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French Learning Games

Instructor: David Wood

David has taught Honors Physics, AP Physics, IB Physics and general science courses. He has a Masters in Education, and a Bachelors in Physics.

French can be a challenge for people, but it needn't be boring. We can keep our students engaged and help them learn at a faster pace by having them compete with one another in a series of learning games. Check out these ideas.

Make Learning French Fun

Learning a new language can be daunting, and it's especially difficult when learning at an advanced age. When students struggle with French, they can disengage from the subject pretty quickly. One way to make learning French more fun is through playing learning games. Games can simulate natural circumstances, and provide more immediate motivation for communicating well and accurately in French. Here are a few games you can try in your classroom for teaching French.

Who Am I? Game

Who Am I? is reminiscent of a classic tabletop game, which tends to become less fun as kids get older. However, in a French class it takes on a whole new life. Having students play Who Am I? in French gives them a chance to practice asking questions and using descriptive adjectives and sentences. It's a great way for students to make some significant progress.

To play, students are given a series of images of characters, each with different features: male, female, mustaches, beards, earrings, head bands, different colors of eyes and hair. One student chooses one of these characters at random. Their partner must ask yes or no questions like, 'Are you male?' or 'Do you have a mustache?', until they figure out which of the characters their partner chose. In a French class, the only difference is that the questions must be asked and answered in French.

Role-Playing Games

A great way of teaching French is through acting out scenarios. These scenarios can be given some extra spice by turning them into fully developed role-playing activities. Rather than having students work in partners to talk about what they like and dislike about school, or order a coffee, why not make it more interesting? Put students into groups, and give each student a character in a story or situation.

Perhaps John is signing up for a gym membership, while Vanessa tries to sneak into the gym unnoticed. Little does Vanessa know, that John works as a security guard down the street, and notices her do it. How will he handle the situation? Will Vanessa be able to talk her way out of it?

Or perhaps three people are driving down the street, when they find themselves in an accident, causing one of them to get whiplash. Thankfully a police officer and EMT are soon on the scene and able to help.

Students should be free to communicate not only using French but using hand-signs, acting, and body language. You could even let students look up odd words in advance as they prepare for their scenario.

Yes or No? Questions Game

Yes or No? has a lot of the same benefits as Who Am I?. This is a game where a student thinks of a particular animal, vegetable, mineral, or concept. Their partner must ask them a series of questions with a yes or no answer. The goal is for them to guess what the first student was thinking of by asking fewer than the limit of twenty questions. In French, this gives students practice phrasing and interpreting questions.

Category Alphabet Game

For this game, create a grid on the whiteboard as large as you can, and write a different French word in each of the boxes. The words should form one of 5-10 categories, with at least a few words in each category. Each word in a given category should start with a different letter, and there should be no letters for which there is only one word on the board.

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