Let's Roll the Dice!


Here's a fun and simple activity to review ER verb conjugations (or any verb conjugations for that matter) without having to use English.  I adapted this from various games I have seen my colleagues and others doing in their classrooms. Before I describe this activity, I want to point out that this is to me a scaffolding activity. I would consider my teaching approach to be communication-based, but sometimes non-communicative activities like this are important to build a foundation to communicate from.  I did this activity a couple days after students learned about the different verb forms (a future post will highlight story I used to introduce them this year).

Put students in small groups (this is important when the material is still new).  Have each group make a grid of A-F across and 1-6 up and down (see below).  Give each group a number dice and a letter dice. On the board at the front of the room, have a picture to represent 6 different pronouns for each letter A-F (for example, a picture of a person pointing to himself to represent "je" next to the letter A, a picture of Uncle Sam to represent "tu" next to the letter B, and so on).  Then, have a picture to represent 6 different verbs next to each number.  In groups, students roll the dice and write on a white board the verb form that corresponds to the two pictures.  Then, they call either me or one of the volunteer checkers circulating the room (who have answer keys) to verify that it's correct.  The checker can only say "Oui" or "Non."  If it's incorrect, though, they can keep trying.  If it's correct, they put an X or a 1 on the spot on the grid.  Ideally, the students won't need to speak any English during this activity.  They can say what ending is needed in French.

At the end of the activity, the group with the highest number of Xs earns a prize.  You can also have students compete against each other in the group (initialing instead of X-ing in the grid), but I like to have the students work together.

This is a pretty simple activity, but the students really enjoy doing it!

Have you ever done an activity like this?  How was yours different?

20 Favorite Photos I've Taken in France

Some of you may know that my other passion besides teaching and French is photography.  I have a photography blog where I share many of my photos.  I like to share other culturally relevant materials on this blog besides just lesson ideas, so in this post, I will share with you 20 of my favorite photos that I've taken in France.

Nourrir les petits oiseaux - 2006
Feed the Birds

I took this on a disposable camera since I had dropped (twice) and broken the camera I brought with me.  Even though this photo isn't of the highest quality, it has always been one of my favorites.  It's just so quintessentially Parisian!

Place de la Concorde - 2012
Place de la Concorde
I took this through a bus window, but sometimes you get lucky.  I like this shot of Place de la Concorde better than any shots I took when I was standing still.

La Tour Eiffel depuis l'Arc de Triomphe - 2009
Paris' Shining Beacon
The view from the Arc de Triomphe at night is probably the best in all of Paris.  This photo is on display in my classroom.

La Tour Eiffel depuis un bateau mouche - 2012
Paris la nuit
Before the boat took off for our nighttime tour of Paris, I propped my camera on my little Gorillapod and got this long exposure.

Vue de Paris depuis le Musée d'Orsay - 2012
Inside the Musée d'Orsay
I am not a huge fan of black and white photography, but I decided it worked for this photo.  One of my favorite things about this photo is how you can just make out Sacré-Cœur in the distance.

Opéra Garnier - 2012
L'Opéra Garnier
This is one of the only good photos I have of the Opéra.

Place du Tertre, Montmartre - 2012
Montmartre au Crépuscule
This is the perfect time of night to take a photo, and I had everything going in my favor.  It was raining, so the ground was wet, allowing the colors from the buildings to reflect, and the slow shutter speed was just fast enough to be hand-holdable, but allowed for the people in the photo to be blurred.

La Tour Eiffel encadrée de feuillage - 2009
The Eiffel Tower Framed by Foliage
Sitting on a park bench I looked up and saw this composition.

La Galerie des Glaces - 2012
La Galerie des Glaces
Getting a shot of the architecture in Versailles that even begins to do it justice, requires, in my opinion, a wide angle lens.  When I finally had the opportunity to photograph the Hall of Mirrors with a wide angle lens, I was very excited.

Le Château de Versailles - 2012
The Ornate Walls & Ceilings of Versailles
This is another shot of the Palace of Versailles that I really like.  With a wide angle lens, I was able to capture both the ceiling and the walls.

Les petites rue de Paris - 2012
Les petites rues de Paris
This isn't the type of photography I usually do, but in any case, this is my most popular photo of France on Flickr.

Cabaret de la Bohème, Montmartre - 2012
Cabaret de la Bohème
I'm quite fond of the colors in this one, as well as the man with the umbrella that you only notice if you look closely.

Café, Quartier Latin - 2006

I don't even remember taking this, but looking back, I like it.

Château de Chambord - 2004
This is my favorite château in France, although I've only been once. I applied a vintage effect on this photo, something I don't do very often anymore.

Chez Monet - 2012
Chez Monet
Visiting Monet's home and gardens in Giverny is like stepping into one of his paintings.

Le vitrail de Chartres - 2012
Le vitrail de Chartres
When I opened this up in Photoshop, I noticed what appears to be a man on the left side about halfway down.  I never noticed this when I was taking the photo.

Le jardin de Monet - 2012 Overcast Day at Claude Monet's Garden
Although it was an overcast day when I took this photo, the diffused light on the flowers actually made for more pleasing photos.

Fort National, St-Malo - 2004
The Castle of Saint-Malo, France
I would love to go back to St-Malo.  I love all the photos I took there.

L'architecture de St-Malo - 2004
The Many Buildings of St. Malo
There is nothing more European to me than these buildings.

La Laiterie et La Tour Malbrough, Versailles - 2009
La Laiterie et la Tour Malbrough à Versailles (2)
This has always been one of my favorite spots in Versailles to photograph.

Which one of these photos is your favorite?

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