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Friday, August 24, 2007

Planning French, Want to Help?

Here's the deal, I didn't plan out French for this year. Why? (Why would Jessica the "planner" not plan French?) Good question. The answer is because I felt overwhelmed, a little burned out and finally, confused as to what to do. Our "figure it out as we go" lessons are not keeping us moving forward and it's frustrating me!

Sidenote: Blogger added a VIDEO button to the EDITOR!!! Wow. I just noticed it. Okay, back to the regular scheduled program.

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah French. Yesterday, Camille and I went through all of our French items and separated what *she* likes and what is on her level from other things. This is what we have and the timeline we're thinking of- I just need a little help in the thinking process

DVDs/Videos: Bonjour Les Amis 1-3, First Start French, Baby Einstein videos play in french, kids' movies play in french. I also have Standard Deviants and some of the French in Action DVDs but also what United Streaming has online but we're not ready for that, I think.

Culture: Countries and Cultures for Young Explorers, France PreK-2nd. Purrrfect for 1x a week with 34 total lessons, and will add read alouds about France like Little Bo in France by Julie Andrews, Jean de la Fontaine Fables, Anatole, etc. Camille has read all the Madelline books already. I need to find more titles for kids about french culture or about children living in France.

Read-Alouds without audio: These are short in words so we could take the words out and use them as vocabulary for the week. This is what we have:Boucles d'Or et les trois ours
Vive les bulles!
I'm Too Big- Je suis trop gros (French/English)
Goodnight Everyone - Bonne nuit à trous (French/English)
Ma Maman
Mon Papa
Je suis un toucan
Babar et l'étoile due cirque (she said she LOVES Babar)
La petite poule rouge
La ruse de dame poulette (to be used later)

Picture books that are just pictures and vocabulary words for various groups (farm animals, colors, numbers, food, weather, etc)
First French at Home (Usborne I-Linked)
First French at Holiday (Usborne I-Linked)
French Dictionary for Beginners (Usborne I-Linked)

Read-Alouds with audio:
Berlitz Je Parle Français (with Teddy)
Berlitz Visit to Grandma
Berlitz The Missing Cat
Berlitz The Five Crayons
Bible Stories in French (a little difficult)
We also have French Spiritual Songs but we put it in the "wait" pile

Activities with Audio (table of contents further below):
Teach Me French
Hop Skip & Sing French
Twin Sisters French
I Can Read & Speak French (pictures to help read and speak french, pretty cool)
Springboard to French

French songs, I have a few cds that are just children's french songs. There are songs on Bonjour Les Amis too and in other products. In fact all of the Activities with Audio above have songs.

Vocabulary: We have the Sparknotes French Vocabulary cards and the QuickStudy ones, I bought these for both the kids and me. But I also have reusable handwriting strips. A Bit of Everything, Un Peu de Tout is an activity based vocabulary learning coloring book that we can use as well.

Coloring books & other stuff for Danny (3) but can also be used for Camille
  • Let's Learn French - ABC with french words
  • Foreign Word Match - puzzle pieces that link the french and english words together
  • Baby Einstein videos - can be played in french
  • Milet's Mini Picture Dictionary
  • Language Nursery book and flashcards

I could open a little French bookstore. I also have Level 1 of The Easy French is anyone would like to purchase it, it is in brand new condition and I have the phonogram flashcards which I will laminate for you!

In my defense, I obtained a good many of these things through and well I won't tell you the percentage of that. Lol.

I am thinking about doing this: from

Therefore, if I were teaching French lessons to students in grades 1-6, I'd create a word wall of French words for visual and daily practice. These words would be listed in bold, large type for easy viewing. The younger the grade, the additional need for pictures to accompany the word wall chart. My class routine could consist of reviewing the word wall chart when students enter the room and adding new words/pictures to the chart once introduced to the class.

I would teach French based on a theme approach, whereby, the words learn are associated with a particular subject (i.e. days of the week, months, numbers and alphabet words are part of a daily living unit). This would be highly effective if the classroom teachers could tell you what particular unit they're working on. Sure, this may mean more work for you, but the rewards would be highly visible and the students are learning French based on what they're learning in their classrooms.

Incorporate familiar music and tunes to help students grasp the French language. Younger children enjoy music and I have found that if it can be eaten, sung or rhymed, it has a greater chance of being learned for the long term. Therefore, create a morning or afternoon song to sing when students enter your room. The words would be taught in French and you'd be surprised how many students will share this song with their parents at home.
I'd also create a catch phrase bulletin board or wall to provide quick reference to phrases commonly said in english. Phrases like, "Good morning," "How are you," "Happy Birthday," would be listed and can be easily utilized throughout the day

We have Sara Jordan products for 3rd grade to use Beginner Lessons, Thematic Lessons. I want this year to be in preparation for that and learning vocabulary is the prime focus as well as obtaining a familiar feeling with the french language.

Here are the table of contents for the items that have Activities and Audio

Springboard to French (8 Lessons total)
1 Actions
This lesson introduces the foreign language and method being used to teach it. The goal is to make the child comfortble with the vocab for furniture and features in the room

2 More Actions
few new words. Emphasis on retention of vocabulary through different actions

3 Stepping up the Pace
Adding new verbs. Commands

4 Parts of the Body
Names basic parts of the body and reinforces with new activities, book says to repeat this lesson

5 Numbers 1-10
6 Clothes/Colors
Introduces common children's clothing items, first time to make simple verbal responses to questions about clothing.

7 Setting the Table
New words, objects must be picked up and moved in a certain order. Repeat lesson.

8 Simon Says
Review of lessons 1 through 5

Twin Sisters French- Beginning French for all ages (8 concepts/lessons)
Numbers to Twenty
Learning Colors, Color crossword puzzle
The Days of the Week
Name the animals
The Hello Song
My Family is Special
Let's Eat
Five Day Weather Forecast

Teach Me French, this goes through a day of a child's life in french and with songs
The More We Get Together in french, family, colors, domestic pets
Alouette (The Lark), Frere Jacques
Days of the Week
Food, breakfast
Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes in french
Weather, Rain Rain Go Away in french
It's Raining It's Pouring in french
Rainbows song in french
Numbers and Alphabet, school
Mary Had A Little Lamb in french
One Elephant in french
This is what they do (Ainsi Font) in french
After school we drive in our car to the house.

I can read and speak French by Maurice Hazan
Simple Picture Method for kids, 6 chapters

Introduces basic sentence structuring skills to ages 5-12. Audio cd, using Symtalk- using symbols to talk. This book tells the story of 4 friends who to the park together with their bicycles and pets. The pets want to take part in the games and fun things happen. Vocabulary introduced features names of children and common objects, adjectives and verbs. Audio cd provides a guide to using the book, flashcards and stickers.

Hop, Skip and Sing - French for Kids
(53 different tracks)

is a fun new learning method for children aged 2+ featuring twenty five songs, games and activites on an audio CD.
Make learning French second nature for your child with this activity-packed, 75 minute CD and book - perfect for kids from 2 - 7. Listen, sing, dance and learn Français anywhere, from the playroom to the classroom and even in the car!
Kids will play their way to new French language skills while they:
  • Sing along to household words and funny phrases
  • Learn to saute haut, haut, très haut (jump high, high, very high) by saying it and doing it
  • Tell old stories in a new way - "Les trois petits cochons" anyone? ("The Three Little Pigs")
The included booklet provides helpful parents' notes and the French words for all of the tracks, together with an English translation.

The last one that can be used is A Bit of Everything (Un Peu de tout) PreK-Primary (this falls under Activities no audio)
13 Units

1 Days of the Week
2 Months of the Year
3 Numbers
4 Colors
5 Weather
6 Parts of the Body
7 Articles of Clothing
8 Foods
9 Animals
10 Family members
11 Modes of Transportation
12 Special Places
13 Common Phrases

Here's my current thoughts.

Monday - Thursday- The same read aloud, activitiy and concepts.
Friday - Culture day with read aloud and activities.

I will post the lessons when I'm done. Of course.



Sallie said...

If you still have it, I would love to have the book you are selling (Level 1 of Easy French). My husband has decided to allow our daughter to continue with French like she was taking in high school but I don't have a lot for the younger ones to start with. Email me at if you still have available..


Michelle Waters said...

I can't remember if you already addressed this in your blog (sorry if you did!), but I was wondering why you decided not to start with Latin. No offense to French, I minored in it in college and love the language, but I know you use classical methods so I was just curious... Thanks!

Sallie said...

J -- thanks for everything! I'm excited to try this out. Our first experience to show my husband we could really use French was when a Canadian couple came to our church for a youth yard sale. They only spoke French and so it was very hard trying to communicate since it's been 17 years since I had my training. I'm glad I can learn again and so can my kids.

God bless,

Trivium Academy said...

I've changed my mind about Latin and French a lot, it's such a hard decision but here's a post about.

I'm going with the advice that Latin will be better served with more english grammar under our belts and that older students can grasp it faster and easier. Plus I don't think I could handle Latin and French right now, French is a fun subject for us (when we start it!)

I've changed my mind plenty of times in the last year and half, the embarrassing part is that it's all on the blog! Yikes.

Camille's paternal grandmother was a Parisian, her dad speaks French. Mastery of one modern language (fluency in writing, speaking and reading) is important to us.
:) Jessica

Michelle Waters said...

Sounds good, especially since her dad speaks the language! I was just wondering because WTM seems to take it or leave it (Latin), but books like the Latin Centered Curriculum advocate using Latin basically for everything...early grammar etc. We decided to start Latin this year and skip FLL, hoping Latin will cover the grammar part. I think Copywork is a huge help too, since we're always talking about punctuation marks, parts of speech etc. I'm always curious how others decide. Thank you!

Cathy said...

Whoa - you look like you have a tremendous amount of resources and are on top of things. Admiring and enjoying reading what you are doing.

My neice is getting her undergraduate in French and has spent a semester of college in Canada.

Jean said...

Hi, Jessica, your blog is beautiful!

(This is Jean, Hallmark at hsblogger. Have been away from blogging since New Year's, fighting bronchitis and pneumonia, but have finally got my energy back.)

Hope to manage more regular blogging now.

Anyhow, *hugs* and will hope to have something more interesting to say in future. (Never a dull moment around here, yet nothing to write home about...)

my5wolfcubs said...

As I was reading along, and along, and along, I was thinking she could open the first GA all French Library! But then you said bookstore! :) I want to do what your doing but with Latin...the "fun" resources are so few. I guess I should pick a modern language, in addition!
PS I posted my weekly report!