Driving Question

What environmental, political and social issues propose challenges to societies throughout the world?
What are the origins and possible solutions for these problems?

You are a social activist who wants to make the french-speaking world a better place for all people.  In order to best serve that mission, you will be identifying a french speaking country that is dealing with a global challenge and design a response to that challenge that you believe will improve people’s lives.

This is typically done in the middle to end of the year. The subject matter is such that a positive classroom culture is important as well as a firm grasp of the grammar and higher level vocabulary.

Unit Title:

French Global Challenges

For Students:



6-8 weeks


French 4 and 5

Unit Launch

The project is launched with an examination of the United Nations and a consideration of the question of whether or not we have an obligation to help others around the world.  Through this introduction we were able to work with students around the specific vocabulary related to solving defis mondiax.  After this introduction, students are put into their groups and just before they are released to their own problems, the class studies one issue together that the class chooses together.  Students are now ready to take their expertise into finding and solving their own challenge.

Midpoint Check

Check in with students and provide research support.

Culminating Experience

Students have built their websites and create a PSA for their organization.  This is presented in three rounds to different groups of peers allowing them to practice their oral communication skills several times over the course of the class period.  We didn’t involve outside experts, but that is a great avenue for growth for the challenge.  The challenge would be to find french speaking experts since presentations are all delivered in the target language.

Differentiation (e.g. Special Education, English Language Learners)

Students engage in peer assessment for this challenge as well as being assessed by their instructor.  The student assessment is a key piece of their reflection between presentations to help them improve with each iteration.  It also gives a weight to the student audience that keeps them more authentically engaged.

The teacher rubric uses the AP Language Requirements to verify that students use of written language is appropriate for their current level of study.  This is an important part of connecting the project to the work students are doing to prep for the AP French Language exam.

Students are given one or two vocab quizzes over the course of the unit, a reading and listening assessment are also given depending on the topics selected.  Students are also asked to find an article about their topic and present their article to the class for another opportunity for oral assessment.  Students could also be asked to write the persuasive essay, an AP skill, as part of this unit depending on the amount of time a teacher wishes to spend here.

Teacher Reflection

Here’s what I really enjoy about this unit:

There are lots of cool parts to this unit, I really enjoy that even looking at the vocabulary is exciting for kids because they have heard these things.  Students are making connections to the world outside of class and this project gives them a great opportunity to showcase their passion about the world and to create something new around that.

Here’s what I’m still working on making better about this unit:

I think developing a better stepped out process for their research would be really helpful for students in terms of their college readiness skills.  So ensuring that they were doing the appropriate research for the problem and to really dig into what is happening in French speaking regions, not just generic problems.  I think that would contribute to a stronger academic side to the project then I was able to get this time but time is always a challenge when we’re asking students to do more work.

Student Reflection

Here’s what I really enjoy about this unit:

Here’s how this unit could help me learn more effectively:

Outside Expert Reflection

Here’s how this unit connects really well to my work:

Here’s where I think there are opportunities for growth:

Authentic Problem

These are real problems in the world that people are dedicating their lives to solving and our students get a chance to engage in that.

What might be one way to move towards more student initiation and ownership?

Developing more focused expertise on the problem so that their solution can be much more detailed and focused.

Authentic Assessment

The product of the website, the solutions that students create are all things that are currently happening in the world.

What might be one way to move towards more student initiation and ownership?

Bringing in French speakers to be a part of final presentations or submit the solution somewhere that has meaning.  This is so challenging with the wrinkle of the projects being in French

Student Voice

Students expressed that they really appreciate getting to choose a problem that spoke to them and getting to create a solution to that problem.


Students had to really explore what is happening in their country and with non-profits.

Culturally Responsive Instruction

This project requires a deep cultural understanding of French cultures, and issues within, around the world.


Students worked in groups with specific roles in making the website.

Academic Discourse

Because of the language demands of the class, this is something we try to keep our arms around in a really meaningful way to stay focused on the AP requirements.  In the future it might be good to have students identify a key word or two that is unique to their challenge and present those.

College Board AP French Language and Culture standards

ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines 2012

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2d Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to manage the complexity of the topic.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2e Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2f Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).

About the Authors

Jen Linder

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.