Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Differentiated Holiday Project

Student Holiday Project

Differentiated by content, product, and learner trait

This is a holiday project that I used in my (French) classroom for a couple of years.  I edited this project from one that I found in a book by Deborah Blaz about differentiation in the world language classroom.  (Click here to access the book)  Students worked alone or in groups to prepare then present the projects to the class.  While presenting, students completed the listening sheets. 
I found this project was a great way to build class culture, meet a number of standards, and also to have fun right before the December break.  It also solved the problem of a "food day."  Instead of requiring all students to bring in food, it was an option, so students who could afford to feed others would. 
What I liked about the project:
  • Interesting because they were varied
  • High completion rate thanks to the choices
  • Many students made food (a crowd pleaser) but it was not required
  • A number of students completed multiple projects because of the extra credit
  • The project was based on the target culture
  • Students were able to choose a variety of holidays from different religions
  • The listening sheet made students be active listeners (I graded it for a class participation grade)
 What I would change:
  • There needs to be more target language; I would modify the rubric
  • In order to encourage the use of the TL, I would include sample vocabulary for presentations and a more in-depth model in the target language
  • I would consider having students present in small groups instead of in front of the entire class (in order to increase student engagement)
I hope you can edit this project to fit the needs of your own learners.   And...Happy Thanksgiving!
Holidays in Francophone Countries

The holidays are approaching. Francophone countries have a variety of religions and celebrations.  The project is due ___________________________, whichever day you have class. 


The task:  Pick one of the following.  You will present your information to the class.  You may work in groups of 2; however- there must be evidence of SHARED responsibility.  Each additional assignment you do is worth 4 extra credit points, for a maximum of 8.    


  • Holiday expressions.  Find out how to say words associated with holidays in the target language (including verbs and phrases for a variety of religions, like “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays” or “to celebrate Three Kings Day”). Include at least 15 expressions.

  • Holiday celebrations.  How do families celebrate the various holidays in Francophone countries?  What would a typical Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa etc. feast look like in a French speaking country?

  • Books, songs, fairy tales, fables?  What sorts of songs, books, fairy tales, and fables have been written about these holidays in French speaking countries?  Find lyrics, fairy tales, etc., to share with the class.  You may find a French holiday song to play for the class; bring it in along with the lyrics.

  • Videos.  You may make or find a video about holidays in France or French speaking countries. Share with the class. 

  • Holiday food. Prepare a traditional food for the holiday you have chosen to share with the class.  Be sure to bring in a list of ingredients.

  • Perform a song.  Perform a song (using a guitar, CD, video tape, MP3 file) for the class, in French, from one of these celebrations

  • French Exchange contact.  Contact a student from the French Exchange. Find out how his/her family celebrates the holidays and share the information with the class.

  • French experience.  Contact a relative/friend who has spent the holidays in a French-speaking country. Ask him/her what the holiday is like in that country.  Share the information with the class.

  • French holiday cards.  Find 20, print them out, and share with the class. 
  • Your own idea.  Have a better idea?  I would love to know what it is.  I am open to other topics/formats.


Be sure to include:

  1. Culturally accurate information, the name of the country/region and the holiday
  2. A visual component, such as a PowerPoint slide, handout, poster, brochure or student-created website
  3. For the presentation – Speak so the entire class can hear you, include some French, and have all members present equal amounts
  4. Timeliness – Turn in your project/present by ____________________, whichever day you have class
  5. Citations – Include at least 2 – books, websites, or people


Sample visual: 

Christmas in France (name/region & holiday)


  • They celebrate St. Nicholas’ Day on 12/6 – la fête St. Nicholas
  • They celebrate Christmas Eve by doing to midnight mass and having a big feast – Le Réveillon
  • They also celebrate Epiphany, 3 Kings Day, on January 6thla Fête des Rois






Partially Proficient





4  points

Culturally accurate.  You include the name of the country/region and the holiday.

3 points

Mostly culturally accurate, with a few small errors.  You include the name of the country/region and the holiday.

2 points

You include either the name of the country/region or the holiday.

0 points

You do not include the name of the holiday nor the country/region.



Presentation:  Format

4 points

You include a visual piece – a PowerPoint, poster, website, brochure, or handout to share your information with the class. The visual is easy to read with a variety of information and is well presented.

3 points

You include a visual piece to share your information, but it is not always easy to read/understand.  You have a variety of information.

2 point

You include a visual with “bare bones” information.

0 points

You include no visuals. 



Presentation: Presence

4 points

You speak so the entire class can hear you.  You include some French in your presentation.  Both group members present equally. 

3 points

You speak so the entire class can hear you and both group members present equally.

2 points

The entire class cannot hear you and one person dominates the presentation.

0 points

You do not present your information.




4  points

Your presentation is turned in by________________ (whichever day you have class.)



0 points

Presented after _______________.  Must be presented!




3 points

You include the name of the sources you used – whether it be a website, a book, or a person. You use at least 3 sources.  You include specific site names.

2 points

You include the name of the sources you used – whether it be a website, a book, or a person. You use at least 2 sources – specific names.

1 point

You include the name of the sources you used – whether it be a website, a book, or a person. You use at least 1 source.

0 points

No sources. 


Your score/19



What went well:                                                                        What to improve: 


Name of Presenter



2 facts in English or French

1 source





































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