Listening Activities

This is the skill that was lacking most in my classroom. I did not spend enough consistent time on listening activities. The “1 jour 1 question” has been invaluable and helped give students confidence to move onto more challenging listening activities.

  • 1 jour 1 question – This is how I begin every class. France TV Éducation’s humorous and informative two-minute videos answer questions written in by French children.
  • 1 jour 1 actu – France TV Éducation expands upon their “1 jour, 1 question” with articles and activities for students of all levels.
  • Netflix and YouTube for homework? I require my students to watch 30 minutes of video a week and report their observations, summaries, or general thoughts about the program on Flipgrid. I used to require purely French and Francophone movies or shows but students will truthfully complete this homework when converting their favorite show to French in Netflix.
  • Radio France Internationale (RFI) – I use this in my more advanced classes, whether the daily news recap podcast, the website news articles, or activities linked to current events.
  • TV5 Monde Interactive Lessons – The lessons vary from beginner to advanced, focusing on current events and cultural videos.
  • Podcast Français Facile – There are a number of dictées (dictations), readings, and grammar lessons very clearly organized by level. I often use the dictées as warm-ups to remind students of the numerous ways to spell a French word, depending on context. For example, “parler,” “parlé,” “parlais,” “parlait,” “parlez,” “parlaient” all sound the same!
  • Le Grand Concours – This is an excellent resource for previous exams with listening sections to use as practice.
  • YouTube – Always screen your videos before you play them.
    • Partner music video description: Students pair up with another who turns his/her back to the projector. I play a music video twice: first, with no sound while the partner describes the video; second, watching and listening altogether. Ask in between showings and you’ll hear a lot of curious confusion from the partner whose back was turned!
  • PlayPosit – Create your own lessons by inserting questions at different points of a video. Students cannot advance until they answer.
  • EdPuzzle – Make any video a lesson; very similar to PlayPosit but EdPuzzle eases the process by eliminating some steps. Once logged in, an EdPuzzle button will automatically appear under a YouTube video so you can start creating your lesson.
  • Lyrics Training – Students can watch music videos at a variety of skill levels. (You can choose the level for every video.) Students cannot advance until they fill in the correct lyric, answer a question, etc.
  • Señor Wooly – While I have not yet explored the newest addition of French resources, I am well aware of how popular the songs and graphic novels are among Spanish students and teachers, namely “¿Puedo ir al baño?”.
  • Make Spotify or Pandora playlists as background music while students are working. I guarantee they’ll move to the beat and start singing along to familiar songs.
  • Choose your own adventure…if you were listening! I typically provide a picture as a prompt for one student to start a story based on the picture. Their partner finishes the story but needs to have included details from their partner’s story.
  • Physical descriptions: My students use a lot of whiteboards but this can also be done with a Paint-like application on a device. Students take turns describing a person or creature. Their partner must draw according to the partner’s description. No peeking until the very end to see the final drawing!
    • Laugh at yourself! My students know that my artistic abilities do not include drawing. I follow my students’ instructions to typically produce a drawing that is utterly comical. Without fail every year, it is given a name and displayed in the corner as our extra student who makes his way into their stories throughout the year.
  • Listening and speaking go hand-in-hand. Language is dependent upon understanding one another, so I have intentionally created activities that don’t isolate one skill (i.e., reading, writing, listening, speaking). Students are expected to listen and incorporate details from their classmates’ presentations. Check out my Speaking Activities page for more ideas!