Le Petit Déj: An introductory unit on French mealtimes for Novice learners

petitdej Although food is the last thing I want to think about after several days of holiday feasting, my syllabus says that my French 1 students will begin studying French mealtimes when we go back to school on January 5th.  Therefore, in my downtime during the first few days of winter break, I’ve developed the following unit to teach my students how to discuss and describe what they eat for breakfast as well as to compare typical American and French/Belgian breakfasts. Here’s the packet I will give the students which contains all the materials and resources for the mini-unit.   Le-Petit-Dejeuner (1)

I think these activities will take about 4 days, and this is how I plan on conducting each lesson.

Day 1 The students will first watch a short instructional video showing the students what food items are included in a typical French breakfast.  They will check each item that they hear and we will then discuss the correct answers.  Afterward, the students will interview a partner about how often s/he has each of the items on the list.  I will then ask a series of questions (Ton partenaire prend souvent du café? Ta partenaire prend souvent du yaourt ? etc.) before assigning the writing activity in which the students compare their breakfast habits to a partner’s.  If there is time remaining in the class period, the students will begin the interpretive activity in which they read an article about breakfast in Belgium. (Edited 11/5/19: Click here for the infographic. )

Day 2 I will start the period with the video (III) activity since I will be conducting this as a whole class activity using the projector.  After discussing the correct responses, the students will do the accompanying interpersonal pair activity, with a partner other than the one they spoke to in the previous day’s lesson.  Lastly, the students will have time to finish the interpretive reading activity about breakfast in Belgium.  Because this is an individual activity, I like to assign it as the last activity in the period to allow for differences in reading pace among the students.

Day 3 I will begin this class with a video (IV) after which the students will complete the “Guess Who” interpersonal activity.  After a couple of rounds of this game, the students will write a paragraph about their own breakfast habits.

Day 4 I will begin this activity with a short interpretive activity about typical American breakfasts.  After all students have completed the reading (early finishers can start the presentational activity), the students will complete the pair interview based on this article.  Lastly they will fill in a graphic organizer comparing French and American breakfasts.

Day 5 The students will take a formative assessment on breakfast vocabulary.

Whew.  Week one is planned for French 1—only 3 more preps to go!

Have a peaceful holiday season and winter break!


27 thoughts on “Le Petit Déj: An introductory unit on French mealtimes for Novice learners

      1. Cristina Kubicki Ivanov

        The link for the infographic is not available. Can you please provide me with the link? I greatly appreciate it. Merci d’avance. 🙂

        1. madameshepard Post author

          Hi, Cristina I included an updated link for one of the texts on the post, is this the infographic you mean?

          1. Olivia Hipp


            I know you’ve already updated this, but I cannot get the updated Belgium infographic link to work. Is there somewhere else I can find it? I used this lesson last year and loved it but somehow forgot to save the picture!

            Merci en avance,
            Olivia Hipp

  1. Rebekah

    Hi Mrs. Shepard,
    Thank you so much for all you WONDERFUL materials. I keep wanting to write you a long message about how much your sire has impacted the way I teach. I have a quick question…are you on block schedule? I have used some of your units, but am wondering if I cover them at a good pace. I do not seem to get as much done in a day as you 🙂 Merci!

    1. madameshepard Post author

      I was not on a block schedule when I created this unit, although I have 2 blocks a week in my current job. I often post my units before actually teaching them, so I might be a little optimistic. I always want to have too much, rather than not enough for each day,

    2. Kathryn Zetts

      This comment is for Rebekah—
      I also never seem to get as much done in a day as Madame Shepard does!
      Right now I am trying to put together a somewhat detailed syllabus–but I keep wondering how I can possibly fit everything in, since I know that my students do not seem to progress as quickly as hers.
      I just wanted to tell you that you are not the only one wondering about pacing. Courage!

  2. Jessica

    Wonderful IPA’s as always. Question – what is the formative assessment that you do on day 5?

    My second question is…do you collect the packet for the IPA as a whole and grade it then using the rubrics, or do you give them feedback periodically throughout?

    Merci mille fois!


    1. madameshepard Post author

      Oh, gosh, I haven’t given this IPA for 3 years and I don’t remember what I have as a formative– sorry! Ideally we provide feedback on reading before the interpersonal and presentational. In the real world I live in, I usually grade the whole packet at once.

  3. Paul

    Do you note to them that the name of the first meal in Belgium (as in Québec and Switzerland) is generally called “le déjeuner”?

  4. Cheryl Shank

    The article for “Le petit déj’ unit, from the karott.egnyte site says it is not available. Is there another link that it can be found on?

  5. Stacy Nordquist

    This particular unit looks as if it the opening for the follow-up units 2 and 3. At the end of the week, you have a formative assessment. What does that look like? From somewhere I have an IPA for bon appetit and it is yours but I think it must come at the end of all three units. I have wondered about the validity or usefulness of giving vocabulary quizzes. On the one hand they seem to be more appropriate for the textbook method yet it also seems having the students focus on learning some of the vocabulary might be useful for them.

    1. Benjamin M Lyall

      Ah, nevermind. I see it’s already been replaced!

      Thank you for ALL you do Madame Shepard. I found out I was teaching French II and III 3 days before the semester started. You’ve been a life saver.

  6. Zachary

    Bonjour, This is truly an amazing food related unit ! I am definitely planning on incorporating a lot of your ideas into my classroom this upcoming year. That being said, would you mind sharing the unit resource packet for the bon appétit unit ?

    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Zachary. I’m afraid I’m not exactly sure what packet you need. Could you tell me more? Thanks, Lisa


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