Grade Level: Middle School
General Objectives: Students will describe a home in French including the furniture and the rooms.
Lesson Length: One week
This unit is developed for Middle school students who have studied French for at least a semester. These students would already be able to express their likes and dislikes, their wants and needs, and exchange basic personal information. It is not necessary for the students to understand every vocabulary word or verb tense in the story.
Based on the story, "Il y a un alligator sous mon
lit" by Mercer
Mayer, the unit ties together the language of home, family, and actions (verbs). These are all part of any beginning curriculum. Although this story is written for younger children, it allows for discussion common fears. In essence it is a coming of age story about tackling problems all on one's own. These themes are of intrinsic interest to the middle school student.
This thematic unit allows our students to go beyond the textbook. When they use their language skills to discuss their fears, their home, and their family, they focus on content of the communication rather than on the semantics. Ironically, so does the teacher. This encourages the students to create with language. Indeed, sometimes the results are non-communication, but it allows the students to play with language real world situations.
The first question that we face as middle school teacher is: "How do I find time to fit this into the curriculum?" The answer lies in redefining your objectives based on functional outcomes rather than the scope and sequence of the textbook. Thus this thematic unit can replace some of the textbook activities about the home. The students are motivated by the change of pace it provides.