Teaching Greetings – 2

There is only one way to teach greetings that I have seen that works: We make their answer visible – on a chart in front of the room which they can look at when you ask them the question. Then it works.

So just write out a list of possible responses to the “How are you?” question of how the students are that day. A good place to put them is on a large poster on a tripod or above the board or in a Power Point presentation and we start class after the SSR reading with this strategy two or three times a week at least.

Here are the expressions I use:

Ça va/ Ça ne va pas – Good/Not good
comme çi comme ça – so-so Je vais bien – I’m well
J’ai confiance en moi – I’m confident about myself
J’ai soif – I’m thirsty
J’ai faim – I’m hungry
J’ai sommeil – I’m sleepy
J’ai mal – I am sore, I hurt

Je me sens/Je suis… – I feel/I am…
content – happy
heureux – happy
animé – excited
amoureux – in love
en forme – in shape, feeling good
fier/ fière – proud
soulagé – relieved
grincheux – grumpy
irrité – upset
stressé – stressed
triste – sad
fâché – angry
inquiet – worried
frustré – frustrated
nerveux – nervous
déçu – disappointed
vaseux – out of it
malade – ill, sick
confus – confused
épuisé – exhausted

We go around the room getting reps on these structures. We do not allow students to repeat answers. If a response has already been given from the list by one student, we insist that they give another, by saying:

Déjà pris! – Already taken!

It’s fun to go around the room and ask how each kid is actually feeling that day. The students, since they are not stupid, will be able to tell if we really want to know and that will prompt them to choose honest answers from the list above. Some will say that they are in love and that could provide entertainment for the next 45 minutes or more of class.

As long as we don’t pry into their personal lives, we can stretch out the conversation by asking why a student is happy or grumpy. This is true even in a first year class.

I leave words like “depressed” out of the list of choices I offer my students.

If a child uses an answer that another child has already used during this time spent working on greetings, we use the following expression to swat away their repeated answer.

(credit: Sabrina Janczak)



3 thoughts on “Teaching Greetings – 2”

  1. Big gestures with some of the more concrete feeling words work well for TPR, as in, ‘The class is very tired’ (everyone make s pillow of their hands against one cheek.) I only teach like 3 -5 of those at first – using emoji posters from Google images. Tired, fantastic, sad, hot, sick, angry. When someone repeats, I try to capitalize on it – so with the lil ones at the end of the day, inevitably there are copycat ‘tired’ students. As they report being tired, I command them to ‘Go to sleep!” and they lay down in their spot. Then when I’ve gone around the room, even those who didn’t claim to be tired are ordered to ‘Take a nap!’ for like 10 sec. Then I make an alarm clock Rrrrrring sound and everyone pops up. Then we all feel fantastic! and move on…

    1. Alisa I will just come out and say it – over all these years you have shared such gems with us and the best gem is yourself. You are one magnificently fine teacher. You get it ALL. You get the theory, the pedagogy, the details, the affective piece, the in-between stuff, the management piece, and all at the ELEMENTARY level! You are truly a star and I think I speak for the whole group when I say that we are all far better teachers because of your presence in the group here. You are very important to us.

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