Thursday, November 29, 2012

Let the students create the topics!

While working on authentic conversation scenarios I decided to have my students role play from a picture of a man talking on the phone. Let the authentic conversations begin!  Within two minutes of asking them to do so, out came all of the cell phones in my class and all the students began talking!  It was such a funny sight! They were really getting into the "scenario"!   As I circulated around the room to listen,  the conversations were truly varied.  Some spoke of what they did the day before, some of money owed to someone else, while others spoke of pets and even food.  The topics of the conversations were not assigned by me, just the picture prompt.  I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to challenge the students to stretch their vocabulary; and so I decided to put a bit of a twist on the activity.  I wrote all of the topics on the board and  asked the students to find their original topic and then to look at the topic listed below theirs.  That one would be their next conversation starter!!  I then set my timer for a quick two minutes, and off they went again!  I want my students to push the envelope, so to speak, in order to be better risk takers in terms of their language skills and their attempts at becoming better conversationalists. I know that with practise, even their conversations will improve!  Give it a try! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Wow! It's been crazy busy these past couple of weeks!   I can hardly believe where the time has gone!  Had some fun with my senior class this week when I put up a picture of a man proposing to a woman in a restaurant.  It didn't really look like a very fancy restaurant but he was down on one knee with ring in hand.   We did a role play where they took turns playing both people in the photo while I circulated around the room to listen to the conversations.  When you first think about it you might think that this would be an easy task for seniors to do, but really, it posed some challenges for them.  How do you express the feelings that you can see in the photo?  There was a wide variety of conversation but many had the one thing in common that I was surprised to hear; and that was the use of "vous" in the conversations.  It was a true testament to the fact that we always tell our students to be "polite" when speaking in French and that the French people truly cherish this part of their culture.  On the flipside, it was also the perfect time to remind students that you must take each scenario into account in order to determine whether "tu" or "vous" should be used.  We chuckled about it when debriefing about the topic knowing that we certainly should be "familiar" with our future spouses should that be the end result of the "conversation".  :)  It was also a great opportunity to talk about what possible conversations could be occuring.  Perhaps the answer was not "yes"; perhaps it was "no".  What could the followup response be?  How would the conversation continue should the answer be no. Are there terms of endearment that might be used during the conversation?  Would you tell the other person that you love them?  Do you have a "loving name" that you might use with your future spouse?  A great conversation to have.  Once we had discussed these kinds of things and also brainstormed some more vocabulary and ideas on the board; my students redid the role play.  What an improvement!!  Truly getting into character is most important!!  :) 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm having a sale!

I'm having a sale at my store Nov. 8-11.  Come by for a visit!  :)  Click on the link "teacherspayteachers" on the right hand side. :)

Monday, November 5, 2012


Well, it's been a few days since I've blogged.  It's been crazy busy at my school and with parent/teacher/student interviews and fighting a nasty cold, I've wanted to just curl up with a blanket in the evening!  Now that I'm feeling much better I thought I'd share a "parlons" activity that we did today in my class.  I introduced "inversion" questions today and so I thought it crucial that the students practise making these questions before getting into anything in the written form!  We began by having each student write down 'ONE' Est-ce que question.  I had each student say theirs aloud giving me the opportunity to make any corrections for them before doing the next step of changing them into "inversion type questions". 

My students sit at round tables which allows them easy access to each other when doing speaking activities.  The perfect number at a table for this activity is an "odd" number of students!  The first student asked their "est-ce que" question aloud to the person beside them. That student changed the question to an "inversion style" question.  And finally, the third student would have to answer the inversion question, preferably with a full sentence answer in French!  The next student (fourth student) would then begin again with HIS "est-ce que" question.  Then, the student next around the table would change the question into inversion, and the following student would once again answer the question.  With an odd number of students, each student will eventually get to ask their question, have the opportunity to change a question into inversion, and finally answer an inverted question!  I wandered from table to table while the students carried out this activity.  They did a very fine job!!  :) Give it a try in your class!   Next day?  We'll do a little writing with these questions.