Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I just love it when my students enjoy one of my new products!!  This year I spent time creating a game of "Pioche".  (Go Fish in English)  After spending time speaking with my European friends and my French Canadian ones I found that the two areas call the game of Fish two different names.  In areas of France children play "Pioche" and in Quebec my friends' children played "Va pêcher".  No matter what you call it, it's a great way to bring an easy childhood card game into the classroom while reinforcing not only "speech" but also a theme of vocabulary of your choice.  My students are using my "Noël" collection and are playing Pioche with Christmas vocabulary cards.  Each game has 120 cards so that the students can collect 2 or 4 of a kind. I have put the vocabulary pictures here on green cardstock so that they last longer.   If you are interested, visit my store at:

Look for French Christmas Fun in the classroom!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Good old fashioned fun!

As we head into the Christmas holidays
 and it becomes more of a challenge to keep our students focussed on learning, it's more important than ever to have "fun" in your classroom.  Not only will it make the time go by much more quickly for both the students and yourself but it is the perfect way to reinforce all of the basic French skills of reading, listening, and speaking with a board game or two! Monopoly, Scrabble, The Game of Life, Clue - just to name a few - all have French versions of their English counterparts.  Yes, the major publishers have them available but we were able to find them at a lesser cost through a toy store (on-line shopping).   :) 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Creating a story

Today I wanted to promote not only speaking skills but also wanted to encourage my students to listen to each other!  We started by spending some time "speaking" about a picture on the screen.  The picture was suggesting a "theft from a filing cabinet with only gloved hands being seen" in the picture.  It was a great way to create mystery. After the students spoke about the picture for a period of time, I had them create a story together.  One person started the story and we continued to circulate around the room until the story was done.  Each student added a little bit of information and each created more twists and turns as the story continued. It became very complicated with new characters coming into the story as it progressed.  Upon completion of the "oral story", I asked all of the students to spend some time "writing" the story that was just told.  There were varying successes in this part of the activity as some had better memories than others.  Also, some were just better listeners than others.  It was a great lesson to promoting a "oneness" in our room while practising in the target language!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Teaching comprehension

There are so many things that we can learn quickly but "comprehension of a second language" is not one of them!  Improving comprehension takes time and lots of repetition and practice.  When students are not yet able to understand everything that they hear in the foreign language we need to work at strategies to help them understand SOME of what they are listening to.  The more difficult the listening "podcast" or "tv commercial" or "speech" the longer it will take the students to get to a point where they understand most of what is being said. 

Today, I had my students watch a short video which was advertising "la fête des lumières", the festival of lights which starts tomorrow in Lyon, France.  I gave only a very short introduction to the video and then asked the students the write down all of the words that they understood as they were listening to and watching the video. I then asked them to use those words in a very short "quick write" of 6 minutes in length.  I didn't care what they wrote, I just wanted them to use some of the words that they heard.  I also wanted them to realize that they couldn't spend 10 minutes deciding about what they were going to write.  (a huge time waster when time in the classroom is precious)  When students are asked to write something they don't always have the vocabulary at their fingertips in order to write something of a higher quality.  This gave all of my students a place to start.  I then showed a second video where I had the students do the exact same thing, only this time the short video was about a short story that we had recently read and are studying in class. (La Chasse-Galerie)  Again, my goal was for the students to create a vocabulary list for themselves.  This list will now be used to study from in preparation to writing their culture test about the French Canadian short story.

As is always the case, the class has a large variety of abilities.  This exercise was difficult for some and much easier to do for others.