I consider teaching for proficiency to still be in its youth. While there are some things we have figured out, we still have a long way to go. To that end, I wish that there were more models for French teachers. Online you can see full units on the sites called Madame’s Musings, Ma revolution française and World Language Laboratory. I want to take what I have learned from these teachers and show another example of a unit from my point of view to further the conversation and better support other teachers.
I aim to create units for Middle School students where the theme is at least vaguely of interest to students, with at least a small social justice component, where the unit is centered around authentic resources and there is input before students are asked to speak. In addition, as I want this unit to be for my 8th graders, I wrote it at the Intermediate-Low level. If you are a regular reader, you will see in this unit on Holidays many of the same types of resources that I rely on regularly.
All of my resources are linked below or you can use the link for the folder.
To begin, I chose my theme and essential question:
- Theme: Holidays and Celebrations
- Essential Question: In what ways does culture influence celebrations and customs?
These will probably need to be revised later, but it gave me a start. Then, consulting the ACTFL Can Do Statements, I chose some:
- I can talk with someone about holidays and celebrations.
- I can describe what is needed for a holiday or a celebration.
- I can ask and respond to simple questions about dates, times, places, and events on invitations.
- I can write about a holiday or a typical celebration.
Again, these will need to be added to and revised, but they are a start. Based on these, I wrote a TALK-style assessment for the end of the unit.
As I got started on choosing authentic documents for the unit, I knew that like usual I aim to include a short video, like an ad, that I may do a movie talk for, a song, a simple reading like an infographic or an invitation, an article written for children and some sort of information about a related social justice issue. To use these resources I will want to make slides about me to share new vocabulary, an interpersonal task, a presentational written component where students will make materials to inform other students and a task. I wanted students to sort terms, circumlocute and interview each other. All of these are familiar activities that my students do every unit.
Thank you to the now defunct blog French Tool Box for giving me a start to this unit.
So, here are the resources for the unit:
Start the unit with a Movie Talk, Erste Ad. For more of an explanation on Movie Talk, see my previous post.
Show screenshots and have students predict the story, leaving out the end. Then show students the slide with six pictures from the story. Describe one and they say which one it is. They can numbers 1-6 in their journals and write the letters that correspond.
Students read Erste Ad Script
Show students six pictures and students retell the story in partners
Students predict the ending
Show the whole video Erste Ad, including the ending
Students use the final set of pictures to retell the story
To introduce the vocabulary of the unit, show presentation Vocabulaire Les Fêtes (Edited from French Tool Box) and talk about yourself and your customs.
Includes Minons video Joyeux Anniversaire
With slide, ask Questions Personnelles (Ideas from U of Texas at Austin)
Qu’est-ce que tu fais?
1. Est-ce que tu sors en costume pour fêter Halloween?
2. Est-ce que tu manges de la dinde à Thanksgiving?
3. Est-ce que tu regardes des feux d’artifices le 4 juillet?
4. Est-ce que tu fêtes ton anniversaire avec un défilé?
On the third day, I present two holidays, Chandeleur and Eid-al-Fitr and on the fourth day students read about Le 14 juillet. With these holidays and the ones students celebrate, the class will them have enough background knowledge and previewed vocabulary to start talking about holidays themselves with an interpersonal activity.
Presentation La Chandeleur
With handout Une liste des fêtes, students sort terms with hand out On which holiday, found on slide 39 of presentation Les Fêtes.
L’actu du jour fete nationale Reading. You will want to make an activity to hold students accountable with this reading.
Questions Les fêtes
Students answer questions for themselves
Give students an index card and have them write a question about holidays on one side and their answer of the other. I have students make two concentric circles and then the inner circle rotates after each question to change partners. The answer on the back is to show the partner if they get stuck.
Circonlocution, found in presentation Les fêtes
This is a variation of Taboo, played as teams. 6-8 words on slides projected one at a time to the class. In the teams, choose a scribe, a describer and the rest of the group guesses. Only the describer is allowed to look at the list. They use circumlocution and gestures if necessary (no English!!) to get the group to guess the list of words. The scribe can guess and also writes down all the words. First team to finish the whole list wins that round. Rotate roles and play again.
Question – Question – Exchange: Print slides 46, 47 and 48 from the Presentation Les fêtes and copy as needed. Cut into cards with one question per card. Make enough for the whole class. Students read off their cards to a classmate and answer the question. They continue the conversation for as long as they have something to say in French. Then they exchange cards and move on to make a new pair with another classmate.
Play Quizlet Live with Quizlet Les fêtes from above
A natural connection to social justice when teaching holidays is to talk about religious tolerance.
Show slide 50 from presentation Les fêtes to talk about practices and perspectives.
Students complete Reading the news handout
Have students do the conversation from the reading, each taking a role
Present the project for the unit to the students. There is an excellent free resource online for this if you google “French II Les fêtes et les traditions en France” which is from The Rose Tree Media School District. I didn’t ask for permission, so I won’t share the link.
Return to look at the list of holidays
Have students pick a holiday to research and present to the class
Have students present to their classmates in small groups. Students record information on handout Gallery Walk Les Fêtes
After students are done, they complete Task Les fêtes to show their understanding of holidays.
As a whole class, play Kahoot
TALK assessment — See previous post
While groups from the class are doing the TALK assessment, the rest of the class can do Quizlet Learn, with the link above
Thank you, dear reader, for considering this unit. I would love to hear from you either with a like or with a comment below. There very well may be typos or improvements– don’t hesitate to let me know what I can improve. And, if you like part of this resource, please put a comment to say what works well for you!