14. Les jours de la semaine

Early Start French 1: CONTENTS | HOME

French Starter Pack
1 Greetings
2 How are you?
3 What's your name?
Famous people
4 Alphabet
5 Family
6 Numbers 1-12
7 Ages
8 Brothers & sisters
9 Pets
10 Colours
11 Months
12 Numbers 13 - 31
13 Birthdays
14 LDays of the week
15 Today's date
16 Weather
17 Christmas
Consolidation and assessment

VWhat you will learn in film 14

This section gives you seven words to learn, plus two new phrases, so needs lots of practice.

It is a good opportunity to talk about what we do on different days of the week. You could also talk about where you might see 'Monday' or another day written in your own language.

It's Saturday! ...and we are cheering "Lens Racing Club", the local First Division team.

More about Lens and its football club

Back to top

School days

For over a century, French children had a mid-week break from school: in state schools, On Wednesdays, they had half or a whole day off so those who wanted to attend religious instruction with the Catholic Church . To make up for, it, there was school on Saturday mornings.

In 2008 the Minister suddenly announced: "Saturday will be a day for families" and banned Saturday classes in primary schools.

He cut lesson time from 26 hours a week to 24, which is still longer than in Britain.

Many French school organise this as a FOUR DAY WEEK, with a complete break on Wednesday; others still have Wednesday morning school.

In a poll, 80% of french parents welcomed this change - for some, it made it easier to away at weekends (richer families could go skiing!).

Teachers said that some children would fall behind in their work, especially those from poorer families that couldn't afford to pay for extra classes and activities for their children.

French Minister of Education's 2008 reforms
In 2008 Xavier Darcos, French Minister of Education, made a surprise announcement

The longest day
In 2008, researchers had told the French Minister of Education that younger French pupils were often too tired to learn properly.

Traditionally, French primary schools had the longest school hours in Europe - often 8.30 iam until 4.30 pm. Most had no school (or only a half day) on Wednesdays, with classes on Saturday mornings.

More changes?

In 2011, the French government started looking again at the primary school calendar - this time looking at giving children a shorter working day. - so they weren't so tired.

They said Wednesday morning lessons would be reintroduced in all schools, increasing the school week to 4 and a half days. To make up for shorter days, the long summer holiday will be 2 weeks shorter.

There may also be homework clubs at school, to reduce the need to do school work at home.

The government is also experimenting with trials of more sports and arts activities in some schools, awhich may lead to more changes in the school working week in the future. Children may even end up spending more time at school, but not all of it doing lessons!

Market days

Saint-Omer's main weekly market in the Place Foch outside the Town Hall is on Saturdays.

Part of the pattern of the week in most French towns is the day (or days) when they have a market.

In St. Omer, the whole of the large square in the centre of town is filled with stalls on market day. For the rest of the week, it is used as a car park.

Do you have a market in your community?

For more information on markets in Nord - Pas de Calais, see: www.theotherside.co.uk/tm-heritage/background/markets.htm

Back to top

Back to top

"The Very Hungry Caterillar" by Eric Serle

Our price: £
You can buy the French-language version of the well-known children's classic - see below

Storytelling in a foreign language works well even with very young pupils...

Many teachers have already used this activity; their experience is that older children are happy to join in a "baby-ish" story because of the challenge and satisfaction of showing they can follow it in a foreign language. If it proves successful with your pupils, we suggest ways you could develop more storytelling activities in later sections.

Telling the story

The Teachers' Guide suggests how you can develop the main lines of the plot using the language that is already familiar to the children, plus a few new words and some gisting. You can use the pictures from the English version, or the French edition (now available from Early Start).

You could group the children around you so they can see the illustrations in the book; use a "big book"; or to prepare your own overhead projector transparencies (OHTs), or flashcards.

When you first launch into telling the story in French, be ready to use lots of mime, gestures, and pointing to the illustrations to aid the children's understanding. Although the French is mostly easy to understand, you may prefer to aim at a simple paraphrase of the main direction of the plot . It is possible to tell the story using little more than the core vocabulary the class already know. Depending on your own fluency and how the children respond, you can add more embellishments.

For simplicity, teachers generally use the present tense to tell a story (so does the French edition!). As always, first time round do not show the children in writing those new words the story will introduce - let them hear the sound first.

This is a nicely repetitive story, and you may find that children want to join in and supply the words as the story progresses - if so, do encourage them, especially in counting and days of the week. If they prefer to listen for the first time, they will probably want to join in next time.

...for more fluent teachers:

Introduce your story-telling sessions with: "Maintenant, je vais vous raconter une histoire..." (Now, I'm going to tell you a story). Use French sounds like "alors.." and "eh bien" to fill out the narrative.

Buy this book in French

Children will be interested to try and read the familiar story in another language - if yiu wish, you can make the language simpler when you read it out loud to the whole class........

Now you can buy the French version of the story direct from Early Start:

book cover
Our price: £

Back to top

Back to top

Story telling: reading & resources for teachers

Research article about storytelling

Useful article about using storytelling in MFL teaching with young beginners, including a section with ideas for developing activities using this well-known story:


Back to top

CILT Young Pathfinder: "Are you sitting comfortably? "(YPF3) - Telling stories to young language learners
by Daniel Tierney & Patricia Dobson

How do you keep learners spellbound whilst developing their listening skills? The authors provide guidelines on the type of stories that work well in the foreign language. They look at different ways of presenting stories, preparation for storytelling and follow-up activities.

Why storytelling? • Leading into the story • Are you sitting comfortably? • Developing the story • Linking the story to aspects of the curriculum • Some of the stories that have been successfully used to date • Theory into practice: Mr Gumpy's Outing • Useful sources and resources

40pp, 1 874016 49 6, £6. Details of how to order from CILT Publications: http://www.cilt.org.uk

Back to top

Story-telling Resource Pack for Primary French
by Daniel Tierney & Fay Humphries
published by Nelson-Thornes

The pack has ben used with pupils aged 8 - 11 includes complete materials ( flashcards, OHP transparency masters, worksheets, games and Teachers Notes) for two popular and well-known stories:

The Giant Turnip and Goldilocks.

http://www.nelsonthornes.com - and use SEARCH to find 'Tierney' or 'primary french'. If it is out of print, you may find a reference copy in a Comenius resource centre.

Back to top

Our approach
www.earlystart.co.uk Last update: Copyright © 2001-10 Early Start Languages