ask questions.  While students at this proficiency level cannot be expected to independently interpret many details on a video like this, they can pick out key words.  After the video, the students will complete an interpretive task in which they fill in a Venn diagram comparing their preferred leisure activities with those of a partner. They will then write a paragraph about whether they have much in common with their partner, based on what they learned when completing the Venn diagram.

Lesson 3: The input for this lesson will also be a video, in this case it is about video games.  I think this will be a high interest topic for these students and will provide a good hook to the lesson.  Following the video, the students will interview a partner about his/her leisure activities and complete a table with details that s/he finds out by asking information questions.  The final task of the lesson will be a paragraph in which the students describe what they do during their ideal Saturday.

Lesson 4: As with the previous two lessons, this one will begin with a video.  I should note that the reasons I have chosen to introduce these lessons with videos are a) My students always struggle with listening and b) Video interpretive tasks (as I use them during instruction) are less time consuming than reading tasks.  Since I control how often I stop the video, rewind it, etc., I can spend as little or as much time as I need.  On a reading task, I feel it’s important to give the students as much time as they need.  Because of the diversity in reading proficiency in my class, reading activities often take an entire class period.  Because I’m specifically addressing interpersonal communication in this unit, I want to make sure my students have enough time to adequately complete these tasks.  In this lesson, the students will complete a “speed-friending” conversational activity.  As a follow up presentational activity, they will write a note about which friend they had the most in common with.

In addition to these activities, I will spend lots of time asking personalized questions regarding my students’ leisure activities so that they are able to correctly answer information questions by the end of the unit.  My IPA is still a work in progress, but I’ll make sure to include it in my next post!

For those of you that are assessing your students on the ACTFL Can Do statements, I’d love to know how they’re doing!

Spring Cleaning?: A Novice Mid unit on household chores

cleaningAlthough I had intended to include vocabulary and structures related to chores in my French 1 unit on the house, I ended up having to abbreviate the unit in order to administer the IPA before Spring Break.  I didn’t want to totally omit this part of the unit, however, so I’m incorporating this vocabulary and structures into a mini-unit that we will do when we come back to school.  I thought this unit was especially important because the house unit was very heavy on vocabulary and very light on sentence structures.  Although I was happy with my students’ performance on the IPA, they were able to complete those tasks by relying primarily on structures such as “Il y a” and “est.”  As we begin the fourth quarter, I want to make sure that my students are able to use a variety of verbs with different subjects.  While I won’t expect total accuracy at this point, I want to make sure that they’re beginning to develop an understanding of the idea of verb conjugation.

Click here (Chores unit) for the packet of activities that I will give to my students in this unit.

Lesson 1 (2 days) On the first day of this lesson students will begin by reading an infographic about how much time French people spend on household tasks and will complete an IPA-style interpretive task.  Next, they will play a Guess Who game (Guess Who ) to reinforce the vocabulary related to household chores.  Following this pair activity, they will write a paragraph about their personal responsibilities around the house. I will begin the second day of this lesson by playing the video and having the students complete the comprehension questions.  Following this interpretive activity, they will interview a partner about his/her chores and complete a Venn diagram comparing their responsibilities. Note: This activity is not included in the packet, I just have them do it on loose-leaf.  I like using Venn diagrams because they provide a context for practicing both first and third person verb forms in written form, while orally practicing the second person.

Lesson 2 (2 days) The students will also begin this lesson with an IPA-style interpretive task in which they read two different infographics about gender differences as they relate to household tasks.  Next, they will interview a partner about who does various tasks in his/her family, after which they will write sentences telling what chores various members of their family do.  Lastly we will listen to a video in which discusses chores and gender.

Lesson 3 (2 days) The students will begin this lesson by reading a comic about two brothers and how each one clears the table (PicPik) .  They will then watch a children’s video about a creative way that one girl clears the table.  This video will be very difficult for them, so I’ll provide lots of scaffolding as we listen as a class.  Next they’ll do an information gap activity (Chores Matching) to practice the vocabulary, followed by a writing activity in which they write a note to a sibling in which they explain how to do the dishes.

Click here for the IPA on this mini-unit. (chores_ipa-2015 )  Here’s a quick description of the tasks:

Interpretive Listening: Trotro range sa chambre cartoon video.

Interpretive Reading: Article about the types of chores that children can do at various ages.  All of the tasks can be completed by reading only the sections associated with the age groups.

Interpersonal Speaking: Students discuss their which members of their families do various chores.

Presentational Writing: Students write an e-mail complaining about the chores they have to do while staying with a host family.

I’ll be doing some traveling over break, so if it takes me a little longer than usual to reply to your comments, please know that I’ll look forward to hearing from you when I’m back home!

 

Maison Sweet Maison

Anonymous-my-houseIn between the standardized testing and weather days that have plagued my schedule over the past few weeks, my French 1 students have been learning the vocabulary and structures they need to both talk about their homes and understand authentic resources about French homes.  Although I would have preferred to introduce this vocabulary in a more contextualized way, I found myself relying on a more traditional format for this unit due to the limited time frame that I had and the amount of vocabulary I wanted to introduce.  Because these students had done so much reading throughout their previous unit on food, I wanted to focus on oral activities rather than written texts to reinforce this vocabulary.  As a result, I provided the students with a visual vocabulary list of rooms and furnishings (House packet) and then devoted one to two (shortened) class periods reviewing each room’s vocabulary using a variety of (mostly) communicative activities. For each room, I included some or all of the following activities:

  1. A short educational video to present the vocabulary for the furnishings in the room being studied. Because I prepared my list before choosing the videos, the words are not identical. If I teach this unit next year, I may modify my list to mirror the words in the videos, although I do feel the students can benefit from the exposure to additional vocabulary.
  2. A Google Presentation featuring two to three photographs of the “room of the day.” I would project the first room and ask students questions about what they saw in the picture: Il y a un lit? De quelle couleur est le couvre-lit? Qu’est-ce qu’il y a sur la table de chevet? Est-ce qu’il y a un tapis sous le lit ? I would then project the second picture and give the students five minutes to practice describing the room to a partner.  I then called on two to three randomly-selected students and asked them to describe the room to the class.  I assigned a formative assessment grade and written feedback to the students who were chosen for this informal presentation. Note: I will modify this presentation to include photographs of rooms in French homes, rather than randomly selecting Google Images if I teach this unit again.
  3. After these presentations, the students completed an information gap with a partner to further reinforce their vocabulary acquisition and oral fluency. I used the following three types of information gap activities in this unit:A) Matching: Student A and Student B each have a paper with the same pictures (labeled with either numbers or letters), but in a different order. Students will take turns describing their pictures and sharing the corresponding numbers/letters until they each have a list (on a separate paper) of all of the number/letter matches.B) Same/Different: Student A and Student B each have a paper with several numbered pictures. They discuss each one in order to determine whether it is the same or different on their papers. They then write either “M” for Même or “D” for Différent (on a separate paper) for each item.C) What’s missing: Student A and Student B each have a picture from which some items have been whited out. The students discuss their pictures in order to determine which items are missing from each one.
  4. After the information gap partner activity, I projected a short authentic video which featured the “room of the day.” Due to the difficulty of the videos, I paused them frequently to ask questions using the new vocabulary, but did not expect the majority of the students to understand more than the main idea of the video.
  5. Lastly, I projected an additional room photograph and required the students to write a paragraph describing the room. This paragraph provided an additional formative assessment/opportunity for feedback for these students.

Note: Although I had intended to include household chores in this unit (and this vocabulary is included in the packet), I will not be able to do so before our quarter ends next week.  Therefore, I will do a mini-unit on this topic after our Spring Break.

Here’s a link to Google Presentation with the photographs and videos I used in this unit: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1I_vShMkd6RbGkhej8ltMAny-QNnpAb5b6vmpbVeNKc0/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s a document with some of the information gap activities that I used in this unit: Pair Comm. Activities 

After these introductory vocabulary activities, the students completed the following learning stations (House Unit Learning Stations):

Computer Station: Students completed a series of interactive activities designed to reinforce the vocabulary for the unit.

Reading Station: Students completed an IPA-style interpretive task based on an authentic blog post comparing French and American houses.

Speaking Station: Students completed two different pair activities at this station.  In one, they discussed the respective house pictures in order to identify differences.  In the second, they took turns placing the magnets in the rooms on a commercial game and described their arrangement to a partner who placed his/her magnets in the same location. I listened to the students and provided feedback and a formative assessment grade at this station.

Writing Station: Students wrote a written description of their (real or imaginary) homes for a home exchange website. This assignment will serve as the rough draft/formative assessment for the presentational writing portion of their IPA.

After the students have rotated through these stations, they will take an IPA based on the topic of a home exchange: House-Unit-IPA , House IPA Reading

Interpretive Listening: The students will watch a short video—“La maison préférée des Français” and answer English comprehension questions.

Interpretive Reading: The students will read three different descriptions of homes currently listed on a home exchange website and complete an IPA-style interpretive task.

Interpersonal Speaking: Students will discuss the photographs of the homes whose descriptions they read and discuss whether or not they would like to stay in each one and why.

Presentational Writing: Students will write a description of their own home that could be posted on the home exchange website. Students are given the option of describing either their actual or an imaginary home for this task.

Although this unit does not rely exclusively on authentic materials to introduce and practice vocabulary, I think these activities will help the students memorize a significant number of high-frequency vocabulary items.  I will be curious to see how the more traditional vocabulary introduction will influence the students’ success on the IPA.

 

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!

Bon Appétit : A proficiency-based unit for Novice learners (Part 3)

bon-appetitAs promised, I’ve prepared additional lessons for my French 1 Mealtime unit around the themes of school cafeterias and restaurants.  If you’re new to my blog, you can find the materials for the first part of this unit here ( http://madameshepard.com/?p=282) and the second part here (http://madameshepard.com/?p=321).

Here’s a packet with the new activities Mealtime Part 2 and below I’ve written a short description of how I will implement each lesson.

La Cantine Scolaire (2 -3 days) I’ll begin this lesson my playing the authentic video using the projector and pausing it often so that the students can jot down answers.  Because understanding details from an authentic source such as this one is considerably above their proficiency level, I’ll invite the more proficient students to share their answers and I’ll add additional support by replaying and, if necessary, repeating the pertinent sections of the video so that all students can complete the task. I don’t generally take a grade on these activities, but I think they’re a good way to engage students at the beginning of a class, provide important (if only partially comprehensible) input, and are a rich source for cultural content. The students will then complete an interpersonal activity in which they interview a partner about his/her experiences and opinions of our school cafeteria.  I like to follow up these activities by using the same questions and asking the students to either give their own answer or report back on their partner’s answer.  My students continue to struggle in identifying the subject in a question that they hear, so these questions/answers provide additional practice in making this distinction. Although I have not included it in the packet, I would consider having the students write a short paragraph about their own answers to these same questions as a homework/writing assignment.  On the second day of this lesson the students will read a comic from Astrapi magazine (Pic et Pik p1 Pic et Pik p2) and complete an interpretive activity.  They will then write a list of cafeteria rules based on the language and structures they encountered in the comic.  I have designed this presentational activity to introduce the expression Il faut, as well as to use the vocabulary from the comic. Next, the students will interview a partner about his/her behavior in the cafeteria and then write a note explaining how their own behavior is better than their partner’s, so that they will be chosen as Student of the Month.  Lastly, I have included two other videos about French school cafeterias.  Depending on timing, I might show these videos in a different order than they are presented in the packet.

Le Restaurant (2 days) This lesson posed a real challenge for me.  I need my students to be able to use and understand phrases that are specific to ordering restaurant meals, as this was the goal for my unit and will be assessed in the IPA.   However, I was not able (during the time I had available) to find an authentic video that I could use to provide input or interpretive communication for these phrases. If you have any ideas, please share!!! Given my time constraints, I resorted to having my students watch a series of educational (not authentic) videos to familiarize them with the phrases they will need to know to order meals.  I assigned the first video as homework, so that the students would come to class with a list of the phrases that they would need.  I will start the class period with a silly restaurant song, and then have the students practice a guided restaurant dialogue.  I have several authentic menus that I will pass out to add authenticity to this activity.  The students will then read an infographic (included in packet) about dining out in Paris. On the second day of this lesson, the students will first interview a partner about his/her dining out habits. I will then project the photo (in packet) showing the terms for doneness of meat, before playing the (non-authentic) podcast of a restaurant dialogue.  Lastly, they will read an article about making healthy choices when dining out.

After this lesson, the students will be ready for their IPA, which will consist of the following tasks.

Interpersonal: The students will discuss various items on an authentic menu and then place their order with the waitress (Madame, bien sur!)

Interpretive Listening: The students will watch authentic cartoons depicting mealtimes.

Interpretive Reading: The students will complete an interpretive task on an authentic menu.

Presentational Writing: The students will write a message to their future exchange student about their own eating habits.

As always, I’d appreciate any and all feedback on these materials.

Bon Appétit : A proficiency-based unit for Novice learners

bon appetitMy goal for today was to complete my French 1 unit on food and mealtimes (See http://madameshepard.com/?p=282   for the breakfast lessons.). Although I didn’t get everything done that I had hoped to, I wanted to share what I have so far.  Here’s the packet of activities and resources: French 1 Meals Unit

While the packet is fairly self-explanatory, here are a few notes about how this part of the unit is organized.

Les Fruits. (1-2 days) For this lesson I will play a short video with fruit vocabulary using the projector and the students will complete a matching activity in their packets. They will then complete a pair activity in which they describe pictures to a partner who finds the matching picture on his/her own paper. (fruit pair act) I will follow this up with a formative assessment in which I describe a few of the pictures and the students identify which picture I am describing.  The students will then read an article about bananas and complete an abbreviated interpretive task. As a closing activity they will listen to a song about fruits.  I have also included a website for vocabulary practice and worksheet (prendre ws) for this lesson.  Although I’ve managed to avoid grammar/vocabulary worksheets so far with these students, I felt that it was important to focus briefly on form, in order to increase their accuracy and move them along to a Novice High proficiency level.

Les Légumes (2 days) The students will also begin this lesson with a video and matching activity from the Le Monde des Petits series. They will then complete an interpersonal activity (veggiepair) in which they describe pictures to a partner in order to determine whether they have the same or a different picture for each number.  As a formative assessment, I will ask a series of true/false statements about some of the pictures.  I will, of course, only ask questions about the pictures that were the same on both papers.  After this interpersonal activity, the students will watch a video in which a nutritionist talks about eating five fruits/vegetables a day.  Because this video is not from Youtube (which is blocked on my students’ accounts) I intend to have the students complete this activity individually using the department IPads. After the video, the students will interview a partner about their vegetable preferences and then listen to a song about vegetables.  The order of this lesson might change slightly depending on how far we get each day.  I would use the song as either a closing activity or as an introduction at the beginning of a class.  I have again included an accuracy worksheet here (veggie ws), as well as assigned a website for homework that they can use to review vocabulary.

Ce que les Francais mangent (1-2 days) After building the students’ vocabulary with these lessons, I will continue the unit with lessons to develop their knowledge of French eating habits and increase their overall proficiency.  In this lesson, we will first look at a website that shows how much of several different foods/dishes are eaten by the French per second.  After responding in writing to a few questions about the information at this site, the students will interview each other about the frequency with which they eat the same items.  They will then read an article about what the average French person consumes in a year (ce_que-consomme-1-francais) and complete an interpretive task.  Following this activity, they will respond to a series of statements by writing French sentences based on the same article.  Lastly, they will play a Guess Who game (Guess Who) designed to review some of the vocabulary for lunch and dinner dishes.  Because my students are familiar with this game, I did not devote space for the directions.  However, if you’re new to this game, each partner selects the identity of one of the names on the paper.  They then take turns asking questions about what their partner is having to eat in order to determine their partner’s identity.  (Tu prends de la pizza?) This game is easier for students when the papers are placed in plastic page protectors.  This allows them to use dry erase markers to eliminate identities as they ask questions.  I am also able to use this activity on another day, if I need a short filler.

Le Fast Food (2 days) I will begin this lesson by projecting a couple of MacDonald’s commercials.  Although I have included a few comprehension questions in the packet, I would not expect these students to be able to answer them independently.  Instead, I will play the video in its entirety, and then pause it frequently, inviting the students to informally (I just have them shout it out) share anything they were able to understand.  After the video, the students will read an infographic on hamburgers and another on French fries (fries infog) and complete an abbreviated interpretive activity.  For the following activity, they will interview a partner about his/her fast food preferences.  I have provided possible answers, to provide the necessary vocabulary to the students.  As a culminating activity for this lesson, the students will write a paragraph describing their fast food habits.

So, that’s what I have so far.  The final lessons for the unit will be organized around the context of the school cafeteria, and eating out/restaurants.  I’ll post them when I’m finished—make sure to follow the blog for updates!

As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you have about these lessons and am grateful for any feedback that you have.

 

Le Petit Déj: An introductory unit on French mealtimes for Novice learners

petitdej Although food is the last thing I want to think about after several days of holiday feasting, my syllabus says that my French 1 students will begin studying French mealtimes when we go back to school on January 5th.  Therefore, in my downtime during the first few days of winter break, I’ve developed the following unit to teach my students how to discuss and describe what they eat for breakfast as well as to compare typical American and French/Belgian breakfasts. Here’s the packet I will give the students which contains all the materials and resources for the mini-unit.   Le-Petit-Dejeuner (1)

I think these activities will take about 4 days, and this is how I plan on conducting each lesson.

Day 1 The students will first watch a short instructional video showing the students what food items are included in a typical French breakfast.  They will check each item that they hear and we will then discuss the correct answers.  Afterward, the students will interview a partner about how often s/he has each of the items on the list.  I will then ask a series of questions (Ton partenaire prend souvent du café? Ta partenaire prend souvent du yaourt ? etc.) before assigning the writing activity in which the students compare their breakfast habits to a partner’s.  If there is time remaining in the class period, the students will begin the interpretive activity in which they read an article about breakfast in Belgium.

Day 2 I will start the period with the video (III) activity since I will be conducting this as a whole class activity using the projector.  After discussing the correct responses, the students will do the accompanying interpersonal pair activity, with a partner other than the one they spoke to in the previous day’s lesson.  Lastly, the students will have time to finish the interpretive reading activity about breakfast in Belgium.  Because this is an individual activity, I like to assign it as the last activity in the period to allow for differences in reading pace among the students.

Day 3 I will begin this class with a video (IV) after which the students will complete the “Guess Who” interpersonal activity.  After a couple of rounds of this game, the students will write a paragraph about their own breakfast habits.

Day 4 I will begin this activity with a short interpretive activity about typical American breakfasts.  After all students have completed the reading (early finishers can start the presentational activity), the students will complete the pair interview based on this article.  Lastly they will fill in a graphic organizer comparing French and American breakfasts.

Day 5 The students will take a formative assessment on breakfast vocabulary.

Whew.  Week one is planned for French 1—only 3 more preps to go!

Have a peaceful holiday season and winter break!

 

 

 

 

Joyeux Noël : A unit for Novice Learners

joyeuxnoel2

One of the great things about being a French teacher is that a wide variety of themes can be used to advance the proficiency levels of the students.  For this reason, I’ve always felt very comfortable teaching a unit on Christmas.  I know that the students will be introduced to a variety of vocabulary and structures as they complete the interpretive tasks in this unit and that the fluency and accuracy they develop through the interpersonal and presentational tasks will increase their overall proficiency.  While I have always focused on Christmas as a target culture celebration (avoiding religious-themed texts), the diversity of my students this year makes this essential.  In my French 1 class alone, I have students from 17 different countries!  As a result, my activities will focus on vocabulary acquisition and Francophone culture, with few or no personalized responses.

I will begin this unit by passing out a packet with the communicative goals, vocabulary, and structures for this unit.  In my French 1 class, I am going to concentrate on question words as a structure.  I chose this structure because of its important role in increasing proficiency in the Interpersonal mode.  I’ve introduced the vocabulary by presenting each word in the context of a sentence, which is depicted in a picture.  I’m hoping that this will help the students increase their sentence-length communication as we work on the vocabulary.  Here’s the packet:2014 packet_noel

For the next week the students will begin memorizing the vocabulary through a variety of activities.  For the first couple of days we will play a Loto game that I purchased from Teacher’s Discovery.  This helps the students hear the correct pronunciation of the words over and over again.  While I sometimes call just the isolated word, at other times I say a sentence which includes the word.  The winners have to say the words in their winning row, which enables me to provide further feedback on pronunciation. After we play as a whole class, I also have them play in small groups, with the students taking turns calling the words they need to make a Bingo.  This enables me to circulate around the room, providing additional feedback on pronunciation.

In addition to the Loto game, the students complete a variety of interpersonal activities to practice the vocabulary as well as increase their fluency and ability to negotiate meaning.  In the following document I have included three separate partner matching activities— each focusing on either snowmen, Christmas trees, or Santa Claus.  For each of these activities the students will number a sheet of paper according to the number of pictures in the activity.  They will then take turns describing a picture to their partner, who will tell them the number or letter of the picture on their paper which is the same as the picture that their partner describes.  Each partner will fill in the letter next to the corresponding number on their sheet of paper.  While I don’t grade these papers, I will often do a quick formative assessment in which I describe five of the pictures and they write down the corresponding number or letter, depending on which they have on their paper.  In this way I don’t penalize a student whose partner has given him/her the wrong number or letter during the interpersonal activity.  Here’s a document with the activities:noel_matching

In addition to these matching activities, I’ve created several activities which require partners to describe their picture in order to figure out which items are missing.  These are easy to create by beginning with a coloring page (see Google Images), printing two copies, and whiting out several items from each copy and then photocopying the originals.  I also have used Christmas stickers to make activities in which a pair of students are each given the same ten stickers (stuck onto cut up index cards).  One student places the stickers in a row and then describes each sticker to his/her partner (a binder between the two prevents them from seeing each other’s stickers).  After all ten pictures are described, they remove the binder to check whether they completed the activity correctly.

Throughout this week, the students will also complete a variety of interpretive reading activities designed to teach them about holiday celebrations in Francophone and other cultures.  I have included some interpersonal activities with these readings, but have changed the context of these interview questions so that they are not Christmas specific.

In this activity, the students read about Christmas traditions throughout the world and complete an interpretive activity: Quelques traditions de Noel dans le monde

In this one, they complete an interpretive activity about Christmas shopping, and then interview a partner as a follow-up interpersonal activity: Shopping de Noel dans le monde

The presentational activities that the students do during this unit will mostly involve describing pictures orally and in writing.  This skill is appropriate to their proficiency level and will avoid requiring the students to use the vocabulary in a personalized context, which I don’t feel would be appropriate for these students.

Here’s the IPA that I prepared for this unit: noel_ipa

For the interpretive listening the students will watch a video about a donkey who goes sledding.  For the Interpersonal speaking, they will take turns describing holiday pictures in order to decide whether each one is the same or different.  For the Presentational writing they will write an e-mail about French holiday traditions and for the Interpretive reading they will read an article about European holiday traditions.

Joyeux Noël!