Although I created a complete unit on the theme of Christmas for my French 1 students, my curriculum allowed me to spend only a few days on Christmas with my French 2 and French 3 students. Since these students had learned Christmas vocabulary and French holiday traditions in previous years, I decided to focus on literature-based activities and assessments for these students. I felt that it was especially important for my French 2 students to get some exposure to narrative texts, as they have read primarily informational texts so far this year. Although my French 3 students have read a few Petit Nicolas stories, I knew they would enjoy reading and writing holiday-themed stories during the last few days before Winter Break.
I began this lesson by having the students read a Christmas-themed story. I prepared a simple set of English comprehension questions to help guide their comprehension, but did not assess them. The purpose of this first story was to provide a model of a narrative text. The French 2 students read Le cadeau du Père Noël (le cadeau) and answered these questions : lecadeau The French 3 students read La Galette de Père Noël (la galette) and answered these questions: galette
Next, I had the students fill out the following graphic organizer with the plot elements for the story that they read. Because I had never specifically taught plot elements in the past, I didn’t know what background knowledge they had regarding narrative texts. Fortunately, they were able to match up the French vocabulary for various plot elements to those that they had learned in language arts classes and were able to complete the graphic organizer in a few minutes. This is the graphic organizer I prepared for this activity: conte_graphicorg
Now that the students had reviewed the plot elements of a story, they were ready to begin writing their own. I passed out a blank copy of the same graphic organizer, and asked the student to fill it out with information about their own story. I hoped that by beginning with this step, the students might be less overwhelmed than if I had just asked them to make up a French story. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, the students seem very excited about writing their stories and one even mentioned that, “This is the most fun thing we’ve ever had to write in French.”
Now that each of the students has an outline of his/her story, I am going to have them continue to work with narrative texts over the next few days as they complete a series of learning stations (which will be their IPA for this mini-unit, as well as their Midterm Exam grade). At the Listening Station, they will watch to 2-3 videos about Santa Claus and complete a comprehension guide. At the Reading Station, they will read another Santa-themed story and complete an interpretive reading assessment, while at the Writing Station they will write the first drafts of their stories. The French 2 classes will have an additional Interpersonal Speaking station at which the students will describe the pictures on Christmas-themed stickers to a partner who will choose the correct match from his/her set of stickers.
Note: I have one French 3 student whose religion prevents her from participating in any activity which relates to any type of holiday/birthday celebration. These are the alternative reading and listening activities that I developed for her: Alternate Interpretive
After the students have completed these stations, they will produce a final draft of their story as well as present it orally to the class. I think these presentations will be a great way to use the block of time that is set aside for our midterm exams, as the students will have already completed the other portions of their performance-based exam while at their learning stations. For the presentations, the students will prepare a Google Presentation a visual aid to support their storytelling. The images on the Google Presentation can be drawings, clipart, photographs, etc.—any media that will help the students retell their story and help their audience (classmates) to comprehend it. I know the students are nervous about this part of the assessment, but I explained that they don’t need to memorize their written story exactly, they just need to summarize/retell it to the class.
The students seem excited about this project and I’m looking forward to seeing what they’re able to produce!