National French Week 2017 - November 1-7

Start planning now for a National French Week celebration. Join with your local chapter, colleagues in your school and community, as well as colleagues at local colleges and universities to create another exciting National French Week. We will keep the dates the same for two years in order to reuse the National French Week posters which are distributed to all AATF members in the April issue of the National Bulletin in odd-numbered years.

We have produced special National French Week materials (pencils, balloons, pins, T-shirts) available for distribution all year round. Make sure to order early.

Remember that every activity from large to small can be an effective promotional event for the study of French, especially when students are involved. Below is just a brief list of some of the successful activities organized by our members, proceeding from small to city-wide:

  • student-created posters on French or Francophone scientists, artists, authors, engineers displayed in the school or in local places of business;
  • a student-created mural featuring famous French or Francophone individuals;
  • an exhibit of student-created reproductions of famous French art works;
  • a French meal served in the school cafeteria;
  • French menus for the regular cafeteria fare;
  • inviting colleagues in other disciplines to study units on French-related topics during the week;
  • serving croissants and café au lait in the teachers' lounge or to the counselors and office staff;
  • a French fact a day read over the public address system;
  • poster, slogan, cooking, sports, or recitation contests with prizes, of course;
  • a job fair featuring local French business or U.S. business that have operations in France;
  • a cooking class by a local French chef or baker;
  • guest speakers including natives of Francophone countries, artists, authors, performers, or film directors;
  • immersion activities (but with outside participation by administrators or elected officials as judges, for instance), Francophone festivals, film festivals, performances;
  • a talent show or cabaret featuring all French skits, songs, and music.

These represent just a few of the many creative ideas suggested by our members. Do not forget that one of the key components of National French Week is to involve target audiences beyond our students and their families. Be certain to include counselors, fellow teachers, potential students and their parents, administrators, school board members, and local elected officials in your festivities. Begin working now to obtain a proclamation from your mayor and share it with colleagues in your city. AATF Chapters should begin work immediately to obtain a proclamation from the governor and make sure every chapter member receives a copy. These can be published in newsletters and on posters and shared with the media. University faculty should take a copy of these proclamations and request a similar statement from the university president or provost.

Many of you have reported having difficulty getting media attention for your activities. Media coverage is a key component to a successful National French Week but is not always easy to attract. The media are interested in events not information. Present your news as an event although you may well need to provide background information as well. Court your local journalists and television reporters or, better yet, have your students do it. Don't forget the school newspaper or alumni magazine. Of course, this year you can return with documents, photography, and video from previous years' events. Create a schedule for contacting the media with periodic updates both before and after the event.


  • Consult the AATF Web site for ideas for your National French Week celebration;
  • Ask your students for input;
  • Invite colleagues to join you and share the work;
  • Prepare a flyer for your colleagues in other disciplines, and ask them to support your effort by planning a French-related unit during National French Week; offer to help them find information;
  • Request a proclamation from your mayor (combine efforts in larger cities or work with your local chapter so you are not duplicating efforts);
  • Order promotional materials, an AATF Promo Kit or National French Week items;
  • Solicit support from local businesses, civic organizations, or Francophone agencies;
  • Contact local media representatives;
  • Put your students to works researching information, preparing materials, and making contacts.

Created: April 26, 2000
Last update: January 18, 2017