Category Archives: French 4/5 (AP) Units

Lou! A 9-Week Curriculum for Intermediate French Students

Based on the encouragement of my readers, I have spent the last month continuing my work creating mini-units based on the Lou! cartoon series. I have now posted mini-units for the first 9 episodes as well as a bundle that includes all 9 episodes at a discounted price. It is my intention that these 9 mini-units could provide a stand-alone first quarter curriculum for Intermediate students (Level 3+) regardless of whether they are attending class face-to-face, in a hybrid situation or entirely via distance learning. Because of the focus on communicative tasks and authentic resources, these units are also appropriate supplements for AP or IB classes.

Since I am so new to creating resources that I am not actually using with my own students, I would be very grateful for feedback from any of you that have used the mini-units. I have no doubt that you are finding typos and other errors (which is why I have provided editable documents) and I would love to correct those. It would also be helpful for me to know which activities you are finding useful and which do not meet your needs so that I can focus on providing more beneficial resources in the future. Please send your feedback to me at lisashepardwlc@gmail.com.

Here’s a link to the bundle: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lou-Intermediate-French-Curriculum-for-Remote-Hybrid-or-In-Class-Learners-5988136

Bonne Rentrée à Tous!

Lou! Episode 1: An in-class, online, hybrid or independent study mini-unit for intermediate students

My work with language teachers this summer has been one of the most humbling experiences of my career. I see your sacrifice, dedication and courage in impossible situations and I’ve spent some time thinking about how I might help a little bit. 

Since I’ve heard a few teachers (especially our valued newbies) mention how much they were struggling to find time to create a curriculum for their upper levels, I decided to start there.  I think that many of us face planning challenges with that group.  Due to the smaller numbers, we often find our level 3s and 4s or 4s and 5s (or all of the above!) mixed together. We might even find ourselves with one single student whom we so want to provide an independent study for but just don’t have enough hours in the day.  The pandemic, of course, adds the nearly insurmountable problems of having to provide a curriculum for distance learning, hybrid learning and face to face learning (while keeping these faces from getting too close).  

While I cannot do nearly as much to help as I would like, I have spent some time during the last week or so working on a mini-unit that I thought might provide a jumping off point for some of you.

For this mini-unit, rather than a typical content-based theme, I chose to design my activities around the first episode of the French cartoon Lou! .  I was introduced to this program through my position with FluentKey where I’ve been working on transcribing and creating quizzes for the episodes.  (It will take a while, I’m only on episode 14!)  I would have loved to use this series with my own students–the characters are diverse, the main character’s family is non-traditional (in many ways) and the series addresses issues that affect adolescents in an engaging way.  Although the episodes have recurring characters, each one could stand alone if necessary.  As a result, I thought a mini-unit on the first episode could be used regardless of the regular curriculum, or with independent study students, or with the students who can’t be in school if you’re face to face, or with that small group of level 4’s that got put in with your level 3s or any of the myriad unimaginable challenges that you’re facing.

So feel free to skip to the link at the bottom, because I’m about to get pretty wordy as I describe the process I used to create the unit for any of you that might like to create units of your own for other episodes. 

An Essential Question: I started here because backward design just makes sense to me and helps me frame my work.

Can-Do Statements: I created one Can-Do for each mode of communication based on the NCSSFL-ACTFL Intermediate benchmarks. 

Avant de visionner:  I included a few discussion questions to use as an advance organizer before introducing the video. These questions could be discussed in-class, via videoconference, in writing using an LMS, etc.

Vocabulaire: I selected ten vocabulary terms from the video and used pictures to introduce them.  

Choisissez le bon mot: I created a matching activity in which students will select the word that corresponds to the French definition. This activity can be completed on paper, inserted into a Google Doc, or made into an online quiz using an LMS or other platform.

Regardez la vidéo: I’ve included a link to the FluentKey video for teachers that want to assign the video to students and use a quiz or play FluentKey live with the video. This could be played in-class or via video conference (link to directions is included in teacher notes).   I’ve also included a YouTube link. Depending on the proficiency level of the students, I might play the video once, narrating and questioning to increase comprehension. This could be done in class or via videoconferencing.  For other students, I would just assign the FluentKey video as an independent activity or assessment. 

Remplissez ce schéma: I’ve included a story map graphic organizer for students to fill out about the video.  I’ve included a link to a version of the map that can be completed online in the teacher resources at the end of the document. 

Remplissez le résumé avec la forme correcte du verbe:  I created a one-page summary of the video and left blanks for the students to fill in the correct form (imparfait, passe compose or plus-que-parfait [1] ).  I included a key in the teacher resources. This activity could be completed on paper or put in a Google Doc for submitting online. Teachers could also quickly make a multiple choice version as an assessment or way of providing immediate feedback using an appropriate program/LMS.

Mots Croisés à deux: My students loved these partner crosswords! In the teacher notes you’ll find an A puzzle (with the vertical answers filled in) and a B puzzle with the horizontal answers filled in.  There are no clues included, as the students use circumlocution to help their partner fill in their missing words. This activity serves as a fun review of the story, as the words in the puzzle are related to key events from the video. In the teacher notes I included an editable version of the puzzle that teachers could send out so that students could complete this activity via Google Meets or Zoom, recording and submitting if possible. Otherwise, the puzzle could be printed for in class use. I’ve also included a rubric for assessing the students if this is possible in your situation.

Citations à discuter: In this section you’ll find a list of quotes from the video as well as a list of discussion questions.  I’ve found that this type of activity is an engaging way to review the video.  If I were spending a few days on the episode, I might have the students discuss 6-7 questions a day. These discussions could take place face to face, via videoconference or in writing using a discussion board.

Comparaison Culturelle: I’ve created a graphic organizer which the students will complete to compare their lives to Lou’s.  I’ve included an editable version in the teacher’s notes for online submission.

Lecture: Students will complete this simple graphic organizer to demonstrate comprehension of an article about journal writing. (Link and rubric included in teacher materials.)

Jeux de Rôles: I’ve included 3 different role plays based on the video. In my classroom, I would usually have the students practice each role play at least twice (changing roles) and often changing partners.  I would then call up an unannounced pair and randomly assign a role play for assessment purposes.  This ensured a more spontaneous conversation. In a virtual environment, I would have students practice via break out room or have them call each other on the phone. Then I would assign them a 3-minute Zoom conference for the assessment, if that were possible in my particular situation.    In the teacher notes I also included a series of phone messages that could be used as speaking assessments if necessary.  While these would not be interpersonal tasks, they would allow you to at least have a speaking prompt to assess. They could even be submitted via Flipgrid and classmates could respond as the character who listened to the message.

Journal Intime: You’ll find 3 different prompts based on the video.  I generally allowed students to pick the one that most interested them. Having 3 prompts allows the teacher options if they find a student needs to redo the activity for any reason. (I’ve included wording in my rubrics to clarify why students might need to redo an assessment.)

Bonus Activity: This activity, found in the teacher notes, includes the time stamp and a description of a scene from the video so that a teacher could take screenshots from important scenes for discussion activities. I’ve included discussion questions if you choose to include this activity. A teacher could also use the screenshots and questions to assess a student individually, asking follow up questions and personalized questions to create a more developed conversation.  Lastly, students could also respond orally or in writing via an LMS for an online environment. 

Whew! Congratulations for making it to the end!  Here’s a link to the document: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Toshc6cHGmbzqNYy_SK4HX2-K7mlPPKA26n5wKi8e8U/copy

As always, I’d love to hear your feedback and answer any questions you have about this mini-unit.

I’ve completed similar mini-units for Episodes 2 and 3 and listed them on Teachers Pay Teachers for those teachers that may not have time to create their own: 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lou-Cartoon-Mini-Unit-for-Distance-or-In-Class-French-Students-Episode-2-5879254

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Lou-Cartoon-Mini-Unit-for-Distance-or-In-Class-French-Students-Episode-3-5879570

If I find that these resources are useful, I will continue to create and post additional episodes. 

Image Credit: https://www.needpix.com/photo/1557297/problem-solution-help-support-information-problem-solution-assistance-question-mark-note

Learning in new ways with an old friend

It seems so strange to be blogging after such a long absence! While I have been busy with professional obligations as an independent consultant, moderator of #langchat and #langbook and as the French Content Editor of FluentKey, I have not been lesson planning, leaving me with so little to share here. And while I am in absolute awe of the amazing way that all of you are addressing the challenges inherent in distance learning, I felt at a loss when it came to providing support for something with which I have little experience. However,  when a member of the French Teachers in the US Facebook page posted a question about Petit Nicolas books, I thought that maybe sharing some of the resources I’ve created might be helpful to some of you that were using these stories for the first (or twenty-first) time.

Please note that I have used these stories in a lot of different ways over the past thirty years.  My understandings about how languages are learned evolved immensely during that time, and I would not necessarily use some of these resources in the same way now as I did then.  You will be invited to make a copy of any document you wish and I encourage you to make any changes that you’d like to meet your needs and those of your students. 

I also wanted to provide a bit of information about the links to the videos I have shared.  These videos are adorable and I love using them with students. Unfortunately, the videos seem to disappear quite regularly from Youtube (often to reappear later from a different source) so the links will most likely not remain active for very long.  If you have problems with any of them, try a search with the title in Youtube and you might find a different copy.  I would also recommend checking Edpuzzle for listening activities.  I had created Edpuzzles for several of the videos, but my account is no longer active as it was associated with my school email.

I’ve also included a link to the text of each story for those of you that don’t have access to the books.  There are several sources for online texts, but unfortunately these often do not include the adorable pictures from the book. It would be so much nicer to be able to post a copy of the book pages for the students!

Here are the links to the resources I had in my files.  While some have been shared in previous posts, I thought it might be helpful to have them all in one place.  Please let me know if you have any questions!

Les Campeurs

  1. Document that includes IPA-style interpretive reading tasks, an interpersonal task and presentational writing task and an interpretive listening 
  2. Object pronoun practice worksheet
  3. Link to pdf of story (pp 7-9)

Clotaire a des lunettes

  1. IPA-style reading comprehension (separated into 2 parts)
  2. Link to pdf of story (pp 1-3)
  3. Link to video (Active as of 4/29/20)

Le Football

  1. Traditional multiple choice assessment with grammar section on verb tenses
  2. Link to written and audio version of story
  3. Link to video (Active as of 4/29/20)

Je quitte la maison

  1. Link to text
  2. Link to video (Active as of 4/29/20)
  3. Document with 1) true/false prediction questions, 2) comprehension questions, 3) inference questions 4)future tense practice 
  4. IPA
  5. Pair Crossword (Students take turns giving clues to enable their partner to fill in missing words.)

Je suis malade

  1. Document with reading comprehension and grammar practice (object pronouns and verbs)
  2. Link to written and audio versions of text
  3. Link to video (active as of 4/29/20)

King

  1. French evidence-based true/false questions
  2. Multiple choice questions about video 
  3. Link to video (active as of 4/29/20)
  4. Link to copy of text 

Louisette

  1. Comprehension questions (true/false + justification) and grammar practice (verb tenses and object pronouns)
  2. Speaking and writing assessment
  3. Multiple choice comprehension quiz
  4. Text of story
  5. Link to video (active as of 4/29/20)
  6. Pair crossword activity (Each partner has different words missing and they take turns giving each other clues.)
  7. Directions for making pair crossword

Le Musée de Peintures

  1. Document with 1) true/false with justification questions and 2) verb practice 
  2. Pair crossword puzzles (Students take turns giving clues to enable their partner to fill in the missing words from his/her puzzle)
  3. Interpersonal and presentational writing tasks
  4. Link to text 
  5. Link to video (active as of 4/29/20)

Le Petit Nicolas (Feature film)

Document with 1) comprehension questions and 2) quotes from the film that the students discussed in small groups.

Bonne Rentrée: 2019

Today I just wanted to share a quick beginning of the year post.  The chronological nature of a blog can make it difficult for new readers to find helpful posts. So, as I did last year, I’ve created this list of links to past posts that included complete unit plans.  Keep in mind that these units were not all created or taught in one year. I switch things up based on the curriculum of my current school and the interests of my students. In addition, each post reflects where I was on my journey toward proficiency at the time I wrote it.  I have continued to evolve, and you will no doubt improve upon the plans that you find here!

Bonne rentrée à tous!

French 1 Units

Bienvenue à la classe de Français: http://madameshepard.com/?p=752

Bienvenue: Partie II: http://madameshepard.com/?p=789

Ce que j’aime: http://madameshepard.com/?p=855  

La Famille: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1110

Bon Appétit pt. 1: http://madameshepard.com/?p=282 (petit déjeuner)

Bon Appétit pt. 2: http://madameshepard.com/?p=321

Bon Appétit pt. 3: http://madameshepard.com/?p=345

Noël: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1282

French 2 Units

Les Loisirs: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1335

Ma Journée Typique: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1340

Halloween: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1387

Mon Look: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1278

C’est quoi, une maison idéale?: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1406

Les Tâches Ménagères: http://madameshepard.com/?p=502

Joyeux Noel: http://madameshepard.com/?p=267

Allons en Martinique: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1424

Les Châteaux (pt. 1)http://madameshepard.com/?p=415

Les Châteaux (pt. 2) http://madameshepard.com/?p=445

Une journée à l’école: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1081

French 3 Units

Bon Appétit: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1193

Education: http://madameshepard.com/?p=111

Les Vacances: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1345

Les Campeurs (Petit Nicolas) http://madameshepard.com/?p=200

Les Animaux de Compagnie: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1261

Les Impressionnistes: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1389

Le Jour de la Terre: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1136

Le Gaspillage Alimentaire: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1287

Joyeux Noël: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1418

Ma Bonne Resolution (La Santé) : http://madameshepard.com/?p=1428

La Préhistoire: http://madameshepard.com/?p=516

Je t’aime:  http://madameshepard.com/?p=1589

Je quitte la maison (Petit Nicolas): http://madameshepard.com/?p=1013

French 4/5 Units

Cultural Stereotypes: http://madameshepard.com/?p=80

La Famille dans le Monde Francophone: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1376

Communication et Media: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1397

Le Droit a l’Education: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1450

Les Droits des Femmes: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1469

La Laïcité: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1128

Le Petit Prince: http://madameshepard.com/?p=219

L’Immigration:http://madameshepard.com/?p=880 Click here for the agenda of a more recent version of this unit.

Mixed Levels

First week of school: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1246

Halloween: http://madameshepard.com/?p=897

Bonne Rentrée

As I mentioned in my last post, this August marks the first one in 29 years that I have not welcomed 100+ students into my classroom.  As you can imagine, I am “feeling all the feels” as I read the excited/overwhelmed/anxious/enthusiastic/etc. posts of the members of my PLN who are beginning a new school year this month. Fortunately, I am getting my fix of shiny, beginning of the year school buildings as I travel around the country providing professional development to world language teachers.  

Since I don’t have any new units to share, I did want to provide a post that I thought could be helpful.  When I originally began this blog, I did so as a way of documenting my own journey to becoming a “teacher for proficiency.”  Due to the chronological nature of a blog (and my yearly attempts at improving my units), new readers have a lot of posts to read through in order to find the unit plans that might help them wrap their heads around preparing for a new school year.  In order to save valuable time spent scrolling through a myriad of posts, I’ve prepared a list of units that I’ve used over the years, organized according to level. Because I haven’t taught French 1 for 3 years, some of the resources might be quite outdated, but I’ve included them as a starting point for anyone that can use them.  In the case of themes that I have continually revised, I’ve tried to include the most recent version. I have never taught of the given units in a single year (due to changes in curriculum), but have tried to include most of my units here to help as many people as possible. 

Bonne Rentrée à Tous

 

French 1 Units

Bienvenue à la classe de Français: http://madameshepard.com/?p=752

Bienvenue: Partie II: http://madameshepard.com/?p=789

Ce que j’aime: http://madameshepard.com/?p=855  

La Famille: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1110

Bon Appétit pt. 1: http://madameshepard.com/?p=282 (petit déjeuner)

Bon Appétit pt. 2: http://madameshepard.com/?p=321

Bon Appétit pt. 3: http://madameshepard.com/?p=345

Noel: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1282

 

French 2 Units

Les Loisirs: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1335

Ma Journée Typique: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1340

Halloween: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1387

Mon Look: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1278

C’est quoi, une maison idéale?: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1406

Les Tâches Ménagères: http://madameshepard.com/?p=502

Joyeux Noel: http://madameshepard.com/?p=267

Allons en Martinique: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1424

Les Châteaux (pt. 1)http://madameshepard.com/?p=415

Les Châteaux (pt. 2) http://madameshepard.com/?p=445

Une journée à l’ecole: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1081

 

French 3 Units

Bon Appétit: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1193

Education: http://madameshepard.com/?p=111

Les Vacances: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1345

Les Campeurs (Petit Nicolas) http://madameshepard.com/?p=200

Les Animaux de Compagnie: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1261

Les Impressionnistes: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1389

Le Jour de la Terre: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1136

Le Gaspillage Alimentaire: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1287

Joyeux Noël: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1418

Ma Bonne Resolution (La Santé) : http://madameshepard.com/?p=1428

La Préhistoire: http://madameshepard.com/?p=516

Je t’aime: http://madameshepard.com/?p=289 (update coming soon)

Je quitte la maison (Petit Nicolas): http://madameshepard.com/?p=1013

 

French 4/5 Units

Cultural Stereotypes: http://madameshepard.com/?p=80

La Famille dans le Monde Francophone: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1376

Communication et Media: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1397

Le Droit a l’Education: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1450

Les Droits des Femmes: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1469

La Laïcité: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1128

Le Petit Prince: http://madameshepard.com/?p=219

 

Mixed Levels

First week of school: http://madameshepard.com/?p=1246

Halloween: http://madameshepard.com/?p=897

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

As some of you might know, I had the great honor of interviewing Laura Terrill, co-author of The Keys to Planning for Learning (purchase here) as part of a #langbook discussion on Twitter.  (Our interview was featured in this podcast.) As I read the 2nd edition of this crucial text, one new understanding that I gained was the vital role that language functions play in teaching for proficiency.  I definitely  have not been intentional enough in creating opportunities for my students to communicate using various functions, so this was one of my goals in designing my latest unit for my French 4 and 5 students.  Here’s a link (Updated 5/24/18: new link) to the agenda for the unit to which the resources I created are linked. A brief description of each lesson can be found below.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Communication et Médias: A unit for Intermediate French Students

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

Click here (Updated link: 6/29/18) for the agenda to which the resources of each lesson have been linked and see a brief description below.

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

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

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

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

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

As always, all feedback on these lessons is appreciated!

 

Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/iphone-technology-iphone-6-plus-apple-17663/

La Famille dans le Monde Francophone: A Unit for Intermediate Learners

(Edited 7/9/19)Like many of you, I teach a mixed level class that includes students in both French 4 and French 5, some of which are taking the course for college credit and/or in preparation for the IB exam.  While the brand-new French 4 students are understandably intimidated by being in class with the French 5 students, I have found that I provide the best learning environment for these students by keeping them all together for our class activities.  In fact, there is such a wide range of proficiency at this level that it is not always apparent to outside observers which students are in each class. So, while I assess the two groups differently, the activities for the following unit have been developed for a range of Intermediate learners. (7/9/19: new linkto the agenda to which all the documents are linked.  Each lesson is briefly described below. 

Lesson 1: I will begin this lesson by eliciting student responses on their definition of family, after which we will watch a video in which French people respond to this same question.  The students will then complete an interpersonal activity in which they ask each other for information which is given on the other’s infographic.  The students will then discuss their own families, giving the same types of information that was included in the infographics. Students will spend any remaining class time discussing differences that they noted between their own families and what they read about French families. For homework they will add photos of four different “family” members to Google Slides for a short presentation they will later give.

Lesson 2: The students will begin this lesson by discussing a series of quotes about families in their small groups, explaining their understanding of the quote, whether they agree with it, and providing an example from their own lives or a text to support their opinion. Next, we will review object and disjunctive pronouns by completing a couple of interactive activities together and then individually. After this review, they will watch a video by the vlogger, Norman, and answer questions using these pronouns.  Because this lesson will fall on a 90-minute block day in my class, we will also study a family-related song before I give them 10-15 minutes for free voluntary reading.

Lesson 3: In this lesson the students will again exchange information from a section of an infographic, this time on families in Quebec. (Each member of the dyad will have a different section of the same infographic and will have to find out information from the other’s section.)  The students will then write the introduction to an essay comparing French and Quebecois families. (They will not write the entire essay, due to time constraints.) 

Lesson 4: Students will begin by reading an article about polygamy in Senegal.  Rather than preparing a comprehension guide for this text, I have assigned Cornell notes.  Although this is a new strategy for me, I think this activity will help prepare the students to discuss this text the following day.After discussing the polygamy text by asking and answering the questions they wrote during the Cornell note-taking, the students will take a short quiz to assess their comprehension of the article.  They will then listen to an interview about a legal case regarding a polygamist in France and complete a comprehension guide.

Lesson 5:  After these lessons on family structures in three different Francophone countries, the students will present four members of their own “family” by sharing pictures and information about each person they have chosen.  While I seldom assign class presentations in order to avoid undue anxiety among my students, I will ask students to speak to the class as a whole this time so that we can all get to know each other better.  I believe the topic will be quite low stress as the students will not need to memorize new information or use complicated vocabulary.  The students will then provide this same information in writing via an email to a prospective exchange student. Because some of these students will be taking the IB test in the spring, this assignment has been designed to practice the e-mail text type.

Lesson 6: In this lesson I will present the animated short film, Au fil de l’age by playing it and stopping frequently to ask questions about what was happening/what happened. The students will then write a summary using screenshots from the video. Finally, the students will complete an assessment in which they matching sentence starters to the appropriate completion, a common task on IB interpretive assessments.

Lesson 7: In this lesson, the students will discuss quotes about grandparents before creating Cornell notes for an article about grandparents’ rights in France. They will then discuss the article by asking the questions they created while note-taking.

Lesson 8: In this lesson students will exchange information from infographics in order to compare same-sex marriage in France and Canada.  Finally, they’ll watch a 1jour1info video about same-sex marriage and complete a comprehension guide.

Lesson 9: The students will read an article about same-sex marriage and complete an IB-style comprehension guide. Next, they’ll watch a Cyprien video on the same theme.  While Cyprien’s videos are not always appropriate for classroom use, I did not personally find anything objectionable about this one.  In fact, I found that his self-deprecating humor on this topic might spark some interesting discussion.Finally, the students will synthesize what they learned in the article and video by writing a “To Do” list for the mayor who married the couple in the article.

Lesson 10: In this lesson, we’ll address the next subtopic–adoption. The students will read an article and then take notes using a technique that I learned from a professional development opportunity on critical thinking. I will assign each student a colored “hat” (just a card with a picture) to wear as they read an article about adoption.  Based on the hat they are assigned, they will take notes on 1)the facts presented in the article, 2) their personal reactions, 3) the negative aspects of the ideas in the article, 4) the positive aspects of the ideas in the article, or 5) creative solutions to the problems discussed in the article. (I won’t be assigning the blue hat this time.) The students will then discuss the article according to the perspective of their hat, filling in the corresponding sections of their graphic organizers.This will be my first time implementing this strategy and I’m really excited to see how it goes! Finally, the students will watch a video about adoption and complete a comprehension guide.

Lesson 11: I’ll introduce our final subtopic, blended families, by leading a discussion of three comics on this subject.  Next the students will read the blog entry of a comic character who describes a conflict between a friend and her stepparent. The students will complete a graphic organizer with the causes and effects of this conflict and then discuss their ideas with a partner.  Finally, they will write a response to the blogger’s friend with advice to improve her relationship with her stepmother.

Lesson 12: In this lesson the students will prepare for their IPA on this unit by practicing the role play which will be performed for the interpersonal task and a draft for the presentational writing task. (In order to ensure spontaneous speech, the students will not know their role or their partner in advance of the assessment, but I do provide the prompt so that they can start formulating some ideas.)

Lesson 13-14: The students will complete the interpretive reading task of the IPA while I call up random pairs for the role plays. They will then complete the presentational writing task.

Note: Because of the length of this unit and the fact that I was following it with a film that would have its own IPA, I did not end up administering an IPA at the end of the unit.  (I did, however, formally assess several of the tasks that the students completed throughout the unit.  You may click here for the link to the IPA that my colleague and I had developed for this unit.

I am hoping that this unit will provide ample opportunities for the students to get to know each other, develop confidence in their communicative abilities, and practice some of the skills they will need to be successful on the IB test.

Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/fr/famille-l-homme-femme-gar%C3%A7on-312018/

Il a déjà tes yeux: A Resource Guide for Use with Intermediate Students

Earlier this summer when it was my turn to pick the Friday night Netflix movie in the Shepard household, I chose a French film called, Il a déjà tes yeux. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, this 2016 film is about a black couple who adopts a white baby.  Although the film is a comedy (with some tear-jerking moments), I think it will lend itself to some great class discussions regarding family relationships, cultural identity, race and prejudice. In spite of some swearing and one scene showing marijuana use, I find it appropriate to use with my upper-level classes. (The only rating I could find was a PG-13 rating in Singapore.)  Since I don’t have access to Netflix at school, I ordered the DVD from Amazon.fr and will show it on my all region DVD player. There are, of course, no English subtitles but I will use the French closed captions (and lots of discussion) to make the film comprehensible to my students.  

In order to facilitate discussion and provide assessment opportunities related to this film, I created this film guide. (Updated link 6/29/18) Here’s a short description of how I’ll use this guide in class.

    1. Personnages These photos will help the students remember the names of the main characters in order to participate in the conversations that follow.
    2. Vocabulaire I created a short list of French-English vocabulary to introduce a few new terms to the students. I have included space for students to add additional vocabulary to the list during the viewing of the film. This list will serve as a resource to the students as they complete the communicative activities in the packet.
    3. Questions These are basic comprehension level questions about the plot of the film. I may have the students discuss the questions that pertain to the day’s viewing after we watch a portion of the film. I may also use these questions at the beginning of class to review the previous day’s viewing. These questions could also, of course, be answered in writing.
    4. Citations  I will have the students discuss these quotes in small groups following the day’s viewing. Note: Because I was typing on my computer while streaming the film on my Ipad (making frequent pausing problematic), some of these quotes will be approximate, rather than word-for-word.
    5. Evolution des personnages At the end of the film I will ask the students to consider (either orally or in writing) how each of the main characters evolved during the film.
    6. Les Photos These slides depicting scenes of the film will provide additional opportunities for discussion. I may also have students record their responses (or write them) as a formative assessment opportunity.
    7. Jeux de Rôles Each of these role plays requires students to imagine a hypothetical conversation between characters in the film. I will have the students practice these role plays after we have watched the film and will then have them perform one with a partner (chosen by me) for an interpersonal speaking assessment.
    8. Présentation Écrite I will allow the students to choose one of these prompts as a presentational writing assessment.

Note: I am also in the process of creating an interpretive reading and interpretive listening task to accompany this film. In order to avoid my savvier upper-level students from having access to these assessments, I will publish them at https://us.ifprofs.org/ressources-pedagogiques .  If you’re not familiar with this fabulous new resource, it’s a social media platform that allows French teachers to share materials with other members.  (Update 9/7/20: Click here for a link to the interpretive tasks.)

Les Elections Présidentielles en France: A mini-unit for Intermediate students

This week my French 4 and French 5 students will begin a short unit on the presidential elections in France. Because my own knowledge about the French electoral system was woefully meager, I have learned a lot while planning these lessons.  Fortunately there are a lot of great, comprehensible resources for this theme.  In fact, I had to really rein myself in or this unit may have gone on much longer than I suspect my students’ interest levels would sustain.  Here’s an agenda (Updated 6/9/18) with links to the resources I’ve curated and created for this short unit.

In Lesson 1 the students will watch a video about the American presidential electoral system to activate their background knowledge and another video about the French system. They will also read a short article about the French system and use the information from these three sources to complete a graphic organizer.  I will then have them discuss their graphic organizers with a partner with the intention that this discussion might provide additional details for each partner.

In Lesson 2, the students will watch a video about the left and right political parties and complete a comprehension guide.  The students will then be given either an article on one of two political candidates and will fill in half of a graphic organizer with information about this candidate.  Their partner will simultaneous read an article about the other candidate, filling in the opposite half of the graphic organizer. The dyads will then discuss the information in their graphic organizers so that each member of the pair ends up with a complete organizer.

In Lesson 3, one member of each pair will watch a video about le Front National and the other will read an article about this same political party.  Each student will fill out a comprehension guide.  They will then discuss what they learned and complete a graphic organizer comparing the information from the two sources.

In Lessons 4 and 5, the students will watch a Simpsons video about the presidential candidates, and then read about several candidates and complete a graphic organizer.  Next, they will complete an online questionnaire which will provide them with the name of the candidate whose platform most closely aligns with their own opinions and values. They will then complete additional research on this candidate in order to fill in a graphic organizer.

In Lesson 6, the students will use what they’ve learned about their candidate to write a speech intended to persuade young French people to vote for him/her.

In Lesson 7, the students will prepare a Google Presentation of photographs/captions that will support their performance of the speech they have prepared.

In Lesson 8, the students will present their speeches.  

Although I haven’t prepared units for past presidential elections in France for fear that the topic would not be engaging to my students, I think the current political climate has led to young people being much more politically interested than students were in years past.  I’m hoping that they learn as much from this mini-unit as I did by creating it!