French class is often a challenge for students because it involves learning an entirely new language. It is important to keep an upbeat and positive classroom environment. Creating a fun and engaging atmosphere will go a long way to keeping students participating and enjoying learning the French language. A great French classroom inspires and motivates students to come to class prepared every day.
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Decorating an inviting classroom is one of the most important things a teacher can do. The classroom should feel inclusive, friendly and inspire learning. French classes should be uniquely different from the run-of-the-mill classroom. Decorating using a French theme is an effective way to achieve a French ambience. Pictures of France, Eiffel Tower cut-outs, paintings of vineyards and pictures of cheese all give that French "vibe." Another good idea is to label all the objects in the classroom in French so that as students use them they practice their vocabulary.
Activities and Songs
Starting class with a quick French song is a simple way to refresh students' memories of vocabulary, verb tenses and grammar. A song gets students in the French frame of mind, ready to start the class. Activities such as Bingo are also fun for practicing vocabulary. Creating a Jeopardy gameboard with questions regarding whatever module the class is working on is another idea to keep students attentive and engaged. Games also encourage teamwork and allow students to share and learn from one another.
News of the day or a current affairs sharing time in class help to keep the class up-to-date on events happening in French-speaking countries around the world. Ideally, the news presented should be from a French source, which can easily be found online. News sharing encourages students to practice their French reading and comprehension outside of class, and to learn about cultures other than their own.
French Culture Parties in Class
French culture parties allow the teacher to teach students about the French "joie de vivre" and to reward students for good work and participation. Creating a points system for rewards encourages students to behave and contribute in class. Once a certain level of points is accumulated, reward the class with a party. Hosting a fondue party, either cheese or chocolate, is a yummy way to celebrate. Or, have a French cafe party with croissants, cheeses, "wine" (grape juice!!) and French cuisine to promote French speaking and culture sharing.
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