A not to be missed opportunity to learn French

The 2024 Olympics will be held in Paris this July and August.

What better way is there to inspire pupils to learn the French vocabulary for the sports and related topics than a big coordinated event with lots of social, press, TV and advertising coverage?

Here are some suggestions for introducing, developing and extending the language used for the Olympic sports. There is even a rap to learn to help with the grammar structures.

Most sports are cognates or near cognates but there may be one or two they don’t know.

Le football, le rugby, le golf, le basket, le volley, le badminton, le hockey, le tennis, le tennis de table, le ski, le judo, le baseball, le handball, le surf, le taekwondo, le karaté, le breaking (a new Word for break dancing).

La danse, la gymnastique, la boxe, la voile, la lutte, la natation.

L’athlétisme, l’équitation l’escalade, l’escrime, l’aviron.

*Repeat the sports so that their pronunciation is accurate.

* Play mime the sport and pupils guess the sport in French then take a turn miming.

* Have a bag filled with sports equipment easy stuff like a baseball, golf ball, ping pong ball, football boot or top, badminton racquet or shuttle cock, tee shirt, tennis racquet or tennis ball, rugby ball. Pupils come out pick an object out of the bag and say the name of the sport in French. The conveyor belt game is good to play. Put all the items on a table and pupils come to the front hold up the item to the class and say which sport it represents. When all the items are out on the table the pupils come out and take turns picking each item up and put them back into the bag. Follow this activity by asking pupils to say in French, how many of the sports they can remember.

*The teacher writes the names of some sports in French on pieces of paper and puts them in a box. Pupils come out and spell the sport to the class and the pupils have to guess and mime the sport.

*Teacher mimes an activity – playing football and pupils have to copy and say ,”je joue au foot. All of the following activities can be mimed. Je joue au basket, au baseball, au golf, au badminton, au rugby, au tennis, au hockey, and au tennis de table with lots of fun repetition.

Again pupils can mime the sport and ask the class to Devinez – Guess the sport. This time have the class asking the person the question saying, Tu joues au tennis? Person doing the mime has to answer saying Oui, je joue au tennis. If they get the answer right they get a turn.

*When the pupils are confident explain that some sports when you want to say which sports you do use je joue – I play and other sports use je fais – I do and you need to learn when to say je joue or je fais. Do this by miming the activity.

Je fais du judo, je fais du cyclisme, je fais du ski, je fais du jogging je fais de la danse, je fais de la natation, je fais de la  boxe, je fais de l’équitation, je fais de l’aviron, je fais de l’athlétisme.

 When pupils are confident move on to sentences which use je joue.

Je joue au golf, je joue au foot, je joue au tennis, je joue au hockey, je joue au rugby, je joue au badminton, je joue au volley. Miming and saying the activity at the same time.

*Play mime the sport activity and pupils have to guess the sport in French making sure that they use the correct verb je joue au or je fais du, je fais de la or  je fais de l’. Pupils cantake an active role in this game to reinforce their learning.

Pupils can prepare a short piece of writing saying which sports they play or do on a weekend. Here is an example of what their paragraph will look like.

Mon weekend

Le samedi, je joue au football, je joue au tennis et je fais de la natation. Dimanche matin, je fais du cyclisme et je fais de l’équitation. J’aime bien le sport , c’est super!

Pupils can extend their writing by using short phrases like;

 avec ma famille = with my family,

avec mon père- with my Dad,

avec ma mére – with my Mam,

avec mon frère- with my brother,

avec ma soeur-  with  my sister.

They could add in the weather- Quand il fait beau, je joue au tennis. When its fine I play tennis.

Les Sports Rap

Je joue au foot, je fais de l’athlétisme,

Je joue au basket, je fais du cyclisme,

J’aime le sport, j’aime le sport.

Je joue au golf, je fais de l’équitation,

Je joue au tennis, je fais de la natation,

J’adore le sport, j’adore le sport.

Je joue au hockey, je fais du judo,

Je joue au volley, je fais du vélo,

Le sport est magnifique! le sport est magnifique !

(This can be performed as a rap to any instrumental rap you like. Just find one on your phone and play it for the class to rap to. It’s easy to make your own rap beat as well with musical instruments, key boards or pupils can beat a rhythm on the table.

I found a free track called, “Seize the Day,” which works well.

More activities can be found in Teach French through the Paris Olympics 2024: Activities and Resources for Primary Schools.

This is a guest blog by Lynn Dryden, co-author of ‘Teach French through the Paris Olympics 2024’.

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