300 French signs – an authentic and fun resource

300 French signs - an authentic and fun resource

When I went to France this summer, I had a specific goal in mind – take photos of as many authentic resources and French signs as possible! I had an idea for a resource, but it was something that would take planning to pull off. As I walked around, I always had my phone out and ready to take a shot of any signs I saw. Over the course of three weeks, I ended up with over 300 different photos of signs. Some were printed, others were handwritten. Some were very professionally designed, others not so much.

My plan for using these French signs was simple – bring some authentic resources back for use in my classroom. Signs are great because they can fulfill a variety of purposes and be found in many contexts. This means that they can be used for differentiation. Some of the signs I photographed may only have 2-3 words on them, while others have paragraphs and are pretty complex. Some have images to help with the context while others are only words.

How can you use these French signs?

Once I came back from my travels, I arranged the French signs and put them on pages that could be printed or projected. Each page has four basic questions: What is the purpose of the sign? What is the tone of the sign? Where would you expect to see this sign? What is the most important information on this sign? With these four basic questions, you could have a very simple and quick activity to use as bell work or a quick reading assignment or assessment.

You can also go further with these signs, depending on the level of students you have. For level 1 students, you will look into the meaning of the sign. It’s a great way to practice using context clues to decipher words you may not understand yet. Students should think about what type of document it is – is it a handwritten note? A printed flyer? A sign printed on metal and meant to be permanent? What colors are used? Are they warnings, or informational?

In higher levels, the French signs could lead to more discussion. You could discuss who they think wrote the sign, how they were feeling when they wrote the sign, or who the target audience is. You might have students write their own similar signs based on the French sign you are looking at. There are a variety of virtual signmakers online that you could use if you want to really make it look real.

Redkid net – Make a chalkboard menu, plaque, sandwich board, and more!

Classstools – make your own news chyrons

Tombstone maker – just like it sounds, you have 4 lines to fit on a tombstone

Road sign generator – four lines for your own road sign

At all levels, culture should be part of the conversation. Determining the register and tone of the language used can be very helpful for students to understand the social context of the sign. Is this sign a warning? Is it telling you strongly to do or not do something? Or is it more of a friendly informational sign? Is this French sign really an advertisement, or trying to persuade you to do something?

How can I get the signs?

If you’re interested in trying out the French signs, I have a free sampler pack with 14 different signs. You can download it and see if it’s something you’d find useful for your classroom. If you do like the signs, there are three sets, each with 100 different signs. Or, you can purchase the superset that has all 300 signs in one big bundle.

French signs set 1
French signs set 2
French signs set 3
300 French signs - an authentic and fun resource
French signs bundle

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