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Table Des Matières Sample Activity

An easy guide for developing French dictionary skills


Students will be able to use a French dictionary independently.

1. Sections of the dictionary 5. Compound words
2. Abbreviations 6. Adjectives
3. Locating words 7. Regular and Irregular Verbs
4. Nouns 8. Extra tips


Do your students feel intimidated by their French dictionary? Do they often complain when told to use it? Most students are overwhelmed when searching for meanings in their dictionary. Why? Quite often, they don't completely understand how to use it accurately and efficiently. Le Dictionnaire??? Don't Despair!!! contains an easy guide, and useful activities that will help your students feel comfortable, and successful when using their French dictionary.

This package includes a detailed step by step guide, divided into sections 1-8. The interactive guide allows you to walk your students through 8 essential components of a French dictionary. The guide's accompanying exercises are divided into 8 themes. There are 5 activity sheets per theme. Activity sheets 1-4 each have exercises that cover 2 of the essential components of the guide. The final "fiche" encompasses all of the vocabulary covered in the previous 4 activity sheets.

Before using this kit with your students, there are several things to consider:

1. Students need to own a reliable and thorough French dictionary that will last for years. Ideally, have a half or full set for class-room use, and encourage students to keep one at home for homework. However, have them bring it to class whenever you teach dictionary skills. This approach will ensure a comfort level when using it independently. If required, refer to the parent letter provided in the package. It talks about the need to purchase a detailed French dictionary, and how dictionary skills will be taught.

2. It is strongly suggested to teach French dictionary skills thoroughly from grade 6 onward. *However, for grade 4 (or first junior year of French), you may want to generally introduce dictionary use. To do so, access sections 1 only or 1 and 2 of the guide. If needed, use theme 1, activity sheet #1 for practice.
  • For grade 5, do the same as above, except cover more themes, and activity sheets in order to allow for further practice.
  • For grade 6, cover sections 1-4 of the guide, but choose from 1 or 2 of the 8 themes. Use activity sheets #1 and #2 per theme.
  • For grades 7-8, you may choose between 2-3 themes, but cover all sections of the guide. This means you may use all 5 of the activity sheets per theme.
  • For grades 9-10, you may cover 3 themes, all sections of the guide, and all 5 activity sheets per theme.

It is up to the teacher whether to cover the themes all at once, or periodically throughout the year.

3. Have students attempt the activity sheets in the following order to ensure maximum success. a) as a class (teacher directed)

b) in partners, in case certain students are unable to purchase a detailed dictionary, or have left it at home

c) individually, once comfortable

d) in groups where they can chart/illustrate/ present results

e) as a game for reinforcement

4. Finally, when students write paragraphs, suggest the following: insert as much French as they already know into their English sentences, rather than translate word by word. This way, there are not as many words to look up continuously! The task will therefore, not appear as overwhelming.