Spring fever can be intense in 8th grade , so I need a really engaging unit to keep students motivated to the very end. At my middle school, there are numerous interruptions to the teaching schedule in spring (state testing, field trips, concerts...) so while I have 39 school days for this unit, several are partially or wholly lost to special events.
Despite these two challenges, this unit's themes of health and hunger keep students working in French through June. Why food and hunger? I've always studied food at this time of year, but adding healthy eating and world hunger to the unit really creates a rich theme. Students are already familiar with basic notions of nutrition but are largely ignorant about world hunger. While the topic can feel overwhelmingly sad, I try to balance the harsh facts with learning about organizations that fight hunger and reflecting on our individual choices contribute to the problem or its solution.
Without further ado, here's the unit template, my student Can-Dos, and my daily lessons. All tasks and many authentic resources can be found in my student dossier. That document didn't format well in Google due to a mix of portrait and landscape page set-ups, but at least it's all there for you to grab and modify as you see fit.
My authentic resources for the unit can be found on my Pinterest board.
I like to kick off the unit by talking about CHOCOLATE because it's AMAZING! Here's a document that outlines the details of those first days. There are several infographics, a whole packet of activities, and more...check it out for yourself.
From here, we address the first two Can-Dos:
• I can state opinions about food: preferences, healthy foods, dietary restrictions
• I can analyze my food choices in terms of healthfulness
We start the unit by getting familiar with lots of food items via two silly video clips, En voici en voilà and Monsieur Salade. Here are my listening activities to accompany the clips. We play a pair game where students have to locate the person who has the same string of food items in the same order, which you can find here.
Now that we have some common vocabulary, we're ready to dive into the thematic aspect of healthy eating by reading about the 7 food families and grouping items on this table. they also keep a food diary and group the foods they've eaten by food family. We read excerpts from the French website La Santé vient en mangeant, which features hilarious faces made from common foods, and Et toi, tu manges bien? from Okapi. We round out our study of nutrition with an information-gap activity with various food pyramids from around the world. Since my students' parents come from many countries, they enjoy seeing some of those countries represented in French class. This polishes off the 3rd Can-Do:
• I can explain the US and French food pyramids