Want French activities that students will love? Are you a brand-new teacher who needs activities that work? Do you teach a lot of preps and just don’t have time to create everything you need? Perhaps you are an experienced French teacher who just wants a new way to teach something. Whatever situation you’re in, I’ve got 15 years of teaching and creating experience to help you out! Check out my logic behind the activities I create and find some links to my favorite French activities to use in core French and French immersion classes!
Why do I make all these activities?
I became a teacher because I hated school. I mean, I liked learning. It was fun to get new information. I liked most of my teachers. When I say I hated school, I hated what we did there. We sat quietly in rows. We read our books and answered the questions at the end of the chapters. Each unit, we did a lot of written work where there was only one correct answer. Then, we took a test at the end of every unit. We memorized stuff. We were disengaged.
Without knowing exactly what I wanted to be different, I knew I wanted to create a place where students wanted to come. I wanted them to enjoy being there, even if my content wasn’t their favorite subject. I mean, not every kid is going to find French grammar super-interesting. That doesn’t mean I can’t create engaging vocabulary activities, fun games, and meaningful practice so that they get the most out of their time in my classroom.
I wanted to have a class where students were learning things that actually mattered to them. I didn’t want students sitting silently, bored, staring into space. From my first year, I searched for ways to make the learning matter to them. As time progressed, and with a LOT of student feedback, I created activities that worked well for us.
What do students ask for more of?
I don’t like tests for evaluating students. Not all kids perform well on tests, even if they know all the material. I also find that mini-quizzes and exit tickets are a very quick way to see how they are doing. For unit assessments, I prefer projects.
My favorite project for beginners is the Clothing Catalog project. Beginning students work on subject/verb conjugation, writing complete sentences, and adjective agreement as they write sentences to describe the clothes. Kids love it, because they get a lot of freedom to create the styles they want. It feels much less like a test, but they are showing they can use the unit vocabulary and grammar.
My favorite project for intermediate students is this All About Me project. It’s a great way for students to talk about themselves and demonstrate knowledge of all that they’ve learned in their first few years. They’ll use the present, the imparfait, and the futur simple as they describe themselves as kids, how they are now, and how they’ll be. I love to use this at the end of the year as a memory book, but it’s also a fun review at back-to-school time.
I’ve made all pages in full-French, but there is also a second set of pages with English notes and directions for students who need more support.
Kids just cannot sit down all day. It’s boring, tiring, and is not developmentally appropriate for them. Allowing movement in class means that they will be more awake, more engaged, and (in my experience) more happy. Speaking cards are one of my favorite French activities, because they can be done using one of the structured activities detailed in my packages, or you can grab them when you have an extra five minutes to fill.
This set for the passé composé is my best seller of speaking cards.
These are amazing! I particularly love them for kids who just don’t like paper-pencil tasks so much. However, they are fun for all kids. They provide immediate feedback, and because they are played on devices, they feel more like a game and less like homework. I’ve even got sets with audio so that students can practice their French listening comprehension skills.
Want to try them out? Grab this free set for the present tense of avoir, être, faire, and aller.
This vocabulary slap game is by-far the favorite French activity of every group of students I have ever taught. When I’ve done this with beginning students, I use image-based cards like the ones below that allow me to call out the French word. You can also use the cards with the French words to call out the English translation.
This set for body parts is perfect for beginners.
Board games are such a fun way to let students work together to practice vocabulary and verb conjugation. Students need to use the the new words and grammar they are learning as much as they can orally, and these games allow them the freedom to create original sentences in a way that is not stressful for them.
This French subjunctive board game is a great way to practice and have fun with even your more-advanced students.
This farm animals board game is a really fun way to practice vocabulary with your Core French middle grades.
How did I find out what students like best?
I asked them, regularly, what was working and what I could do better. Sometimes, that meant swallowing my pride and taking some criticism. This wasn’t super-easy at first, but I figured, it’s not about me. I need to find what works for them. Here are two resources I use to get student feedback – and both of them are free. 🙂
I use these to assess how my students are doing, but I also ask them to tell me how I can help them. Sometimes I’ll ask what their favorite (or least favorite) activity is. Sometimes, I’ll ask them what they need help with or what I’m not being clear about. It’s a quick and easy way to see how I’m doing. Grab these free exit tickets here.
This is another effective way to make sure I’m teaching in the best way to help my students. With their feedback, I knew how to pace classes, where I need to provide more support, and where I was doing well (and not so well). Grab this free feedback tool here!
I hope this helps you find some fun new French activities your students will love!