La Famille: An IPA for Novice Learners

familyI have just enough time for a quick post before heading off to work this morning, so I thought I’d share the IPA that my French 1 students will be taking today.   In this unit the students learned family vocabulary and how to describe people.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t really happy with the reading I had used for the IPA on this unit last year, so it was back to the drawing board on this one.  I think this one will work a lot better.

As you can see by clicking on the link below, the students will read the post of a family who is advertising for an au pair.  I loved that this resource gave me a chance to talk to my students about a way they might continue their language study—maybe one of them will be an au pair some day?  The text is also rich with other vocabulary they have learned this year, such as sports and activities.  Although the post does not provide much visual support, there are a lot of cognates and other contextual support. I included the link to the website, as well as the snipped copy of the post that I chose.  I didn’t have enough time to read many of the posts on the website, and there might be others that work even better.

While I would have liked to find a listening excerpt that supported this theme, the videos that I found by au pairs would have been too difficult for these novice learners. Instead, I had to go with a “not quite authentic” video in which a native speaker describes himself, his family and his activities.  I’ll keep working on this for next year—if you have any ideas, please share!

For the presentational writing portion of this IPA, the students will write their own post in search of an au pair for their own families.  Although having them write physical descriptions for this prompt is a bit of a stretch, I like the way that it recycles previously learned vocabulary and structures.  The presentational speaking repeated this prompt, but this time the students were given the context that they were making a video to send to the au pair agency.  With my students, it worked better to just have them present in class rather than making an actual video.

Link to IPA:Family IPA (revised)

What authentic texts do you use to assess the students on family and descriptions?  Have you used an authentic recorded text with this unit?

8 thoughts on “La Famille: An IPA for Novice Learners

  1. Tania

    Awesome IPA! I just started the family unit and was trying to get ideas for an IPA when I ran into this! Au pair… would have never occurred to me! Thank you for our work! This really is exactly the kind of work I like to do!!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a nice comment. It’s so nice to hear from colleagues who are doing the same kind of work. Please keep in touch!

      Reply
  2. Tina

    Thank you so much for sharing! We are using IPAs but still working through grading scales and how to assess them! I so appreciate seeing how another teacher makes this work! Thanks so much! I stumbled across your blog, but now I’m following you!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thanks for your comment Tina! My thoughts about how best to grade IPA’s are still evolving. It’s a big shift for kids to understand that I don’t expect them to get all of the answers right!

      Reply
  3. Monsieur Nason

    Thank you for sharing! Did you already do this unit again this year? If so, how did it go? Did you by chance create an activities packet for this unit? I would like to create a unit of family for my level 1 students and would love to see any of the resources you used/will use. Merci d’avance!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Yes, I did this unit again in October. I still feel like it needs some work before I’m ready to share it. I used a mishmash of resources to work with the vocabulary and many are difficult to share (scanning takes a long time!) and probably not worth sharing (some aren’t authentic). I did create a few activities to familiarize the students with au pairs this year. I really like using this context for the unit because it’s an authentic context for describing one’s family. The students also asked if they could do family presentations, so each student presented his/her family to the class, too. I don’t do many presentations, especially at this level, but since they wanted to do it I couldn’t say no. I assured them that they didn’t have to use pictures of their actual family, so we had lots of celebrity parents. So, while I’m not ready to post the unit at this time, I’d be happy to e-mail you a few things if you’re interested. Lisa

      Reply
  4. Elsa Suzette

    Thank you so much for this unit. I am just starting the “La Famille” and will be using these suggestions. I could not find the link to the article / post of a family who is advertising for an au pair. Could you please share it?
    Elsa

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi! The post is included at the end of the IPA, along with the link to the site where I found it. Let me know if you have any problems finding it!

      Reply

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