Monmouth County Private High School – French 1
In “Je comprends” students learn the basics of the language in a self-driven manner. Topics and direction are determined as students progress in their studies and express interests in new subjects.
With a goal of learning through the common use of language, students will explore the language and its culture through music, movies, television, art, fashion, and creative writing. Experiences range from writing a children’s books, to discussions of films, articles in French-speaking newspapers and magazines, comparisons to French and American arts and culture, ordering from a french menu to reading and cooking from French recipes.
This class has been offered to build an understanding and appreciation of the language and culture.
- understand basic conversation and grammar.
- build vocabulary through projects, themes and interests in specific topics.
- become increasingly comfortable understanding in both comprehensive and communicative French.
- delve into learning more about French culture worldwide.
- understand French culture through some current events.
- study aspects of life in France.
- discuss current events.
- learn to read a French menu and to order in French.
Students began the semester expressing an interest in learning not from a book, but from life. Based on this, we’ve added vocabulary to the class as the need arose. We started off identifying the most basic vocabulary that one would learn as a child. We then extended the learning to other mediums by writing children’s books based on this theme for the younger students in the school. Creating these books helped to solidify the chosen vocabulary for individual students. Once completed, each student read their book aloud and shared the vocabulary with the class. Lessons are varied to hold the student interest, including activities from learning the basic building blocks needed to read, write and speak, to project-based learning to reinforce the lessons.
To introduce the culture we’ve been exploring music and film. We watched the movie The Red Balloon, and we listen to French music in class regularly. Students have begun to identify a sound or look that is uniquely French. Students in this class have combined with French II students to put on a vintage French Fashion Show. This required learning terms specific to clothing and fashion. They learned about the history of fashion in France and had a lot of fun moving around, learning in a hands-on activity.
The next project was focused on place, those that they live in and those they wish to visit. The students created individual house plans based on their actual or ideal home and learned vocabulary necessary to describe the features of that home. Students presented a place that has meaning to them. This included 20 new vocabulary words and 3 conjugated verbs related to the place. Each student has been challenged to connect to a passion when choosing the location that they will be sharing. We will also be encouraging the students to create travel posters via mixed media, to celebrate places of interest to them. A brief research project was assigned to create the posters.
The class uses Duolingo as an ongoing learning system to supplement what is being taught in class. With a non-traditional approach in the class, students seem to enjoy having the opportunity to learn with this more measured method as a supplement. Each week, students are expected to take on another level. Students have so far completed Basics 1, Basics 2, Phrases, Food, Animals, Adjectives 1, Plurals, Clothing, and Être/ Avoir. The class is learning to utilize Google Translate and to use a French and English dictionary to aid them in their translations
The class is also being exposed to a progressively immersive program. Less and less English has been spoken in class as the student comfort level grows. We have also employed the services of a new French professor who is a native speaker from Switzerland so that the students can benefit from the lyrical quality, intonation and pronunciation of French as spoken in Switzerland. Our hope is to bring additional speakers in from other French-speaking parts of the world so that the students can begin to recognize subtle and not so subtle changes in dialect, phrases and vocabulary.
We have begun to study themes that the students are interested in to increase their vocabulary. They have worked through a unit learning vocabulary about the beach. They are also learning favorite food items to work into a lesson on ordering from a French menu. They have had a typical breakfast consisting of croissants, cheese, juice, jam and madeleines to expose them to differences in diet and tastes in France.
The class has also spoken about causes popular with young celebrities in France. They watched a French music video, which was produced to bring attention and to raise funds to help bring clean drinking water to sun-parched areas in Africa. We will be exposing the class to current events in France and in the United States to illustrate points of view on subjects which may be alike and some may be different. We will be reviewing some French political cartoons so that we can get an idea about how they feel about our upcoming presidential elections.
Students continue to build a deeper understanding of the language and a growing appreciation of the culture in Franch. There has been resistance to the immersive language so the instructors have tried to balance the immersion with the expressed need for clarification. One student has chosen an honors project to illustrate who in the world is French-speaking and why according to the area’s history. She will be presenting to the class and the map will be displayed.
TEACHER: Barbara Luy