Images from French history – the Lascaux cave paintings, the Bayeux Tapestry, the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries, and
les bandes dessinées
– will be used to create interest, motivation, and engagement for beginning learners of French. Faced with reluctant language learners who actively resist taking notes, teachers need to adopt a more visual approach to teaching French classes. Tapping into student habits of doodling and interest in visual media, such as graphic novels and video games, artwork, rather than English translation, will promote vocabulary learning and encourage the use of French in classroom conversations.
Students will use simple French vocabulary and language expressions to describe the images and will research in English what the artwork reveals about French history, culture, symbols, and practices. Students will compare, contrast, and create pictorial stories of French civilization from pre-history through the twentieth century: cave paintings, tapestries, and comics. This curriculum unit supports communication, cultures, and comparison objectives of the national and state world language standards as well as visual arts content standards for media, history and cultures. Although developed for sixth-grade exploratory French students, the unit plan may be adapted to more advanced levels of language proficiency.
(Developed or French – Exploratory Level, grade 6, and Levels IA and IB, grades 7-8; recommended for French Exploratory and Level I, grades 6-9)