Monthly Archives: August 2017

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.

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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 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 .  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.