I 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!