Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our New Students Amanda and Jake!

One of the most gratifying things about implementing the REAL LANGUAGE right away curriculum over the last few years is seeing how much more easily new students integrate into our French program. Denise and I teach a K-8 French program at the Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, IL. Over the years, it has often been challenging to know how to help new students adapt to the program without having the background that the other students have.

This year, I’ve had the privilege of starting Level II of REAL FRENCH tout de suite with my 6th grade class. My two new students, Amanda and Jake, who have been taking French for just 13 weeks, have adapted incredibly well this year. I am amazed at their level of comprehension and production, as well as their overall confidence and enjoyment of learning French. When asked about how the method works, Jake said, “It forces you to speak French.” Amanda added, “I like it because you actually get the chance to talk in French instead of having a grammar lesson in a language that you can’t really speak.”

Here is a video of the two of them practicing a conversation – you can see, they are very comfortable!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Level II in action!

Denise and I have been enjoying using REAL FRENCH tout de suite Level II with our students for the last 2 months. Here is a video of a group of 6th graders practicing Conversation 1b "A l'arrêt du bus" :

Sunday, October 10, 2010

REAL FRENCH tout de suite LEVEL II = done!

We’ve taken a little break from blogging, but we haven’t taken a break from REAL LANGUAGE right away. As you may have gathered from our facebook and twitter posts, Denise and I have been working very hard to complete REAL FRENCH tout de suite Level II. And now we can return to our blog and announce with enthusiasm that the Student Activity Book, Teacher’s Guide, Partner Conversations, Audio CD, and eBook are now complete and in our hands! They will be available on our website in the coming weeks!

The process of writing Level II has been very rewarding. It included moments of great joy, laughter, and fun, but there were also moments that required perseverance as we figured out how to structure the curriculum for this new level. We pushed through, and we are delighted with the result. Level II truly is a new and different; it integrates grammar, writing, listening comprehension, and varied activities to get students speaking!

We have had the pleasure of using this new curriculum with our middle school students since September. We are very happy with how balanced the approach feels and how the entertaining real-life conversations motivate the students to speak French! We hope you will enjoy looking at the sample conversation on this post—feel free to print it out and use it with your students!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

C'est bientôt les vacances !

We hope that you are enjoying these last days of the school year; it's never too late to get your students talking, so we thought we would give you a conversation to keep them interacting meaningfully in the target language. Enjoy! (Just click on the image, right click & copy it so you can use it with your students!)

To check out other REAL LANGUAGE right away conversations and materials, visit our website!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The end goal : Ownership.

Denise and I finished writing Level I of REAL FRENCH tout de suite! and REAL SPANISH ¡ahora mismo! just last August, and it’s been an exciting year of sharing these materials with others and even better, getting to use them in our own French classrooms at the Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, IL.

We very much enjoyed our recent “conference tour” where we were able to present at and attend a variety of foreign language conferences. We came away from the IN-NELL, CSCTFL, Wisconsin FLESFEST, and NECTFL conferences with renewed energy and ideas for our own teaching.

Denise and I were particularly challenged by workshops given by John Demado and Laura Terrill at the CSCTFL conference. Both speakers talked about teaching language in such a way that allows students to come to a point of ownership. As John Demado says, “you do not renovate that which you do not own,” and we want students to feel empowered to use the language meaningfully and move forward in their personal linguistic development. We believe that ample practice time is an essential factor in the journey toward ownership, and we see this over and over again as we use our REAL LANGUAGE right away materials.

As we prepared our presentation for the NECTFL conference and pondered this idea of ownership, we wanted to emphasize the way in which our REAL LANGUAGE right away program is set up to do just that. As we presented, we urged teachers to use our materials with the objective of having their students internalize and own the vocabulary, structures, and linguistic functions in this unique communicative program. We were able to show some video of the students using the follow-up activities in our Teacher’s Guide, which allow students to use the language they have practiced in the Partner Conversations and take it to the next level, one where the language comes to them automatically and is in fact, their own.

Here is a clip of my 1st grade class that will give you a feel for this :

As you can see, the students are participating in a Classroom Mixer where they are using the structure "Est-ce que tu as...?" (Do you have...?) in a very spontaneous and automatic way. It is so rewarding for students to arrive at this point of comfort and ease in using the language!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

REAL FRENCH tout de suite Conversation 2a with 1st graders

Here's a taste of REAL FRENCH tout de suite in action ! Two first graders present a conversation for the class.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Preview of Level II

We are working hard on REAL FRENCH tout de suite ! Level II. We wanted to give you a little preview of the Partner Conversations, and we encourage you French teachers to try it out with your classes!

Level II continues the communicative approach of Level I, but a more formal analysis of grammar is integrated. It brings back many of the structures and vocabulary from Level I, and the conversations become more situational, allowing students to role play in an authentic way.


To see examples from Level I or to purchase materials, visit