L’Amour – A Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

je t'aimeWhew!  This unit was a lot more challenging than I expected it to be when I typed the word “Amour” as a unit theme writing my French 3 syllabus in August.  Never having taught this theme without a textbook, I had my work cut out for me when planning this unit.  There is such a wealth of authentic written and recorded resources related to this topic that I didn’t know where to start.  Deciding that it would be simplest to start at the beginning, I chose a chronological organization for the unit (La Rencontre – Le Rendez-vous – L’Amour – La Rupture – Le Mariage), and then began the process of selecting materials that I hoped would be engaging, comprehensible, and appropriate to my students’ ages/developmental stage.  Trust me, as soon as you type “amour” into any search box, you will get a lot of hits that you would never want your students to see!  As an additional challenge, I wanted to make sure that the resources I chose helped to establish an inclusive classroom environment for my GLBT students, as well as respect for the beliefs of my students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.  Lastly, I wanted to focus on the language function of giving advice, which was a natural fit with the theme of this unit.  Here’s the 15-page activity packet that I came up with—I’d love to hear your feedback! Amour Activities

Here’s an explanation of the activities in the packet, and approximately how long I think each lesson in the unit will take.  Note: My lessons tend to take longer than I think they will!  If it seems that this unit is taking too long, I will assign some activities as homework, or eliminate them, based on the needs of my students.

Etape 1 – La Rencontre (Days 1-3). In this lesson the students will first read an article with tips on how to approach someone that they’re interested in.  I thought that the students, who often feel socially awkward at this stage, would be interested in the concrete advice given in the article.  After this reading, the students will discuss some of the suggestions from the article in their small groups.  I have included a space for them to fill in their group members’ responses, in an effort to ensure that all students are actively participating in the discussion.  I will also circulate around the room and provide feedback during this portion of the lesson.  Next, the students will watch a video in which an animated character gives advice to a human teenager.  I wasn’t familiar with this series of videos, but I think that the animation in the video might be engaging to the students.  As a culminating activity, the students will write a message to a friend in which they give advice on how to approach a potential love interest.  As with all of the learning activities in this unit, I have kept the directions gender neutral in order to be as inclusive as possible.  On the second (?) day of this lesson, the students will both read an infographic and watch a news story on the theme of dating websites.  They will then practice and perform a role play between a teen and parent who are in conflict over the teen’s participation on a site de rencontre. I envision giving everyone about 10-15 minutes to practice, and then randomly choosing 3-4 pairs (not the same dyads as the practice activity) to present in front of the class for an assessment.  Because there are several role plays in this unit, I will be able to assess all students by the end of the unit.  Furthermore, by focusing on this type of interpersonal communication, rather than personalized discussion, I can avoid requiring students to discuss feelings that they might not be comfortable sharing.   For a presentational activity, the students will then write a message in which they make suggestions to a younger sibling who has enrolled in a meeting website.

Etape 2 – Le Rendez-Vous Amoureux (Days 4-5) In this lesson, the students will watch a video on how to call someone to ask them on a date, and complete a role play in which one calls the other for a first date.   They will then read an article with first date advice (Le premier rendez-vous) and write a note to a friend which incorporates suggestions from the article.

Etape 3 – L’Amour (Days 6-7) The students will begin this lesson by watching a video in which young children explain their ideas about what love is.  They will then read an article in which French teens discuss how they expressed their feelings/kissed someone they liked for the first time.  (Quand se declarer…) One of the couples in this article is a same sex couple.  While I thought about eliminating this portion of the article, I decided to leave it in to support my desire to provide an inclusive classroom environment.  While I do not expect this to create problems in my school, I understand that the same might not be true in other school cultures.  After these interpretive activities, the students will practice and perform role plays in which they give each advice about giving a first kiss, and then write a real or imaginary story about their own (hypothetical?) first kiss.

Etape 4 – La Rupture (Days 8-9) Since all good things must come to an end, the students will watch another video in the previously-described partially animated series with advice about breaking up.  They will also read an article with break-up advice, before discussing the suggestions in the article with a partner.  As a follow up activity, they will write a note to a friend who is going through a break-up and offer him/her advice.  The students will then read a more in depth article with suggestions to parents about how they can help their teenager survive his/her first broken heart.  They will then role play a conversation between a parent and teenager.

Etape 5 – Le Mariage (Day 10-12?) This lesson continues to be a work in progress, and I am not sure whether I will actually use it.  I struggled to find materials related to marriage that I thought would be engaging to students who are most likely several years away from being married.  While I wanted to introduce some cultural connections, as well as vocabulary related to marriage, I’m not finding a good fit between the videos and articles I found about Mariage pour Tous/French weddings and making suggestions/giving advice.  I may keep working on this—and add my revisions to this post, or drop it all together.  In the meantime, I’m leaving what I came up with in the document, in case it’s of use to anyone else.

Bonne Année!

16 thoughts on “L’Amour – A Unit for Intermediate Low French Students

  1. Corine Charrier

    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas and lesson plans.
    I am impressed by how much your students are able to understand while reading and listening authentic French ressources. Chapeau!!!

    I just watch this link “Comment ne pas rougir en abordant une fille?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaTtmRs5og). How did you manage getting your students to this level of listening comprehension? I understand that they answer your questions in English. How many times will you allow them to watch the video before they are able to find the right answers? Do they use wordreference.com to find the meaning of words they can’t guess?

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Corine! Thanks for reading by blog and for your kind comments. I think you asked great questions and I’ll do my best to answer them. Because I just wrote this unit this week and haven’t implemented with students yet, I don’t know for sure how they’ll do with this particular video. I do want to mention, though, that I would never expect that students at this proficiency level would be able to independently understand this entire video. What I do expect, is that based on the scaffolding provided by the questions and context/visual clues, they will be able to pick out some previously-learned words and phrases. It is these words and phrases that I tried to focus on when writing my questions. To further ensure student success, I grade this type of assignment/assessment very liberally. For example, an 80% might be an “A” with a 70% as a “B” and so on. I think the biggest hurdle in incorporating authentic materials is teaching students that they don’t need to understand everything, and that they probably understand more than they think they do. While most of my students now feel pretty confident in their abilities and trust that I won’t let them fail, I do have to develop these skills when I get a new student from a different school system. It was very rewarding to recently hear a new student’s attitude change from, “I don’t understand any of this.” to “You asked questions about the part I understood.” To further support the students’ success, I generally have them do listening comprehension activities individually at a computer so that they can pause and listen as many times as they need to. I do not, however, allow wordreference.com for listening or reading assessments. My concerns are that a)They would look up too many unnecessary words, b)not learn to use context clues to infer the meaning of new words, and c)not gain confidence in their ability to read the materials on their own. (I do, however, allow wordreference for writing assessments.) I hope I’ve answered your questions, but if not, please keep asking! I’ll try to remember to write a post when I’ve finished this unit, so that I can reflect/share what worked and what didn’t. Keep in touch! Lisa

      Reply
      1. Corine Charrier

        It makes sense to me now when I read that your students trust that you won’t let them to fail. Success breeds success.
        Merci pour votre longue reponse tres detaillee!

        Reply
  2. Megan

    Love that you were inclusive of students from all different backgrounds and walks of life. I concluded my unit on love & relationships already, but this would be great in the future! Merci!

    Reply
  3. gloria murff

    Thank you very much for posting your work here. I will probably try to adapt and use some of this. There were 2 articles I couldn’t open:

    http://www.01amour.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Tidate.jpg

    http://www.sortirensemble.com/webzine/art40-premier-rendez.html

    Could you help me out on how to get to those two articles?

    I like some of your activities very much, but wondered if there is any special type of grammar you’ll try to emphasize for the unit. Merci mille fois!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thanks for reading my blog! I’m sorry that you had trouble with a couple of the links. Although they both work on my home computer (I even had the entire infographic when I opened your comment), I had trouble with the same two links when I tried opening them at school yesterday. I copied and pasted the first date article onto a word document and I’m going to upload the document onto the blog. I’ll put the link in the Etape 2 paragraph. Here’s the URL for the article in which I found the infographic: http://visual.ly/les-sites-de-rencontres-en-france-en-2013 I also have the infographic snipped and pasted into a Word document, but it’s at school. I can add that to the blog on Monday, if necessary. As for the grammar, I’m going to give the students a quick lesson about the conditional, because I think they’ll need that to give advice/make suggestions.

      Reply
  4. Monsieur Nason

    Chère Madame,
    How did this unit go last year? Did you include an IPA by chance? Are you including it this year in your teaching curriculum? I am continually impressed and blown away by all of the wonderfully rich and authentic materials that you so selflessly share here. I’m looking forward to trying to use some of these activities in a future unit this year with my year 3 students. I want to thank you for this. Bon weekend!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      The unit went very well last year and I am currently teaching it to this year’s French 3 class. I think this is probably my students’ favorite unit. Last year I cobbled together an IPA from the marriage resources, but I’m planning on creating something different this year. I’m leaving out the marriage stuff because a)I wasn’t crazy about the resources and b) marriage is a long way off for these kids so this topic doesn’t seem as relevant to me. I hope your students enjoy this unit as much as mine did! Lisa

      Reply
      1. Kathy Zetts

        Hi, I’m glad to hear it went well last year (I’m hoping for the same this year for my students)!

        You mentioned that things seem to take longer than you originally predict. Do you happen to remember how long the unit took last year? If you don’t mind sharing the info of course!

        Someone asked what grammar you’d be treating–I also am doing conditional, a review of imperative, and maybe an intro to the subjunctive since they all can fit under that “giving advice/suggestions” umbrella.

        Merci encore une fois!

        Reply
  5. Holly Hammerle

    Hi Lisa! I am using a lot of your amazing resources in this unit. So much fun! I did a section on sexual harassment if you are interested in seeing those resources. Also, do you have a copy of the Phosphore article? I did a search and can’t find it.
    Merci!!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Holly. I’d love to see your resources! If you mean the “Quand se declarer” article, I linked pdf’s of the article to the post. Let me know if the link doesn’t work for you–I just tried it and it seems to be working for me. Lisa

      Reply
  6. Katherine

    Hello! I was wondering if you had the answer key to this packet? If you do would you please send it to me? I would like to use this activity with my students. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      I’m so sorry but I don’t have a copy of an answer key. I usually just fill out a copy in my chicken scratch as the kids are working. Since I usually modify my resources each year, my keys just end up in the circular file. I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful! Lisa

      Reply

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