As I noted in my last post, I just finished a unit on the French Revolution with my 4/5AP students. It’s a very complex subject but luckily there are many resources available to help lighten the load for you and to make it interesting for the students. Here’s a list of some of the resources I used (or would use in the future) for teaching the Revolution.
Comprehensive Unit PLan by Noemie Neighbor: Includes teacher-created PowerPoints, readings, and a full set of lesson plans for an entire unit.
L’Histoire de France en BD: La Révolution Française.
La Monarchie absolue: A dossier that gives students some context into the concept of “absolute monarchy.”
Film: La Révolution française: Available in 2 parts on YouTube – it’s very long but part 1 is great for showcasing the major events of the Revolution such as the opening of the Etats-Generaux, the taking of the Bastille and the march to Versailles. We did not watch part 2 as it is probably too violent for school.
The Trésors du Temps textbook actually has a fairly good/comprehensive set of readings, like Rousseau’s Social Contract, an abridged version of Candide, and an account of the taking of the Bastille by an eyewitness. I got a copy of this textbook for free by requesting it directly from the company.
C’est pas sorcier: A humorous reenactment of the Revolution (kind of like Mythbusters, history-style).
1jour1actu: Les symboles de la République: A reading from a children’s news website about the official symbols of the French Republic, born during the Revolution.
1jour1actu video: le drapeau français: An animated video explaining why the French flag is red, white, and blue.
Infographie: La Révolution française: An interactive infographic that explores the French Revolution by theme and by chronology. This resource is geared toward French collègiens, which works well in a high school 4/5 setting.
Karambolage – Guillotine: An animated video that explains the history of the guillotine.
The majority of these resources are authentic and my students were able to understand them with relatively little difficulty. I was surprised at how engaged my students were throughout this unit – they participated, asked great questions, and although we didn’t spend a lot of time focusing on grammar I have seen great strides in their fluency and accuracy. This unit has also been a really great springboard into talking about topics like la laïcité, a highly controversial and relevant topic that is GREAT for an AP-style cultural comparison (and it could very well show up on the exam in May). I am looking forward to refining this unit and using it again in future classes!