Beginning French

Intended for students who have not previously studied French, the Beginning French Magnet Program offers five 90-minute classes of intensive French language and culture instruction per week. The emphasis is on proficiency and authentic language instruction to establish a functional language base with an integrated knowledge of Francophone culture. The four language skill areas of listening, speaking, reading and writing are integrated for an in-depth study of the French speaking world. Basic conversation, blended with appropriate grammar, allows students to utilize the language immediately and focus on interdisciplinary content.

Highlights of this program include a native French-speaking assistant teacher in each classroom and the integrated use of technology to enhance student learning. Students may earn up to three high school credits in French. Beginning students also sit for the National French Exam (Le Grand Concours), regularly scoring among the top students in the state and the nation.

Beginning French 1 students will build their listening, speaking, reading and writingskills by activities such as:


  • making a family tree and photo album to talk about themselves and their families
  • creating photo and video journals totalk about their daily lives and activities
  • learning French, Cajun and Canadian traditional songs, raps, poems and writing your own
  • dramatizing songs, poems, skits and dialogues
  • reading and writing short narratives and stories about themselves, their friends and families 
  • learning about cultural conventions inthe Francophone world
  • learning about food and its cultural significance
  • participating in a cheese tasting and dining in a French restaurant
  • learning about well-known monuments, notable figures and historic events
  • watching music videos, movies and taking virtual trips
  • identifying countries and regions where French is spoken in Africa, Europe and North America, including the geography of those places
  • exploring French art, music and traditional celebrations and making arts and crafts
  • using appropriate forms to convey politeness

Beginning French 2 students will continue to build their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills by activities such as:

  • expanding their vocabulary to talk about their interests, describe themselves, and talk about their homes and their families .
  • learning to talk about cities comparing them to average American cities. 
  • expanding  their vocabulary to talk about where things are located
  • learning to navigate the Paris metro, taking a virtual metro tour, understanding and giving directional commands
  • learning to use  passécomposé and imparfait  past tense verb forms to talk about things they have done/seen, sporting events they have attended and all that happened there, and what they were like as children. 
  • talking about foods, ordering  in a French restaurant,  and shopping at a grocery store
  • learning to make traditional French recipes such as Croque-Monsieur
  • creating multimedia projects on a variety of topics.
  • studying African and Cajun cultures, including reading and watching African folk tales


Beginning French 3 students will expand their listening, speaking, reading and writing skills by activities such as:

  • working more with the past tenses to better discuss events of the past.
  • researching  and presenting  projects pertaining to impressionism and fauvism
  • taking virtual tours of museums exhibiting impressionism by Impressionist painters, sculptors, etc. 
  • studying the history of France, including its major role in the Christian church stemming from Charlemagne through the Revolution, the roots of anti-Semitism and anti-Islamic sentiment stemming back from Philippe Auguste and Louis the IX, drawing conclusions about the causes of the Revolution and the repercussions of the Age of Enlightenment on modern French views on religion and diversity.
  • talking about their skills, abilities and interests, and their plans for the future (preparation for High School)
  • studying the colonization of the New World and the French contribution to the Americas
  • studying the role people play in protecting the environment and helping  to increase ecological awareness and a sense of responsibility in the school through French posters, projects and presentations.
  • participating in the 8th grade field trip downtown which focuses on the French roots of Baltimore, particularly the establishment of America’s first seminary, the first order of African-American nuns, America’s first cathedral by touring Seton Hill (formerly known as French Town), St. Mary’s Chapel, The Basilica of the Assumption, and Mount Vernon)