Les Loisirs: A Novice Mid unit on leisure activities

browsing-15824_640As I began planning my French 1 units for fourth quarter, I took a fresh look at the ACTFL Can-Do Statements for the Novice Mid proficiency level. This is where I expect my French 1 students to be by the end of the year and I wanted to make sure that I addressed any areas in which they needed additional preparation.  As I looked at the Interpersonal Communication Can-Do’s, I realized that I definitely had some work to do.  The statement “I can ask some simple questions” jumped out at me.  Many of my Level 1 students rely heavily on yes/no questions in their interpersonal communication.  Although they have recently begun using qu’est-ce que and qui, I have not adequately prepared them to be able to ask and answer when and where questions as mentioned in the example Can Do statement.   I also realized that they need a lot more vocabulary in order to adequately address the statement “I can communicate same basic information about my everyday life.”  While they learned how to talk about what they like to do, I have not spent nearly enough time on activities that would teach them to talk about what they do/are doing.  With these goals in mind, I began developing this unit on Les Loisirs .

Lesson 1: The students will begin by reading an infographic on French leisure activities and completing an interpretive task. They will then interview a partner about his/her leisure activities and the frequency with which s/he does each one.  Next, the students will write a short paragraph about their own leisure activities.

Lesson 2: The input for this lesson comes from a video about French leisure activities.  I will play the video as a whole-class activity, pausing when necessary to ask questions.  While students at this proficiency level cannot be expected to independently interpret many details on a video like this, they can pick out key words.  After the video, the students will complete an interpretive task in which they fill in a Venn diagram comparing their preferred leisure activities with those of a partner. They will then write a paragraph about whether they have much in common with their partner, based on what they learned when completing the Venn diagram.

Lesson 3: The input for this lesson will also be a video, in this case it is about video games.  I think this will be a high interest topic for these students and will provide a good hook to the lesson.  Following the video, the students will interview a partner about his/her leisure activities and complete a table with details that s/he finds out by asking information questions.  The final task of the lesson will be a paragraph in which the students describe what they do during their ideal Saturday.

Lesson 4: As with the previous two lessons, this one will begin with a video.  I should note that the reasons I have chosen to introduce these lessons with videos are a) My students always struggle with listening and b) Video interpretive tasks (as I use them during instruction) are less time consuming than reading tasks.  Since I control how often I stop the video, rewind it, etc., I can spend as little or as much time as I need.  On a reading task, I feel it’s important to give the students as much time as they need.  Because of the diversity in reading proficiency in my class, reading activities often take an entire class period.  Because I’m specifically addressing interpersonal communication in this unit, I want to make sure my students have enough time to adequately complete these tasks.  In this lesson, the students will complete a “speed-friending” conversational activity.  As a follow up presentational activity, they will write a note about which friend they had the most in common with.

In addition to these activities, I will spend lots of time asking personalized questions regarding my students’ leisure activities so that they are able to correctly answer information questions by the end of the unit.  My IPA is still a work in progress, but I’ll make sure to include it in my next post!

For those of you that are assessing your students on the ACTFL Can Do statements, I’d love to know how they’re doing!

18 thoughts on “Les Loisirs: A Novice Mid unit on leisure activities

  1. Monica

    I’m so happy to have discovered your blog, which is so inspiring. I’m wondering about your source of videos. Are they from textbook? I love the EMC video program, but I bet that you have other sources. Thank you for sharing your fantastic ideas!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thanks for your kind comments, Monica! I’m not sure whether you had a chance to download the document, but the links are on there. All of the videos are authentic, (made for native speakers) and they’re on YouTube. Almost all of the written/recorded texts in my units are authentic, and I’ll make sure to mention it if I use an educational source. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Reply
  2. Skylar

    Your two “stumbling blocks” (likes vs does & asking questions) have always been two of the core “issues” of French 1 for me! I incorporated 2 TPR techniques to help with these issues.
    1) où and quand are so frequently confused, so I just had students do a motion for each one: point to an imaginary watch for quand & mimic a “searching” motion for où. They got it about 10x faster than previous groups!!
    Also, I had them practice “does” vs “likes” by calling them “hand” and “heart” sentences. During speaking activities, they would hold up their hand to talk about “doing” something and put their hand over their heart when discussing likes. It was enough to make them a bit more conscious of what they were saying to dramatically improve their performance! As always, a great unit!!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you so much for the suggestions, I’ll definitely incorporate them when I start the unit tomorrow. I’ll also put this unit earlier in the year the next time I teach it.

      Reply
    2. Kerri

      I love the idea of “hand” and “heart” sentences. I’m definitely going to use this. THank you for sharing:-)

      Reply
  3. Michele

    I’ve recently stumbled across your blog. Although I’m been teaching a long time this year I am developing a French 1 course for the first time. We have begun using the Can Do statements and are also in the beginning of Les Loisirs so the timing is perfect! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Audra

    Bonjour Madame! I was wondering if you had any suggestions for videos for Les Loisirs. I really like the lesson on the “speed friending” and would love to use it in my class.

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Audra. I included several videos in the activity packet document. Did you mean in addition to these?

      Reply
  5. Megan

    Just a little grammar thing I caught while looking through – in part C after the first video you have “Mon partnenaire et moi ont beaucoup en commun”. Should be avons instead of ont there 🙂

    Thanks again for sharing! I’ve found the same issue with my 1s in that they’re pretty good at talking about what they like to do, not so much with what they do/are doing. This will be really helpful!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thanks so much for catching the error. I’ll fix it when I get a chance. It’s interesting about the liking/doing. I’m not sure if I should introduce this unit earlier next year or just accept their difficulties as part of a normal stage of development.

      Reply
      1. Megan

        I know, I’ve been wondering about those same things. I kind of think it might be part of their development – I get a lot of kids saying “j’aime joue” and “je vais regarde” at this stage too. And my level 3s have just FINALLY stopped trying to pronounce the -ent on the ends of verbs after nearly three years of pestering :). It’s a slow process, that’s for sure!!

        Reply
      2. Skylar

        I think they will always have trouble with likes vs does at first, and will always get better at it as the year progresses. I like the idea of introducing avoir and être first, and then doing regular verbs/activities sometime in the 2nd quarter. The thing I find most useful is having them contrast a particular activity that they DO but that they don’t necessarily LIKE doing (usually étudier when doing -er verbs!). It makes them slightly more aware of what they’re saying — at least for the moment — they will still make errors but are quicker to self-correct. The concept can then be recycled in later units (such as household chores) in order to eventually improve overall accuracy.

        Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Hi, Brittany! Thank you! This is the title: Zapping info : Les loisirs des français. I just tried Googling it and I see a couple of different links that should work.

      Reply
      1. Kathy Zetts

        Lisa,

        Thanks for the title and the suggestion. I have tried 7 or 8 links, and am always told “this video has been removed”. Dailymotion is blocked at my school.

        Anyone have other ideas? Merci

        Reply

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