After our first two units on cities and dwellings, French 8 students dive into a thematic unit about Les Vêtements et le shopping dans le monde. We continue with an Intermediate Low proficiency target but expand the range of activities and give students more independence, as they are now more familiar with strategies for completing interpretive and interpersonal tasks.
Here is the completed template for the entire unit and my student Can-Dos table for students to monitor their learning. My daily lesson plans are here. It's quite messy to plan a unit of this length (9 weeks), so I'm still working on making sure my daily activities connect tightly to my Can-Dos. A work in progress, for sure!
My authentic resources for the unit can be found on my Pinterest board.
The unit kicks off with a fun hook in the children's book Mon Pull by Audrey Poussier. By using a simple prop (an old sweater), you can act out the story while learning some of the basic clothing vocabulary in context. Thanks to my friends at Brookline Public Schools for sharing this gem of a book with me! My first Can-Do for the unit is I can name and describe the clothes I wear, so this book is a great starting point.
Students continue to encounter lots of clothing as we watch a humorous ad campaign by Cache Cache and complete a listening activity to accompany it. Now that students can name and describe clothing with some ease, we start talking about the idea of fashion and style. We watch a Swiss video (8 minutes) about style tribes and students identify the characteristics of each tribe on a worksheet. This leads naturally into a conversation about style tribes at our school and their distinctive looks. Next we leave Europe and investigate different styles of dress, determined by social role and not fashion, in Senegal. This video has an accompanying listening guide that I wrote, and begins to answer our essential question, "Do people in all cultures dress to impress?"
World fashion remains a key topic as students read an article from Géo Ado about the dominance of US brands on world fashion and complete an interpretive reading activity. Students also watch a TV5 segment about the Nana Benz (pagne-sellers) of Togo and complete the accompanying interpretive listening activities from the site.
Students demonstrate their ability to name and describe clothing in a fashion show, which is a presentational writing and speaking activity. It's one of the only times that I have students present to the whole class, but I think it's worth it - we create a "runway" between rows of desks and have "paparazzi" photographing the event to the tunes of French pop music. My description of the project and rubric are here.
At this point, the unit takes a turn toward the finances behind shopping and clothing. To address the Can-Do statement I can talk about my money, employment situation, and spending habits, students interview one another about these matters and collect data on the class as a whole. Later they use their findings to participate in an interpersonal assessment on the topic. Here's the corresponding rubric.
Our final topic of study is the one that really gives this unit the feel of a thematic unit, and reflects some of the great planning skills I learned from Laura Terrill and her awesome book The Keys to Planning. We conclude the unit by studying sweatshops and investigating the pros and cons of buying clothing made in sweatshops. Students read a Wikipedia article in French about sweatshops to determine the basics of what they are. I am not a fan of using Wikipedia as an information source in English, but it does offer simply-written texts on important topics in French. At home, students look at where their own clothes come from and compile the information on this worksheet, with a corresponding map. This gives us the opportunity to work with the vexing irregular verb venir.
We dig into sweatshops more deeply via the Swiss video Les Vraies victimes de la mode, made by a Swiss campaign to pay textile workers a living way. The video is excellent in its simplicity and I've developed an interpretive listening guide for it. We follow up with an article about the "Made in France" label from 1Jour1Actu, one of my favorite sources for authentic reading material. Here's the interpretive reading assessment, written according to the ACTFL template for IPAs. This template is excellent, because it's quiz to adapt to various texts, challenging but appropriate for learners, and a breeze to grade! I don't even use a rubric and simply assign 1 point for each question from sections 1 and 2, plus 3-4 points for the summary at the end in order to get to 20 points. There's a similar reading called Nos habits à quel prix? with accompanying assessment here, if you prefer.
The unit concludes with students creating a presentational RAFT project in which they ask for and give advice on one of the unit's topics. They work in small groups and can choose from a variety of formats, although talk show and puppet show are among the most popular. Here's the rubric. This project dates back to my old teaching days, so it's not quite as evolved as I'd like it to be. I'll get there! Since one of the structures that students need for the project is commands, we prepare by reading a Yahoo! advice column on proper work attire in the summer, which you can see here along with my interpretive activity.