Whew! 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.