C’est quoi, une maison idéale? A Unit for Novice High French Students

This summer, as I worked on updating my curriculum for the upcoming school year, I knew that my “House Unit” needed a serious overhaul. While I had created several fun speaking activities for house vocabulary over the years, the unit lacked a meaningful context and provided very little cultural content. Clearly, I had never considered an essential question that would provide meaning and context to these lessons.  Therefore, before creating any of the lessons for the revised unit, I determined that I would focus on the question, “What is an ideal home?” as I planned to the unit. I then created a series of lessons that I hope will create opportunities for my students to consider this question as we learn about homes in various parts of the Francophone world. I have described each of the lessons I created below and you can click here (Updated link: 5/25/18) for the unit agenda with the links to all the resources I have made.

Day 1: On the first day of the unit (which will fall on a 90-minute block day) I will show slides of various houses in France and describe them orally in order to present new vocabulary for describing the exterior of houses via comprehensible input. Following this presentation, the students will read an infographic about houses around the world and complete a comprehension guide. After a short online vocabulary activity (designed to keep my early finishers busy until their classmates finish the reading), the students will complete a pair matching activity (described in this previous post.) Lastly, we will listen to the song, Quatre murs et un toit by Benabar and complete both a cloze and comprehension activity.

Day 2:I will begin by presenting an infographic about ideal temperatures to introduce the vocabulary associated with rooms of a house. The students will then complete another matching activity, designed to allow them to describes houses in terms of the rooms that they have. I will formatively assess the students by orally describing a few of these pictures to the students who will write the letter or number of the house I’m describing. Finally, the students will complete an Edpuzzle for a house-related cartoon.

Day 3: I will use an infographic about home accidents to review the vocabulary for rooms before reading an article about the best placement of the rooms in a home. After filling in a graphic organizer with information from this article, the students will choose which of three floor plans would best suit their own family and explain why, in writing.  Finally, the students will complete an Edpuzzle for another house-related cartoon.

Day 4: The students will begin by watching Trotro joue à cache-cache and completing an Edpuzzle. I will then use a Google Presentation to review the cartoon before having the students complete a manipulative activity in which they will work in pairs to match screenshots from the cartoon to corresponding sentences. The students will then complete a cloze activity as a formative assessment on their comprehension of the (past tense) verbs used in the summary sentences. Lastly, the students will complete an Edpuzzle of a different Trotro video.

Day 5:  I will first project an infographic about the ideal French kitchen and discuss it to make it comprehensible to the students.  The students will then make cultural inferences about French cooking habits based on the infographic and complete a true/false with justification comprehension guide.  Next, they will discuss their own families’ kitchens and eating habits. Lastly they will complete a graphic organizer comparing what they learned about American and French kitchens/eating habits. If there is time remaining in this 90-minute block, the students will complete a pair activity in which they describe a series of kitchen pictures and determine whether they have the same or a different picture for each number.  

Day 6: The students will complete an Edpuzzle for an Ikea kitchen commercial and then write a message in which they describe a French person’s opinion of their own kitchen.

Day 7:  We will watch and discuss a video about kitchen remodeling.  The students will then read a slide presentation and complete a comprehension guide. Next the students will give their opinions of several kitchens and then play Quizlet Live.

Day 8: I will introduce vocabulary for living room furniture by discussing a series of photos. The students will then give their opinion of additional living rooms in the same slide show.  Finally they will read an article about

decorating living rooms and complete a comprehension guide.

Day 9: After discussing a few living room pictures as a class, the students will complete a matching activity with living room pictures. The students will then complete an Edpuzzle for a decorating video before writing a description of their preferred living room photo.

Day 10: I will introduce new vocabulary by describing photos of French bathrooms. The students will then describe additional photos for a few minutes before completing an interpretive activity for two infographics about bathrooms. Next the students will complete a same/different activity to compare images of bathrooms.

Day 11: The students will share opinions of several bathrooms, complete an Edpuzzle for a bathroom video and then orally describe the bathroom in the video.

Day 12:  I will introduce bedroom vocabulary by describing a series of slides showing French teen bedrooms. The students will then discute additional slides in small groups before reading a slide presentation and guessing the meanings of new words based on context clues. Finally, they will complete an Edpuzzle for a cartoon video.

Day 13: The students will complete the following three learning stations: 1)A pair matching activity with bedroom pictures, 2)A note describing items in a bedroom picture, 3)An Edpuzzle for a video in which a teen describes her room.

Day 14: I will use a slide presentation to present some different types of houses from Francophone regions. The students will then complete a comprehension guide for a reading about these types of houses and then an Edpuzzle for a video about “une maison troglodyte.”

Days 15 and 16:  the students will prepare for their IPA by 1)completing a practice reading, 2)describing photos of a home and whether it would be well-suited to their family 3)2 Edpuzzles for videos in which people present their homes/rooms, 4) writing a description of their own homes for a home exchange site and 5)receiving oral feedback on their written descriptions. (No one will be at this station during the first rotation.)

Days 17 and 18: The students will complete the IPA for this unit.

I hope that organizing this unit around an essential question will increase my students’ focus on cultural comparisons as they relate to homes and lifestyles around the world.

Image Credit: By Gachepi (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

29 thoughts on “C’est quoi, une maison idéale? A Unit for Novice High French Students

  1. Meg

    hello! I’m curious about your thoughts on context in regard to this unit. Since communication is defined as interpretation/exchange of meaning in a given context, and our context is the fixed context of the classroom, do you think that homes are inside or outside the classroom context? I have shied away from units such as food recently because we don’t eat in our classroom. Just curious about your thoughts. Thanks!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      To tell you the truth, I’ve never heard of context defined in this way. I know that my students’ French penpals will want to know about their homes and many household furnishings are common vocabulary in authentic fiction texts that we will read so I think this unit will be important for our classroom context. I’d love to know more about this way of considering context!

      1. Rebecca Blouwolff

        No, this is even better – just to see where the ideas took you!

        My original unit is here: https://mmeblouwolff.weebly.com/la-maison-intermediate-low

        and my newer student dossier is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzRWtY-8gKgad0xKVlF2d29mYW8/view?usp=sharing

        I’ve also been lucky enough to get help collecting #authres from others such as Sarah Moghtader, so my freshest collection of those is here: https://www.pinterest.com/rblouwolff/la-maison-mon-petit-chez-moi/

  2. Sandrine

    I am new at the units in teaching (trying very hard to get away from the textbook). For what level would this lesson plan be appropriate?

  3. Robin

    Merci beaucoup! This is a great unit – as communicative as discussing houses can be. I combine this unit with the unit on chores and then as an extension I like to show the movie “Les femmes du 6eme Etage” – It is great for comparing living arrangements, chores, and a good way to review personality vocabulary for lower levels. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to share my packet/slideshow for the film!

  4. Ryan Boeding

    Bonjour Madame,

    This may be mentioned for this article. Do you use/have a book that is referenced in class? Our french 2 students starting their semester( one block semester of classes per year) with chapter 5 of DF Bleu, so that is the housing unit. I guess my question is out of curiousity, what proficiency level are your second years, and if so do you use a book?

    Un grand merci! Tu fais enormmement de travail.


    1. madameshepard Post author

      Nope, no textbook. I normally expect Nov. High by the end if level 2, but I have a very strong group this year–many were performing at Intermediate Low (and a few Int. mid.) at the end of 1st semester.

  5. Megan B.

    Bonjour! I’m looking at doing a modified version of this IPA for my 8th grade French students, but I’m wondering how you assess the interpersonal conversation. Do students record their conversations? Do you circulate the room? Do you have them present to you?

    Assessing true interpersonal conversation is something I’ve been struggling with for a while, and I’d love to have your input!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Megan. I usually call pairs of students up to my desk for their interpersonal assessments while the rest of the class is doing their presentational writing. When I can’t make this work, I have the students record their conversations.

  6. Alana

    Bonjour! I have been using some of your ideas for my novice unit on houses and I came across this gem: a French video about deluxe dog houses. I haven’t figured out how I will use it yet, but I am sharing it with you anyway!

  7. Jessica

    Bonjour, Mme Shepard,
    I’m noticing some of the linked documents toward the end of the house blog agenda are located in your trash folder….at least that’s what google tells me. It lets me recover them, but I find it odd, and wanted you to know.

    Thank you for all your great resources!!!


  8. Julia G

    Bonjour, I love your generosity with sharing materials. Could you go a step further and explain how to do the games in the House Unit Plan? For example, what do students do exactly in the partner activity with different houses (https://docs.google.com/document/d/1AlZM8Gq5u6pVfH3NYHzfykWG6lHhg4MRLhEdrioB2tk/edit)? I am new and at a loss– I can tell these are engaging and fun but I do not know how to implement them. Are there instructions anywhere?

    Kind regards,

  9. Angie Grant

    I’m trying to access the <> lesson plan, but nothing comes up. Has it been taken down or is there a glitch?

    Thank you for sharing your lessons! They are great!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you! Did you click the updated link? That one seems to be working and when I just checked there were several people on the slide show.

  10. Denise Erbele

    Hello…I tried to use several of the Edpuzzles that are in your updated HouseBlog plans. They are not there….No more edpuzzles?



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