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French Lesson Plan: Writing about Family in French

written by: Brian J. Donovan • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 4/5/2013

Go over French vocabulary for family and then have your students complete a writing exercise practicing the words. This is a good beginner lesson or could be used as a review for more advanced students.

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    Writing About Family in French - La Famille Language level: I try to make all of my lessons easily adaptable to different levels, but this is geared more towards beginners. For more advanced students, it will be review. For this lesson on writing about the family, your students will begin by learning basic family vocabulary, and they’ll pull together the basics they’ve already learned about simple sentence structure and verbs like être and avoir.

    Grade level: 6 or 7 through university

    Format: I’ve kept the format very simple to avoid too many layout issues. Paste the text into a document, and you can make the changes you'd like to make.

    I’ve given you a Student Section (below) which you can copy to a document, so you have something to hand out to your students. Your students will be able to follow along and make notes on the page as you talk about the different parts of the lesson. This Teacher Section will have tips and suggestions to share with them.

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    Writing about Family in French: Teacher Section

    *Teacher: Some students aren't comfortable talking about their families, so I tell them it's ok to make it up! The whole point is to use the vocabulary and to put together sentences.

    A. Le Vocabulaire / Vocabulary

    Begin by introducing basic vocabulary. I use un/une a lot, and always tell my students to learn words with those, so they’ll more easily remember the gender. It’s not as important with a word whose gender is obvious, but it’s a good practice. (Note: be sure to remind them about le and la becoming l’.)

    1. Qui / Who:

    *Teacher: You may have to add words to fit different family make-ups. Hint: If "sœur" is difficult for them, remind them to ignore the -o and that leaves them with -eu.

    • une mère / mother
    • un père / father
    • un fils / son
    • un garçon / boy
    • un frère / brother
    • une fille / daughter, girl
    • un mari / husband
    • un homme / man
    • une femme / wife, woman
    • un grand-père / grandfather
    • un petit-fils / grandson
    • une tante / aunt
    • un oncle / uncle
    • un cousin / male cousin
    • une cousine / female cousin
    • une sœur / sister
    • un(e) enfant / child
    • une nièce / niece
    • un neveu (-x) / nephew
    • une grand-mère / grandmother
    • une petite-fille / granddaughter

    2. L'État Civil / Marital Status:

    *Teacher: Once again, you may have to add words to fit different family make-ups. Remind them of the difference between "mari" and "marié."

    • célibataire / single
    • fiancé(e) / engaged
    • décédé(e) / deceased
    • veuf / veuve / widower / widow
    • marié(e) / married
    • divorcé(e) / divorced
    • remarié(e) / remarried

    3. Les Adjectifs Possessifs / Possessive Adjectives:

    Possessive adjectives personalize your writings about your family. You wouldn't want to constantly say, "I have a mother. I have a brother. I have an aunt." You can use the different forms of "my" (mon, ma, mes) to vary your sentences.

    4. Les Verbes / Verbs:

    You won't need a lot of verbs to talk about your family: Être, avoir and habiter should be enough for most descriptions.

    *Teacher: I find examples often work best, but if you'd like you can spend time talking about the basic verbs they'll need--or even ask them what verbs they think they'll need! I have sample sentences for you in section II. Don't forget to talk about "habiter" (live, reside/where) with a city, with states and streets, and how it differs from "vivre" (live/how, when). You may also want to talk about the difference between using "chez" and "avec."

    B. Les Phrases / Sentences

    *Teacher: Examples tend to work best, so I’ve included some basic sentences to cover many situations. You can add as many as you'd like, and your students can take notes on their copies. Don't forget to remind your students to also use words like "et" and "mais" to vary the sentences more.

    1. Qui / Who (with verbs):

    a. J'ai un frère/une sœur. J'ai deux frères./deux sœurs.

    b. J'ai un petit frère/une petite sœur. J'ai un grand frère/une grande sœur.

    *You can also teach aîné, cadet, etc. It's depends on how much time you have to spend on the family lesson.

    c. Je n'ai pas de frère(s)./pas de sœur(s). **Teacher: Remind them that the noun can be singular or plural, but that they'll still use de/d' in the negative in many cases...

    d. On n'a pas d'animaux. 430 3559538 *Teacher: d'/vowel

    e. C'est le frère de mon père. Le mari de ma tante (mon oncle) est décédé. (mort(e))

    f. Mon oncle s'appelle Marc. Ma tante s'appelle Marie.

    g. J'ai un oncle qui s'appelle Marc et il a 50 ans.

    h. Mes parents s'appellent Sophie et Pierre. Mes parents sont Sophie et Pierre.

    2. L'État Civil / Marital Status:

    a. Mon frère est marié. Ma sœur n'est pas mariée.

    b. Mes parents sont divorcés. Ma sœur est divorcée.

    c. Je ne suis pas marié(e). Je suis célibataire.

    d. J'ai un frère/une sœur qui n'est pas marié(e).

    3. L'Age / Age:

    a. Mon frère a 14 (quatorze) mois. Mon frère a 1 (un) an.

    b. Mon frère a 9 (neuf) ans.

    c. Mes deux sœurs ont 13 (treize) ans et 14 (quatorze) ans.

    4. Où ? / Where?:

    a. J'habite à Boston. **Teacher: à + ville

    b. Mes parents habitent en Californie. / en Floride. / dans le Vermont. **Teacher: masculine & feminine//au

    c. Mon grand-père habite avec un ami. / Mon grand-père habite chez ma tante. / tout(e) seul(e)

    d. Mon cousin habite 9 Rue Corbert. Ma tante habite une grande maison/un bel appartement.

    e. Mes grands-parents sont en France. / au Méxique.

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