Lesson 1: Portraits - getting French adjectives to agree

Children take the first steps to understanding that adjectives change depending on the gender of the noun that they describe and practice describing if a person is happy or serious. Broadening cultural understanding, the children look at works of art from the Louvre Museum in Paris, including the Mona Lisa.

Learning objective

  • To begin to understand that adjectives change if they describe a feminine noun

National curriculum links

Pupils should be taught to:

  • explore the patterns and sounds of language through songs and rhymes and link the spelling, sound and meaning of words
  • describe people, place, things and actions orally and in writing
  • understand basic grammar appropriate to the language being studied, including (where relevant): feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features and patterns of the language; how to apply these, for instance, to build sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to English

KS2 Framework:

  • Identify specific sounds (O 4.3)
  • Pronounce letter strings accurately (L4.3)
  • Recognise and apply simple agreements (KAL)
  • Identify well-known landmarks (IU3.2)

Success criteria

Cross-curricular links

Before the lesson

Attention grabber

Main event

Wrapping up

During the week

  • Have a look at famous portraits and sculptures, either from the Louvre website on link: ‘The Louvre’ or another gallery or a book,  and discuss whether the subject matter is heureux/heureuse or sérieux/sérieuse.
  • Ask the children to research some key facts about the Louvre or to research the Mona Lisa or another painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • As a class, create a word bank of words that contain the letter string eau (for example, le bateau, le gâteau, le tableau, beau, l’eau, le château, le plateau, le chapeau) – the children could use their bilingual dictionary skills to look up the meaning and the gender, and practice the eau sound.

Assessing pupils' progress and understanding


Created by:
Simone Haughey,  
Languages specialist
Previously a generalist Primary teacher for 12 years, Simone now specialises in Languages. She is MFL Consultant and Languages Teacher at Robin Hood Primary. Her work with Mandarin Chinese led to the IoE Confucius Institute for Schools awarding her school with Confucius…
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