Le Jour de la Saint Valentin

Here is an infographie for la Saint-Valentin! It’s one page with a few difficult words glossed. I tell students to tak it home and share with their mom or dad. The questions are obviously geared to French I, but also included is a Word document you can update to have all the questions in French – or more difficult questions.

Word document: color and number of roses

PDF document: color and number of roses







Awesome Reading and Matching Activity

This is an amazing idea from Laura Flynn http://teachinginthetargetlanguage.com/ . It worpoppies close upks with any topic and it is a very engaging activity. I used this with my French I students who have been learning French for only one month. The students have been studying about family and describing people.

The idea is to find pictures depicting the topic you are studying in class. 7 to  8 seems to be the right number because students will be able to manage the reading. Then write paragraph descriptions for each picture. Include as much information as possible. For example, for families, I added names of every person, ages and personality (because this is what they have learned). Each picture has a number of letter identifying it.

Post the pictures out of order around the classroom.

Give students the page with the paragraph descriptions. Tell students to read through the descriptions and h

ighlight/underline/circle the information that is important to help match the description to the picture.

When most students are done reading and highlighting, tell them to randomly go around the room to find matching pictures. Students must walk aro

und in silence and they are not to compare answers or copy.

This activity only took 15 minutes and it was totally engaging. I told the students I would give them back their papers tomorrow

Student copy of reading activity

so they can show their mom and dad how much they know in French already!

Below is a link to the descriptions and corresponding pictures.

family reading activity with pictures around the room desc separate


Reading Activity – Pastic in the Ocean

les dechets sur la plageTous à la plage

Here is an article from Geo Ado https://www.geoado.com/actus/tous-a-la-plage/ that I slightly modified to make it more accessible to my students. I added the English translation for most of the words students did not yet know. I also added some questions at the end.

This article can be used for a lesson on the environment, the problem with trash and plastic in the oceans or volunteering. I really like the infographics, which could be used as stand-alone reading activities. It is also suitable for all levels. It makes a nice edition to discussions about the environment in an AP class. Students can be encouraged to research one aspect of trash in the oceans and make their own infographic. A great infographic-maker is Canva http://www.canva.com. It has an infographic template that students can quickly modify to create their own. (It’s great because students spend almost no time designing it so they can concentrate on the substance.)

infographic 1

The information in the article and the infographic is shocking and could lead to discussions with scaffolding (il faut . . .; à mon avis, etc.)


Here is a copy of the article I modified on a Google doc.

Interpersonal Performance Rubrics

Students track their progress on graphs1 poppies

I loved an idea by Lisa Shepard @mmeshep to provide students with an interpersonal and presentational writing rubric coupled with a graph that students can use to track their progress. Here is her blog post. The teacher gives the students feedback by marking their performance level on the rubric. Students transfer their level on the graph themselves. Here is a copy of the graph. I like the rubric Mme Shepard uses from Ohio State, which is based on the ACTFL performance indicators, because it’s not just Novice Low, Mid, High, etc. but there are three levels in each performance indicator – Novice Low 1, Novice Low 2, etc. The Ohio State scoring guides can be found here: Ohio State Scoring Guide   

Making grades match performance indicators

My students know about ACTFL’s performance indicators and I go over with them examples of the different levels and how to increase their levels often. I’m not very good, however, at matching their level with their grades. Grades end up being only assessments and it is hard for me to truly link their performance on assessments with a concrete grade indicating how well they speak and write French. Sure, they do well on assessments, but are they able to speak in strings of compound and some complex sentences and use transitions? It’s so easy to give a grade on a reading and writing assessment. Speaking grades can be subjective and while I use a rubric, I’m never happy with it. Even though I told students they would receive a ‘C’ if they were still at the Novice Mid level of interpersonal performance at the end of their second year, the grade book did not reflect it.

That’s why I was so excited about Mme Shepard’s idea! I finally had a way to translate their performance level to something concrete the students could see. I printed out the rubric and the graphs and based on my assessments (formal and informal) I started to mark students levels on the rubric.

Necessity for a revised rubric

I immediately came up against a road block because the Ohio State rubric starts with Novice Mid 2. French I and some French II students are definitely in the Novice Low range and skipping several pertinent levels doesn’t work for my purposes. So, I thought I would just spend an hour to update the rubric. An hour turned in to five weeks. I was forced to thing through how I could make the rubric clearer to students so that the rubric could be a meaningful tool to understand their level.

Updated rubric

Here is the revised rubric I made: Novice Interpersonal Speaking 

Here is the Google docs version.

Additions to the rubric are examples of speaking levels (je fatigué instead of je suis fatigué, etc.) and ability to maintain the conversation. I reinforce conversation strategies with my students and I added this to the rubric. These strategies are:

  • Respond to your partner’s answers to your questions: Ah bon? C’est vrai? C’est intéressant, etc.
  • Ask a follow-up question: Avec qui? quand? pourquoi? Qu’est-ce que tu as fait après? C’est un bon film? etc.
  • Tell a personal anecdote: Mon cousin habite à ______, etc.

I also updated the graph to reflect the levels from Novice low 2 to Intermediate Mid 3. and updated it to include the rest of the school year (yikes!). It is here.

Thank you, again, to Lisa Shepard and her always awesome ideas and teaching strategies she shares on twitter and her blog.



Authentic Reading: les biograhies des vedettes

apartmentLike every teacher, I try to find authentic materials to incorporate into my lessons and use them for assessments. These two interpretive and presentation activities were a big hit with my students.

My French II students learned new vocabulary relating to identity: I was born . . . , my date of birth, place of birth, family, nationalities and professions. (I’m using Discovering French Blanc). Wikipedia is great for practicing this vocabulary!

I thought it would be more interesting for students to read about stars and their families, including what profession they did originally or what their parents do. I created a une biographie des vedettes by cutting and pasting Wikipedia entries. I edited it a little for comprehension. It’s a boring-looking document, but I gave them the companion sheet which has the stars’ photos on it and asks students to glean information. The companion sheet is here:  Companion sheet to biographie des vedettes

Normally I would have put a premise on this assignment, but it was a fun way for students to review the new vocabulary in a little less-boring context. Students worked on in class.

A few days later I gave students their interpretive reading assessment. The premise was that students worked for either Marie Claire or L’Equipe. They needed to do research on a human-interest story for a journaliste for the magazine. Students chose whether they wanted to research vedettes or joueurs de foot. Here is a copy: Les vedettes research other celebrities ; les joueurs de foot research sports or other celebrities. Students needed to go to Google and search for the names on their sheet. There were to first go to settings and change the language to French (since google.fr is blocked at school). I checked to make sure everyone was on the French-language site.

The follow-up to this activity was a presentational assessment. Their journaliste was under a deadline and so you have to give him the information over the phone. I meant to do this in the lab, but students were not all done with their research. So the next day, it worked out even better because students called another student in the class to relay the information. All the students were very serious and they did a good job giving the information in French. I modified the sheets with the questions so students would ask the questions correctly. It is here: spkg test research soccer players and here: spkg test research celebrities

We are now describing our favorite stars and I did a movie talk using Amir’s J’ai cherché music video: https://youtu.be/kQysGibXphE It doesn’t have too much of a twist ending, but there is something to talk about with the students. I played the video without the sound and stopped it at each scene to ask students questions about it. Here is a script I wrote up for myself : j’ai cherché amir and I specifically concentrated on these adjectives (heureux is always so hard for them!): ambitieux, amusant, bavarde, compétente, décontracté, égoiste, heureux, impatient, injuste, optimiste, paresseux, patient, sensible, triste, timide.

It went over fairly well to reinforce the new adjectives. The students had heard the song before because I like to play it during the passing period sometimes.


Rejoinders to Increase Student Speaking Ability


Les champs de lavande en Provence

In order to increase students’ speaking ability, they need to have things to say! I’m a big proponent of question cards and while good prompts, they are not good conversations.

I found that I needed to go through the elements of a good conversation with students to help improve their speaking ability and move them up to the next proficiency level.

Step 1: Conversation Starters

While a little unnatural when using conversation cards, it is important to remember that we normally start out talking to someone in a way that ‘breaks the ice.’ For example, “You know what?” “listen,” “look,” “guess what!” “so,” etc.

In French these would be: Alors, eh bien, écoute, devine quoi, etc.

Step 2: Responses

When we ask someone a question or make a statement to someone in a conversation, the ‘partner’ doesn’t look blankly then ask the next question. There is always a response. It is important to highlight this with students and give them examples of responses.

For example:


Ah bon? (really?)

C’est vrai? (really?)

Moi aussi (me too)


These are pieces of information that are related to the answer to the question or statement:

Où est-ce que tu habites? (J’habite à ______________)

J’ai un ami qui habite à ____

Follow-up Questions:

These are follow up questions you can ask based on your partner’s answer:

Où est-ce que tu habites? (J’habite à ___________________)

Est-ce que tu habites dans une maison ou un appartement? C’est une grande maison?

Things to say when you don’t have anything to add:

French people are great at these interjections and learning them will help students sound more French and help the conversation along.

Voilà/Et voilà – there it is

Tout à fait – exactly, completely. Used when you agree with the person but don’t have anything to add.

Ça y est – That’s it. You’re in agreement

C’est exact – That’s right (I agree)

Step 3: Elaboration

Encourage/remind students every time they are speaking French to add details as much of possible. Give them examples and have them practice.

Où est-ce que tu habites? Loin d’ici ou près d’ici?

Je n’habite pas loin de l’école dans une petite maison avec ma famille.

Step 4: Cheat sheet!

Give students something to go by when they are speaking French. Have a separate cheat sheet for when they are playing games so they can say, “Your turn” and “whose turn is it” etc.

Click here for a sheet you can give students to help them stay in French: Les Expressions Utiles




Performance-Based Grading Part 1

sunflowers (2)

Sunflowers in Provence

Performance-based grading reflects how well students can speak, read, write and understand spoken and written language. Vocab quizzes and tests are great to get students to study vocabulary and grammar, but they don’t do a good job of assessing how well students can maintain a conversation.

Performance-based grading, Integrated Performance Assessments, thematic units, etc. can be very overwhelming. While the profession is moving away from quizzes and unit tests, text book manufacturers are not. Finding materials, writing our own formative and summative assessments are not easy and it’s time consuming. Nevertheless, you can change up your classroom at any time. Little changes will eventually add up to big changes. Telling students how they will be graded and what to expect is the key. Plan an end-of-unit speaking assessment (Student will have to buy clothes for either a ski weekend, elegant wedding or beach getaway. He will have to name the clothes he is buying, describe some of them and say whether they are expensive or cheap, etc. for example). Students will then record their information either on Google Voice (see below), in the language lab, create a Vine or other technology-based method and you’ve made the first step to having a performance-based classroom!

Students are motivated by grades

One thing that motivates students is their grades. What students are graded on is what they will study and focus on. If you assign grades only for quizzes, unit tests and writing assignments, students will focus their attention on doing well in these three areas. Sure, students will do speaking activities in class, but most of them will not focus on doing well on them because they know they will not be graded on how well they can speak the language.

There are many teachers who have set up their gradebook to only reflect performance assessments. I am not 100% there yet. What I have done in my classroom is to add a category for performance assessments with sub-categories for speaking, writing, reading and listening (basically the three modes of communication: interpersonal, interpretive and presentational).

I still have homework as a category. Homework assignments are worth one point each; students receive a 0 if it is late but receive full credit when it’s turned in. It doesn’t affect their grade that much, but it looks bad when they have a lot of missing assignments. I let them turn assignments late for full credit because I like the idea of the assignment hanging over a student’s head. He can’t get out of doing it just because he was too lazy, had a track meet, went to a birthday party, etc. the day before it was due. This forces him to actually practice the grammar or vocabulary.  I also have some other classroom assignments in the gradebook.

I think the hardest performance assessment to grade is students’ ability to speak the language because it takes up a lot of class time. This is what I have done to help improve students’ speaking ability and be able to assign grades for it so students will know this is important and will actually put in effort practicing speaking the language:

Practice often in class

I try to have students speak the language as much as possible, but unlike better teachers, I don’t enforce only French among the students. However, I have students speak French for five minutes at the beginning of class (after the mindset which I call La Sonnerie) three times per week on average. Students need a lot of practice on anything they will be tested on. By being consistent with making students speak the language, student will show a lot of improvement.

I have always had students write two sentences every day on the back of their mindset paper that I collect at the end of the week. However, students’ writing has really improved once I started having them write substantial paragraphs (minimum 50 words) often. I give them a writing prompt (what did you do yesterday, what are you going to do this weekend, what is your dog like, etc.) two or three times a week. The key is consistency and also highlighting errors and have students fix them the next day. Students have to correct and re-write. These are practice for the performance assessment students.

“Don’t Speak English” Cards

While students are speaking the target language, I circulate and if I hear someone speaking English, he or she receives a “Ne parle pas anglais” card.  I made half-sheet cards using card stock that say, “Ne Parle Pas Anglais!” The student can give away the card to another student who he or she hears speaking English. I have about five or six cards handy.

At the end of the five-minute period, any student with a Ne Parle Pas Anglais card must come to the front of the room and speak the target language for 30 seconds. They can talk about any subject. I tell the rest of the class to be ready with questions for the speaker. This is a good way to get students to speak the target language and to get students to ask questions. Every time students speak they improve and consistency definitely helps improve students’ language skills.

Presentational Speaking

Presentational speaking is easier to grade than interpersonal speaking. My school uses Canvas and students can use the recording feature on discussion posts. I have students leave record themselves once every two weeks. My school also has a language lab, which we go to once a week. I also have students record themselves at the end of the lab period. If you don’t have either of these methods, you can use Google Voice. Click on the Google Apps icon (the checkerboard in the upper right-hand corner of your Google screen), click More, then click Even More. Scroll down to Voice. It allows you to choose a new phone number that you can give out to students to leave messages on. I have students make their recordings in class from their cell phones or from the classroom phone, or call for homework. The students leave messages with what every topic you are grading them on (I also make them ask a question at the end). If for some reason you are not allowed to choose a new number in your area, you can use your own phone number and set it so that the students go directly to Google Voice.

Interpersonal Speaking

This mode of communication is a little difficult for me to grade because you basically have to grade either student role plays or skits in front of the class or grade a few groups at a time over several days. I hate spending class time on a few students doing something and everyone else watching. Having a language lab, I record partners maintaining a conversation for 2 minutes, which works out great. If I don’t use the language lab, I walk around the room grading three or four groups each day during the week I am grading this performance assessment.

Presentational Writing

For presentational writing, since I have students write often, I will assign one of the paragraphs as their assessment. I like giving students a minimum number of words to write because it forces them to make longer, more interesting sentences, as well as use adjectives and adverbs. On Canvas, I have students make discussion posts once every two weeks and will sometimes use them as a performance assessment.

I love Padlet! It is free to use and it is so easy to use. Students post a picture related to the topic and then write a paragraph or whatever you assign. Students love it because they can post a picture and everyone in class can see their picture. I like to spend a couple minutes clicking on their pictures so everyone can see them on the big screen.


To me, grading students on their performance makes them focus on speaking, writing, reading and listening. I do not have time to re-write the textbook, find tons of authentic materials, nor create interesting thematic units. However, I can incorporate speaking and writing in to my lessons on a weekly basis. These are things that improve student performance immensely. Over the summer I will try to find more authentic reading and listening materials. For now if I can get them to speak more and write more, the students will be better off.

Also, I have made quizzes and unit tests less “high-stake” because they take valuable class time away from using the language. I still have them take quizzes, but I don’t spend as much time doing everything to help ensure that they get the best grade possible. Students need to study and I need to give them a lot of review, but now that their whole grade isn’t relying solely on quizzes and tests, I can put less emphasis on them in class. cafe montmartre3




Effective Tools and Strategies to Boost Students’ Speaking Proficiency

Thank you for attending my presentation at the AZLA Fall Conference!

Below is a link to the power point presentation as well as all of the handouts. There will be more handouts added today, as well as additional posts in the next week. Please sign up to receive an email whenever new content is added.

AZLA Presentation

Here is a simple performance assessment based on students talking about themselves plus all the lead-up activities you can do in class to prepare students to excel in their assessment. This is a presentational assessment in which students make a video of themselves (description below). This would also be used as an interpersonal assessment in which students would be talking together, trying to see who is the most interesting person.

There is a new TV show in France about the lives of American teenagers. A talent scout has asked you to do an autobiographical recording about yourself. He will listen to it to see if you would make an interesting character on the show. You really want this gig, but you think your real life is too boring. Make an outlandish recording about yourself to help you get the job.

Performance Assessment with lead-up activities

Adjective List

Category Game

Les Expressions Utiles pour une Conversation

The following grading rubric for speaking activities has two parts: page one lets you quickly grade students. An A (90%) is 13.5 (middle score in every category). A student can receive an A+ (100%) or between 90% and 100% by achieving a 5 in any or all of the three categories.

Grading rubric spkg activity

The following rubric is intended to be used for a formative assessment. Students need a lot of practice before their summative assessment. This gives them either an A or a B and is for an initial assessment. You would grade more ‘harshly’ with subsequent assessments.

Speaking activity rubric

Start out the new school year speaking only French!

016Now is the best time to switch to all French, only French, all the time (of course using comprehensible input, slightly above their level but with words they know, cognates and gestures). Getting the students to speak French is another topic!

7 Reasons you should speak only French from day one

  • Language immersion from day 1
  • Students are only in class 50-55 minutes per day – how much less French can you give them? If you’re not speaking French for the entire time, students are only hearing French for what, 20 minutes? 30 minutes? How does that help them?
  • Students will learn to use context cues and cognates for understanding – skills they will need to understand people other than their teacher.
  • Students will gain confidence that they are learning the language and are making progress. They’ll sure be proud when you say something to them in the hall in front of their friends and they can understand you – and their friends can’t.
  • Students start expecting you to only speak French. They’re tuned in to the language and their brain is used to it. It is so much easier for the brain to understand one language at a time instead of switching back and forth. Speaking half French, half English will have students’ brains only listening for the English. When I’ve ever said something in English (usually towards the end of the school year) my students just give me blank stares because their brains are not recognizing the English!
  • Great selling point for your classes – parents will be impressed when you explain how you conduct your class during “Meet the Teacher Night” assuring them that you will give students enough support by writing important information on the board in English, using gestures, etc.
  • ACTFL requires 90% target language use.

How is it possible to speak only French?

I’ve conducted my French classes in French for several years – and it works! What students miss out on are my interesting and witty anecdotes because somethings can’t be understood in the target language due to students’ language level. Oh well!

The projector is your friend

Prepare complicated instructions in English on a power point. You give the instructions in French, pointing to the English. If you don’t have a projector, use an overhead or Elmo or similar device. You would be surprised, however, how it is possible to give instructions in French using only visuals and gestures.

Use the white board or chalk board

Write down important information on the board in English. I like writing on the board because it is not pre-prepared (as long as not too much information). Students feel like you are giving them the information at their pace. Make sure to post dates for tests and quiz, rubrics, etc. on the board or on-line.

Write key words on the board or post them on colored paper around the room

Words I use a lot are written on the board or posted so I can point to them when I say them. Examples are:

Dépêche-toi! (when they ask to go to the bathroom – in French, of course)

Quand _______ revient (for bathroom requests)

C’est à dire

C’est la même chose

C’est pareil

Use gestures

It’s amazing how much students can understand with gestures alone. How would you indicate, “Are you done?” with only your hands? Pair easily-understood gestures with French and students believe they are understanding French when they’re actually just understanding the gesture. But does that matter? Before long, you can ask, “Tu as terminé?” without a gesture and students will understand (cognates definitely help).

Use cognates

The first day of French I students have no problem understanding, “Tournez à votre partenaire et dites, “Bonjour, je m’appelle . . .” ” especially when you turn your body and extend your hand.

I have found that it is not that hard to think of cognates as you are explaining or describing. We’re lucky with 40% of the French language an English cognate!

Have routines

When students know they need to start the class period with the bell work (I call it La Sonnerie), etc. and every day you reinforce that routine, students will learn the vocabulary and know what is expected of them. Sonnerie, parler français (question cards) prendre les notes, ecrivez au tableau (I call on students to write their answers on the board), parlez français avec votre partenaire, jouer un jeu, ecrivez sur ce papier . . .(exit ticket). While you do not do the exact same thing every day, you will start out and end the same way and do a variety of the same activities several times a week.

How to handle the code of conduct and other beginning-of-school requirements

Usually the administration requires teachers to go over at least part of the student handbook and code of conduct.

  • Call on students to read sections of it from their own books.
  • Put it on the projector and call on students to read
  • Prepare a Voki (www.voki.com) where two avatars are taking turns reading the student handbook or have one ask questions and the other answer. (How long does my skirt have to be?) This is actually a great idea.

What about things that have to be in English?

The only time I speak English is if a student needs individual help and it doesn’t make sense to explain in French, I will quickly explain in English. The student usually gets it right away and that’s the end of it.

Some teachers will have a sign that has “Je parle anglais” on one side and “Je parle français” on the other. She turns it to the Je parle anglais side when she needs to make an announcement in English.

Other teachers will stand under the American flag when they need to speak English.

In my experience, I would rather write on the board in English than switch to speaking English. It is so much easier to keep in French because once you allow yourself to switch, it’s easy to find reasons to speak in English. If you never switch to English, it gets harder and harder to justify speaking in English. After a while students forget you even speak English. Why shock them?

What about administrators who are uncomfortable with target-language only?

I have had administrators who have had no trouble with only French and those who think students are too lost with only French and have praised other teachers who use “the right balance of target language and English.”

Explaining the premise behind French-only won’t help because the administrator feels the students are lost. My solution is make sure that during an observation I have planned a lot of student-student interaction, some teacher-student question/answers, make sure to speak slower (even if the students don’t need it) and more gestures. I’m definitely not going to start speaking English for the administrator.

I’ll never forget once when an administrator quietly slipped in. The students were acting a tiny bit crazy and someone had a forbidden snack on his desk. I was able to tell the students in French that we had a visiteur, to put away the food and to be on their best behavior and they immediately became model students without the administrator thinking the students were anything but model students.

Another time an administrator sneaked in and I was off subject (but still in French!) talking about my diet and how a peanut butter sandwich was 440 calories. The administrator was impressed with the topic, the French and how interested all the students were.

What about outside of class?

There is not really a reason to switch to English outside of class. It’s a great opportunity to give students another chance to practice French. When you see them in the hall, ask, “Tu vas à quelle classe maintenant?” “Comment s’appelle ton professeur?” “Il est gentil?”

When students tell you about their day, their boyfriend, their job, etc. you can always find a response:

  • C’est bien!
  • C’est amusant!
  • Les garçons sont stupides!

Your students will understand!

 Bottom line – NO EXCUSES!

Now that you know the why and the how – just do it! There is really no reason to not speak 100% French with students. It will help them and you. Just think – no more feeling bad for not speaking French. You know that’s what you have to do!

Extended French Speaking Activity

To achieve my goal of increasing French usage among my students, I implemented “Ne parlez pas anglais” cards in my French II class today.

Students are just finishing up reflexive verbs. I gave them an information-gap activity, and gave every student three question cards to ask their partner when they were done with the information-gap activity. Students were told that they could talk about any activity and the question cards could be used if they ran out of things to say.

I explained the information-gap activity in French, but I had a power-point explanation in English. I handed out the information-gap sheets to each partner (A and B). Students were told that they were to speak French for an entire 15 minutes. If anyone was caught speaking English, he or she would be given a “Ne parlez pas anglais” card. They could get rid of the card if they caught someone else speaking English. Any students who still had the card at the end of the activity would have to go in front of the class and speak French for one minute.

We practiced pronunciation of some of the answers they would be giving. On the information-gap sheet, the infinitive forms were listed. I emphasized that they need to drop the ending of these words when used in a sentence and I practiced the pronunciation of this several times. (We speak in the present and past tenses daily but students still want to say “Je me lever.”

I started a timer and I told students to start speaking French. Of course one student “didn’t know the activity had started!” and I promptly gave the student a “Ne parlez pas anglais” card. The other students really tried to not speak English. I sort of felt as if the students were a little too afraid of getting punished and I don’t really want them to be coerced into speaking French, but then again, maybe I do want them forced to speak it.

Towards the end of the activity there were two students who started speaking English for some reason and both got two cards. I think I gave out a fourth card, but I don’t remember who I gave it to and I only have three cards now instead of four.

After most students were done with the information-gap activity, they picked up the question cards and used them to ask each other questions. They were new cards I had made for French I after they learned aller so the students were unfamiliar with them. Even so, they did pretty well.

I called time and then called up the first student to speak French in front of the class. She wasn’t too nervous but wasn’t sure what to talk about. I asked her how old she is, how big her family is, if she has a dog, etc. She did fine. I had two other students come up and they did fine. I don’t think any of them thought this was a big embarrassment for them. At my previous school the German teacher had students do this often and it really improved their ability to speak French.

I’m hoping to continue to use this method of keeping students in French and even if they have to come up to the front, that experience should help them speak French.

Book Recommendation

The book I used for the information-gap activity is called Deux à Deux by Michael Dreke and Wolfgang Lind from 1992. I use it quite a bit, but it is best suited for French III and above, but some activities are suited for French II. There are a variety of activities and I do not use them all. In the information-gap activities, they have missing information for several people, not just the people on partner A’s paper. For example, in the activity I used today, it was practicing asking what time people did certain things (M. Pache or Yvonne). Sometimes the information for M. Pache was on partner A’s paper, sometimes it was missing and the same for Yvonne. There are also two columns for Vous-même and Votre partenaire to complete. The other aspect of these activities I like is that they are a little edgy. For example in a different activity, the student asks, why doesn’t Jean-Marc want to drive? The answer is, “because he has a little too much to drink.”

By the end of this activity, my students were definitely experts at asking “A quelle heure est-ce que . . .”

deux a deux