Thursday, 20 January 2022

French Teacher Resource: How to set-up an immersive French canteen incursion

Think back to your high school days, what are some of your best memories? Is it the French class on the passé composé or the one where your teacher created a space of French immersion and food? Sometimes the hard efforts of a teacher doe pay off when we create teachable moments that our students never forget.

For a few years, I have been teaching using the Canadian AIM program and have needed to think more broadly to cover the Australian Curriculum content area on the 'role of language and culture' for Years 7-8. Yes - I teach them address terms and they see a French Canadian perspective, but it's such an enticing descriptor to go further.

This is where the French canteen experience comes in! The idea was inspired by the AIM play, 'Veux-tu danser?' where one scene is set in a Canadian school cafeteria. Australian students quickly notice that students aren't just eating from their lunch boxes. French and Canadian students get to eat in a dining hall on tables with their friends, and have their lunch provided. This scene creates the perfect launching point for a culturally and linguistically immersive experience.

Here are some ideas on how to set up your own immersion canteen experience for your students:

1. Establish student accountability

- Each student in the group (table) brings one item to the lunch: table cloth, cups, cutlery, plates, serviettes. Bring some spare sets just in case!

- Use class time to establish the language for ordering food. It is best to use 5 minutes from each lesson 2-3 weeks prior, first as repeating language, then as a listening task gradually making it an oral task. Therefore, by the time the canteen incursion is run, your students will feel confident ordering food in French. Also, ordering food in French contains fixed expressions so needs to be memorised - one cannot be creative here!

- You may wish to enforce some clear rules early such as, cancelling the incursion if students do not cooperate to a certain standard or not letting them leave until the room in clean. Perhaps you invite key staff to observe or attend the event (ideally to keep behaviour in check!).

Use this document as a template.

2. Enrich their taste buds

- Choose foods that seems familiar to your students but also enable them to try new foods. For example, I chose a three course menu of:

Plat principal - saucissons, quiche, salade verte

Dessert - yoghurt, fruit

Fromage - fromage d'affinois, Roquefort, chèvre, baguette

- Of course, you will need to alter the menu to suit dietary requirements. Also, make sure you have your first aid packs handy and the school nurse on call. 





3. Create the linguistically immersive environment

- Place students in small groups of 3-4 to ensure that they can manage small conversation. Create conversation cards and instruct them to take it in turns to ask each other questions in French.

- Invite students to come to the comptoir to order their food from you, as the teacher. Ensure they speak in clear, full sentences and help them along the way.

- Ask your older French students to join in and sit at different tables to engage in conversation with your younger students. If you have language assistants, also ask them to wander between tables and engage in simple French conversation. As the teacher, you can also walk around to each table and greet them as the 'waiter' - your students will find this amusing!

Use there conversation cards as a template.


4. Enfin, amusez-vous bien!



Wednesday, 12 January 2022

French Film and TV for Students and Teachers - film list and top 5 favourite films!

Has it ever happened to you when you've asked a foreigner about how they learned their exceptional English, and they replied, "By watching lots of TV!" Watching shows in French, not only extends us linguistically, but also exposes us to other cultural habits and insights. 

I first started learning French in high school in the early millennium - the Golden Age of the DVD! I could sometimes find French films to rent at my local Blockbuster and at times, French films were screened at Palace Cinemas. I could also wake up early on a Saturday morning to watch the French news. Nowadays, we have a plethora of sources and mediums to watch French shows, and can now tell people that our excellent French is thanks to the hours dedicated to watching Omar Sy!

For your easy viewing pleasure, I have created a list of French shows available on many streaming platforms: ClickView (for schools), SBS On Demand (free login), Netflix and Stan (paid subscriptions). It is a six page document but not exhaustive! 

For teachers, create your own copy of the French Film List and adapt it to suit your student audience. For example, give your young students a copy of the G and PG rated films only. When parents ask how they can help their kids learn French, give them a full copy of the list so that they can watch French TV as a family unit.

Shows are added and adapted by each platform constantly, so you will see this list being modified often (at least twice a year). 

Here are my top 5 favourite French films from the list:

1. Pour les jeunes : Belle and Sebastian (PG)

It's hard to go past Belle et Sébastien. The story of the friendship between a young adopted boy and his wild, stray dog. Set in the picturesque village of Saint-Martin bordered by the French Alps, the year is 1943, and occupied by Nazi troops. Sébastien's "brother-in-law" secretly aids Jewish exiles flee to Switzerland. 

Within the beauty of the scenery and the boy/dog friendship lies the harsh reality of war, poverty and loneliness. It is a great film to show Australian children, as not all kids watch films with such dark and troubled moments - themes that are more common to French cinema. The film also highlights a child's view of World War II - a topic that is not introduced to Australian children, usually, until high school. It willfully exposes them to European geography and bilingualism.


2. Les enjeux sociaux : The African Doctor/Bienvenue à Marly-Gomont (M)

Based on a true story, this comedy-drama is co-written by musician Kamini based on his experiences when his doctor father moved his family from Zaire to a small, French, country village called Marly-Gomont in 1975.

The film shows the struggles of living in the Francophone world: racial stereotyping, the hope of a better future. As well as the problems of an aging and rural population. Two key areas to expose to students of French: the French Africa and rural France. The hilarious scenes are when the relatives arrive from Brussels, causing havoc and noise around the town.

3. La gastronomie : The Chef/Comme Un Chef (M)

Constantly approved and requested by my students, as it is tasteful in both humour and French food. Starring Jean Reno as a Michelin-starred restaurant owner, and food amateur, Michael Youn, the pair emit fun and laughter through the screen. 

A great film to screen for any food study unit, as it not only showcases the gastronomical culture of France but also demonstrates the importance and hierarchy of the food industry. 

4. Les stéréotypes : Welcome to the Sticks/Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis (M)

A heartwarming story of a man's cultural expectations warped by new experiences showing that you can change your views at any age! Phillipe is from the chic and warm South of France and is transferred for his work at La Poste to the grey and seemingly 'uncultured' Bergues in the North. 

There have been both Italian and Dutch remakes of this film, highlighting the cultural stereotypes that exist within European cultures. Most Australian children will liken this phenomenon to the difference between the city and country, and strikes an interesting conversation about the entrenched French regional identity. 

Interesting fact: Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis was the highest grossing French film of all time before the release of The Intouchables.


5. La téléréalité : The Parisian Agency (M)

Watching reality TV is not the most engrossing and stimulating topic, but these shows are an excellent way to pick up on common French language and slang. The language is also quite repetitive in this show, making it ideal for intermediate level learners (B2-B1).

The Kretz family own a real-estate business, concerning luxury properties, in which their four sons also work. The show takes you to many beautiful homes and their difficult clients, as well as focusing on the conversations within the family home. 


Don't forget to include the following films for your own viewing pleasure! 

The Intouchables (M), Roxane (PG), The Teacher (MA), Call My Agent (MA).


Which are your 'go-to' French films? 

Thursday, 6 January 2022

French VCE Resource: Exam skills - Reading and Responding

Teaching VCE French over the last few years has been, in equal parts, exhausting and exhilarating. Us, teachers, have needed to interpret information released by VCAA in order to produce new or updated resources for our students. Tiring, as most of us feel the pressure to create up-to-date materials. Engaging, as we need to put our "thinking caps on" and get creative! 

I am lucky to have excellent colleagues with whom I can share my ideas and discuss our current VCAA understandings. Hence, why I have this blog!

French exam, reading, writing

Find attached a Reading and Responding VCE French task, as a downloadable Word Doc, following the style of Section 2 Part B in the VCAA LOTE exam. The new exam format requires students to transfer and manipulate information from the stimulus text in order to suit a new style of writing and text-type. Ideally, it requires higher order skills than the previous study design. The text-type will be different to the choices presented in Section 3. 

Front page of downloadable VCE French Reading and Responding resource

I have created this VCE Reading and Responding task for both Year 11 and 12 students - differentiate at your will! Included in the task is a student self-assessment, where although the SAC and exam would be marked holistically, the assessment tool gives students an idea of areas to improve. I ensure that my students are constantly setting short and long term personal goals for each LOTE skill area.

More VCE resources available for purchase on my Teachers Pay Teachers account. I hope they come in handy!

I would love to hear of your experiences with this area of the exam over the last few years. Write in the comment section below.


Saturday, 23 January 2021

Teachers Pay Teachers store

For educational and visually attractive French resources, visit to Teachers Pay Teachers page:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kat-Forrester-French-Resources

Although I will continue to share plenty of free resources for your classroom or French learning needs here on this blog, my branded resources can be purchased through TPT. 

Merci!





Saturday, 22 August 2020

French Teacher Resource: Introducing a new unit with Google Sites

Remote learning entices the digital spirit, but just how do we modify our current pedagogy to suit this new context without 'reinventing the wheel'?

One of my favourite types of activity is setting up explorative rotating tables. Often to launch a new unit, I will place activities on different tables and students rotate between the activities to explore different elements of the unit. It's always a big hit! However, how can this be adapted to an online context?

Example of how 'explorative table rotations' might be setup

Example of how 'explorative table rotations' might be setup

The other night, I decided to whip up a Google Site to begin my Year 12 unit on 'La vie culturelle'. To tantalise their learning, I created four topics which they explored and discussed in small groups. If you are also a fan of group work and topic exploration, then you may be interested in the following resource.  I am not selling this resource as the language is stolen from Wikepedia and other websites! 

Google Sites enables you to build websites quickly and with ease. You can embed YouTube clips, images and easy build in your resources from other Google platforms. It also looks beautiful!

Send me an email if you wish to have a copy to adapt for your own needs.










Wednesday, 1 July 2020

COVID, 'confinement' and community

There's nothing quite like a viral pandemic to put actions in to perspective. 

I first started this blog with the ambition to not only share my love of teaching French but to partake in a broad community of teachers. When I first started teaching, I felt that it was quite an isolating occupation. Although you get to meet and work with inspiring teachers in your school community, the sharing of resources and ideas can be particularly restrictive in a small LOTE department. Hence, I Love French Australia blog was born in order to feel connected to other intrepid French teachers out there. Why shouldn't we be working together as a connected community?

When our schools started closing for online delivery due to COVID infections in Melbourne (AUS), I was once again reassured by the tenacity of the online teaching community. Through Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, so many teachers were reaching out to each other, whether to graciously offer resources or just to share in a mutual unease and offer support. 

Like most 'essential' workers, I have been working seven-day weeks since the start of term 1 this year. I took on two VCE classes (which I love), which adds to the workload, but also, it must be recognised that teaching is more than just academic instruction. We get into teaching because we care immensely about the wellbeing and future of our students. I think that most of us teachers are always working to ensure that we do the very best for each individual - of course, this can be an exhausting endeavor even without the COVID context! My blogging hiatus as a consequence of this, so far, unprecedented year.

Exhaustion aside, the pandemic has put my purpose of blogging in to perspective. I started this blog to belong and support my community of dynamic French and language teachers who have supported me through COVID and always. We must stay connected and continue to embrace this fine community!

All my best to my colleagues out there! If you ever need to contact me in regards to resources or just some good banter, send me an email at ilovefrenchaustralia@gmail.com


Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Top 5 French Pop Songs for the Classroom 2019

When I was a teen, I learned so much language through music and loved trying to connect with new French music (through CD's back then - a bit harder!). Listening to the latest music trends in France is nevertheless a common request from our students these days. Nowadays, we can easily find music through YouTube, Spotify, social media... and our students are also great a finding music themselves. You can find my Youtube playlist for 2019 through this link.

Here are the top 5 songs loved by my advanced French classes (Year 10 +) this year:

Anglèle feat. Roméo Elvis - Tout Oublier (2018)

Hitting the charts with so many tunes, Angèle has become the ultra-pop French idol with her feminist views pushing the boundaries. My students loved the film clip with this song and bopped their shoulders along with the artists.


Clara Luciani - La Grenade (2018)

A song that continued to climb the charts in to 2019 with the incredible voice that is Clara Luciani. After seeing her at the 2019 So Frenchy So Chic in Melbourne, it's a talent that's hard not to share.


Louane - No (2018)

None other than the top teen French idol, my students love Louane! Once they're hooked to her songs, it's always a good idea to suggest Louane's beautiful starring role in the film 'The Belier Family' available on Netflix.


Christophe Maé - Les Gens (2019)

Released only a month ago, this song is packed with simple vocabulary and diverse adjectives - a must use! Did you know that Maé used to be pâtissier?


Joyce Jonathon - On (2018)

She's become a classic, Joyce Jonathon, having been around for over a decade (like the two artists above!). Another very simple song that's easy to sing along to.



What are your students listening to in the modern French pop scene? Please share!