Teacher’s Treasure: 8 Time-saving Online Resources for Teaching French
Don’t have time to make fancy resources for your students?
Have your weekends been full of lesson planning and grading?
Your hard-earned weekends are precious, so we want you to be able to enjoy them.
And at the same time, we want your students to have the best resources available for exciting and valuable lessons.
So, how do you find really useful resources that work—without spending too much time (or money)?
If you teach at a school that doesn’t have budget for your teaching resources, help is at hand. The internet can save the day once again with ready-made downloadable resources that can save you time and make teaching less stressful.
Oh, and have I mentioned they’re free?
Before we look at these sites, I want to share a trick that will make life easier for you as a French teacher.
A Fabulous Resource for French Classrooms
One of the big sink-holes of a teacher’s time lies in the creation of resources for each lesson. As a dedicated teacher you want your lessons and resources to really inspire the students, but it’s impossible to constantly create new resources to fit all the different levels of students in your classroom. Here is a way to get around this problem.
Create multi-level resources that can be used over and over, such as phrase posters and table mats full of rich phrases that students of all levels can use to use to communicate in the classroom. Upon hearing other students using these phrases, a less confident student will feel encouraged to give them a try and to expand their vocabulary.
And you only need to create them once; laminate these resources and they will serve as faithful soldiers in your French revolution for years to come.
All right, now on to the world wide web! The internet can be a black hole that could swallow all your time and leave you empty handed.
I want to save you time, so here are some of my favorite sites with awesome resources for French teachers.
What Makes These French Teaching Resources Special?
I used the following criteria for choosing these sites:
- High quality: These are fantastic materials that actually work with real-live students. How many times have you downloaded resources only to find them a complete waste of time? These have been created by teachers for teachers.
- Free to use: There is no charge to register or download any resources from these sites.
- Clearly indexed: Some of these sites are huge, so if they’re going to save you time you need to be able to track down what you want with minimum fuss.
- Longevity: These sites have been around for a long time. This is important because you can depend on them to be there when you next need that resource or something similar. Longevity is also an indicator of their quality.
The sites are not listed in any particular order of preference.
8 Online French Teaching Resources You Can’t Live Without
1. French Teachers in New Zealand
This gem focuses on the New Zealand curriculum, but it has a huge range of fantastic printable resources created by teachers for teachers of students aged 8-17. The teachers who run and contribute to this site are an amazingly enthusiastic bunch of people, and they are also incredibly dedicated professional teachers.
Clearly labeled sections and subsections divide the resources into topics such as the alphabet, school, buying food and clothes, the environment and social issues. The New Zealand education system divides its curriculum into levels, where beginners are level one.
There are other useful avenues to explore, such as IT help for the classroom and some great blogs. The resources here will help you in the classroom and will inspire your own professional development.
2. Light Bulb Languages
This used to be MFL Sunderland, a highly regarded website. It still contains the same amazing collection of more than 5,000 ready-made resources for teachers of primary to A-level French language students (British curriculum).
It’s easier than before to navigate this site, as the labels are self-explanatory. Additionally, there are pages dedicated to topics such as:
- Thinking skills
- Warm-up activities
- Sound files
- Interactive games
The site also caters to Italian, Spanish and German language teachers—which is very helpful if you happen to be teaching multiple languages.
The resources are free for teachers to download and print, but please remember to respect copyright. The site earns a little money from Google ads: a small price to pay for such amazing resources.
3. TES Connect – Teaching Resources
This site is enormous. You could spend your entire summer holiday immersed in this goldmine of resources. It covers all age groups from 3 to 17 years old. Topics include everything under the sun, and some you’d never thought of before.
If you want your students to be buzzing in French about musical styles, physics or religion, it’s all here. There is a very helpful section full of resources for special needs students as well.
The sheer volume of resources requires some sifting through, as not all resources are of equal value, but the overall quality is high enough to definitely deserve a place on this list. The site does require registration, but it’s free to join and download the resources.
4. Tex’s French Grammar
This is a very comprehensive grammar site—easily one of the best. You can download PDFs of the grammar lessons with related quizzes included. Print them off, give them to your students and they will easily get sucked into the fine points of grammar.
The explanations make every grammar point easy to understand, and the quirky animal characters in the example sentences make the whole grammar beast very student-friendly.
The next three sites don’t offer downloadable resources as such, but instead they are virtual interactive resource treasure troves.
5. FluentU French
Whether you use it in class or have students use it for at-home practice, FluentU’s authentic videos make French fun and approachable.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language lessons.
This awesome site is particularly aimed at the AP and GCSE curriculum, but the listening, writing and speaking exercises can be adapted to any setting. This site allows your students to work on an exercise and email it to you when they have finished.
Students can work in pairs, compete as teams or individuals and maintain a portfolio of their work. This latter function is crucial to the development of reflective students who take responsibility for their learning.
The ability to complete listening and speaking tasks in the student’s own time makes this the perfect solution to the chore of providing homework sheets.
This is the only other site listed here for which registration (free) is required.
7. Text to Speech
Although not a source of printable activities, this is an invaluable resource. In fact, it’s almost like having another teacher in the classroom. If students are working on a spoken presentation, they can type or copy/paste their text into this site and hear it spoken by a surprisingly accurate native French voice.
Students can modify the gender and speed of the voice, allowing them to work on their pronunciation.
The site also includes an online dictionary.
8. Best French Websites Index
This site is simply an enormous catalog of all sites that have anything to do with French and French culture. There are simply too many to list. The topics include everything under, behind and on the sun, and it will keep you exploring all things French until the day you retire from teaching.
Jim Becker, Professor Emeritus of the University of Northern Iowa, runs the site and it is a marvel of the French virtual learning universe.
If you can reduce the amount of time you spend preparing resources for your classes, you will reduce your stress levels and enjoy working with your students. Together these eight sites provide a veritable buffet of French teaching resources.
Make the most of these tools and enjoy time off with your family and friends. This’ll let you return to the classroom refreshed and full of enthusiasm come Monday!