Captivating ways for students to learn and practice French vocabulary, grammar, and idiomatic expressions by exploring famous French paintings. These activities work well projected for groupwork and/or assigned for independent study.
Vocabulary is organized around art themes (colors, images, describing, idiomatic expressions) and grammar activities around the composition of various paintings. These activities work well projected for groupwork and/or assigned for independent study.
The stated goal is to learn and practice the French language through exposure to French painting.
Target Student Population:
There are activities for a variety of proficiency levels. Anyone who would like to enhance cultural knowledge can find an appropriate game or exercise here.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The web quest-like "rallyes" require at least second semester French proficiency.The vocabulary exercises are accessible to all.
Type of Material:
Drill and practice, games
A good module to introduce culture (art) while reinforcing grammar and vocabulary.
Best viewed with Internet Explorer et Netscape 7.0. Plug-ins:Flash Player and Real Audio
Evaluation and Observation
The sheer variety of activities at this site will make it a popular choice for faculty who want to add culture to language teaching. For those who strive to integrate the Foreign Language standards in the curriculum, this site is nothing short of superb. Users can move the mouse over paintings and have, for example, parts of the body identified in French in both print and aural forms; a quiz follows whereby students write the names of body parts in another painting. In the description activity, learners can read and listen to descriptions of famous paintings with key vocabulary highlighted; the audio is extremely clear and well paced. Once having listened and read, learners are quizzed using sentence completion exercises. In the Ralleye exercise, students are asked questions about particular paintings for which they are provided links to French websites that contain the answers. There are also paintings rendered into jigsaw puzzle pieces that are to be reassembled and word find puzzles where key vocabulary in the artworld is hidden.
Another enticing activity is associating words with their colors. The Daumier alphabet accompanied by the crisp, well-articulated pronunciation of the letters provides an engaging way to practice.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site provides excellent means for practicing vocabulary and grammar while learning about classic French painting. Groupwork (via projecting the site on a large screen) can be facilitated as well as independent study.
There are exercises that are particularly creative, such as the Disappearing Text exercise that accompanies Apollinaire's Calligrammes. A student can read the poem,
hide it and try to recite it from memory. Clicking the Indice button gives clues and a score is given at the end.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This is an aesthetically and technically exemplary site. The visuals are flawless as are the audio sequences that accompany many of the activities.