Monthly Archives: August 2017

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

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. Here’s a link to 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.) If there is time remaining in the class period, they will then begin 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.

Lesson 4: 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. Finally, they will write a hypothetical judgment given by the judge in the case outlined in the video.  

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: This lesson, created by my fabulous colleague, Nicole, begins with the students creating sentences to describe what was happening in screenshots from the animated short, Au fil de l’age.  In addition to providing contextualized review of the imperfect tense, this activity will build interest and allow the students to make predictions before watching the video. After eliciting student responses on this activity while reviewing the slides, I will play the video, stopping frequently to discuss the story. Following the video, 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: I will introduce the subtopic of same-sex message by having the students discuss a comic. They will then 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: After another short discussion of a cartoon 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: The students will begin this lesson by completing an online questionnaire about what type of stepmother they would be. Next they will complete an Edpuzzle for a video about conflict between teens and stepparents. Finally they will synthesize this information by performing a role-play between a parent and therapist who gives him/her advice about improving the relationship between his/her teenager and spouse.

Lesson 13: 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 14: The students will prepare and record a picture description task designed to replicate the speaking task on the IB exam.  While the students are preparing for this assessment, I will provide individual feedback on the previous day’s written draft.

Lesson 15-16: 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/

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.