Des pique-niques en cours de FLE

Our students always enjoy food lesson plans. I do not know if it is because they are growing during the Middle School years but, truth be said, THEY LOVE FOOD!!!

I recently came back to the US from my Summer Trip to Europe. During the summer, I was having picnics almost weekly. Picnics in Europe tend to be on the grass, not in tables and benches like we usually do in the US. It may sound like a silly little nuance but, to me, it makes a big difference! I am a huge picnic lover.

So, taking into account that we live in sunny Florida and that the days have been beautiful lately, I decided to give my students a quite fun first assessment: a speaking test during a French pique-nique! Yes, they loved the idea! Some parents told me that their kids kept talking about the picnic for days, they were eagerly waiting for our pique-nique test/activity.

Before the due date, I made sure that students understood that a good behavior was VERY important in order to complete this assignment. I only have 18 students in this class, but even so, I was very clear when setting up my expectations. This exercise is a hit it or miss it. If students were to misbehave, talk randomly without an established order, then the entire class time would be lost… They understood my expectations and, when the day arrived, they took turns to speak, and they participated at appropriate times. Also, I made very sure that they reviewed the content days in advance so that they would be prepared to implement the grammatical/vocabulary aspects of the lesson. This way, they were able to use partitifs, food vocabulary, and irregular adjectives more confidently, and correctly.

All students brought something to eat (we made the list the list in advance, and the item brought was part of their grade in order to make sure that everybody did their part).

Miam Miam!

Pros of this activity:

Motivation. Students get motivated to speak and to participate because: 1) it involves food 2) it is outdoors 3) they want to show up their skills to people that may walk by 4) it is an out of the box/different exercise, and changing the scenario makes a HUGE difference for them.

Implementation. They get to enjoy the World Language classroom as they see themselves implementing the content in a real-life situation.

100% French speaking. The fact that I made it very clear that I would take 1 point off for every sentences spoken in English was key to push them to speak French 100% of the time.

Listening/Speaking skills in one. In this activity we are developing both skills (Teacher/peer listening, and interacting in the target language).

Student led. Even if, as a teacher, we have to direct the conversation, it is important that we also leave room for improvisation and for peer conversations to come up randomly. This way, students feel that the conversation is developing in a natural way, not artificially, just like we would do if we were having a real picnic.

Cons of this activity:

Timing. Class time may be too short in order to fully evaluate each student. In my school, class periods are 43 minutes long so it was a bit short, but even so all students were able to speak. I had to rush at some points in order to catch up with the time, so having longer periods would really help.

Distractions. Since we were sitting outdoors, students were sometimes distracted by other teachers/peers that would walk by. This is not a big deal for me, but it does happen.

To me, the pros in this exercise make it all worth it! What do you think? Please write a comment below and tell me what your opinions are about this type of assessment. Also, if you decided to use it in your classroom, I would love to read how it went!

Please find below a little video created by our awesome Technology Specialist, Lee Howell. Enjoy, and bon appétit!


Confessions of a very nerdy Francophone-freak French Teacher

Monday morning :(. Sleepy, moody, pas la patate (just like my French friends would say). Tough! Not in the mood, still tired even if it’s just the beginning of the week… BUT, what does a freaky French teacher do?


Eureka! Change the lesson plan of the day and just play this outstanding masterpiece. And afterwards? vocabulary review, song analysis, class discussion. Learning outcome? Listening, speaking, writing and reading! And, always vital, ART appreciation…

Ever thought of it? This is why I love being a French teacher.

Enjoy Les Trois Cloches, with the magnifique Piaf, clicking here.

Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th to October 15th: Hispanic Heritage! Let’s celebrate it and embrace the culture of traditions of the Hispanic World!


This year, I decided to approach this as a collaborative project. Not just fostering student collaboration, but teacher collaboration as well. This time, our project has taken place between grades, ranging from 6th grade regular Spanish class to 8th grade Honors class. What a challenge!

Ms. Villa and I thought that implementing this project in our Spanish class would be very educational and fun for our kids. This is the first time that I do an activity with students with so many different levels. Ms. Villa has 8th grade Honors Students while I have 6th grade kids, some of which have never learned Spanish before…. this may look a big crazy BUT it has been done AND the outcome has been tremendously gratifying for both students and teachers.

hispanicFirst off, I started by teaching my kids the most common food and restaurant vocabulary expressions. To this end, I found some very useful slide shares on the web. I found these very easy to visualize and very well explained:

Restaurante Presentation

Comida Presentation

We went over all this vocabulary for two weeks. In the meantime, we reviewed it with games, listening, dictations, readings, and speaking assignments. Students loved to share with the class their favorite foods (using me gusta/no me gusta) and restaurants. We also discussed about:

– Tipping culture in Hispanic Countries (Spain, in particular)

– Traditional foods from Hispanic Countries

– Traditional Hispanic restaurants in our area

At the beginning of the year, I gave each student a new Hispanic “origin”. They are very proud to be from another country for one year! I have some students from Peru, some others from Spain, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, etc.

Before creating our menu, students from both classes had to decide what the name of the restaurant would be. To this end, I created a survey in survey SurveyMonkey. Students voted and we came up with our Restaurant name!

For this project, students had to team up in groups of 3. Each group had to create a menu and bring a 3 course meal. Each dish from the course will be from each student’s country. We ended up having a menu with an appetizer from Peru, main dish from Argentina, and a dessert from Uruguay: a great cultural melting pot!

Check out this Google doc to find out more about Project Instructions and Rubric

I was impressed with the results. My 6th graders mingled in with their 8th grade peers as if there was no language barrier. My students were perfectly prepared so they felt proud and confident to have the required conversations at the restaurant.

With this assignment students learned to implement vocabulary in real life situation. The classroom became the best immersion scenario. Mixing food, traditions and culture was just the perfect melange, the perfect melting pot.