My French 3 and 4/AP students start the year off with very similar material – a back-to-school/return-from-vacation themed mini-unit that serves as our review. To be honest, I used to feel like re-using the same themes for different levels was “cheating” but it helps simplify my planning SO much, and expectations can always be adjusted for each class to make the work level-appropriate. While my 3s need more help remembering how to form and use both the passé composé and the imparfait after a brief introduction at the end of last year, my 4s and APs have an additional year’s worth of practice with the material so they need more opportunities to narrate and spend less time on formation.
I wanted to do something that allowed them to talk about a past vacation, but last year they already dealt with the “ideal trip” prompt. I also thought they’d probably be talking a lot about what they did over the summer in their other classes, so I wanted to make this assignment more fun and interesting and thus the idea of using “awkward” family vacation photos was born.
First, I went to the Awkward Family Photos website and searched their “vacation” tag. I chose a few school-appropriate images and displayed them on the SmartBoard. For each image, I asked small groups of students to imagine what the story was behind the image. I gave them Amy Lenord’s One Sentence Story template (modified for French, of course) to help remind them of when to use the imparfait and the passé composé. We talked through each suggested story and I popped up grammar as appropriate.
Then, I had the students either choose an Awkward Family Vacation photo from an album that I provided, or they could use one of their own family vacation photos. The task was to then individually come up with a 1-minute story that explained what led to the events in the photo. We used my class set of iPads and the ShadowPuppet EDU app to create their individual presentations, which they shared via our Schoology page. I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by the results! Click the links below to view our videos!