French Lesson Plan: Past and Present tense Using Clothing Vocabulary

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Necessary Skills

Students should have the ability to use the past (imparfait) and present tense. They will also need a good command of clothing vocabulary and French colors.

On the other hand, it is not necessary that students know all of the necessary vocabulary. Encourage them to ask questions about less common terms such as a scarf (une écharpe or un foulard), earrings (de boucle d’oreilles), or boots (des bottes). In addition to colors, you could also discuss different fabrics:

cotton – de coton

leather – en cuir

silk – en soie

polyester – en polyester

Day 1

Divide the students into small groups of three to four and ask them to describe what they are wearing to each other. Use the French verb “porter” (to wear):

Je porte…

… une chemise blanche

…. un pantalon gris

This portion of the exercise will help the students practice their pronunciation and gain confidence as they are assisted by their fellow students. Next, have the students describe each others clothing:

Il porte

… un t-shirt noir

… un jean bleu

Elle porte

… un chemisier jaune

… une jupe verte

Finally, ask the students to write down five sentences regarding the clothing of themselves and their classmates. Encourage the students to take these sentences home and check their spelling and grammar.

Day 2

The next day, ask the students to warm up by describing the clothes they are wearing that day:

Aujourd’hui, je porte une chemise rouge et un pantalon noir.

Then, have them describe the clothes they were wearing yesterday:

Je portais une chemise blanche et un pantalon gris.

Note: Depending on context, both the passé composé and the imparfait could be appropriate with the verb “porter.”

For more advanced students, you can have the students create sentences which use both the imparfait and the passé composé.

Then ask the students to write a few of these new sentences down and either turn them in or exchange them with other students.


Try performing the exercise all in one day instead of two.

Add some examples using the future tense to describe what you plan to wear tomorrow.

Create complex sentences using the imparfait as well as the passé composé.