For lesson 1 in French 4, the theme is personal relationships and emotions and being able to describe your ideal roommate, friend and soul mate. At this level of language learning, I believe that more communicative activities is necessary, to show real life application and break on-the-spot translation in order to promote thinking in the target language. That being said, I have created one main activity per lesson. With lesson 1, I have created a mock wedding that is student led. Everyone plays a role: bride, groom, maids-of-honor, best men, priest, mayor, judge, etc. They receive an order of how they are to run the ceremony and what the basic responsibilities are but then they must write their own lines. Each student declares feelings, roles in the process and desires for the couple. It really is quite something special to see them take responsibility for their part. They all got to sign a “wedding contract” and I photocopied the contracts and gave them each a copy of the ceremony they took part in as a ‘souvenir’.
This year, we held two ceremonies due to the number of students in the class. Walter Johnson with Sarah Bradford Seawright and Yahya Naveed with Jo’vette Hawkins. They all either memorized their lines or wrote keywords to help them with remembering what they needed to say. I think it was probably the best mock wedding I have had the pleasure of seeing in my 5 years here. They all understood what they needed to do and it went smoothly. We were even fortunate to have pleasant weather and held the ceremonies in the courtyard, with guests. Each student was given an opportunity to invite one guest to the ceremony and I would deliver them (students included, if they were free during the block).
After the ceremonies, we held a little mini reception where I gave them each a petit four that I ordered and had delivered (thanks to the recommendation and help of Teresa Deer). After eating petit fours and drinking tea (oh so good, Sarah Beth Greener made a homemade mint tea with sugar), I used the rest of class to discuss a quiz they just got back, clearing up any errors they might have had. Of course, I am proud to say that I conduct the class entirely in the target language and my students respond well. I have build them up to it and they expect it. I started 100% target language teaching in French 3. I like to think of my language class as an experience. It’s not just a place to learn the mechanics of a language but experience it as well. I hope we will be fortunate to have you as a guest at our next mock wedding next year!