French Stations


Type and Purpose of Learning

The goal of French language stations is to encourage students to explore language. Working in small groups, each with a separate language game, the children play with words, practising telling and retelling stories, making predictions, and asking and answering questions.

The students spread out across the classroom in their groups and the teacher circulates with clipboard in hand. She pauses at a group of students who are playing Headbandz.

“Est-ce que je suis un animal?” asks a student who has a picture of a chair attached to his forehead.

“Non,” the others answer in unison.

One child laughs and says, “You’ll never guess.” The teacher gives the student the words in French to express his idea, and the game moves on to the next student.

Out in the hallway, the teacher approaches another group who have all removed their shoes. They are playing Hullabaloo, and have a number of pictures scattered across the floor.

“Tournez comme une toupee…jusqu’à …un animal,” announces the machine. Some students immediately scramble to find the correct picture to stand upon while spinning like a top past each other. Other students, who did not understand the entire statement in French, look to their friends for cues. “Oh, un animal,” one girl cries, having now grasped what the machine said.

The teacher continues on toward a group working on a puzzle which will become a political map of Canada. One student is obviously sulking. They require some reminders about the Classroom norms, before they continue working co-operatively on the puzzle.

Another group has become too noisy. The teacher signals from a distance to lower the volume, and then makes her way over to see what all the excitement is about. One student is showing the group picture flashcards. The group members are shouting out the word in French, with much energy and gusto, because the first person to say the word gets the card and a point. After participating for a minute to model the appropriate voice to use in such a game, the teacher moves on.

Finally the teacher checks on the quietest group. Here the students are wearing headphones and listening to French songs. Students tap their pencils to the beat while following the lyrics on the paper in front of them. When they get to a blank line where a word has been removed, they write in the missing word (or their best guess as to what they heard). The teacher does not interrupt this group. She simply checks to see that everything is going smoothly and carries on.

Lesson Plan

Assessment/Reflections for Future Lessons

Each activity is carefully selected by the teacher to encourage the practice of certain language points, as well as to appeal to different learning styles. As the teacher visits each group, she notes on her class list whether each student is speaking French, especially those who don’t see her coming. As the year progresses, the amount of English spoken naturally decreases as the students find the words they need more easily. The teacher also notes any particular stumbling blocks, such as expressions the students would benefit from knowing, to inform future teaching. Assessment is ongoing through observations, questions, and conversations with students at each station. The teacher stops to play along at some stations and see how the students are doing. This assessment informs future French language lessons. Some stations have a work sheet (ex. fill in the blanks to the words of a song) which can be marked to check for understanding.

Curriculum Expectations

Extended French Language Arts

Oral Communication

  • Express ideas and opinions on a variety of familiar topics, using correct pronunciation and appropriate intonation;
  • Ask and respond to questions from others when working in groups;
  • Contribute to classroom routines, activities, and group discussions;
  • Use simple and some compound sentences to communicate information and express ideas and opinions on familiar topics;
  • Use visual and verbal cues to communicate information.

Introduction: (MINDS ON)

Once a month, the teacher introduces a new set of French Language Stations. Each activity is carefully selected by the teacher to encourage the practice of certain language points as well as to appeal to different learning styles (see A Sample List of French Oral Language Stations). The games are explained and the students are given a chance to ask questions to clarify the rules.

Teacher-Directed Lesson

After reviewing the classroom norm agreements and how they specifically pertain to station time, the teacher lets each group know at which station they will be playing. Usually, students experience one station each day, a couple of times a week. It is a nice way to end the morning. Once they know their activity, the students spread out around the room to an appropriate location. Some sit at their desks, others choose to make a circle on the floor. They try their best to communicate totally in French while playing their game. It is a challenge, but each week it gets a bit easier.

Student Tasks (WORKING ON IT)

Students’ confidence grows along with their vocabulary and their ability to make spontaneous comments in the target language. The teacher circulates and helps where needed, while taking anecdotal notes. At the end of the activity, the students tidy up their games and get ready for lunch.


Students work co-operatively at most stations, so students can use each other for support. Even when there is competition, the students are usually in teams of two.

The teacher provides extra information at some stations to help students who do not have the required vocabulary in French needed for the game. The students are allowed to refer to these notes when stuck.

The teacher circulates from group to group to clarify instructions, settle disputes, provide vocabulary, and take part in the games. Students are reminded to speak French and reminded of the strategies they have been taught to help them to do so.


At some stations students can choose which role to play in the game. For example, they can be the person who asks the questions or the person who answers. Many activities offer students an opportunity to participate at their own level. Each activity is carefully selected by the teacher to appeal to different learning styles and the multiple intelligences. For example, the listening station appeals to the musical and linguistic learners, while the puzzle station is geared toward visual and spatial learners.

Other Applications (Extensions)

The teacher can set up the stations to reinforce any language structure the students need to practice more by selecting the appropriate games. Stations can also be incorporated for other subject areas such as dance, art, social studies, drama, etc.

Impact Quotes (Impact Analysis)

When the students hear that it is time for stations, there is an immediate surge of energy in the classroom. As they review the classroom norms and how they specifically apply to station time, smiles erupt even on some previously grumpy faces. Some students hold on to their chairs to keep themselves from launching to their first stop. Needless to say, these kids love stations. They probably don’t realize their teacher loves them too! This is the time of day when the most authentic practice of French occurs.

“When are we having stations again, Madame?” is a common question.

It is clear that the students are more engaged and motivated to learn during these games and activities than during a teacher-led lesson. Since they are so interested in what they are doing, they are more likely to retain the vocabulary and language structures that are being targeted. Why do a worksheet, when you can play a game?

Research Quotes

Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner (1983) Frame of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences.

Caplan and Caplan (1973). The Power of Play.

Johnson, D., Johnson, R. (1994). Learning together and alone, cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning.

Establishing a Safe Place to Learn

The class has been living the classroom norms agreements all year and students feel confident that the classroom is a safe place to learn. Students are grouped by the teacher based on personalities, strengths and needs. Students are spread out across the classroom, each group in a location that is appropriate for their activity. At times this means at their desks, at the chalkboard, gathered around the listening station, or in a circle on the floor.

A Sample List of French Oral Language Stations
Curriculum: -

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