What are my favorite French back to school resources? I have a lot! I have taught everything from 4th grade beginners all the way through AP seniors in FSL, but I also taught middle school French immersion for a long time, too.
That means that la rentrée for me sometimes meant a LOT of different levels to prepare for. Although I always added new activities, I have a few favorites that I always come back to.
Here are some of my favorite French back to school resources.
For students who have never had any French at all, it can be really intimidating! They need time to get used to hearing the language. The more fun speaking activities you can do, the quicker they’ll get used to speaking and hearing French.
My French greetings packet has no-prep worksheets for teaching French greetings and goodbyes, shows students how to ask how others are doing and tell how they are, and it also includes some fun speaking activities designed just for brand-new beginners.
My French alphabet activity is another one that I love, because let’s be honest… they only want to hear the alphabet song so many times, right? I came up with this activity to use with my 4th-6th graders who had never had French. They still kind of liked the alphabet song, but how else do you practice?
We went through the sounds and listened to the song, then I spelled out a few words from these cards for them to write down. Before I showed them the cards, I had them guess what they thought the word meant. They thought it was really fun to learn a few of their first words this way, and they all found the word ‘crayon’ hilarious. Once they had the hang of it, I passed these cards out and this reference sheet and had them practice spelling for a partner.
For students who have had a little French but are still beginners, I like to do a present tense verb review. It’s not something I spend a lot of time on, but it’s worth taking a few minutes each day to review before you jump into new concepts. A lot of times, I’ll give them a few minutes to work in groups together and we’ll check them as a class.
For intermediate and advanced students
When I taught FSL, just about any student who was intermediate or advanced had been in my class before. I might have had a few transfer students or a native speaker who was placed in an upper level class, but usually, I knew these kids really well. That didn’t always mean that they knew one another, so I still liked to do ice-breakers.
This set of ice-breakers is my favorite, because students always love “would you rather?” activities. If you do teach multiple levels, the same questions are provided in English. This means less planning for you, because you can use the same activity all day. I’ve also included a “find someone who” activity. If you have the same classes two years in a row, you’ll have a different activity you can do with that group.
For the classroom
These French classroom expressions posters are definitely a must-have for my classroom, because I expect students to communicate in French as much as they can from the beginning. By providing them with the right visuals and practicing common expressions with them, they’ll be speaking in no time. It’s also a great reminder for those kids who have had French for a while but might be resistant to speak. Just motion to the poster when they address you in English and they’ll get the point.