Friday, April 15, 2011

How to Use a Mannequin in Your Classroom #10: Jacques' Birthday Party!

Jacques DUBOIS, my classroom mannequin, just turned 16!  So we had a birthday party for him in French I.  Students were asked to bring Jacques a present for the party.  It had to be something they made or something from home they could give away, but they weren't allowed to buy anything for him.  Students wrote descriptions of what they were giving him and why in French, and on the day of the party, they presented their gifts to Jacques in front of the class.  Here are some examples:
This young lady is giving Jacques a wig, because he's bald :).

This young lady is presenting Jacques with a scarf.

One student made Jacques a French driver's license!
My students got really excited about giving Jacques a present!  It continues to amaze me how easily I can get them to buy into the whole story.  It reminds me that they're still really just kids at heart (and maybe I am, too :).

Students also enjoyed singing Happy Birthday to Jacques, and eating birthday cake!

In my opinion, this was so much more successful than just having students practice writing descriptions of things.  For those of you who aren't language teachers, I should explain that first year language students typically learn to use adjectives properly, and therefore need to practice describing things.  This definitely got their attention, and it was also very enjoyable.  Who wouldn't want that in their classroom?

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