Musique Mercredi à la Madame

songUnlike many of you, I have done very little to incorporate music into my curriculum in past years.  Although I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m just not a very musical person myself.  I was familiar with only a few current French artists and seldom listen to music for personal enjoyment (Yes, I know this how weird this sounds!). As a Type A over-planner, I also felt uncomfortable spending class time on a song that didn’t relate to the thematic lesson objectives I had established. Of course, I did realize that music could be a great way to engage my students, especially after participating in #maniemusicale last year (Thanks @MmeFarab!) As a result, one of my goals for this year has been to work with one song a week this year.  Because I have one long block each week (a 90-minute, rather than 48-minute class period), working with a song seemed a great way to provide a brain break from the more communicative activities that we spend most of our time on.  Our 15-minute song activity, along with a 15 minutes of “Lecture Libre,” helps to keep these students engaged and motivated during these longer days.  

Although I’m hoping to come up with some more creative ideas in the future, this is the process I’ve used so far:

  1. I pass out a word cloud with the words that the students will later fill in during the cloze activity, along with other words that will not be used.  With my lower levels, I explain any words that they don’t know.
  2. I play the song once, and the students highlight or circle any words in the word cloud that they heard.
  3. The students then check with their work with their table groups.
  4. I then pass out the cloze activity, and play the song again during which time the students fill in the missing words, using the word cloud as a word bank. (Although the majority of the missing words are in the word clouds, a few are missing due to a computer glitch or user error.)
  5. I give the students a few minutes to try and fill in those blanks they didn’t fill with words that make sense.
  6. I play the song a third time, stopping after each verse to check comprehension.

I have been pleasantly surprised by how well even my French 2 students have done on these tasks, as well as how the students have been able to use the vocabulary they have learned from these songs on tasks related to our current unit of study.  Even better, many of my students have mentioned playing the songs for their friends and families and looking up other songs by the same artists.  

Here are the songs I’ve used so far and links to the materials I created for each one.

  1. Sur Ma Route by Black M. I was more ambitious on my first song, creating one word cloud for my French 2 and French 3 students (first page) , and a different one for my French 4/5 classes (second page).  Likewise, there are separate documents for the French 2/3 cloze activity and the one I used in French ⅘ (which also has a short comprehension section).
  2. Marcher au Soleil by Tal. I skipped the word cloud with this one, but did create separate cloze activities for French 2 and 3 and French 4/5.
  3. Tu vas me manquer by Maitre Gims. Click here for the word cloud and here for the cloze.
  4. On dirait by Amir. Click here for the document which contains both the cloze activity and the word cloud.

Note: In order to save time, I use lyrics that I find online to create these activities.  As a result there are often errors that I don’t catch right away and don’t always get corrected on the original document. Please proofread and edit before using!

33 thoughts on “Musique Mercredi à la Madame

  1. Shelley

    I just wrote out my goals for the year on Friday with the goal of incorporating more music (and I commented on how I’ve put it off because I felt like students didn’t always understand the lyrics). I love your idea of the word cloud! I’ve found some really great songs here (with lyrics): http://enseigner.tv5monde.com/collection/paroles-de-clips (but find the activities are a little too hard for my students.) I particularly love Zaz so far. Thanks for all your sharing of materials; I’ve used some of your materials very successfully and in other cases I feel like I’ve learned about the process of creating IPAs. If I ever finish working on some of my song activities, I’ll post them here.

    Reply
  2. Mary Beth Hills

    Love this! I do Musique Mercredi every Wednesday in my class. I have my students write down the artist, the song, and the type of music, and I have all levels write down any cognates and/or words they already know. French 2, 3, and 4 has to explain in French whether they liked the song and why/why not, and they share with a partner and then with the class (if they want to). If the song permits, I’ll ask follow up questions for what the song is about/why/do they agree or disagree (Stromae songs are PERFECT for this). French Crazy is a fantastic resource for current songs, lyrics, and interpretations 🙂

    Reply
  3. Mary K

    Je l’adore, merci beaucoup, Madame Shepard!!
    Vous êtes super généreuse.. Great material that I will surely use avec mes élèves.

    Reply
  4. James LeBaron

    So psyched to see you’ve found a way to do this and have it work with your style. I’ve found that genius.com tends to have the most accurate lyrics, and oftentimes there are great commentaries and even full translations there as well.

    My Chanson de la semaine is more often than not playing as students enter the room all week—I put it on youtuberepeat.com at the end of each class. Some weeks we go into the song in depth with similar exercises to yours, while others I just let it add to the ambiance.

    With all songs, though, I have a Google form survey that I have all of my students fill out to maintain a running poll of what people like and don’t like. I’m going to shorten it for this year… what really matters to them is if it was listenable or not, and if the video was worth watching.

    Hope all is well in your new setting—sounds like you’re doing great!

    Reply
  5. Kathy Zetts

    Lisa,
    You introduced me to Alain le Lait’s songs, which my students and I absolutely LOVE—and I must tell you that my French 2s have started spontaneously singing “C’est l’Halloween” from last year’s Halloween unit you posted….so please don’t sell yourself short in the music area!

    I’m not too good at making thematic connections with songs, but here are a few I have found that have a grammar connection if you think that would be useful to you:
    1. Khaled “C’est la vie”–futur proche
    2. Khaled “Aicha”–imperative (plus a nice message about respect; haven’t actually used this is class, but probably will this year)
    3. France Gall “Ella, elle l’a”–direct object pronouns (I love this one, it is about Ella Fitzgerald)
    4. “Une souris verte”–direct object pronouns; pronouncing the mute e in poetry; it’s also fun to see the different versions on youtube, with different pictures
    4. Stromae “Papaoutai”–more speech pattern than grammar–how words get slurred together, “tu es” becomes “tai”.

    Do you have a preferred site for finding lyrics? My computer-repair gurus tell me that lyrics sites can be “great” sources of malware. Last time I had my personal laptop fixed, they listed many such sites as sources for the infections.

    Merci beaucoup!

    Reply
  6. Leanna

    I have lots of songs with lyrics and activities for French I and II. I would be happy to share if you are able to email me.

    Reply
    1. Val

      Would you share your bank of songs, activities, etc. with me?
      Here are my favorites: I have activities to accompany. Happy to share but I have to compile them!
      Je veux – Zaz
      Papaoutai – Stromae
      Non, non, non Camelia Jordanna
      Derniere Danse – Indila
      Je suis tombee – Christophe Mae
      Soprano- Le Clown
      Elle me Dit – Mika

      Reply
    2. Paul Goegebeur

      Dear Leanne,

      On a previous occasion I had already asked you if you could please share your bank of songs/lyrics + activities with me, but maybe this request was overlooked?
      Can I ask you a second time to do so?

      Mille fois merci,
      Paul Goegebeur.

      Reply
  7. Courtney Woods

    You are so amazing! I’ve used your lessons this year and it’s been wonderful! You’re so awesome, I can’t thank you enough!!

    Reply
  8. Natalia

    Bonjour, Madame! 🙂

    Even though I have not done “tube de la semaine” recently, I have used this in the past and spent LOTS of time finding songs that students will enjoy and can make meaning of lyrics. And I do listen to French artists all the time to the point that my teen daughter jokes that she grew up on French mix. My students listen to it as they may work individually for a stretch of time. With that said, I can’t stand “popsy” songs with empty lyrics, my thing is clever texts with an interesting video that can be discussed. I try to use songs in thematic units as much as I can (I save them in YouTube playlists by themes). Recently, I came up with this document to help discuss the song and the video and not necessarily delve into the lyrics in depth – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1XKL-7AI8i_dz9aXtb_ylNnPlWMzBoHPm50wOTDfkuyQ/edit?usp=sharing Currently, we’re working on Willy William Ego (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOxzG3jjFkY), kids LOVE and I get to push them to really interpret images and lyrics in context of beauty and identity.

    You might find the blog Le FLE avec Ludovic helpful: he lets readers vote for the song of the month (here http://www.lefleavecludovic.fr/tube-du-mois/) and then posts lesson ideas with documents for chosen clip (here by level http://www.lefleavecludovic.fr/coin-enseignant/audiovisuel-educatif/clip-en-fete-2/).

    Bonne chance musicale!

    Reply
  9. Heather Carlson

    Thank you for this amazing resource! I’ve been diving into your posts and I feel I have a long way to go, but I am learning so much I’m excited to try the songs out!. Do you have advice for teaching ir & re verbs in context? In my new job, we don’t use textbooks and one of the upcoming units is “ir & re” verbs. I would like to fuse this into a thematic unit and get ahead by designing an IPA.

    Reply
  10. Laura Bodin

    Thank you sooooo much for sharing. I had read about these singers, but never heard their songs. Today, I found your post on my email, and I checked these songs out. They are wonderful! Great singers! Great melodies. I especially love Maître Gims. Thank you so much for sharing the activities. I am overwhelmed with my three French preps, including a whole new unit I’m writing on French geography for French 5. I just cannot find the time to listen to songs and write activities for them, and yet kids love them so much. I love these songs!! Thank you again for sharing your incredible work. Love the word clouds – everything you do is le top!!!

    Reply
  11. Lana

    I love your posts, Madame, and am grateful for all the comments and ideas your readers add to them. I thought I’d share a song resource I use that my students really enjoy. http://lyricstraining.com/fr/
    There are 4 levels of difficulty. You listen to a song and complete a cloze exercise right on the screen, earning points. It’s truly addictive!

    Reply
  12. Beth Wills

    I used “Sur Ma Route” to introduce a unit of traveling and my Twos loved it; they went out of the classroom singing it. Now I try to put at least one song in every unit I do: my kids have also enjoyed “Unis” by Radio Radio (theme: Canada), “Dans un Monde Meilleur” by Keen’V (future vs. conditional), and “Alors On Danse” by Stromae (present tense verbs, mostly -er). Thank you for once again inspiring me!

    Reply
    1. Paul Goegebeur

      Dear Beth,

      Would you mind sharing the resources that you developed around these songs?

      Thank you in advance!

      Paul

      Reply
  13. Lana

    It’s so nice to see what other teachers do with music, thanks for this post, Madame! You mentioned also doing Lecture Libre on block days. Would you care to do a Musings entry for your way to do Lecture Libre? Do they just read for 15 minutes in the middle of the block class, as a brain break of sorts? Or do you somehow keep them accountable? My guess is that many of your subscribers would be curious of how you do it. Merci mille fois!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thanks for your great question. I started with a simple form for the students to fill out about what they read, but I felt like filling out the form distracted the students from the actual reading. They would only read a short article so that they could get the written part finished. I tried just allowing reading, with no written assignment, but that didn’t work very well with many of my students either. Unfortunately, I’ve had to let go of Lecture Libre until I can come up with a system that will work with my current group. I wish I had a better answer! Lisa

      Reply
  14. Paul Goegebeur

    Please share with me as well! I had already asked on a previous occasion, but maybe this request was overlooked?

    Reply

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