Vacation all I ever wanted: a unit for Intermediate Mid students.

Since my French 3 students are coming to the end of their unit on Education in France, I’ve been working on their next unit—The French and Vacations. Although I was generally pleased with Unit 1, I’m making a few changes in the way that I structure the lessons based on what I learned from my first units.
Unit Design
This vacation unit is designed to address the following Intermediate Mid Can-Do Statements:
Interpretive Reading: I can understand basic information in ads, announcements, and other simple tasks.
• Students will read two infographics, an article about the history of vacations in France, and a web page about vacations in the world.
Interpersonal Communication: 1) I can start, maintain and end a conversation on a variety of familiar topics. Subtopic: I can ask for information, details and explanations during a conversation. 2) I can talk about my daily activities and personal preferences. Subtopic: I can give some information about activities that I did.
• Students will discuss pros/cons of vacation destinations/lodging, a vacation they have taken, their opinions about vacations and a vacation they would like to take.
Presentational Writing: 1) I can write messages and announcements.2) I can write short reports about something I have learned or researched.
• Students will write messages about real, imaginary, and ideal vacations and a report about the history of vacation in France.
Presentational Speaking: 1) I can make a presentation about my personal and social experiences. Subtopic: I can describe a childhood or past experience. 2) I can make a presentation on something I have learned or researched.
• Students will present photos of their actual (or imaginary) vacations, leave a message about an imaginary awful vacation, prepare a presentation about the history of vacation in France, and prepare a presentation about their ideal vacation.
Interpretive Listening: I can understand the main idea of what I listen to for personal enjoyment. Subtopic: I can understand a short YouTube clip.
• Students will watch several cartoon videos in which the characters go on various types of vacations. (These activities are found in a separate document. One will be chosen for each of the lessons and will be included in the lesson handout.)
Unit Plan
I anticipate that each of the four lessons in this unit will take 2-3 days. On the first day the students will complete the interpretive reading task. As they are reading, they will be taking turns using the 8 computers in my room to complete the listening activities. In Unit 1 I played the videos to the class as a whole, but found that this made my lessons too teacher-directed. Students were intimidated by answering my questions in front of their peers and/or struggled to understand what I was asking. I am hoping that by having the students work individually on these tasks they will have the opportunity to listen to the videos repeatedly, and improve their comprehension. In addition, I will be able to use these tasks as formative assessments and will be able to give individualized feedback on their performance. Students will spend any remaining class time working on the written presentational task, which will be finished for homework.
Students will begin the second day of each lesson by completing the interpersonal task. I will circulate among the students as they engage in the discussion, choosing some pairs to assess formatively. I will also call upon students to present the results of their discussions to the class. These students will also be assessed formatively, so that I will have provided specific feedback/a formative assessment for each student by the end of the unit. Students will spend the remaining part of the period preparing for the presentational speaking, and will continue this preparation for homework. On the third day I will randomly choose a few students to present what they have prepared to the class for a formative assessment. The rest of the students will present to a partner who will evaluate them using a peer assessment rubric.
After all of the lessons are completed, the students will complete their summative assessment, an Integrated Performance Assessment. This assessment will similar to each of the lessons, in that it will assess Interpretive Reading (an article about vacations) Interpretive Listening (another cartoon video), Interpersonal Communication (a vacation discussion), Presentational Speaking and a Presentational Writing. I am considering giving the students the opportunity to choose one of the Presentational Writing and Speaking Tasks from the unit and having them revise their original draft/practice their speaking and then using the same prompt for the Summative Assessment/IPA. In this way there would be an element of student choice in the assessment process.
Here is a copy of the documents that I prepared for this unit: vacation unit
Vacation Listening Activities
If you have any feedback for me on this unit, please post a comment above!

7 thoughts on “Vacation all I ever wanted: a unit for Intermediate Mid students.

  1. Skylar

    Great activities for this unit! I have 2 questions:
    1) Prior to each interpretive lesson, are you doing any vocabulary scaffolding/review about the theme of vacations?

    2) Are you working in any grammar review at all (eg- PC vs Imp)? As flipped lessons or student self-paced review?

    It would be great to see a “reflection” blog post after completing the unit to see what worked and what you would change for next year!

  2. Megan

    I am SO THANKFUL for your blog! I, too, am a 4-prepped French teacher (the only one in my building, and with no actual prep hour this year) and I’m beginning my journey to use a proficiency-based model in all of my classes. It hasn’t been easy and the Spanish blogs I’ve followed have been really helpful, but it is so awesome to finally see a French teacher starting up with so many great resources! Merci mille fois!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Megan. Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment to my blog! I’m glad that you’re finding my work helpful–I’m happy to share. We Frenchies have to support each other! Keep in touch–I’ll be hard-pressed to post much this weekend since I gave 120 IPA’s during the past few days–I’ll have to plan better so they’re a little more staggered the next time. Have a great weekend!

      1. Megan

        Bonjour! I’ve been re-looking at the vacation unit and wondering if you still have access to the PDF from the 1jour1actu site that you would be willing to share? It seems much more accessible than the resource I was originally planning on using (a reading from the textbook…yuck.)

  3. Monika Adhye

    Hi Lisa,

    First of all, I want to say that this is my third year teaching high school and your blog has just been a revelation to me as regards my mindset about teaching a world language!
    I will be teaching French 3 possibly next year, so Intermediate level students. I wanted to begin the year with a thematic unit on vacation that would also review the Passe Compose and possibly introduce the Imparfait. And lo behold, I came upon this unit! Wow!
    Would you happen to have the text for the 1 jour 1 actu article on the history of summer vacations in France? I cannot seem to find it despite several searches.
    Thanks so much!


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