The Arts

National French Week

The Arts represent a very broad range of humanistic and artistic endeavors including art, music, dance, poetry, literature, visual arts, film, theater, mime, and others. This theme was also chosen for National French Week, since may of the interdisciplinary aspects of the teaching of French and French culture(s) include the Arts. We can suggest a number of directions which might apply to one or more of the themes or which could be adapted for many levels and different media. Some teachers of French deal with the Arts from a point of view of appreciation and understanding, others from a student performance perspective; still others use both approaches. Music and Dance suggestions can be found separately.

Students can:
  • create commemorative displays about famous people in the Arts (see the AATF Calendrier perpétuel for names of famous Francophones);
  • plan a trivia contest on the Arts between classes;
  • invite local French-speaking artists to speak at a school assembly;
  • make tee-shirt designs, incorporating the contributions of famous French or Francophone artists;
  • have a competition for the best costumes representing famous people in the Arts;
  • create a mural depicting many of the French or Francophone celebrities in the Arts;
  • visit, via the Internet, various museums in la Francophonie such as le Louvre at;
  • write poetry while listening to French music or in the style of a particular author and display it in the school;
  • visit museums on a field trip and invite parents or school board members as guests;
  • ask faculty at a university to plan a French film series;
  • plan a photography exhibit at the local library commemorating the Lumière brothers;
  • plan a commemorative stamp exhibit at the local post office with student drawings of famous French or Francophone artists and their work or using real French postage stamps for which the students have prepared background information and historical context;
  • read French poetry or perform a skit from a famous play in a public forum;
  • perform parts of famous Broadway plays with a French theme such as Les Misérables;
  • plan a film festival of American films which take place in French-speaking places;
  • create a living time line of the Arts illustrating how poets, writers, painters, actors and actresses of different time periods might interact as they speak with one another.

Thomas Field (MD)
Gladys Lipton (MD)
Robert Peckham (TN)
Davara Potel (OH)
Harriet Saxon (NJ)

Reprinted and adapted from the AATF National Bulletin, Special Issue, Vol. 24 No. 5 (May 1999)