Pronouns, Part II - Verbs in Context

I previously blogged about introducing students to pronouns out of context.  In this post, I will share some ways I target specific pronouns in a more contextual setting, while also reinforcing ER verb forms.  Each of these activities targets several, but not all, subject pronouns.  In real communication, all the pronouns are not used together in the same situation.  Splitting them up across activities also helps students focus more on the pronouns you're working on.

Talking Questions (Je/Tu/Nous/Vous)
I often give my students an envelope of questions to ask each other in groups.  At this stage, it's hard to sustain a conversation without some support, so the questions help them along.  Sometimes I'll give them a question where they have to fill in the ending (such as "Do you watch _____") to make it more personal.  I like to use this as an opportunity to reinforce the difference between tu and vous.  Students have to think about how to answer a question about just themselves or about them and their family or them and their friends.  I give students a reference sheet to help them with this.

Speed Friending (Je/Tu/Nous/Vous)
Some people call this speed dating.  I call it speed friending since it's really just about finding friends.    After seeing a lot of teachers (Meghan Chance most recently) use this activity, I adapted it for my classroom.  I wanted students to practice conversation skills, but also work on using negatives.  Before partaking in the activity, students fill in the top half of the sheet with information about themselves.  They then copy the affirmative side into the questions at the bottom.  Then, they interview 3-4 classmates (I announce when it's time to switch, and half the students move systematically to a new spot).  If they answer affirmatively to a question, they put a check mark.  If they answer negatively, they put an X.  At the end of the activity, the classmate who has the most check marks is the student's ideal friend.

Ask Anything (Tu/Vous)
Using the quick question feature on Socrative, I have students write questions for various people (me, the principal, a student, a question directed towards a student and his or her friends and family to elicit a plural "vous").  For the question for the principal, the students vote (using the included feature on Socrative) on the best question to ask him, and I send the top vote-getting questions in each class to him to answer (in English, which I then translate back into French).  Sometimes students get off task and write silly answers when using this app, so they have to enter their names first to be held accountable.

Caption Homework (Je/Nous/Il/Elle/Ils/Elles)
For homework, students have to find a photo (a personal photo, one from the magazine or the internet, or they can draw something) and write a caption about what is going on in the photo.  If they are in the photo, they use "Je," if they and another person are in the photo they use "nous," and if they are not in the photo, they use the appropriate third person pronoun.  It helps them think about which pronoun they need in a particular situation.  I make a bulletin board of their creations.

Photo Memorization Activity (Il/Elle/Ils/Elles)
This is an activity that I adapted from Maris Hawkins.  She shows a series of photos on the board, then takes them away and students write what they remember.  I chose characters doing various things that my students know how to describe in French.  They had to write a sentence about what each character was doing (some of the characters were in pairs so that all of the 3rd person pronouns were covered).

Write, Draw Pass (Il/Elle/Ils/Elles)
I blogged about this idea from Martina Bex a couple of years ago. Students write a sentence, on a piece of paper, pass it to the person next to them who draws it, then folds the first sentence down and passes it to the next person, who writes a sentence based on the picture, and so on. It helps a lot to give example sentences.  Martina even has a template you can download! Here is an example:

Picture Captions (Il/Elle/Ils/Elles)
I previously blogged about this activity as well.  You can read the post for more details, but essentially, students imagine a sentence in French, draw a picture of it on the iPad, and then post it to a virtual notice board (last year I used Lino, this year I used Padlet).  Then someone else comes along and writes a caption for it.  Now, in order for this to work, you need to allow the students to edit each others' posts, which unfortunately can lead to students writing off-topic captions.  Alternatively, you could have the students sign up for accounts and login so they are held accountable.  I think this activity could just as easily be done with whiteboards though - once students are done drawing the picture, they move to a different desk and caption someone else's.  This is how I plan to do it next year.  Sometimes technology improves a task, but sometimes it also adds new challenges.

Guess Which Picture (Il/Elle/Ils/Elles)
For this simple review activity, I give pairs of students a sheet with a number of different images of people doing various things on it.  The students take turns describing an image (e.g. "La filles chante" or "Les garçons jouent aux jeux-vidéo") and having their partner point to the one they are describing. I usually do this as a station on a review day.

Picture Description Relay (Il/Elle/Ils/Elles)
Similar to the previous activity, I have students do this activity in groups of three.  Each group gets a page with 6 photos, lettered A-D.  All over the classroom, crumpled up, are each of the images, with a number on them.  Each group member takes a turn finding a ball of paper, opening it up, memorizing it, and then providing the number and a description of what's happening in the photo to the group.  The group then determines which image that is on the sheet, and writes the appropriate letter next to the number that the first group member provided.  It's extremely fast-paced, and a fun way to promote speech.

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