Authentic activities: planning a trip using French language

Student engagement increases when they can do activities that have real-life application.

In Jim Potter’s French III class, students are asked to use French language to plan a spring break trip to France. During the planning process, students write a letter to reserve a room in a hotel, find transportation to and from France including train transportation to the specific city, plan an itinerary, and make a Photo Story presentation to highlight the city. You can view the unit here.

The online resources available in the classroom allow students to research and plan a trip as though they were actually going to travel during Spring Break. Students learn to book flights, book hotel rooms, look for local transportation, and even find restaurants available in the city. Software programs such as Microsoft Word (letter), Excel (itinerary), Google Earth (planning of events), PhotoStory (presentation) are all used in this project.

The purpose of this lesson is to give students the tools to research and plan a trip to another country. The teacher promotes students’ creative planning through the use of several activities utilizing technology, and also encourages the collaboration among the students to create their own original trip.

Many of the students have never planned a trip and this gives them the tools needed to plan a trip overseas. By limiting the amount of money, students have to make important decisions as to what day they will travel, which hotel they will stay in, and what they can afford to do during this trip. Although the amount of money seems quite high, the dollar to euro exchange rate has not been favorable. This project also allows students to discover information about an unknown city in France.

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