Bonjour les élèves et bienvenus! Merci de m’avoir rejoint! Today’s word of the day is ‘câlin’ in the adjectival form of the word. The word translates to ‘cuddly’ or ‘affectionate’ en Anglais!
’Câlin’ can also be used as a masculin noun and means ‘hug’ or ‘cuddle’ when used in that sense. Stay tuned, an in depth look at this word of the day on our word of the day page! Also make sure to follow us on Twitter @ibfrench and on Instagram @ibfrenchsurvivalguide
Bonjour les élèves! As promised, the first of many French ab initio papers have been uploaded to the downloads store for free download. Five Hundred (500) PDF files per exam file will be available for download. Each download allows you the opportunity to download that particular PDF file up to three (3) times if you so choose! You can visit the French ab initio store by clicking on this sentence!
French ab initio students, more resources will be available for you in the coming days and weeks! Worry not!
Bonjour les élèves! Today I have uploaded a French writing checklist that should aid in your writing process. You can click here to download for FREE! An English version of this checklist will be available by clicking HERE!
As you can tell writing is a big focus here at IB French Survival Guide this week! Next week we will focus on listening and speaking activities. Throughout the month of February, new past IB Papers will be uploaded and available for download! Markschemes will be available for free to students who register and will be available under Member Only Resources! Happy studying!
Bonjour les élèves! As promised, the commenting guides for editing your written tasks are now available!
You can click here if you want to download a free PDF of this commenting guide.
Or you can click here if you want to see the online version of this commenting guide.
I would also like to take the opportunity to say that listening activity guides will be up shortly with some sample exercises as well as a guide with tips and tricks to help prepare you for that! More IB French B and IB French ab initio past papers will be posted tonight or tomorrow!
Bonjour à tous! Today I would like to talk a little bit about the stages of writing as it relates to writing, revision, and rewriting.
In writing, many of the stages are solitary- you sit alone at your desk, at a coffee shop or in a library, with your thoughts and your pen and paper (or keyboard)- but it is also a very social activity. When you write you write for other people; there is a specified audience. Take this piece for example, I am writing to you, a user of IB French Survival Guide, looking for guidance and help in French. When you write an essay or paper, you are writing for your teacher, instructor, or professor.
The best way to ensure that you are communicating successfully is to try your work out on real readers. Professional writers for example, share their writing all the time. They share their work with friends, family, colleagues, mentors before they submit their work for publication.
In French class, you already have a group of readers who can offer you the one thing you do not have: a fresh perspective on your own writing. Your classmates can tell you if they are confused by your sentence structure, delighted by your examples, or curious to know where your argument will lead you to next. Best of all, they can give advice, suggesting the perfect word for your analogy, a new sequence for your argument, or an idea to put into your conclusion. Your classmates’ expertise as readers is an important resource to utilise. Everyone has different styles of reading and techniques for analyzing that they have developed over the years; use that to your advantage and focus your discussions on the ideas, organisation, and style of your paper. Because your classmates may not be experts in French grammar, I highly recommend you seek out your instructor or a grammar guide for assistance with grammar related questions.
If you are still reading, it means you are really serious about advancing and elevating your writing in French. I now challenge you to create a small writing group with two or three other classmates. By creating this writing group, you will be giving yourselves an advantage over your other classmates all the while developing better writing skills. In your writing group, take turns reading each other’s drafts; giving one another the opportunity to be the writer and sometimes the editor. As a writer, you gain the direct evidence of your audience’s needs; as an editor, you become more skilled at analysing drafts, a talent you can apply to your own writing. Although the reason for sharing your drafts with your classmates is to give each other suggestions for revision, you get the additional benefit of conversing with each other in French.
Once you have formed your writing group, make sure to schedule a time and place to hold your very own atelier d’écriture (writer’s workshop). Print out three (3) to four (4) copies of your writing assignment: paper, piece, story, exposé, article, whatever it may be. Exchange your written pieces so that everyone in your writing group has a copy of everyone’s written work. If you have the time, exchange papers the day before meeting to allow your group members to take home your written sample so that they have time to read and write comments on them. On the day you meet, your group will discuss one written piece at a time, with each author leading the discussion of his or her own paper. Be sure that you actually talk with one another and provide additional feedback to what is already written on the drafts you exchanged with one another.
These ateliers d’écriture function best when members are supportive and when each one takes responsibility for improving all the drafts of the group. Collectively, the group needs to come up with the strategies for improvement, not simply criticisms. That is not to say you should give false praise or ignore obvious problems, but you should ask questions about what the author is trying to do and make concrete suggestions for revision. It is one thing to say, ‘ your writing sucks, sorry, too bad’. BE a supportive group member and instead say, ‘your writing is terrible, but here is how you can fix it. Instead of…. you can say….’.
The most important thing to remember is that there is no such thing as a bad draft, only an unfinished one. Unlike a reviewer, whose job is to announce the strengths and deficiencies of a finished product, an editor helps the writer shape a working draft. Think of yourself as a collaborator rather than a judge. Be honest but be helpful. When you do not understand what you are reading, or something seems wrong or out of place, ask questions.
Guidelines for writers
Guidelines for editors
That is all I have for you all today! I hope you take the time to read an implement some of these strategies into your own writing process. I will be uploading a free commenting guide to the store which will also be available under the 'Ecriture' section of this site. Stay tuned for more! Merci et à bientôt!
Bonjour à tous! I have uploaded Papers 1 & 2, including texts, for the May 2015 exam session to the 'Past Examination Papers' page of the site. Markschemes for Papers 1 & 2 will be available later on this week in 'Members Only Resources' so register today!
French B SL and French ab initio past papers will be uploaded tomorrow!
Writing well in any language is hard word, but it can be especially intimidating writing in a second language. When writing in a second language you cannot always rely on your ear for what sounds correct, as you do in your native tongue, and searching for the right words may seem like a daunting task. Speaking from personal experience, as a student of languages, I sometimes feel limited in what I can say and express, and usually question if what I even wrote down made any sense. You will undoubtedly make mistakes in your French writing, but like with anything else in life, practice makes perfect. You have to come to terms with the fact that it is okay to make mistakes! That was the hardest struggle I had to overcome when I began my studies in foreign languages. By allowing myself to make mistakes I became a better writer, a better learner, and a better student. Moreover, though you use your grammar skills when you write, good writing in French does not come automatically from grammar and vocabulary exercises, though they do help, or even from being fluent in French. Effective writing in any language, comes from finding ideas worth saying, explaining them carefully, and arranging them in order that makes them clear to the reader.
Your writing experience in English will help you as you write in French. The more strategies you have to choose from, the better your writing will become. Having these strategies will no doubt aid in finding a writing process that works for you. I would love to share some writing strategies that I have adopted that have allowed my writing in French to blossom into something greater than anything I would have ever imagined when I was a student in IB French courses in secondary school.
1. Start by writing down everything. Write until you cannot think of anything else to say, even if it does not seem related to the topic you have in mind. You can always go back and change it or throw it out; there is no rule that states that your French writing has to be perfect when it first hits the paper, or in our digital age, our keyboards.
2. Write even if you do not know what you want to say. Often times writing helps you discover your thoughts. The process of writing may reveal to you, ideas and opinions that you did not know you had, not to mention things that you did not know you could express in French.
3. NEVER write in English, translating later into French. Do all of your writing, even the roughest drafts, in French. If you write in English first, your French will sound like “franglais”-- more English than French.
4. Do your writing in stages. When you work on a paper, divide the task into smaller subtasks. Doing so will help you feel less stressed and less overwhelmed with the task at hand. Do not feel like you have you proceed in a straight line from introduction to conclusion. Jot down ideas as they occur to you. Later you can organise them and add examples and details to explain them. If you try to generate your ideas and organise them at the same time, the task will seem insurmountable, but if you take it one step at a time, it will become manageable, even fun! Once I started doing this at uni, I no longer waited until the night before a paper was due to get started lol.
5. REWRITE. Rarely will you get it perfect the first time in English, let alone in a second language. The rewriting often lets you articulate an idea you had earlier but could not express at the time. As your revise, you may also want to consult a dictionary, grammar text, verb book, or your instructor to answer specific questions about the French language.
These are some of the strategies I use when I write whether it be an academic paper, exposé, or blog post for this website. Every language learner is different and what may work for me may not work for you. Thank you for coming to my TEDTalk, mdr, I am just joking. Let me know in the comments below what strategies you use, I may add them to the writing section of this site in the future. Happy studying!
French Language and Culture enthusiast, fashion trend-setter extraordinaire. My goal is to provide students with resources, materials, and insight that will help French Language acquisition less intimidating and more enjoyable.