One huge struggle I hear over and over from my fellow French teachers is how it’s impossible to get our students to speak French.
Teachers have told me it’s challenging (and overwhelming!) to convince their students that to learn French, they need to actually speak it… and, sometimes, to even sell them on the idea that it’s worth the effort!
They can already speak perfectly well in English or in another language… why bother?!
I do a variety of things throughout the school year to convince my students to speak French (you can read about my gumball machines HERE, for example) and to give them opportunities to practice all the French they are learning (you can read more about my favourite whole-class game HERE).
I like to switch it up to keep engagement high and to keep things interesting!
In this post, I’ll go how how exactly I use my French behaviour bingo + the promise of fancy Pokémon stickers to encourage my students to speak as much French as possible, all day long – to me and to their classmates!
Why is it important to get our students to speak in French as much as possible?
Since we are all teaching our students how to learn in and speak fluent French, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it’s SO important to get our students speaking in French as much as we can.
Learning a language is a lot like playing a sport, or learning to read, or how to play piano… or just about anything worth doing!
If you want to improve, you need to PRACTICE.
Will our students be perfect? Of course not!
But we still want to encourage them as much as possible to try, try, try, and to praise their efforts.
Think of when a baby learns to speak their first language — we get SO excited and lose our minds over their first words. And the baby practices more and more, and gets better and better, until, one day, they are speaking full sentences.
We don’t stop them from speaking just because they might only use a couple of words or say some things incorrectly!
And, it’s important to keep in mind that our students can usually already speak at least one language very fluently. And it’s often not French… or, even if it is, they often live in a community where another language dominates, and that becomes their default.
And, they are young. It’s hard for them to understand the abstract idea that there is value in learning a second language when they already have one mastered.
So, they might need a little extra encouragement to practice speaking in French. That’s where French Behaviour Bingo can come in!
How to Use French Behaviour Bingo to Encourage Your Students to Speak French
Step #1 – Print your Bingo boards
I have a product on TPT of all the bingo boards I use — you can see it HERE — but you can use any bingo boards you want. I do suggest using ones on plain paper that your students can stamp with bingo daubers & take home once complete.
I do like the ones I created, because they already say “Je parle français” along the top, and there are TON of different themes. I print a new theme each time a student finishes a card.
My boards also come in black & white or colour. I usually print the first board in colour, but then go with black & white from there so that I can just print them at school whenever I need them.
To start, you’ll need one board per student (it doesn’t matter that they’ll all have similar boards). My boards come printed two per page.
Step #2 – Calling Cards
For the calling cards, you have two options. You can print a whole class set, or an individual set for each student.
I prefer to print one set for each student, because then I don’t have to keep track of who has already drawn what. *If we are playing a whole class version of bingo (I’ll talk more about that in another post!), I just print one set for the class.
I have my students cut their own calling cards apart and write their own names on their bingo boards. I don’t believe in me doing work that they can do themselves!
I pass out strips of tape and empty envelopes. They write their names on the envelopes, put the cut-apart calling cards inside, and then stick their board + their envelope to the wall. You might have them tape them to their desks or do something else that works for you.
Step #3 – Prizes!
Next, you’ll want to show your students the prizes!
I personally don’t do a treasure box with toys; I find that they end up in the garbage and they’re expensive for what you get if you have to buy a box worth.
Vinyl stickers are my go-to – they’re awesome and you can get them for a variety of themes. Your students can stick them to their water bottles, lunchboxes, etc. and they stick really well.
I chose Pokémon to kick us off this year because all of my students are super into them. Since then, I’ve added some Among Us stickers (be careful to go through them first — some of them in the pack I bought aren’t appropriate for school) as well as some cute animals.
Temporary tattoos are also great prizes if your students’ parents are down with that.
I love fancy stickers & temporary tattoos because you can get 100+ for like 10$ — way cheaper than even dollar store toys!
I display my stickers in a pocket chart — my students can always see what they’re working towards and easily find the one they want. Plus, for this year, it’s very Covid-friendly!
Step #4 – Establish Criteria
Next, you’ll want to let your students know what will earn them the chance to draw a card from their envelope and mark it off on their board.
Maybe it’s using words/sentences of the week, maybe it’s correctly using a target structure, maybe it’s French among their peers, maybe to you… whatever works for you & your students!
I do target sentences (ex. j’ai fini not je suis fini) and French among peers. You’ll also want to let them know what counts as Bingo — a line, a full card, an X, etc?
Step #5 – Play!
When you “catch” your students speaking French or meeting the pre-established criteria, they’ll go draw a card from their envelope and mark off the matching picture on their card.
I just keep Bingo daubers above the shelf their cards are on, but you can also use stickers, markers, anything you want.
I usually do two prizes per card, to reduce how many cards I’m handing out. My students can first earn a sticker for a straight line, and then they keep their card up and can earn a second one for completing it (full card).
Once your students mark it off, they can toss the calling card.
When they get a Bingo, they can pick a prize! Again, you can then choose to give them a new board or continue on until they get a full card and then another prize (that’s what I do to minimize prep).
Want to Give it a Go?
Here are some affiliate links to the stickers I purchased:
(Remember – affiliate link means that if you choose to purchase after clicking my link, I get a small kickback at no extra cost to you):
- Pokémon stickers
- Among Us stickers (remember — go through them first and remove any that are innappropriate!!)
- Cute animals stickers
*Note that you can use this game for any target behaviour — I picked French because it’s what my students most need to work on, but you could use it for anything (I would just suggest one thing at a time)!
Remember, keep it fresh!
This is just one thing that I do throughout the year to encourage my students to speak more French.
I know how valuable the practice is, so I am careful to try and keep their motivation and engagement high.
Want to give Bingo a try?
I’ll send you a confirmation email (that’s just to prevent people from signing up with email addresses that aren’t actually theirs), and once you click the link inside, you’ll be able to download the black & white space-themed cards for free.
Click HERE to sign up & grab your copy!