Entering a foreign language class on the first day of school can be mixed with excitement and apprehension. The thrill of trying something new accompanies the fear of the unknown. Lowering the fear factor is the main priority on the first day for a teacher of French and other world languages.

Introductions

Introduce yourself. Students need to be able to introduce themselves and to build relationships in the classroom. Give each student a blank seating chart. In each square they must write the names of the other students in the class. The teacher models how to introduce yourself and writes the sentence on the board with the answer clearly written. She underlines her name and points to herself as she says the words in French, "Hello, my name is ___." Students take turns introducing themselves to the six nearest students to them in their rows and in the row next to them. Groups of six can come up and introduce themselves as a team as other students write the names on the seating chart.

Spelling Names

Teachers can present the alphabet in French and tell students that they must learn to spell their own name. The teacher writes the question in French: "What is your name, and how do you spell it?" Each student takes notes as the teacher presents the letter and a word or name in French that begins with that letter. Students in groups of six create name tags for the six people in their group. The students must ask and answer the same question in French: "What is your name, and how do you spell it?"

Chart

In advance of learning about culture, students list all the words, place, people and things related to the French and France on a chart. The terms they already know go into the first column. Things they want to know go in the middle column, and the things they learn during the class and in subsequent lessons go in the third column. This chart shows students and the teacher what level of prior knowledge students possess.