Les Impressionnistes – A unit for Intermediate Low French students

As regular readers of this blog know, I teach a unit on French Impressionism each year in my French 3 class.  I have once again modified this unit to better meet the needs of my students.  Click here for the agenda for this year’s version, to which all resources are linked.

Day 1: The students will complete the same guided note-taking activity that I have used in past years in order to provide them with basic information about some aspects of impressionist paintings. The students will then sign up for a slide featuring two different paintings, and will prepare a short presentation explaining which of the paintings is Impressionist and justifying their choice.

Day 2: Students will present their paintings, gallery-style, to several classmates who will provide written feedback.  The students will then take an assessment in which they choose whether each painting on the Google Presentation is Impressionist.

Days 3 – 13: Students will complete guided notes and then a series of learning stations for each of seven different impressionist and post-impressionist painters.  (The guided notes are included in the same packet as the introductory notes and the corresponding slides are in the same presentation.This presentation also includes some unidentified paintings that can be used to practice identifying artists later in the unit). I have allowed 2 days for each artist and will give a short assessment on the 2nd day. Because I use Schoology (our LMS) for these assessments, I am not able to share them at this time.  These stations will include 1) a series of interpersonal activities designed to familiarize the students with the painter’s works, 2) a series of Edpuzzles and 3) a reading/writing activity.  Because the interpersonal activities are based on manipulatives that I’ve created over the years, I am not able to share them (except in the case of Manet which are digital.) However, a reader graciously shared the activities she created for Renoir and these can be found in the comments in last year’s post.  Since I found that last year’s reading/writing activities were a)too long and b)too difficult, I have created new ones for this year’s unit. I will give the students about 20 minutes at each station and allow them to complete unfinished Edpuzzles as homework.  Each pair will probably have time to complete only two of the speaking activities, but I have included several in order to have enough manipulatives for each group. Therefore, they will complete guided notes and 2 stations on the first day devoted to each artist, and the 3rd station and assessment on the second day.  Once a week my students have a 90-minute block so they will complete all 3 stations as well as the guided notes and assessment on these days.

(Edited 1/12/18: Some of the videos are no longer working through Edpuzzle, but a generous reader has shared worksheets she developed for these videos.  See the comments below.)

Day 14: The students will review the painters by working together in groups to identify the painter of paintings on postcards in my collection. We will also review using the unidentified slides at the end of the Google Presentation.

Day 15: The students will take their IPA for the unit.

Day 16-18: The students will read a Petit Nicolas story, Le Musée de Peintures. Although I will distribute photocopied pages of the story from the book, I have included a link to a digital copy for those who don’t have access to the book, with its adorable pictures. Each day they will listen to a portion of the story being read (as they follow along on the text) and then complete a series of true/false with justification sentences. I have included just one slide for these lessons, as I’m not exactly sure how far we will get each day.

Day 19: The students will review the story by completing a pair crossword puzzle.  I have included a link to the puzzle, which I will print twice.  I will then fill in the horizontal answers on one copy and the vertical answers on the other, before photocopying the puzzles for students, without the clues.  The students will then circumlocute to help their partner fill in the answers which are missing from their papers.  My students love these pair crosswords! Remaining class time will be spent practicing the role plays for the next day’s interpersonal assessment.

Day 20: The students will write the journal entry of one of the story’s characters (but not Nicolas). While they are writing, I will call up pairs (who have not previously worked together) and assign them one of the role plays for an interpersonal speaking assessment.

Day 21: The students will complete an Edpuzzle for a cartoon of the Musee de Peintures story.  Unfortunately, the video I used when creating last year’s Edpuzzle is no longer available so I will have to make a new one.  I will add the link to the agenda when I have done so.

I am hoping that this year’s French 3 students will enjoy this unit as much as previous year’s groups have!

Image Credit: Claude Monet [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons 

48 thoughts on “Les Impressionnistes – A unit for Intermediate Low French students

  1. Mary Kaubris

    Merci, Madame Shepard! On étudie les Impressionnistes français maintenant au cours de Français 4.
    Vous êtes très généreuse, merci mille fois!!

  2. Erin Burns

    Merci Madame Shepard! I jumped in and did most of your unit last year with my French 3 & 4 combined class and they were so engaged! We had such a wonderful time exploring the art together! I thought I knew a lot, but I wrong so it was rewarding for me to learn more before returning to Paris and the Musee d’Orsay this past June with my students !
    I plan to do this Unit again this year and I am looking forward to it! My students really enjoyed the same and different and matching interpersonal activities so I created one for Van Gogh last year and I’d thought I’d share it : https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1FkoRjcQy6FUHRZZzg1blVlT28

  3. Alana

    Thank you so much for sharing this unit, I borrowed many of the activities for my intermediate class. One of the culminating activities was to choose an impressionist painting from the Shelburne Museum collection (we are in Vermont) and do an “art talk” about the painting, the painter, and aspects of the painting that were impressionistic. Then the next day I brought in a lot of objects and they created their own “nature morte” arrangements and painted them in the impressionist style. It was very rewarding and fun!

  4. Allison

    Merci!! What wonderful resources you have shared here! I particularly like the EdPuzzles and appreciate you so generously sharing all of this. I will be adapting some of my activities to include some of your resources.

  5. Corine Charrier

    Pour la Française que je suis, , dans votre feuille d’activité de lecture pour le Petit Nicolas, je me suis demandée pourquoi vous aviez une illustration de grenouilles au lieu de mouton pour “jouer à saute-mouton”. En cherchant la traduction en anglais, je viens de comprendre: “to play leapfrog”!
    Merci beaucoup Madame Shepard

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Oui, c’est une différence de langage figuratif qui fait rigoler mes élèves. Un autre c’est “poule mouillée” parce que nous disons “scaredy cat.” Merci de votre commentaire! Lisa

  6. Pingback: Impressionism Culminating Unit Activity – Learning ID

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you for sharing. I’m so excited to start following your blog. I read the About page, too, and am so honored by your words.

  7. Fran

    Now that you’re in the KC Metro area, have you explored the Impressionism collection at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City? Docent-led tours are available (free!), and the museum has instructional materials in French, too. I’ve included this tour and the museum’s materials in my Impressionism unit for years, and it never disappoints!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Congratulations on your blog! I finally had a second to check it out–it looks great! Is there a way to follow it? I didn’t see a Follow button.

  8. Celena

    Wonderful work as always Lisa. I’m trying to find your artists texts as I was feeling that my students were lacking in a bit of reading during my version of this unit. I’m coming up short. Can you share (or point me to) those texts? Thanks so much.

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Celena. The short articles I used for the readings are linked to the handout for the learning stations for each artist. Just click on the word, Interpretation Ecrite. Let me know if you have any problems! Lisa

  9. Jenn

    Thank you so much for this amazing unit! I’m doing it with my 3/4s right now and it’s going great! One thing I’m having an issue with is that the videos on Edpuzzle are not working because they are from France according to the site. Is there a workaround for this that I am missing since it seems like others are able to access them?

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Unfortunately, we had similar problems with some of the videos this year. Im not sure what changed between last year when I created the Edpuzzles and this year.

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Me, too! I’m trying to download the new videos I use so that I don’t lose them, but sometimes I just don’t have time to take the extra step.

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hmmm, I’m not sure about which comment you’re referring, but yes, that’s the Petit Nicolas video I used. I ended up uploading it to Edpuzzle after this post and creating a brand-new Edpuzzle which I linked to the agenda.

  10. Heather Frost

    There is a work-around! The Youtube videos plus handouts. Here are the handouts I made from the Edpuzzles:
    My colleague was telling me about an Edpuzzle like extension on Schoology (other LMS probably have similar), but I haven’t tried it yet, and they wouldn’t be shareable like Edpuzzle with a wider audience.

    1. madameshepard Post author

      These are awesome! May I add your links (attributing them to you, of course) to the original post? Sometimes people don’t read all the comments and I know a lot of people will be grateful to have them!

    2. Cassandra Bilyeu

      I’ve also created a work around – I went directly to the videos and downloaded them, uploaded them to edpuzzle and then put the questions in.
      Feel free to copy these to your accounts!

  11. Jessica

    Wow! You saved us all so much time! Thank you so much for making these. Was just about to make a handout for the Degas videos. Fabulous!

  12. Jessica

    I apologize for the repeat comments. 🙂

    Question – what exactly are you doing for “evaluation” and “quizzes” on the various
    artists–you show a “quiz” at the conclusion of each artist? Do you have links to those?

    Thanks so much,


    1. madameshepard Post author

      Sorry, I made them on Schoology, so I can’t share them. Sometimes there were a few biographical questions and I also had some paintings and they had to choose whether or not they were painted by the artist from that day’s lesson.

  13. Leslie

    I am in awe of your amazing ideas, I am the sole French teacher at the high school where I work (this is my second year) and sometimes feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of levels I teach and the fact that there was no curriculum map/overview when I started so I have been trying to align everything to the ACTFL standards and get my students up to the level where they belong. I love your ideas and am just thrilled to see what successful teaching in a proficiency based classroom looks like. Merci mille fois for sharing your lessons, agenda and resources! It is beyond kind and I hope I can find some resources to send your way sometime to thank you for your generous sharing.

  14. lucy goldman

    Hello Mme Shepard,
    As everyone has said, what wonderful lessons you put together and how generous of you to let us share them! Merci mille fois!!
    I just completed a lot of the unit on Les Impressionnistes and both I and my students have enjoyed it tremendously.
    I do have one question about the IPA. I cannot find the reading that the IPA is based on. Did I miss something? If you would be so kind as to let me know where I can find that, I would be very grateful.

    So many thanks to you!


    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you! I know that the other readers will really appreciate this! If you don’t mind, I’ll add your links (attributing them to you) to the original post when I get a chance!


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