Which activities should I do on the first day of class? After several years of teaching, I still ask myself this question. As the first day sets the structure and tone for the whole semester, I am always on the lookout for new ideas. This year I created a YouTube video to teach French 101 students basic greetings and goodbye expressions for day 1. The video format has the advantage of working in online, hybrid, or in-person classrooms.
In this video, I begin with greetings in French with their English translations. I also respond to questions that might be confusing for native English speakers, including: “when do you switch from bonjour to bonsoir?” and “when do you use formal words and when do you use informal ones?”. Students review French greetings in a short quiz called “Bonjour, Salut, or Bonsoir?”. This first 4-question quiz allows students to test their knowledge of daytime, nighttime, formal and informal greetings. “You are greeting a potential employer in an interview around 3:00pm” is the third question. After a few moments, the answer “bonjour” flashes on screen.
The video continues with goodbye expressions in French with their English translations. A final 6-question quiz called “Formel ou Familier?” lets students review their vocabulary as well as the question of formality. Question two, “Bonjour, Madame!”, is quickly followed by the answer, “formal”.
I hope you enjoy watching the full 5-minute video here. Note that the vocabulary list for this video is in the description on YouTube.