Supporting Student Growth from Novice High to Intermediate Mid Through Impactful Input: Qu’est-ce qu’on mange aux cantines scolaires mondiales?

Impactful Input: Qu’est-ce qu’on mange aux cantines scolaires mondiales?

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Unit objectives: These are the last two objectives in the Unit: Dis-moi ce que tu manges et je te dirai qui tu es. / Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are. You will find the complete unit plan and resources on this post.

  1. Students can evaluate and compare school lunch menus from the Francophone world.
  2. Students can provide suggestions on how to improve their school lunch options.

Impactful Resource # 1 – School lunch from around the world pictures: AP Photos |Business Insider: School lunches from around the world | HuffPost: School lunches from around the world | Blog: What’s for school lunch? | The School Lunch Project | Yuck! A 4th grader’s documentary on school lunch | NPR: This is what school lunch really looks like |

As an anticipatory hook, I showed students pictures from various Web sites with school lunch pictures from around the world. I used food vocabulary, opinion expressions, comparative expressions (it looks delicious, it seems healthier than…) to talk about the pictures. Students discussed the food they saw in the pictures (it seems to have rice and beans) and their opinions (in my opinion, it looks delicious, healthy, etc) as we went through the pictures. To this day, they mention the meal from Brazil. They wanted to know why our lunch menu doesn’t offer the same variety and quality. In short, the resource impacted them and piqued their interest in the topic.

Impactful Resource # 2 – YouTube Playlist: Vie scolaire – Restaurants et cantines scolaires francophones

I curated and organized a selection of videos from various French-speaking countries. Students expressed their amazement that the cafeterias used real plates, silverware, and glasses and that they didn’t serve milk. They marveled at the idea of having une entrée (appetizer), plat principal (main dish), laitage (yogurt or cheese option), and most of all: un dessert! I could hardly control the expressions of disbelief over the differences. Videos (and images) promote thought-provoking questions and discussions. Their questions were in English and I supported their listening comprehension by using French in the answers. I didn’t want to stifle their interest or energy.


Impactful Resource #3 Qu’est-ce qu’on mange aux cantines scolaires francophones? / What’s on the school lunch menu in Francophone countries? Google Maptemplate, and project handout

Did you know that you can create a personalized Google Map with pins, videos, links, and pictures? Instead of printing out the school lunch menus from the 10 Francophone schools I found, I created the map so students could visualize and connect with geography of the French-speaking world. I added a picture of the school and a link to its school lunch menu (as current as possible) to the pin.

As part of the unit name, we are looking at identity through food. Not only are students learning the food vocabulary, they are also interacting with the practices of different cultures.

Students explored at least two schools in two different countries, and they created a Google Slide presentation based on my template that includes:

  • One day’s menu with pictures for each item.
  • The ingredients one of the dishes on the menu (most likely the main course)
  • Their opinion of the dish: Would they eat this? Why or why not?

These projects will be shared with the entire class and the students will critique two classmates’ projects:

  • What new words did you learn from your classmates’ projects?
  • How effective were the pictures chosen for the project?
  • Are their opinions comprehensible to you?
  • Was the project professional: organized, same fonts, etc.

 Impactful Resource #4: Infographic and IPA-light reading assessment * Will be posted on 1 May after I give it to the students!*

Cantine ou McDo?

Our campus is supposed to be closed, but students constantly leave for lunch despite our efforts to keep them on campus. It is evident that they prefer fast food restaurants or the nearby grocery stores. In choosing this resource, my goal is to start the conversation: Why do students leave campus for a more expensive meal? This infographic details calories, price, and calories: All great topics to discuss using math, health and comparative vocabulary. The IPA-light reading assessment asks the students to make inferences, calculate, and give opinions in both French and English.

Impactful Resource #3: Article “Cantine/fast-food: Le duel sans merci” and IPA-light reading assessment *Will be posted on 1 May after I give it to the students!*

This is the follow up newspaper article for the infographic. I will be highly editing the text so that is comprehensible for the students. When I edit, I either change words to ones the students know or a cognate. I also use (italics) to gloss the word in English if there is no way to change it. This article connects with the students because they leave campus for the same reasons! We will be able to discuss the article using the “Reading salad” strategy that was shared by Nicole Naditz and other teachers. Reading comprehension will be assessed through an IPA-style exercise.  

Impactful Resource #5 Realities and consequences vocabulary cards French 2 Seesaw Blogs: Period 3 and Period 4

After reading the article, the students will have a few expressions to explain why students leave campus for lunch, but they will need more for their presentation. I created these vocabulary cards in two steps: simple statements about the realities of our cafeteria and food and longer statements that describe the consequences to the realities.

For the first exercise, the students chose three realities that reflect their opinions. With a partner, they used the digital portfolio site “Seesaw” to record a short conversation about their lunch choices and their opinions of the lunch room. They were allowed to only use the vocabulary cards for the recording since they have already practiced the basics: How was your lunch? It was (good, ok, delicious, disgusting…). What did you eat for lunch? I ate… Next, they added their opinions and agreed or disagreed with their partners using the learned expressions: “Je suis d’accord, je ne suis pas d’accord, tu as raison, tu as tort.”

The next exercise is a writing task. Students chose four realities and found four consequences that made natural sense for the reality. The reading comprehension process was fairly easy as I chose cognates and known words and added a few new expressions that we quickly covered. In their notebooks, student created a three-column chart: “Réalités, Conséquences, and Suggestions.” In the first two columns, they copied from the vocabulary cards. In the last column, they wrote their ideal remedy for the issues in English. As I circled the classroom giving feedback, I conferenced with the students on their suggestions and we created French sentences for their suggestions. This was an excellent way for students to feel in charge of their opinion and not struggle to create a new sentence without support.

Impactful Resource #6: EdPuzzle Listening comprehension – Bien manger en Normandie

I chose this video clip for our IPA listening assessment. It is under five minutes and it describes a school lunch that created a local, healthy menu. The questions reflect listening comprehension and deductive reasoning. EdPuzzle allows me to track student progress in listening comprehension throughout the year.   

Notre cantine scolaire: Les réalités de notre cantine scolaire et mes suggestions pour l’améliorer ! What does our school lunch look like and what suggestions do we have to improve it?  Directions, and statement organizer

The final project for this unit allows the students to synthesize the many aspects of our six week exploration of identity through food. We started with almost no knowledge of food vocabulary and now can express our opinions on our school lunch in comparison to school lunches around the world. The students were supported at each step with personalized food vocabulary and opinion statements, scaffolded language chunks to extend language control, and comprehensible reading and listening experiences.  They are now ready to present their suggestions to a French-speaking audience. We will invite our French-speaking superintendent and school board member as well as other Francophones in our region, and AP students. Additionally, French 1 students will attend the arena-style presentation in the library so they can see where they will be by the end of next French 2. These connections to community and school are important. Students should understand that language skills do not remain in the classroom. They can be used for professional and personal reasons.

2016 student presentations: The sound quality was less than good, so this year we will wear microphones. However, there are a few audible examples!


This unit best demonstrates my teaching styles and philosophies. Each year I am proud of the progress the students make both in actual language skills and personal confidence in producing language with support.

 As always, please share your questions and comments! Bon appétit et bonne continuation!