How to Maintain 90% on the First Day of School

My first challenge in meeting my goal of 90% target language use this year was in planning the first day of school for my French 1, 2, 3, and 4/5 class.  While I was confident that I could skip the reading of the syllabus, which bores us all to tears, I didn’t want to jump right into the first unit either.  I wanted the students to feel confident that they were ready for the year, and also to have a fun first day, so this is what I came up with.

In French 1, I’m going to teach the phrases, Je m’appelle…, Comment tu t’appelles?, Il s’appelle…, and Elle s’appelle…by introducing myself, introducing my student teacher, and then asking various students their names, the names of the others around them, etc.

I felt a good follow up to learning how to give your name would be to be able to spell it, so I’m going to play a video of an alphabet song, and then dictate the spellings of the names of several students in the class. The students will write the letters I dictate on individual whiteboards, and then the student whose name I have spelled will stand up.  If I have enough time, I will then give a short formative assessment in which the students write words that I dictate such as bonjour, Paris, France, etc.  I’ll use my 10% at the end of the period to assign the reading of the syllabus as homework and give the students information about various class procedures.

In French 2, I’m going to have the students interview a partner and then present that person to the class.  Here’s the form that they’ll use to conduct the interview: French2_firstday

 

In French 3, I’m going to have the students use pictures on their cell phones to discuss their summer vacations and then present the information they find out to the class.

Here’s the handout: French3_firstday

 

In French 4/5, I’m going to play the M & M game that I’ve seen described on several sites and blogs.  Here’s the directions sheet:

French4-5_firstday

Wish me luck, tomorrow’s the first day with students!

Bonne Rentrée et Bon Courage à Tous!

16 thoughts on “How to Maintain 90% on the First Day of School

  1. Skylar

    What great activities! I’ve never heard of the M&M thing — that could be adapted to so many topics! Another fun thing to do with upper levels could be an “Entretien avec Madame” where you show a single (obscure) picture of your summer & they have to ask questions to determine where you were/what you were doing.

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Great ideas, Skylar! I’ve got tons of M&M’s left over. The idea could be used for any kind of discussion. We’ve got Intouchables coming up. I could have the kids review the previous section by assigning question types to correspond to candy colors. I like the vacation idea you suggested, too. I had time left over today, and I was sorry I didn’t have a picture to share.

      Reply
  2. madamekunz

    I’m not much of a blog follower, but a colleague of mine, a fellow French teacher, suggested that I might enjoy reading yours. She was right! It is inspiring to read about the things you are doing in your class. I have been trying to make my class more proficiency-based but have struggled with the time it takes to prepare lessons and evaluate student work.

    I love the format you posted for developing lessons around infographics. Like you, I have several collected but wasn’t sure exactly how to incorporate them. So, thank you for sharing.

    I also enjoyed reading your back to school lesson plan ideas. The first day back sets the tone for the entire year and I always get a kick out of watching first year students say “Je m’appelle ______” for the first time. They look so pleased and a little surprised that they just said something in French.

    So, thanks for the inspiration. Bonne rentrée!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind comment! I’ve only recently starting following a few teacher blogs. Since most of them are Spanish teachers I’m able to borrow their ideas, but not their materials. That’s one of the reasons why I decided to start my own blog. I agree that the amount of time it takes to develop proficiency-based lessons is overwhelming, especially because most of us French teachers have so many preps. I’m hoping that if I do a good job this year, next year will be easier–but I say that every year! I really appreciate your taking the time to comment!

      Reply
  3. Audra

    Thank you, Madame Shepard for all the great ideas for la Rentree! Every year I rack my brain and agonize over what to do! I feel exactly like you do—-no syllabus! How boring! These are awesome ideas! I will probably do a tiny review before I tell them what I want them to do, but the review will somehow be connected to the activity I give them. For instance, I may have them stand at the board together and brain storm as many words/phrases as they remember in the category I give them from the list of things to ask a partner. The fastest for each category gets 1 point, and those points will be added to the 1st quiz! I will then leave their info on the board, to help them write what they will be interviewing their partners about!
    I am excited! Thanks again!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thanks for the reply and for sharing your great ideas! Let me know how it goes. Bonne rentree!
      Lisa

      Reply
  4. Julia Spencer

    Thank you for being so generous with your ideas and materials! Particularly the Education Unit. I am new to AP Teaching and need as many examples as possible!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      You’re welcome! I’m hoping to post each of the units that I create this year, so you might want to follow this blog. If you have any specific questions about teaching AP, feel free to e-mail me! Bonne Chance!

      Reply
  5. Laura M.

    Merci, merci, merci! Thank you for being so generous by sharing your ideas and your hard work. Your ideas are inspiring me to do similar things in my classroom, as well!

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you so much for your reply, Laura. I’m new at blogging so it means a lot to know that someone is reading. Bonne Journée!

      Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Oh, gosh. Thanks so much for honoring me with your question, but I’m not exactly sure what you mean. I think it’s the words “allowed” and “permissible” which are throwing me off. In my teaching situation, I don’t have any rules about target language use that are imposed on me. My personal philosophy is to try to use as much target language as possible. I try to design lessons in which the students are engaged in reading, writing, speaking and listening to the language for the majority of the class period. I find that I can ensure that my novice students spend more time on these tasks when I use English for some instructions, admnistrative tasks, etc. Due to the nature of the interpretive template, I also use English when providing feedback on these activities. I’d love to know what works for you in your classes! Lisa

      Reply
  6. Muriel Damers

    Thank Ms. Shepard for your blog! I heard so much about you and the IPA assessment method at the AATF conference in Austin!
    I will copy your first day class ideas. I love them!!! As homework, I will ask the kids to go to a paadlet.com where they will have to post a picture of them and 1 to 5 sentences about them (got the idea from another great teacher, Catherine Ousselin.) I plan on using many of your lesson plans. As a new teacher, I do not feel confident of not following my textbooks, but I will try as much as possible to substitute your lesson plans to the book when the units match and to have IPA. Thank you sooo much to be so generous in sharing your lesson plans and wisdom!!! It is so helpful for us, newbies 🙂

    Reply
    1. madameshepard Post author

      Thank you so much for your kind comments and please keep in touch about how your year is going! Lisa

      Reply
  7. Jennifer Robinson

    Lisa,
    I used some of your units last spring with great success, and this year I’m taking the leap and designing some of my own. Awful textbooks have just about driven me over the edge!

    Thanks for sharing your ideas for the first day of class – they’re brilliant, and I can’t wait to give them a try. I’ love having the students jump right back in to using French – so much better than going over the dry syllabus!

    Good luck in your new school!
    Bonne continuation !
    Jennifer

    Reply

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