La rentrée is the time of year in September where everything in France resumes after the summer shutdown in August.  It is celebrated almost like a new season.  There is a ‘New Year’ feeling in the air with optimism and excitement for what the return will bring.  It can be seen in many aspects of French life, from the political with the return of the President from his summer break, to the literary and the boost in new books and novels from France’s most celebrated novelists.  However, no where in French life is la rentrée more prominent than in school.  Of course, we experience a similar thing with the ‘Back to school’ season in the UK, the offers on stationery and school wear and the end of the summer weather (if we had any to start with) as the nights start to draw in.

We love to share this season with our French students.  If you would like to do the same here are some our of ideas of how to bring la rentrée into your primary classroom.

Liste de Fournitures scolaires (stationery vocabulary, money, shop role-play phrases)

Children in France receive a standardised list of all the items of stationery they need to have when starting school.

  • Google the latest list for this year and as a class read through and see how many items of stationery children can identify.
  • Use list to make a poster imagining that you are running a stationery shop in France and want to show the special offers you have.
  • Follow up with a shop role-play to buy the items from a stationery shop.

Back to school feelings (feelings and adjectives)

  • Recap feelings and adjectives to describe how you would feel starting a new school in France.
  • Make an acrostic poem using the word rentree or ecole to show feelings

Timetable (days of the week, subjects)

  • Look at the typical timetable for French schools and how it differs to UK with Wednesdays and Saturdays lessons
  • Use day vocab and subjects to create own timetable for French school

Classroom instructions

  • Talk about the role of teachers in France, show videos if possible of them teaching
  • Introduce classroom instructions in French, for children who have been studying the language for longer this could be linked to any classroom rules or rights and responsibilities that have been done in English
  • Use games like Simon says to practise instructions
  • Create posters or signs for classroom to reinforce vocab, these can then be used all year round

Your school (subjects, opinions, places in school)

  • Imagine a child is coming from France to join your school, make a leaflet or video with all the information they would need
  • You can adapt this activity to include as much or as little as you wish.  You could do a simple map of the school with the rooms labelled in French, a leaflet with a map, a stationery list, some opinions on subjects or even a full blown film with interviews with students (and staff!), children in different locations introducing rooms, children talking about the subjects they like, a role play about the stationery you need….. there’s a lot of potential in this activity!  If  you have a link to a school abroad it could also be something you could send to them to show your school.

We hope these ideas help, if you try any of them be sure to let us know how you get on!


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