Hello fellow teachers! I'm so excited to share this new idea with you!! I tried it for the first time in my French II class last week, and it was an amazing success on so many levels. I imagine that many of you ask your students to make videos for an assignment as I do. This activity was done right after my students turned in a major video project which was due right around the time of the Oscar Awards. In the past, I have asked the class to vote on the best video & I awarded a prize to the winner. I liked doing this because it inspired students to produce something they were really proud of, rather than just making sure they met the requirements to get a decent grade. I also discovered that my students often surprised me. Sometimes students who didn't shine in other areas showed amazing creativity & ingenuity that I hadn't seen before. But this year, I took this idea to the next level. I held a mock Oscar Awards ceremony!
Students were told about this event before their projects were due. The categories for the awards would be: Best pronunciation, Best costumes & Best overall production. Students were given time in class to write short acceptance speeches in case they won. Once the videos were turned in & viewed by all of us, students voted for the best in each category using Google forms. I told them that we would be having the mock Oscars the next day. When students came to class they found the "red carpet" (butcher paper on the floor) & the actual poster used this year in France for the 2014 César awards (for those of you who aren't French teachers, this is the equivalent of the Oscars in France) projected on the screen as a backdrop:
Students were also informed ahead of time that we would be having surprise hosts for this event. I arranged for 2 of my AP French students to come and act as the co-hosts! The AP students spent some time in their class writing opening comments & jokes and their script for presenting the awards. They did an incredible job...they ran into the classroom yelling "Welcome to the Oscars 2014!" (yes, in French, of course) and did a great job engaging their audience. They showed their video project from when they were in French II as part of their opening remarks. They were the ones to give out the awards...they opened envelopes for each category that I had made for them & they gave out mini Oscar trophies (I bought a box of 12 from Amazon for about $20...see the photo above), and they also gave out prizes. Each winner got a bottle of Orangina (a common French beverage) and a Toblerone chocolate bar (these are commonly eaten in France)...my students were thrilled with these! When the winners were called, I blasted some familiar French music through my classroom speakers & threw confetti as they walked the red carpet. The winners were handed the toy microphone and read their speeches...many of them tried to imitate real Oscar acceptance speeches, and of course this made it all the more entertaining.
My students were so into this! One in particular, who was sure he was going to win, came to class dressed in a suit for the event!!!
And his confidence paid off. His group won the Best overall production:
We all laughed so hard when the monsieur on the right began his acceptance speech with, "I am not surprised. I would like to thank myself for being so seductive (he wasn't aware that he was using this particular word), handsome, and just for being the best". The monsieur in the suit imitated the French producers who won the Oscar for the best animated short this year by pulling his speech out of his pocket and making his hands tremble. From time to time, when I saw that the French II students might not have understood something well, I asked the AP students to translate into English. Here's a photo of the co-hosts:
I can't tell you how much fun this was!! Not only that, but I also accomplished the following:
- AP student were validated (speaking French outside of the classroom for an audience).
- French II students saw what level of French they can reach if they continue on through AP.
- Everyone was engaged in either speaking French or listening to French 100% of the time.
- Everyone was interested in what was going on. (a great motivator for learning!)
- Students learned some cultural information (the name of the Oscars in French, the poster for the Oscars, the French prizes).
I was very pleased with the results and would recommend it to all of you. I would like to thank Angela, a fellow world language teacher, for sharing the original idea of holding an Oscar Awards ceremony. I would also like to thank my colleague, Katie, for inspiring me to include acceptance speeches as part of the event. And lastly, I'd like to thank my amazing husband for giving me the idea to include my AP students in this activity.
P. S. The monsieur in the suit has asked me to address him from now on as "Academy Award winner". :)