Category Archives: French 4/5 (AP) Units

L’éclipse solaire: Addressing one theme across all proficiency levels

When I found out recently that my school would be providing “eclipse glasses” so that we could watch the upcoming eclipse, I decided I better plan a lesson or two about this important event.  This is what I came up with for each of the classes that I teach. I anticipate that each of these lessons will take about two 48-minute class periods.

French 2: First these students will complete this edpuzzle for the video, C’est quoi une éclipse solaire? Then they will work with a partner to match screenshots from the video to the appropriate text. I will create this manipulative but cutting apart this document. After the students have made their matches, I’ll provide feedback with this presentation. Finally the students will complete this interpretive activity. Because some of these students will eventually be taking the IB exam, I have included an IB-like task in which they are required to determine the antecedent of some subject pronouns in the text.

French 3: First these students will complete this edpuzzle (Update 8/16/17: This video is no longer available.) for a Sid le Scientifique video about eclipses. Next they will complete the interpretive activity in this document. While I think that this article could be exploited in a variety of ways, in order to limit the time required I’ve included only a simple comprehension guide in which the students will provide supporting detail information. Because this article contained so many contextualized examples of the future tense, I included a series of short activities designed to introduce the students to this structure. To further reinforce this structure, the students will play this Guess Who game.  Finally, the students will complete a presentational writing assignment in which they tell a real or hypothetical French friend about what we will be doing at school for the eclipse. 

French 4/5: As described in this handout, the students will first listen to a video and fill in the required details.  The students will be paired up and each member of the dyad will have a different article about the eclipse. They will first fill in details from their article into a graphic organizer, and then discuss their information with a partner, adding this info to the appropriate column on the graphic organizer. Next, they will write a short article about eclipses using their shared information.  Finally, they will complete this IB-style interpretive task.

Image Credit: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/news/news20110106-annulareclipse.html

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. 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.  

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 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!

Starting off on the right foot: Using the language and getting to know each other

footAs many of you know, I relocated over the summer and will be teaching in a new school this year. After spending the last 15 years in a building where August meant mostly reconnecting with my former students (only the Freshmen were new to me each year), in a couple of weeks I will welcome about 150 brand-new faces to my classroom. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared to death! As a relatively introverted, somewhat anxious person, the challenge of learning a whole new school culture, finding my way around a humongous new school, and connecting with all of those new students is nearly overwhelming.  

While I have pledged to be patient with myself when it comes to finding my way around my school and its policies, getting to know my students simply can’t wait.  Therefore, I’ll spend the first few days of school on learning activities that will help me learn more about my students, as well as introduce them to the types of communicative activities I’ll be assigning to help them increase their proficiency.  Here’s what I have in mind for each of the classes I’ll be teaching:

French 2 In this class the students will be introducing themselves to the class by presenting a self-portrait.

Day 1 I’ll show the students these self-portraits from TV5Monde. As I project each one, I’ll facilitate class discussion by asking the students questions about what they see, as well as personalized questions using the same vocabulary.  I’ve prepared this handout as a reference as I’m not sure whether they will have been introduced to the vocabulary required for these tasks. Next, the students will listen to these descriptions (Darius, Cheryl, Deivan Anastasia and complete this comprehension guide. (I’ve chosen to provide the students with direct links to the mp3 files rather than the TV5Monde website so that they do not have access to the transcripts.) For homework the students will prepare (and submit electronically) a self-portrait (drawing, painting, phone selfie).

Day 2 First the students to write out a script for presenting their self-portraits. As they are writing I will circulate and provide feedback.  Next, the students will present their self-portrait to classmates using inside/outside circles. Finally the students will compare self-portraits with a partner and complete a Venn diagram with details they discuss.  

French 3 In this class the students will be introducing themselves to the class by presenting 10 things about themselves.  

Day 1 The students will work in small groups to read this blog and complete this comprehension guide.  Then they will answer the same questions in the space provided.  Finally, they will circulate among their classmates, asking questions in order to find a classmate who has the same answer for each question.  

Day 2 The students will listen to this video and fill in this comprehension guide. I’ll then play the video and facilitate a class discussion by discussing what Benji says and asking personalized questions based on his information. Lastly, the students will write a script for their own “10 Things” presentation which will be submitted for feedback before being recorded.  

French 4/5 In this class the students will be introducing themselves by preparing a presentation on 12 things they have done.  

Day 1 The students will listen to this video (Note: 7/10/17. This video is no longer available.) and fill in this comprehension guide. I’ll then play the video and discuss it so that students have feedback on their comprehension.

Day 2 The students will read this blog and fill in this comprehension guide, which they will then discuss in small groups.

Day 3 The students will write a script for their own presentation of 12 things they have done.  They will then trade papers with a classmate who will fill out this feedback form. The students will then revise their scripts, which will be graded according to this rubric. For homework the students will record a video of their own presentation and submit it via Schoology. For the next day’s homework, the students will listen to three of their classmates’ videos and respond to each one with a comment and follow up question.

It is my hope that these activities will help me get to know my new students as create a focus for using the language from Day 1.  If you have other suggestions about how you achieve these goals with your students, please share!

Oldies But Goodies of French Film: Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources

filmI have found that one of the best ways to keep my French 4/5 students engaged at the end of the year is by designing my units around films. The opportunity to watch movies in class is rewarding to the students, who are now able to comprehend much of what they hear in an authentic film.  Furthermore, films are rich in cultural content and many provide thought-provoking topics for discussion and written commentary.

While my film library has evolved over the years, two constants have been Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources. Although Jean is a bit less engaging to some students, they all agree that watching this one is worth it in order to relate to the intrigue of Manon.  This year’s classes, like many others, felt that these films were the best we had seen this year.

Although I have created a variety of different activities and assessments to accompany these films over the years, this is a description of what I did this year.

Day 1: We watched the first 18 minutes of the film.  It is typical for me to show about 20 minutes of film in a 48-minute class, as I pause frequent to ask questions about the characters and plot, to ask the students to make predictions, and to discuss language and cultural content.  For homework, I created a matching quiz on Canvas in which the students matched one of the new vocab words to its French definition. (Click here for  screenshots of the quizzes I made.)

Day 2: Students reviewed the vocabulary/film with a word cloud activity.  (Click here for all four word clouds.) Each student has the same word cloud but 6 different vocabulary words.  They use circumlocution to describe the words on their list to the partner who highlights them on his/her copy of the word cloud.  I usually use pair crossword puzzles for circumlocution activities, but this was less time-consuming to create, and didn’t require the students to know how to spell the words.  Note: There are words in the cloud that neither partner will highlight. After this interpersonal activity, the students took a simple true/false quiz. (Click here for the quizzes I used during this film.)  I have found that if I do not give a quiz over each day’s portion of the film, the absent students will not watch the parts that they missed.  Therefore, in order to make them accountable I plan a short assessment for each day.  Following the quiz we continued watching the film (18:00-34:00) and for homework there was another Canvas matching quiz.

Day 3: The students completed another word cloud pair activity and then took a quiz on the previous day’s film excerpt.  In order to encourage more critical thinking skills, this quiz required the students to determine whether various hypothetical events were probable.  They then had to justify their response with details from the film.  After the quiz, we watched the next section (34:00 – 52:00) of the film.  For homework they completed an additional Canvas quiz.

Day 4: After the pair word cloud, the students took a simple vocab quiz.  I used some of the same clues to “encourage” those who weren’t doing the practice quizzes on Canvas.  We then watched the film.

Day 5: Because I needed to finish the film (in preparation for a sub on the following school day), I did not prepare a pair activity or quiz, we just spent the period watching/discussing the rest of film.

Day 6: The students reviewed the film by discussing the questions for this movie in the text, Cinema for French Conversation.

Day 7-Day 9: The students completed this performance assessment for the film.

  • Interpretive Listening: Students watched two videos about Jean de Florette and answered multiple choice questions.
  • Interpretive Reading: Students read two reviews of the movie and answered true/false (+ justification) questions.
  • Interpersonal Speaking: Students discussed which character(s) were responsible for Jean’s death and why. (I divided students into groups of 3 for this assessment.)
  • Presentational Writing: Students were given a choice of 4 different writing prompts

Because I showed Manon des Sources during a week that we had a shortened schedule due to standardized testing, I eliminated the speaking activities in order to have enough time to watch at least a couple of scenes from the film each day.  While I gave short quizzes (#1, #2)  for the first two days, I eliminated these, too, by the third day, so that I could finish the film by the end of the week.  Here’s the performance assessment I gave when we were finished with the film:

  • Interpretive Listening: Students watched an “upside-down” interview of Emmanuel Beart and filled in the questions and answers in English on a graphic organizer.
  • Interpretive Reading: Students read a biography of Emmanuel Beart and answered AP-style multiple choice questions.
  • Presentational Writing: Students chose from 4 different prompts.
  • Interpersonal Speaking: Students practiced 3 different role plays, and then I randomly selected pairs and assigned one of the three role plays for the assessment.

This week I’m showing Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis for the first time, so stayed tuned for additional activities and assessments!

 

Performance assessments to accompany Le Petit Prince

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Based on recent comments to this blog, it seems that it’s the time of year that many of us are teaching Le Petit Prince. While I shared my communicative materials for teaching in this post, I did not include the performance-based assessments that I use at that time.  As some of you have mentioned, I also felt a need to assess my students while reading the novel, in order to be able to regularly record performance-based scores in my gradebook. Therefore, my colleague and I created a series of three performance-based assessments to accompany the novel. Here’s a quick description of each:

Assessment #1: In order to introduce my students to the author of the novel, I had them both read a biography about Saint Exupéry and watch a video about this life.  The students answered English comprehension questions about the video and multiple choice French questions (to replicate the AP exam) for the article.  After the first nine chapters, I added an interpersonal task (in the form of a role-play) and presentational writing task in which the students wrote an essay about one of the quotes.

Assessment #2: After chapter 16 I gave another performance-based assessment. For the listening task, the students answered AP-style multiple choice questions on three videos about the Little Prince Amusement park. For the reading task, they read an article about the publication of the novel and answered AP-style questions.  The reading and writing tasks again included role-plays and essays about quotes.

Assessment #3: At the end of the novel, I gave a final performance-based assessment.  For the reading task, the students read an article (p. 1, p. 2)  from Psychologies magazine and completed a series AP-style questions.  For the listening task, the watched the movie trailer and a news broadcast about the 70th anniversary of the novel.  For the written task they wrote about a pair of quotations, and the interpersonal task was again a role-play.

Although I know I’ll tweak these assessments before using them next year (my mixed class requires an A/B curriculum), I thought that they might provide a starting point for those of you who are designing assessments to accompany the novel.

Image Credit: http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/1266/2828/320/3a.gif

La Laïcité en France: A mini-unit and IPA for Intermediate French students

laicite
In a couple of weeks my French 4/5/AP class will conclude our unit on immigration with a series of lessons on the role of secularism in French culture. My goal in creating the activities to accompany the resources I chose was to ensure that I was inclusive of my diverse learners while at the same time accurately presenting a cultural perspective that is dramatically different than that of my community. As I found during my long-distance walk in France last summer, the topic of laïcité was guaranteed to create a lively discussion with my French hosts or other hikers. While I enjoyed these conversations, I have avoided any type of debate in this unit in order to create a safe learning environment in my classroom which contains students of various religious and cultural backgrounds. Therefore, the activities that I’ve created (click here for the student activity packet) were designed to provide the students with the background information they would need in order to make accurate cultural comparisons.
Here’s a quick agenda of how I’ve planned to implement these lessons:
Day 1: My students will watch a video about laïcité from 1jour1actu.com and answer a series of comprehension questions designed to familiarize them with this concept. Next they will discuss a series of posters about this theme in small groups. Finally, they will write a paragraph comparing the cultural perspectives regarding the separation of church and state in the U.S. and France.
Day 2: First we will discuss one or more of the images I curated in this Google Presentation
(https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1tBTu73RrPdAeeYMpgKcAq7X2nORAVLH_1Z5UiVhzS34/edit?usp=sharing). Next the students will individually watch a video about laïcité and complete a graphic organizer/comprehension questions. The students will then discuss their answers to the comprehension questions in small groups.
Day 3: We will continue discussing images from the Google Presentation as a warm up and I will then assign the reading comprehension tasks to accompany the Charte de la Laïcité. After going over the correct responses, the students will complete the discussion activity in which they compare our school culture to the rules outlined in the chart.
Day 4: We’ll begin the class by discussing their conclusions from the previous day’s discussion activity. Next, the students will perform the role play several times, changing roles and partners each time.
Day 5: The students will complete the interpretive reading and listening portions of the IPA. (I’ve chosen a multiple choice format in order to prepare the students for the upcoming AP test.)
Day 6: The students will complete the presentational writing task while I call up pairs of students for the interpersonal communication assessment.

Image credit: By Olevy (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

La Quête de Soi: Les sexes et la sexualité: A mini-unit for AP students

genderRecently my French 4/5 class explored gender roles as part of the “Quête de soi” AP theme. They were really engaged by this topic, and we had some great discussions.  Here’s what we did:

Day 1: As a hook to this mini-unit, I began by showing this video  in which the vlogger, Norman, shares his ideas about some gender differences.  The students then worked with a partner to complete this quiz (p.1, p. 2, p. 3) from Phosphore magazine.  I insisted that they work in pairs, because I wanted to ensure lots of interpersonal communication in this lesson. I offered a prize to the pair who had the most correct answers, so that they would put a lot of thought into their responses.

Day 2: First I quickly went over the correct answers in order to award the prize.  Then I assigned a short comprehension guide over these pages (p. 1, p.2, p. 3) which explain the correct responses. After the interpretive activity, I assigned the written response.  This packet has all of the activities for this mini-unit.

Day 3: We started this lesson with a lengthily small group discussion about how boys and girls differ in various aspects of their lives.  These topics were taken directly from the article (p. 1, p. 2, p. 3, p. 4) that they read after this discussion and completed a serious of inference-based true/false questions about.  After responding individually, they discussed their responses in small groups. For homework they participated in an online discussion (on Canvas), in which they wrote about how their life would be different if they were a member of the opposite sex.

Day 4: As an additional interpersonal activity, I had the students respond to a series of controversial statements about how their lives might be different if they were the opposite sex.  I gave them 3 minutes to discuss each statement, and had a scorekeeper in each group keep score based on the types of responses his/her group members made.  I again gave a prize to the student with the highest score.

The students really enjoyed this mini-unit on a topic which stimulated some great conversations!

The Refugee Crisis: A mini-unit using political cartoons to address a Global Challenge

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Although I hadn’t planned on addressing the “Défis Mondiaux” theme with my AP students until later in the year, I just felt this topic couldn’t wait.  Here’s a quick mini-unit I created to introduce the plight of the Syrian refugees to my French 4/5 students.

Day 1: In order to ensure that my students had adequate background knowledge on the basic facts regarding this crisis, I began the lesson by showing these two videos: 1) http://1jour1actu.com/info-animee/migrant-2/    2) http://1jour1actu.com/info-animee/pourquoi-les-syriens-fuient-ils-leur-pays/ . We watched them as a class, and I paused the videos frequently in order to ask questions to ensure comprehension. Following the video/discussion, I assigned this comprehension guide over this article to provide further information on the refugee crisis.

Day 2: I began the second day of this mini-unit by showing this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6rS6lCoTTk ), which depicts the conditions aboard one of the boats used to transport refugees from Turkey to Greece. Again, I used the video as a springboard to class discussion, rather than as a formal listening assessment.    It’s a powerful video and the students remained engaged throughout the viewing.  They used the remaining class time to finish the reading activity they began on Day 1.

Day 3-4: Now that my students have some basic information about the causes of the crisis, the challenges faced by the refugees, and how some European countries are reacting to the situation, I wanted to create an opportunity for my students to engage in some interpersonal communication related to the topic. Because I have a Syrian immigrant in one of my AP classes, I wanted to avoid any type of role play or debate that may have (even inadvertently) resulted in insensitive comments. Furthermore, due to the limited time I had for this unit, I did not want to assign a significant amount of reading, which would no doubt be somewhat laborious based on the topic. So, instead of assigning additional reading to provide stimulus for a discussion, I curated a series of political cartoons that the students will first discuss and then present orally to the class. Here are the steps to this part of the mini-unit:

  1. For homework on Day 2, I asked the students to look at this Google Presentation (https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1ZjUdk-a9TqJTKv5rzRDROJ630F4i3S2MpNRsCe-Q29M/edit?usp=sharing )   containing 20 political cartoons related to the refugee crisis and to select the one they would be most interested in discussing. They then typed their name next to the corresponding slide number on a separate Google Doc I created to serve as a sign-up sheet. Note: I wrote my own name next to #1 and #2, as I will use them to the model the activities.
  2. On Day 3 (tomorrow), I will project the first cartoon and guide the students in a discussion, using the same questions included in the comprehension guide . Next, I will project the 2nd cartoon and have the students fill out a copy of the comprehension guide , which we will then discuss as a class. After this preparation, I will either pass out Ipads or a photocopy of his/her selected cartoon to each student. The students will then orally discuss their cartoons with a partner  (first one partner’s, and then the other’s) as they each complete the comprehension guide for both of the cartoons in their dyad. For homework, the students will practice presenting their cartoon to the class, giving the information they filled in on the comprehension guide.
  3. On Day 4, each student will present his/her cartoon (which I will project) to the class, who will fill in a note-taking guide with the types of information included in the comprehension guide. Students will earn a presentational speaking grade for this activity.

Day 5: On day 5, students will begin a short assessment over this topic. For the Interpretive reading, they will read this article (p. 1p. 2p. 3p. 4) and complete this interpretive reading assessment . In order to replicate the format of the AP test, the questions are multiple choice and require both literal and inferential comprehension. The students will also complete this listening assessment over two additional 1jour1actu videos. Although these videos are quite simple, the results on my first IPA demonstrated that my new level 4 students aren’t yet proficient enough to interpret specific details from more complex recordings.  I may add a short writing assessment, in which the students would present an unfamiliar political cartoon in writing, based on a prompt which includes the types of information included in the comprehension guide.

Although this topic isn’t “fun,” the interest my students have shown in the videos and their enthusiasm in choosing their cartoons lead me to believe that they will be engaged by this brief unit on an important current event.

Entre les Murs: Incorporating film into an AP Curriculum

220px-Entrelesmurs Although many AP language teachers design excellent curricula by treating each AP theme in a linear way, I have chosen a slightly different approach.  Rather than designing my units around the themes or subthemes, I have designed each one around a film, and then woven the AP subthemes throughout the lessons for each film. The interlocking circle diagram used by the College Board clearly supports the interconnectedness of the themes and my syllabus was approved during the audit process, so I’m confident that this approach is appropriate for my students.  Successful results on the AP test and increased enrollment in my French 4/5 class has provided further support for this curricular design.

This year, the first unit in my AP class will be designed around the film, Entre les Murs.  Although the central topic of this unit will be Education (a subtopic of Contemporary Life), this film also addresses the following AP subthemes:

  • Diversity Issues (Global Challenges)
  • Economic Issues (Global Challenges)
  • Human Rights (Global Challenges)
  • Leisure and Sports (Contemporary Life)
  • Rites of Passage (Contemporary Life)
  • Professions (Contemporary Life)
  • Alienation and Assimilation (Personal and Public Identities)
  • Beliefs and Values (Personal and Public Identities)
  • Gender and Sexuality (Personal and Public Identities)
  • Language and Identity (Personal and Public Identities)
  • Multiculturalism (Personal and Public Identities)
  • Nationalism and Patriotism (Personal and Public Identities)
  • Age and Class (Families and Communities)
  • Childhood and Adolescence (Families and Communities)
  • Citizenship (Families and Communities)
  • Family Structures (Families and Communities)
  • Performing arts (Beauty and Aesthetics)

Before watching the film, my students will complete a series of learning activities designed to provide them with the necessary background knowledge to comprehend and discuss the film.  Following the explanation below, you will find a link to a 24-page packet of activities that I will distribute to my students at the beginning of the unit.

Lesson 1: Because this will be the first lesson of the 2015-2016 school year, my goals were to engage my students, get them communicating in French after the long break, and provide opportunities to review the structures required to narrate past events—an important expectation for Intermediate High students. In order to meet these goals I selected an authentic article from Phosphore magazine in which several teenagers tell about their favorite vacation memory.  In this lesson my students will complete a comprehension guide for this article, discuss their own vacation memories in small groups, write an article about their own vacation memory, listen to a video about low-cost vacations, discuss the video, write a blog entry encouraging French tourists to travel to our community and then prepare an oral presentation on the same topic.  Here are the pdf’s of the article: souvenir p.1souvenir p. 2souvenir p. 3souvenir p. 4

Lesson 2: In this lesson the students will look at a diagram/short article which describes the grade levels and exams which are included in the French school system.  This is important background information for further resources used in later lessons which will refer to grade levels and exams.  After a short discussion, the students will prepare a written and/or oral presentation comparing the two systems.  Finally, they will watch a Cyprien YouTube video and complete a related interpersonal and presentational activity.

Lesson 3: I designed this lesson to activate my students’ background knowledge about the Bac.  Although this important exam will not play a role in the film (whose students are middle school-aged), I think it’s important for my students to be familiar with this aspect of the French educational system.  Therefore, in this lesson the students will watch a short video as a hook to the lesson, read and discuss a brief infographic with statistics about the Bac, watch a news video with students’ reactions to their Bac results, and then discuss differences between the Bac and American college entrance exams.  Lastly, they will read a comic strip about the Bac, prepare an oral summary of the story and then write an e-mail explaining the differences between the Bac and ACT/SAT. Here’s the comic: le Bac

Lesson 4: In this lesson the students will be become familiar with slam poetry by watching and discussing the video, “Education Nationale” by Grand Corps Malade.  In addition to introducing the students to this art form, this video addresses some of the educational topics that will be presented in Entre les Murs.

Lesson 5: Finally—it’s time for the show! For the next five class periods the students will watch and discuss the film.  In the packet I’ve provided a glossary, as well as questions that can be used to assess comprehension and promote discussion.  During each “movie day” I will show about 30 minutes of film (which I will frequently pause to ask questions and check for understanding) and about 15 min. of conversational activities.  This conversation might include the questions in the packet, role plays, and “Controversial Statements” (see below). When designing role plays, I usually describe a hypothetical situation that the students will spontaneously perform.  Here are some examples from the film.

#1

A: You and M. Marin and you’ve just come home from your first day of school.  Your partner wants to know all about your day.  Tell him/her about your day and your feelings about it.

B: You are M. Marin’s partner and today was his first day of school.  Find out all about his day including what his students and any new colleagues are like.

#2

A: You and your partner are each students in M. Marin’s class.  Talk about how your school year is going and what you think of M. Marin and his class.

B: You and your partner are each students in M. Marin’s class.  Talk about how your school year is going and what you think of M Marin and his class.

#3

A: You are Khoumba’s mother.  She has just brought home her “Carnet de Correspondance” with M. Marin’s comments about her behavior in class.  Ask her about what happened.  It’s up to you whether you will take her side or her teacher’s.

B: You are Khoumba and you’ve just shown your “Carnet de Correspondance” to your mother.  Explain your side of the story.

#4

A: You are Wei’s mom or dad and you’ve just come home from your parent-teacher conference with M. Marin. Talk to Wei about what M. Marin had to say.

B: You are Wei and your mom/dad has just come home from their parent-teacher conference with M. Marin.  Respond to your parent’s comments.

#5

A: You are Souleymane’s mom and you’ve just received a phone call from the school principal.  Talk to Souleymane about what the principal said and what you expect him to do to change his behavior.  Tell him what the consequences will be if his behavior doesn’t improve.

B: You are Souleymane and your mom has just gotten off the phone with the principal.  She’s pretty angry with you so you will try to defend yourself.

#6

A: You are Khoumba and you’ve just come home with a cut above your eye.  Your mom wants to know what happened, so tell her.

B: You are Khoumba’s mom and you want to know why Khoumba has a cut above her eye.  It’s up to you to decide what you will do when you find out what happened.

#7

A: You are Esmerelda and you’re angry with M. Marin for calling you a name.  You’ve decided to go to the principal about what happened.

B: You are the principal and Esmerelda has just told you about an incident with M. Marin.  Find out more about the situation so you can decide how to handle it.

#8

A: You are Khoumba and you’ve just heard about Souleymane’s punishment.  You feel really bad about it so you go and talk to him.

B: You are Souleymane and you’ve just been expelled.  Khoumba has come over to tell you how sorry she is about what happened.  How will you react?

“Controversial Statements”

For this activity, I project a series of statements (one at a time) and the students discuss each one in small groups for 3-5 minutes. To add an additional dimension to the conversation, students earn “points” for the type of contributions that they make to the discussion. This system of points came from a resource I was given several years ago.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember the exact wording for each level—my apologies to the creator!

1 – Makes a statement of fact

2 – Supports another’s opinion

3 – Asks a question

4 – Provides a dissenting opinion

5 – Unexpected provocation

I assign one student in each small group to be the scorekeeper who will make a note of how many points each person earns.  While I don’t actually assign the points that each student earns (in order to avoid pressure on the scorekeeper to fudge the scores), I find that this system really challenges my students to increase the depth of their discussions.  Here are some controversial statements I might use for this film.

  1. M. Marin est un bon professeur.
  2. M. Marin charrie trop.
  3. Un système disciplinaire avec des points est une bonne idée.
  4. Il est important que les professeurs aient une cafetière.
  5. M. Marin est raciste.
  6. Il est importants que des élèves participent come délégués aux conseils de classe.
  7. C’est la faute de M. Marin que Souleymane a été exclu.
  8. Marin regrette ce qu’il a dit à Esmerelda.
  9. Le proviseur devrait virer M. Marin.
  10. Souleymane mérite son exclusion.
  11. Henriette devrait aller à un lycée professionnel.

I may also have the students discuss some of these statements as homework on our class forum.  This would give them an opportunity to engage in written interpersonal communication, a skill that I often overlook in designing my lessons.

Note: I haven’t seen the film in a couple of years, so I will be able to add more specific role plays and controversial statements after re-watching the film.

Click here for the activity packet for this unit: Unit 1 Packet

Integrated Performance Assessment

After watching the film, my students will take the summative assessment for the unit—an IPA composed of the following tasks:

Interpretive Reading: The students will read an article about an educational reform related to ZEP schools (like Dolto).  I designed the interpretive task to mimic as closely as possible the question types found on the AP exam, while at the same time trying to address some issues I’ve had when designing previous AP-style questions.  Namely, I have found that my students are less likely to read carefully when presented with multiple choice questions.  I have tried various ways of addressing this problem in the past, and these are the modifications that I’m trying on this assessment:

  • I’ve required the students to underline the sentence(s) in the text where they found the response (for literal level questions)
  • I’ve required the students to justify their responses to inference and culture-based questions by writing supporting information.

Interpretive Listening: The students will watch a news video about the ZEP/REP reform and respond to multiple choice questions.

Interpersonal Communication: The students will play the roles of two teachers at Dolto who are discussing how the ZEP/REP reform would affect various students in the school.

Presentational Writing: Students (acting as a Dolto teacher) will write a letter to the French Minister of Education, requesting they be given REP status and explaining why their students need smaller classes and extra help.

Click here for a copy of the IPA: unit 1 IPA

Here’s a tentative agenda for this unit: unit 1 outline

I’d love to hear back from you about how you incorporate film in your upper-level classes!