Ever start using French writing prompts with your beginners only to realize that they just don’t want to write? There are several reasons why beginning French students won’t write, but that doesn’t mean you can get them writing with well-designed French writing prompts.
If you want to help your beginning students write more often and with more confidence, it can be done! If you’re looking for French writing ideas for more advanced students, get some ideas here.
Here are some things to remember when using French writing prompts.
They need to quickly access important French vocabulary.
They’ll spend so much time looking words up in the dictionary (or worse… in a translator!) that they will get frustrated. Then what happens? They just don’t love writing because it is such a chore.
Provide them with common vocabulary so they don’t have to look up so many words. Whether you are giving them a list of themed words for specific French writing prompts or providing them with common words to improve their writing, it will be a big time-saver!
They are constantly looking up French verb conjugations (or just using the wrong ones!)
Again, give them something they can refer to quickly so they don’t have to always search for it. Most beginners will need the regular verbs plus a few common irregulars. Print off charts they can keep right there when they are writing so they can quickly find what they need.
I use these mini-charts and have them make a little book they can pull out anytime they need it. With common verbs they need right there, they aren’t flipping around in a textbook or verb book.
The task is not appropriate for the student level.
Are you asking them to write a paragraph when they are really only ready to write sentences? If so, start them off writing sentences using sentence starter activities like this one. Once they are comfortable with basic sentences, you can have them draw and describe their drawing in a few sentences. These French writing prompts are perfect for beginners who really don’t have the skills or confidence just yet to write a paragraph.
Once they are comfortable with writing basic sentences, you can move to writing paragraphs. Each of my French writing prompts has three activities plus necessary vocabulary, so it’s really easy to move them to a more challenging activity when they are ready. If you want to spend more time writing, they can do all three, or you can use a different sheet for individual students so everyone gets to work at just the right level.
They need structure.
It isn’t easy for most students to sit down and just start writing. They need to be able to break up their writing into manageable parts.
When using French writing prompts with beginners, I typically have students write the body of the paragraph first. For first year students, I ask them to write 3-5 sentences about the topic. I usually give them a sheet like this one below to help them organize their rough draft.
If the topic was to talk about a friend, the body of the text might look something like this:
Il a quinze ans, et son anniversaire est en janvier. Il est très sportif et il fait du sport tous les jours. Il aime bien jouer au football, mais il fait de la natation pendant le week-end.
Once they have a few sentences for the body, I then have them come up with an introduction or conclusion. For beginners, the goal is to get them writing, so don’t worry too much if you get really basic sentences like : “Mon ami s’appelle Nicolas,” or something along those lines. You can work on creativity and really grabbing someone’s attention later. For right now, help them get the idea of an introduction and conclusion.
What do teachers say about these French writing prompts?
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️”I started using this as my morning writing task. It really works well with all my students. All students feel successful as the vocab is right there for them, so they can write as much as they can without feeling defeated by the “I don’t know how to write/spell”. It is one the best resources I have bought that I can see myself using year after year.”
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️”LOVE having the keywords and sayings in French and English. This makes it so much easier for my students who are in a modified program. Mme. R’s resources are always a hit!”
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️”I love this package! It has everything needed to help encourage weekly journaling. The differentiated rubrics are fantastic!”
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ “I am NEVER disappointed with Mme R’s French Resources. This is perfect to get my Core French students writing. I love the vocab in French and in English. This allows the students to easily write out their thoughts.”