Friday, 23 October 2015

Warm-up/ Review Activity: Décrivez-moi!

Here's a quick activity that I did with my grade 7 and 8 classes, that got them speaking some French to each other, and reviewed adjectives with them too.  I call it "Decrivez-moi!" and it was a lot of fun.  One of my grade 7s actually said at the end of class "Thanks for the fun class today Madame."

It is very simple to set up.  If you want to use my worksheet for adjectives, here's the link


1.  Each students needs a piece of paper and a pencil or marker.  Markers make a pretty sheet, but pencils work fine too.  My students just used their pencils.  Have them sit around a table in groups of 4-6 students.  Smaller groups are less confusing when the activity starts.  They may also need a list of adjectives to consult. 

2. Make sure the students write their name at the bottom of the page, so they can find their page at the end. 

3. Use an interval timer for 30 seconds like this one on YouTube to mark the time for each turn.  When the timer starts, students pass the paper they have to the left.  They will receive a paper on their right.  In the 30 seconds, they must write one adjective that describes the person who's paper they have.

4.  Once the 30 seconds is up, they pass the sheet on, and get a new one to write on. And so on.

5.  When students get their own paper, they can add one, or take a 30 second break to see what others wrote.

I do this activity until each student had at lease 15 adjectives on their page.  About 6 minutes or so.  When the students get their paper back, they are to circle the adjectives with which they agree, and "x" out the ones they don't agree with.

During the activity, students would tell each other "Vite!" and "Changez!" "le cloche va sonner!" and "Passez le papier!" while they were playing. I added an assessment by asking each of the students about the adjectives on their page, and with which they did and didn't agree.  Boom.  Authentic conversations.

If you don't want to use adjectives, I think you could adapt this for other vocabulary review, by having the students work in teams until they have added every word that need to be covered.  Or use it for creative writing in Immersion by having the students write one sentence to create a team story to share with the class.    

What other ways could you adapt this activity?

Friday, 9 October 2015

Inquiry Activity: Best tools for French Students

 As part of our review this year, I decided to start my 7s and 8s with a small guided inquiry activity.  I thought it would be a good idea to teach students how to use the resources (tech and not) that are available to them, and get their opinions about which ones they found the most useful. 

I provided them with 4 resources, and small lessons on how to use them:

(An old-school, book-style) Dictionary (or the Word Reference App, free!)
Google translate 

...and they had to find one more tool to compare and contrast.  The question they had was this:

Trouvez un outil qui est indispensable pour un étudiant de français.  Quel outil est-ce que tu préfères? Pourquoi?

I gave the students a list of words to look up in all the resources.  It was great because they sometimes got conflicting translations, and had to depend on their prior knowledge to make sure that the translations were correct.  They were very frustrated!

They were asked to organize their thoughts about the question for our discussion about the best tool.  It was a great discussion-- many students were disagreeing with each other in French.  I had an anchor chart with discussion promtpt for the student to consult and they used them well.   Overall, Google translate lost in this activity, and the students came to this decision themselves.

What I like best about this inquiry activity is that it is short (about 2-3 classes), it is extremely guided, it focuses on thinking about how students think and therefore what tool would help them best, and it makes students have to persuade and defend their opinon in French.  These are all elements needed for an inquiry activity!  

As a added bonus, students found other resources to use, and which not to use. Here are some others that look good: (Not a true dictionary, but cool)

I liked this activity.  It was great to refresh students into using the tools they need in French class.  What inquiry-type activities have you tried so far this year?