Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.
Bell Ringers for French Class
As a French teacher, you know how important it is to activate your students' prior knowledge and make the most of transitional times. After all, in all likelihood, your students are not speaking and listening to French during the rest of their day, so you really have to get them back into the right frame of mind for the topics and skills you are covering.
One way to maximize the time you have with your students is to use bell ringers, or short activities that students can work on without much adult assistance. Bell ringers are ideal for that time when students are trickling into your classroom from different places and you have a few transitional tasks of your own to take care of. The bell ringers in this lesson get students ready to work on French together!
Visual Bell Ringers
This section offers bell ringers that appeal to visual learners, those who like to work with graphic organizers or images as they assimilate knowledge.
- Project a poem written in French. As students enter, have them read the poem and then draw or paint an image that shows the feelings the poem evokes for them.
- Project an image of a landmark from a French-speaking country. Ask students to speak French with each other as they describe what they are looking at, where it is, and what it represents.
- Project an image of a daily life scene from a French speaking country, such as a store, a hospital, or a household. Ask students to jot down a few French sentences describing the image they are looking at.
- Ask students to complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting two different countries where French is spoken.
- Ask students to draw a picture illustrating a holiday they know is celebrated in France. They should write a French caption to the image they have created.
- Put a series of three sequenced illustrations at each table and ask students to write a short story in French about the three images they are looking at.
Tactile Bell Ringers
These bell ringers ask students to use their hands and bodies as they get ready for French class.
- As students enter, play music with French lyrics and allow them to dance in ways that help them express the feelings of the music and its words.
- Give students a lump of clay and a list of directions in French for making a sculpture. See how well they can follow the directions to make their sculptures before class formally begins.
- Ask students to trace the spelling of French vocabulary words in the air using their whole arms and pronouncing each word as they trace them. They can also practice using these words in sentences.
- Have students pair up and use their bodies as well as words to act out a particular scene in French. They might act out a scene in a Paris shop, on a French beach, or asking for directions.
Verbal Bell Ringers
Finally, the bell ringers in this section will have your students work on listening, speaking, reading, and writing as they make the transition into your class.
- As students come in, play a recording of someone speaking French. Ask students to simply listen attentively and get ready to talk about what they heard and what questions came up for them as they listened.
- Play an audio recording of a French-speaking person pronouncing the vocabulary students are working on. Ask students to try repeating these words and emulating the speaker's pronunciation.
- Put a list of French vocabulary or phrases at each student's table. Ask them to try to have a dialogue with partners at their table, incorporating the words or phrases you have given them.
- Ask students to talk with their partners about their hobbies in French. Each student should have a chance to practice describing something he or she loves to do in their spare time.
- Give students a paragraph written in French with grammatical errors. See how many of the errors they can independently correct before class formally begins.
- Give students an article or short story written in French about the themes they have been working on. As they enter, ask them to read the story and underline what they think are the most important or interesting parts.
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