Syllabus for the AP French Language and Culture
AP French is combination of third and fourth year French. Because the students may be
in the class for two years, special attention must be paid to using new materials each year
but the basic structure remains the same from year to year. Where possible, different
texts are chosen for those in their third year or fourth year. Some consideration is also
given in forming rubrics for the difference in the students’ preparation.
This high school uses the trimester system, thus the year is divided into thirds. Due to the
AP Examination falling in the middle of the third trimester, the planning for the AP
coursework means that more of the themes are included in the first two trimesters than in
AP French is a college-level course in which French is used exclusively. Students
may ask permission to check for clarification in English when absolutely necessary, but
the teacher always speaks French.
The ACTFL standards of Connections, Communities, Cultures, Communication, and
Comparisons are closely adhered to in order to cover all aspects crucial to learning a new
language. Many textbooks are used but the focus is on authentic materials. Wherever
possible the products, perspectives, and practices of the francophone world are
incorporated into class.
Students are challenged to learn about the diversity within their own country as well as
throughout the world. French is an excellent tool for students to use as they expand their
knowledge of the world while at the same time developing a personal philosophy and
knowlede of self. Through the AP curriculum, students are motivated to reach a level of
fluency that allows them to express themselves at appropriate registers; furthermore, they
develop comprehension skills to read and listen to authentic French in the form of
documents, news reports, movies, podcasts, and literary texts.
While there are six distinct themes which I have assigned as units within our trimester
system, one can see that these themes are also interconnected. Geography, for example,
links all six themes thus we start the year considering questions regarding countries,
climate, etc. Students then use this information for better understanding of the six
themes. Integration of the themes is utilized whenever possible. Current events dictate
precisely what will be studied and when. The subthemes listed in this document will be
changed as materials or student interest arise. The teacher of the AP French Language
and Culture course is flexible and constantly looking for ways to connect students to
target cultures. Nearly all activities are constructed with the idea of making cultural
comparisons. It is important, however, to keep the framework of the syllabus in mind
and redirect instruction as needed.
Although not mentioned specifically in the course outline below, the core texts AP
French: Preparing for the Language and Culture Examination and Face-À-Face are to be
used several times a week; in short, their use goes without saying. Une Fois pour Toutes
is the text used when grammar revison is cited.
Due to our isolation from French and francophone venues, much of our contact with
actual culture is done through virtual tours via the internet. This, however, allows for
better discussions in class where students make cultural and linguistic comparisons as we
pause the clip and/or replay it.
AP French: Preparing for the Language and Culture Examination (Pearson 2012) with cd
Face-À-Face: Conversation et Rédaction (Vista 2011) with audio files
Une Fois pour Toutes: Une Révision des Structures Essentielles de la Langue Française
(Pearson 2008) Hale Sturges II, Linda Cregg Nielsen, Henry Lynn Herbst
Mais Oui. (Heinle 2009)with cd
Allons au-delà: La Langue et Les Cultures du Monde Francophone (Pearson 2012)
Cinq Sur Cinq: Évaluation de la Compréhension Orale (PUG 2010) with cd
Rosalba Rolle-Harold, Caroline Spérandio
Civilisation en Dialogues (CLE International 2007) with cd
12 Contes de Guyane (Castor Poche Flammarion 1999)
Contes initiatiques peuls (Editions Stock 1994)
Amadou Hampâté Bâ
En D’Autres Termes (Wayside Publishing 1992)
Environment.com (CLE International 2009)
Danièle Paris, Bruno Foltète-Paris
La France au Quotidien (PUG 2008)
Roselyne Roesch, Rosalba Rolle-Harold
La France des institutions (PUG 2004)
René Bourgeois, Patrice Terrone
Vocabulaire en Dialogues (CLE International 2008) with cd
TV5 and TV5 Monde
AP French Language and Culture: Workshop Handbook and Resources 2011-2012
Maps, tables, graphs, charts
The Primary Learning Objectives
1. Spoken Interpersonal Communication
2. Written Interpersonal Communication
3. Audio, Visual, and Audio Visual Interpretive Communication
4. Written and Print Interpretive Communication
5. Spoken Presentational Communication
6. Written Presentational Communication
The students’ ability to communicate in French across the three modes, interpersonal,
interpretive, and presentational, is the basis for the AP French Language and Culture
Examination and is consequently of the utmost importance in curriculum planning.
Reading of authentic and current materials takes place almost daily. At least once a
week students will have the opportunity to read something of their choice for ten
minutes from within the classroom (children’s books, novels, magazines, etc.) and are
encouraged to take the materials home overnight to continue reading.
Activities in class include reading articles from magazine and internet sources
relevant to the current theme. This is done individually, in pairs, in small groups, or
as a whole class. Most of the secondary texts include interpretive questions for
students to answer. With current articles students read and create summaries or
The “dossier” project is a collection of authentic materials from francophone
countries. These materials are divided into categories such as train travel, shopping
for food, shopping for clothes, museums, religion, applications, restaurants, and many
more. In pairs the students read the various brochures, schedules, tables,
announcements, menus, and flyers to find answers to questions prepared for each
category. This is a highly interpretive exercise.
The students read francophone stories, poems, and excerpts from novels. These
increase their knowledge of idiomatic expressions and vocabulary as well as form the
basis for classroom discussions. The students are constantly challenged to form
opinions and find examples from the texts to support their ideas.
Students have French pen pals through regular mail in order to have an authentic
cultural contact through which they practice writing skills. This also allows for
making cultural comparisons with their peers.
Writing activities in class include writing original sentences and journal entries to
practice vocabulary and review grammar and idiomatic expressions. They write
formal paragraphs and short essays. They create questions and answers related to the
thematic units. After reading an article they are often assigned to write a précis
(summary) to practice getting the main ideas of a text. The texts are often combined
with other sources (maps, charts, audio clips) to create visual and audio-visual
Writing practice includes becoming comfortable with a formal level consistent with
emails, letters giving advice, and other interpersonal communication where one
would be giving and asking for information.
In order to encourage creative thinking, such as would be expected for hypothetical
situations on the AP Examination, students write stories and simple poems.
Students listen to a variety of recorded samples. These include but are not limited to
the cds that accompany the texts listed under Secondary Texts, TV5 (Le Journal and
Sept Jours Sur La Planète), RadioCanada, RFI, songs (these vary depending on the
various tastes of the students and teacher), and video excerpts from, for example, Les
Choristes, Vipère au Poing, Bonheur d’Occasion.
Clips taken from the Internet such as YouTube are used whenever appropriate.
Other Internet sites include Des Contes de la Francophonie (http://www.conte-
moi.net/home.php), information and news of Africa (http:// www.jeuneafrique.com),
political and cultural news (http://www.franceculture.com/).
Podcast sources include http://www.rtl.fr/podcasts, http://www.radiofrance.fr/boite-a-
outils/podcast/, and http://www.radio-canada.ca/audio-
Further class activities to refine listening skills include dictée, summarizing an audio
clip, and listening to guest speakers (when available).
The class is conducted in French.
There are many opportunities for oral communication. These include casual
conversation such as at the beginning or end of class. Class begins with simple
questions and answers that are typically teacher-led. The students then become
comfortable enough to lead conversations themselves allowing for more spontaneous
use of the language and switching registers when they speak to their peers as opposed
to the teacher.
Structured activities include “Chaise Chaude” where a student is in the “hot seat” and
classmates ask personal questions on a variety of topics (such as the theme of that
day). Part of the activity is the students realizing when they need to ask follow-up
Students role play and create dialogues. Writing out “scripts” ahead of time is
strongly discouraged as the goal is to provide opportunities for authentic interpersonal
In addition to group work and class discussions which require speaking (interpersonal
communication), the students practice formal delivery of content and opinions (oral
presentational communication) . Depending on the theme under study, this would be
a debate, a presentation, or reading an original poem or story. The students are using
the interpretive and presentational modes of communication.
Students record audio files (using Audacity). These are simple at the beginning of the
year and students receive written feedback from the teacher. By third trimester, these
files are graded using the AP rubric and given a grade. The format also becomes
more rigorous and uses the AP Examination as a template. For example, the prompt
includes at least two sources which the student reads and synthesizes, working up to a
Students use technology to produce original work; Piclits and Animoto are two such
examples of tools students use. As mentioned above, Audacity is used to create audio
files. Ipads and laptops are available to the class several times a week and the
classroom is equipped with an LCD projector, document camera, and computer.
Video cameras are available for recording student presentations.
I am involved in my state’s World Language organization having served on the board for
many years and taking on the role of president. This organization hosts one major and
several minor conferences each year.
I also meet with a group of French teachers in my region three times a year to share
I am a member of the American Association of Teachers of French and hold National
Board Certification in French.
Whenever possible I attend AP institutes.
Course Outline by Trimester and Month Highlighting the Six Themes
Trimester I September, October, November
September/October Personal and Public Identities: Multiculturalism
Geography of various francophone countries
Mais Oui. Chapter 6 Vocabulary of weather, climate, hobbies including the
practices of target cultures
Cinq Sur Cinq: Comprendre la météo
Poetry of francophone authors in order to further understand perspectives of target
Excerpts from La France des institutions on the topic of citizenship
Civilisation en Dialogues Chapitre 2: L’identité
Face-À-Face Leçon 6: La Société (Sans Titre)
Allons au-delà Chapitre 1: Touche pas à mon pote (La Tolérance)
TV5 (with an emphasis on francophone current events) (La météo)
Grammar: Review of past tenses
Assessment: Vocabulary quizzes, presentation of a social challenge involving
diversity, group project involving a francophone culture, test of past tenses, students
record a response to a prompt on the theme of multiculturalism, students write a
paragraph explaining how one can be a part of a group within a group (a cultural
group with a legal system or nation).
October/November Contemporary Life: Travel
Mais Oui. Chapter 7: Vocabulary related to travel including but not limited to
transportation, hotels and lodging, monuments, cultural and leisure activities
Cinq Sur Cinq: Demander des informations, Réserver, Présenter Une Ville
Activities involving asking directions
Email practice on the topic of travel arrangements
Selections from Contes intiatiques peuls or 12 contes de Guyane
Grammar: review of the future, future anterior, prepositions of geography
Face-À-Face Leçon 4: Les Voyages et Les Transports
Assessment: Vocabulary quizzes, completion of dossier project (the products of
francophone culture), creation of a travel brochure for a francophone country, test of
ability to write an email, test of future, future anterior, and prepositions, students
record a response to a prompt on travel.
The contes help students understand cultural practices and perspectives and help to
integrate the theme of Beauty and Aesthetics.
Trimester II December, January, February, March
December Beauty and Aesthetics: Literature
Excerpts of Le Petit Prince
Vocabulary of emotion, feelings
Vocabulaire en Dialogues Chapter 6: Les Sentiments
Grammar: Review of commands
Assessment: Essay on Le Petit Prince, quiz on commands, presentation of an object
with special meaning to the student, students select a literary text which they read and
record, then give an explanation for why they chose that text.
January/February Science and Technology: Ethical Questions, Use of Technology
Science Québec (Appropriate Articles)
Face-À-Face Leçon 2: Les médias et la technologie
Allons au-delà Chapitre 9: Attention! Ne pas ouvrir! (Les choix moraux)
Vocabulary for debate, giving one’s opinion, discussion
Vocabulary of common technology (phones, computers, etc.)
Grammar: Review of the subjunctive
Assessment: Quiz on subjunctive, debate on an ethical question, summary of an
article on technology, students record a reponse to a prompt consisting of two short
articles chosen from target cultures, students interview each other on their use of
February/March Global Challenges: Environment
Readings from environment.com
Vocabulary related to the environment
Vocabulaire en Dialogues Chapter 12: Le Réchauffement de la Planète
Grammar: Relative Pronouns
Face-À-Face Leçon 5: La Nature et l’environnement
Assessment: Persuasive essay on an environmental question, vocabulary quiz, paired
project on relative pronouns (create sentences to demonstrate their use and present to the
class), students record a conversation (in pairs) in response to a prompt regarding the
environment such as global warming, pollution, use of natural resources, students find
two sources (one audio, one visual) which show differing viewpoints which they treat and
then give their own.
Trimester III April, May, June
April Families and Communities: Friendship and Love
Mais Oui. Chapter 8: Vocabulary related to relationships, giving advice
Face-À-Face Leçon 3: Les Générations
La France au Quotidien Chapitre 3: La Famille
Review of direct and indirect objects, the conditional, si clauses
Assessment: Students submit questions asking for help in solving a relationship
problem. These are distributed to other students who must then write a letter giving
advice using the conditional, si clauses, etc., quiz on direct and indirect objects,
students record a response to a prompt requiring them to speak about their family and
then compare how their reponse would be different in one of the target cultures.
French Dining and Cooking Project
Viewing and discussion of Bonheur d’Occasion by Gabrielle Roy
Reading aloud of short plays
Assessment, as noted for each theme above, is planned with the AP examination in mind.
Scoring and format move closer and closer during the year to the examples given in the
Each trimester the students are given an oral exam including presentational speaking.
Oral participation grades are given throughout the year to document the students’ use of
French in class.