I’m not sure where I originally saw the link, but over the summer I came across a post about class passwords by Bryce Hedstrom and immediately thought to myself, I’ve got to try this! I am quite happy to say that it has been going swimmingly in my 4/AP split. I picked that particular class as a means of introducing and reinforcing more idiomatic language, but it’s definitely something I would consider implementing in my other levels!
I don’t have any particular rhyme or reason to selecting a password; sometimes it has something to do with our current topic of study, but more often than not it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s just a particular quote I found interesting, or a funny proverb.
This year’s passwords so far: I typically make the students use the password in a complete sentence/in context if applicable.
tant pis! (too bad)
quand même (anyways, all the same)
mieux vaut tard que jamais (better late than never)
ça vaut la peine (it’s worth it)
avoir un poil dans la main (literally: to have a hair in one’s hand; idiom for: to be lazy)
à quoi bon…? (what good is…?)
à partir de ce jour (from this day forward)
de plus en plus (more and more)
plus on est de fou, plus on rit (the more, the merrier)
de l’autre côté (on the other hand)
Un sourire coûte moins cher que l’électricité, mais donne autant de lumière. – Abbé Pierre (A smile costs less than electricity, but gives as much light)
la soupe au pistou (vegetable soup; this was borne out of a weird dream I had in which I made this the weekly password and the kids thought it was so funny that they actually wanted to have it as the password for the week. I am NOTORIOUS for having school-related nightmares, so it’s a bit of an in-joke with us)
Je vous prie d’agréer, Madame/Monsieur, l’expression de mes sentiments distingués (a formal e-mail closing; they’re required to memorize a few for the AP exam, might as well make it a password!)
il n’y a pas de mot de passe (there is no password – I forgot to come up with one, so this became the password)
il s’agit de (it’s about/it concerns – introduced as a way to correct students saying il parle de to relay information from another source)
365 nouvelles journées, 365 nouvelles opportunités (365 new days, 365 new opportunities; this was the password the week we came back from winter break!)
I really like the password not only as a linguistic function, but also as a relationship builder – it gives me and the students something to talk about as they enter the classroom and, as Bryce said in his post, kind of gauge where they are mood wise that day and I can check in with anyone I need to check in with. It’s also fun to hear a student use an old password in a real-life context; like when someone arrives to class tardy, there is always a chorus of “mieux vaut tard que jamais, Mademoiselle!” Or when I grill them a little bit for whining about something silly, “Oui, mais quand même, Mademoiselle!”
I’m always taking suggestions for more passwords, so feel free to share!