Parts of the body can be a difficult topic to make contextual. With the right activities, though, it can be a lot of fun to teach and learn. These are some of the activities I use year after year.
Although many of the body parts mentioned are bird-specific (les ailes, le bec, les pattes), I still like to teach this song because of its cultural significance. I show the video below, which is a little goofy, and thus perfect for middle school.
Jacques a dit
There isn't a topic better suited to the French version of Simon Says than body parts. When the terms are still new, I act them out as I say them, so the game doesn't rely as much on knowing the vocabulary. Later on, I mix things up by touching the wrong body part (e.g. I say "Touchez la bouche" but I touch my foot) to test them.
Frankenstein Body Parts
I was first introduced to this idea by The Creative Language Class. It's basically a fun twist on the traditional label-the-body-parts assignment. Instead of taking a picture and labeling it, you make a creature from multiple sources. The results can be fun and a little bit scary!
Igor le Gorille
This fun video reinforces some parts of the body vocabulary while introducing some new terms like "Peux-tu," "comme," and "bouge."
Before watching the video, I throw this Wordle up on the board to go over the vocabulary.
A colleague of mine gave me the idea for this hilarious activity. A student comes up to the board, puts one hand over his eyes, and proceeds to draw various body parts that the class calls out in French, one by one. The result is this extremely abstract version of a person that's sure to elicit a few laughs, especially from the person who drew it.
Dessinez un monstre
Another drawing activity, this time the teacher announces body parts for students to draw. Since it's a monster, you can say things like "dessinez trois têtes" or "dessinez une bouche sur le cou" to make it more interesting. Although everyone is following the same directions, the monsters all come out unique. By the way, the two examples below are from two separate activities, hence the many differences.
Avec les ____, je peux...
Shortly after teaching parts of the body, I introduce likes and dislikes with various activities (ER verbs). To reinforce both old and new vocabulary, I have students brainstorm what activities they can do with each of the body parts they have learned how to say in French. Example: Avec les yeux, je peux regarder la télé, étudier, jouer aux jeux vidéo, etc.
Logique ou pas logique ?
Building on the previous activity, I have two Smart Board spinners that have activities and parts of the body on them, respectively. I spin each of them (or a student does), and we decide if the activity/body part combo is logical or illogical (e.g.: chanter avec la bouche = logique, danser avec les oreilles = pas logique).
When I introduce vocabulary for making and responding to invitations, I spend a lot of time on excuses (i.e. "Je ne peux pas," "Je dois...," etc.). This provides a great opportunity to revisit parts of the body by providing "J'ai mal à..." as a potential excuse.
Les monstres coloriés
This is an activity that I tried once and never repeated because it proved too difficult for the level of students I teach. I think this would be a great activity for an intermediate class. Have students draw a monster in various colors, then write a sentence describing the color of each body part. It reinforces "est," "sont," and adjective/noun agreement.
Those are my favorite activities for teaching parts of the body. What are yours?
If you've been playing Kahoot in your classroom, you may have heard of Kahoot Jumble. Jumble is a take on Kahoot that is based on putting four terms in correct order. Whether it's dates, times, digits, events, even words in a sentence, if you can think of four terms that your students would need to put in order, you can make a Jumble game. I recently made my first one and played it with my students. Since we were learning about time, day, and date, it was easy to come up with questions. You can see a few below:
Click here to play the game.
When the question pops up, the four terms are displayed (out of order) on the board, as above. On their devices, students have blocks of the four colors, and they drag and drop them into the order they feel is correct, then lock in their answer. They must get them all right to get any points. Just like in the classic version of Kahoot, the quicker the student answers, the more points they get (proved the answer is correct). I urge students to take their time, though, and set the timer on most questions to 60 seconds to encourage more thoughtful responses.
After the answers have been locked in, the correct order is shown on the board, along with the percentage of students who got it right.
The general feedback from students is that they liked the game. One fair word of caution, though: the game is still quite buggy. Classic Kahoot can be buggy at times, but Jumble is even more so. Throughout the course of a game, it's not uncommon for 5 or 6 students to have their screen freeze up. When this happens, they have to exit and reenter the game, forfeiting any previously earned points. Understandably, this frustrates students, but giving them a heads up before the game starts helps to mitigate the frustration. I tell the students that there is a certain element of luck in the game, as far as whether or not you'll freeze up. In the meantime, hopefully the folks at Kahoot are working on the bugs, because Jumble is a very useful tool for the classroom.
Posted by Samantha Decker on Sunday, January 22, 2017