La Manie Musicale de Mars 2017

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It’s that time again: March Madness! For the college basketball fan, March is a huge deal of non-stop games that culminate in the college basketball championship at the end of the month. For the world language teacher, it’s a great opportunity to work more authentic music into any and all levels!

This will be my 3rd round of Musical March Madness, and it is my students’ favorite time of year – and that is no exaggeration. We listen to music pretty regularly regardless, but this is a special occasion that everyone looks forward to during the school year. And, to be completely honest? It also gives me a little bit of a break on having to craft 4 different levels of 50-minute lesson plans during one of the hardest months of the year (for me, anyway). I can take the same activities and use them in every level!

Typically I do a 16-song bracket, but as we have testing in March this year, and I will be absent a couple of days this month for various personal-life things, I’ve reduced it to 12 songs. I picked based on titles and artists that my students have enjoyed listening to over the years – however, the majority are not songs that they’ve heard before.

Please bear in mind that I also teach mostly levels 3, 4 and AP and therefore I feel comfortable choosing songs that have more mature themes. Know your clientele and make the choices that are right for you (and them!).

La Manie Musicale de Mars 2017

Soprano – Barman vs Willy William feat Keen’V – On s’endort

Vianney – Je m’en vais vs Fréro Délavega – Mon petit pays

LEJ – Seine Saint Denis Style vs Coeur de Pirate – Ensemble

Louane – Jeune vs Margaux Avril – Lunatique

Christophe Maé – La Parisienne vs Claudio Capeo – Un homme debout

Black M – Je suis chez moi vs Maitre Gims – Ma beauté

I’m excited to see who the winner is!

Les Griots d’Afrique

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As part of French 3’s “Legends and Supernatural” unit, I wanted to address the griot storytelling tradition of Francophone Africa – and WOW I did not anticipate it being so hard to find #authres for this mini-lesson. To be honest, I almost abandoned it all together but I’m glad I didn’t because it shaped up to be an interesting lesson! Plus, it exposed my students to a culture that I tend to shy away from because I am not as familiar with it as I would like to be.

Here’s my lesson sequence:

Day 1: I did a TPRS-style story to illustrate the role of a griot in society. I had one student play a griot, and several others play the roles of people in a village who want stories or songs for their family history. The students just had to act out what I narrated.

Day 2: We did the “C’est quoi un griot, d’abord?” reading with accompanying questions, then watched a TEDx video (in English) of a griot playing traditional instruments and singing; in the latter half of the video he explains what a griot is. We then started the process of watching a video of a griot (I think – at least an African storyteller) tell the legend of L’Homme et le hibou. This is a VERY challenging video; I provided the students with unfamiliar vocabulary and also asked some guiding questions in English to help them figure out what to listen for.

Day 3: We continued with the L’Homme et le hibou video and then broke down together how the story fits the typical characteristics of a legend (animals, magic, personification and a lesson). Then we watched the trailer for Youssou N’Dour’s documentary I Bring What I LoveI had the students do a CLOZE exercise of his explanation of his heritage and upbringing as a griot. There are English subtitles for his French speech, but they are very much just paraphrasing what he says and do not correspond word-for-word to his dialogue; you could alternatively just play the audio first and the video later. I would recommend at this point playing one of N’Dour’s songs.

Day 4: We read the legend Comment le lion devint roi and decided together if it fit the characteristics of an African legend or not. The version of the legend I used comes from http://www.conte-moi.net and there is audio and accompanying exercises in addition to the actual text.

Day 5: Begin the final assessment; the students work in groups of 2-3 to retell a legend, griot-style (or they may write their own legend). I have given them strict parameters in order to keep it simple enough for their proficiency level and also asked that they create a slide of images for any unfamiliar vocabulary that may come up in the legend, to make it more comprehensible for their classmates. We’ve spent the entire semester working on past tense narration, so that is really my linguistic focus for this assessment.

Here is a link to my resource packet for this lesson. As per usual, if there are language errors or formatting things you would like to change, please fix them on your own copy.

Bonne continuation!

 

 

C’est Halloween!

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On veut des bonbons! (You know, from the Têtes-a-Claques video. Anyone? Bueller?)

I have to confess, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween, but my students are! Last week I shared some of my My Favorite Spook-tacular Resources for French Class but since then a few more resources have cropped up that I would like to add to the list and incorporate into my instruction!

My French 3 kids will use a lot of the resources from the link above, but I’m always on the lookout for opportunities for my upper levels (French 4 and AP) to work on their comparison skills since that’s such a huge part of the AP test. We won’t spend a ton of time on Halloween since we’re right in the middle of our Haiti/L’eau, source de vie unit but I didn’t want to totally miss the opportunity to address the differences between Halloween and Toussaint (and their cultural links)!

I’m not sharing the work I’ve made to go along with the following resources since my students haven’t done any of this yet and I know some of them are aware that I keep a blog. I almost always follow a traditional IPA format, though, and at the end they’ll do an AP-style cultural comparison.

Articles/Infographics/Videos

Infographic: Halloween: de plus en plus populaire

1jour1actu: Qu’est-ce que la Toussaint?

1jour1actu: Ceux qui sont contre Halloween

Video: La Toussaint, une tradition toujours très présente chez les Français

After we interact with these documents, we’ll work on stating our opinions about both holidays with a Beyond “Oui” and “Non” speaking activity, then work in partners to do a comparison of the two in order to prepare for our cultural comparison.

My students also LOVE this crazy Halloween video by Têtes-à-claques, so we’ll probably watch it again as per our tradition.

 

My Favorite Spook-tacular Resources for French Class

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Most days, I can say that I really don’t regret my decision to study French instead of Spanish. I think the French language and culture have a lot to offer students! That is…until the end of October rolls around, my students are squirrely, Halloween is approaching and Spanish teachers have a great cultural and linguistic opportunity in Day of the Dead and French teachers get…la Toussaint. Womp womp.

I’ve done lessons on la Toussaint before and while it’s been a great educational opportunity, it’s not exactly the most engaging subject as Toussaint tends to be eclipsed by the two-week vacation that all French students get in honor of the holiday (which no one really celebrates beyond laying mums on a loved one’s grave).

My French 3 kids have JUST started a unit on Legends and the Supernatural (previously done at the end of last year with my level 4 kids), so they’ll be seeing most of these resources but they really could be adapted to (almost) any level. Our grammar focus for all of first semester in level 3 is passe compose and imparfait, so this unit lends itself very well to narrating stories in the past!

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a way to use the language to honor this spooky season, consider some of these resources!

MovieTalk

Alma (used in conjunction with this article)

Dirt Devil commercial 

Vampire’s Crown

The Black Hole

Video/Listening Resources

Créatures Fantastiques: Le Loup-Garou du Québec

Créatures Fantastiques: Le Windigo

A la découverte des catacombes avec Donia 10 ans

The Michel Ocelot film Les contes de la nuit

Story Time: Experience Paranormal

Le Conte des trois frères (Harry Potter)

Reading Resources

Most of my reading resources for this unit are self-created Embedded Readings of the following stories:

Le Nain Rouge de Detroit (try as I might, I cannot find a document that is already in French, thus I created it myself based on the details here)

La Peau de chagrin by Balzac (far too long/difficult to read in class; embedded version with the highlights is the way to go)!

Barbe Bleue by Perrault (I choose this one as it is particularly scary/gory for a fairy tale!)

Les Lavandières de la nuit

Article: J’irai dormir dans les catacombes!

Et voilà! Hopefully these resources will help carry you and your students through the spooky  Halloween season (and help take the sting out of not having a calavera to decorate or an ofrenda to build)!

#AuthresAugust: My Favorite Print Resources

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I’ve blogged before about how some of my colleagues call me the “resource queen” and to a certain extent it might be true – I do spend a lot of time scouring the web for authentic resources for my students. As much as I love a good infographic, though, over the past few years I’ve also really enjoyed using informative children’s books in my classroom and I tend to stock up whenever I’m in France (though you can buy them online too!). Bad news for my suitcase, great news for my personal library!

While my library does boast some of the “classic” children’s literature – Harold and the Purple Crayon, Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, several Dr. Seuss titles, and more – I really like using informative children’s books that explain a concept. Even better if it’s tied to our current thematic unit!

Here is a list of my go-tos and favorites!

L’histoire de France en BD by Dominique Joly and Bruno Heitz

I own two copies from this series, which presents the history of France in comic-book form: De la Révolution à nos jours and La Révolution française. My upper-levels have loved them both and I really appreciate how they present complex historical and political concepts in simple, child-friendly language with tons of visual support.

The Dis Pourquoi series from Fleurus

I love the illustrations of this series, and how it addresses so many common questions that could fit into literally anything you teach. Each book answers, in child-friendly language,  a wide variety of questions like what is a friend?, why do we cry?, why is it bad to throw paper on the ground?, why are there people who sleep on the street?, why do moms and dads have to work? and so on. Super cute!

Mes Petites Questions from Edition Milan

Each book in this series addresses children’s questions related to one specific topic – France, Paris, life and death, love and friendship, religion, soccer, school, seasons and the list continues. I only have a few so far but if I could buy one of each I would!

Questions? Réponses! from Nathan

This is a similar series to Mes Petites Questions but geared to a slightly older audience. I bought two on my most recent trip to France – one about soccer, and the other on World War II for my AP students to use this year.

66 Millions de Français… by Stephanie Duval, Sandra Laboucarie and Vincent Caut

This is another book I just bought so I haven’t had the chance to use it in class yet, but I’m really excited about it! It’s like an infographic in print form and each chapter focuses on a different aspect of France’s identity, like What does it mean to be French? or France, country of rights and obligations and my personal favorite, France seen from elsewhere.

I buy the bulk of my books in France, but there are certain occasions when I need to order something online, so Amazon.fr (or .ca) and FNAC are my go-to sites. Happy reading!

 

#authres August: version française

WHOA – talk about long time, no blog! It has been an insanely busy summer to say the least. About a week and a half after school let out, I went to France to spend two weeks in Vichy at CAVILAM – Alliance Française on a scholarship from the French Embassy in Washington DC. I was lucky enough to be able to arrive a few days early in order to spend some time in Paris, and to stay a few days after the end of my “internship” to spend some time sampling the grape-based products of Bourgogne with a dear friend ;). After returning from France I had a quick weekend for some R&R before jumping into the county-wide curriculum development project I’ve been participating in for the last two years. We wrapped up our work on French 3 yesterday, which means I get one day to relax (and facilitate the last discussion for our #langbook study!) before getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow. Thankfully that should be the last “big” event of my summer – I’m looking forward to having some down time to watch the Olympics and to finally get started on my planning for the fall. I don’t think I’m going to majorly overhaul any of my other classes but I am teaching a full section of AP French this year which will take up the rest of my attention for August!

Inspired by Maris’ #authres post, I thought I’d share some of my favorite authentic resources for my French classes. Since I ditched the textbook back in 2013, I’ve relied heavily on authentic resources in all of my classes – even for novices! I’m such an #authres fanatic, in fact, that it’s become kind of a joke among the members of my curriculum team – I have a weird knack for finding things that are useful at just the right time. (Insert monkey-covering-face emoji here).

Please note – I am 100% aware that my resources tend to lean heavily toward France and not so much toward the Francophone world. Unfortunately my knowledge of the Francophone world outside of l’Hexagone is severely lacking – please feel free to share any resources you may have from the DOM-TOM and Francophone Africa! Clearly, I need them!

Favorite general resources

  • http://www.1jour1actu.fr – This is my go-to when I’m looking for any kind of easy-to-understand video or article as it’s geared toward children.
  • @LeParisienInfog Twitter account for infographics on any subject
  • Forumdesados Online forum for teenagers
  • TV5Monde News and culture from around the Francophone world
  • L’Etudiant News and culture for a student audience
  • UTexas Français Interactif This is cheating as it’s not TECHNICALLY authentic in that it’s not made for a native speaker BUT I’ve found their interviews and videos really useful and my novice students appreciate how easily they can understand the speakers.

School Unit

Activities Unit

Travel Unit

Social Media Unit

Opportunities Abroad Unit

Impressionism Unit

There you have it – 50 resources to start your year!

Resources for Teaching the French Revolution

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.

Les dernières heures de Marie-Antoinette

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!