It is crunch time! Just a few more weeks until the official #lastbell of the 2015-2016 année scolaire.
I mostly teach upper level French classes, including AP French Language and Culture and IB French B Standard Level, so our last class is marked not by graduation or by the last day of school, but by the date of the examen officiel! For AP, that means le 10 mai. In a perfect world, all of my students would be in my classroom every day leading up to those dates, but around here, my students start missing almost every day starting le 2 mai. French isn’t the only upper level class my students take! (You should see the exam schedules for these students- it is INTENSE!)
How can I make the month of AVRIL really count? How can I make the most of the days between May 2 and the official exams when I won’t have everyone every day? What can we do that is meaningful AFTER those official exams so that we aren’t doing nothing for a week or two before the end of the school year?
Quant à AP: Saturday AP French Practice Exam
The AP French exam is L-O-N-G. It contains 6 different sections and assesses all the skills of knowing a language. The problem is that most of the sections take longer than 49 minutes to complete, so as much as we can practice in class, there’s no way to really simulate actual testing conditions. I can tell and tell and tell my students that testing fatigue is a real thing when it comes to this exam, but there’s nothing like working one all the way through to get them to believe me so they’ll come prepared with some serious mental fortitude (and SNACKS).
I decided it would be best for my students if they could get a true feel for the test in its entirety and offered a practice test on a Saturday morning. Not for a grade. Not for bonus. Not for anything EXTRA other than practice and feedback. Out of 21 students between two high schools, I had 7 show up at 8 am for a four hour practice exam. That’s 1/3 of my AP students. These are kids who know what dedication is. These are students who are begging for their teachers to work until the last bell. These are kids who remind us that they DESERVE our best until the very end!
These élèves are doing WORK on a Saturday morning! A little practice AP French exam- not a bad way to spend 4 hours on a beautiful Saturday morning!
After assessing those practice exams, I learned that there are many common words that come up all over the exam that the students should know, but often misunderstand. So, I made this Quizlet set of those words and shared with my students on our Google Classroom page. I like that it’s something all of my students can access whether they are physically in the building or not. (I also learned that my students CAN DO some amazing things in French. I love the changes that the College Board made to this exam a few years ago because it really gives students the opportunity to show what they can do rather than highlighting what they can’t. These kids have come a seriously long way! Je suis tellement fière d’eux!)
As for after the exam, we have plans to finish watching a film that is connected to one of the themes we studied this year. It’s called Les Intouchables. We only watched a clip of it a few weeks ago, but the kids have been BEGGING to finish it. It’s an engaging film, and I can’t wait to experience the rest of it with them. It will spark great conversation about handicap accessibility, class, race, family expectations, and friendship. EN FRANÇAIS bien sûr. 🙂 We also have plans to do our yearly art project- this year we will study le pointillisme.
*Update! My students took the AP French exam yesterday, and although I know they felt overwhelmed (it would be sort of crazy if they didn’t), I did get some good feedback from students.
There were a ton of vocab words from that quizlet and I used some in my writing so merci beaucoup for that.THANK YOU SO MUCH for such a great year. You taught all of us so much more than French. Thanks for your daily investment in us, I really appreciate it.Je t’aime!