The Soudain Girl

There are at least two words in French that mean “suddenly”:

  • tout-à-coup
  • soudain

I would assume that this might be true in other languages. Here is an idea that Sabrina shares with us to teach those words, and it is a good one that others may want to incorporate into their classes:

She states:

…in every story something happens all of a sudden, so we’ve been doing the following and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve trained my class – everytime they hear tout à coup – to snap their fingers twice, thump their feet twice and say soudain…

My class riffed on that idea today. As soon as I said tout-à-coup, everybody said “soudain”, then hit their desks with their hands twice, except for four cheerleaders who stood on the seats of their desks and put their arms over the head and synched their two claps with the desk beating. It was pretty cool.

I did assign the job of the Soudain Girl to this, whose job it is to initiate the Soudain move so that the class has someone to follow.

This is much like the Mais Bleater job, where the purpose of the move is to freak out observors, because, with both the bleating (coming from one student) and the soudain move (coming from the entire class), the thing takes about five seconds and it’s over and the class is trained to act as if nothing happened and so the observor gets a little wigged out, which is always fun.

One more thing – I was thinking the kids would need a code word to tip them off that the word suddenly was coming up. So:

“Class, did X arrive slowly. No class, X didn’t arrive slowly, X arrived suddenly!”

So “slowly” would be the code word for “suddenly”. I’ll see if that works.



4 thoughts on “The Soudain Girl”

  1. This is great! I am totally going to train my kids to do this when Mr. Adminestrone comes in to do my “real” observation….

  2. This sounds more dramatic than in my class. I had my whole class hum that creepy melody, “Bum, Bah, Duhhhhh” If that makes any sense. The above could get my students more engaged for next year by combining body movement.

  3. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    A few more gestures/effects from the top o’my cluttered head:

    caballo: horse – everyone does the clap-slap-slap 3 times synchronized
    secreto: secret -everyone repeat whispers the word ‘se-cre-to’ slowly w/ hands wrapped around mouth as if whispering; This is great for adding texture and modulating volume in the classroom – a real attention grabber!
    vive: live/s – arms form triangle roof overhead
    De repente: Suddenly; all of a sudden: Arms fly up w/bend at elbow and all say ‘OH!’
    Entonces: So; Then: kids do rolling ‘boogie’ hand
    Luz, Cámara, Acción: Lights, camera, action; director job to lead this mini-chant. use w/clapboard from Oriental Trading; 3 claps in between each word. For all dramatization. Spice up w/director sunglasses and feather boa, etc.
    My colleague Su Pesa added, “Toma número #” – i.e., ‘Take number 7’ -before the chant…

    1. While I get most of them, the “luz, camera, accion” confuses me. WOuldnt it be cool to have a reference video of these “student engagement tricks”. It would really help with engagement when an observer plans to stop by.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

CI and the Research (cont.)

Admins don’t actually read the research. They don’t have time. If or when they do read it, they do not really grasp it. How could

Research Question

I got a question: “Hi Ben, I am preparing some documents that support CI teaching to show my administrators. I looked through the blog and

We Have the Research

A teacher contacted me awhile back. She had been attacked about using CI from a team leader. I told her to get some research from

The Research

We don’t need any more research. In academia that would be a frivolous comment, but as a classroom teacher in languages I support it. Yes,



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben