Finding fun Mardi Gras activities for French class that also promote proficiency can be tricky. Since Mardi Gras for 2022 is March 1st this year, us French teachers need to get crackin’ on classroom activities to celebrate this raucous Francophone tradition!
What Day is Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras always falls on Fat Tuesday, so you can predict the date. Check the New Orleans calendar here for this year and future dates.
2022 – March 1st Mardi Gras
Part of Francophone Carnival Season
But note that the parades start far in advance, so I used to celebrate and teach about it even a month beforehand. It’s also part of a global carnival tradition. Looking to know more about carnival and teach it to your students? Check out this digital resource on Martinique and how they celebrate carnival with this article on French Virtual Field Trips.
Mardi Gras Project Ideas
My favorite way to make Mardi Gras fun and interactive with my French 1 and 2 class was to make a project to go along with our Mardi Gras reading activities. After learning about the colors, the significance of art and color for the floats, and what it means to New Orleans, we would create masks.
After completing the Mardi Gras reading activities, they used the mask design page below to create a mask design:
Then I scanned in the mask picture to make individual copies of the masks on cardstock for them to cut out. I went to Michaels to get some simple art supplies like acrylic student grade paint, sequins, glitter glue, and a few feathers. Probably $30-40 total. The major must is getting the dowel rods for crafts, so they can glue their masks to a rod and hold it up.
But you could definitely do just the paint or just markers.
French Club Ideas for Mardi Gras
This would also work great as a reading and a fun French club activity to celebrate Mardi Gras!
Grab some paint and some masks, and get rollin!
Mardi Gras Reading
Looking for a Mardi Gras lesson plan with reading as the focus? I created a Mardi Gras reading for my French 1s a few years ago to help them solidify their high-frequency verbs. You can find this same reading here.
Mardi Gras Reading Activities
Here’s what the reading entails if you’d rather create it yourself. Voila the step-by-step tutorial for a fun Mardi Gras lesson plan for French 1s or 2s! You’ll also see my lesson plan for how I used this resource in class:
Mardi Gras Lesson Plan Ideas
- Create a short, comprehensible reading using high-frequency verbs and Mardi Gras vocabulary as the focus
- Provide a word bank
- Ask students to research this year’s parade route, related events, and places to eat/stay to celebrate
- Show some youtube clips like these to introduce Mardi Gras:
Mardi Gras Printable Activities
Once students know what the holiday is all about (and dispelling some of the myths about it), ask students to write about it in French. There are some ideas and prompts below. If you need a fully ready printable activity for CI French teachers for Mardi Gras, all these activities are included in this reading.
French Writing Prompts for Mardi Gras
- Ask students: Describe a food to eat, float to see, place to stay or particular place to visit during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Recycle your word bank from the description you wrote in French to give to students.
- Ask students: Make a postcard about your 3 favorite parts about Mardi Gras in French. The colors, the symbols, etc. What is the holiday about? What does it mean? Who celebrates it and how? Tell a friend everything they need to know to celebrate in style.
- Write a story about two friends who go to the parade together, but then get lost! They can’t find each other because they’re wearing masks. What do they do next? How do they find each other?
- Describe all the elements of a Mardi Gras mask and what it symbolizes. Then design your own!
- Describe your mask and costume for Mardi Gras – what are you wearing? What are others wearing around you? (French 2)
More Resources for CI French Teachers
If you’re looking to make the transition to a proficiency-oriented classroom in French, download the free guide below to help you get started:
Have you ever wished the transition to proficiency were easier to do? Grab the FREE toolkit here to learn the framework for updating your practice to comprehensible input – without all the overwhelm – and prepare for the challenges ahead.
Have a great Mardi Gras activity? Share it below!
Free Conference for World Language Teachers
If you’re ready to jump in and get started with proficiency and teaching with comprehensible input, I have another resource to help you on your journey below:
Sign Up for the Next Practical & Comprehensible Free Virtual Conference! Every year, I gather together the best and brightest in the field of world language to share with you how to switch to proficiency through comprehensible input. All with practical ideas that you can use tomorrow. It’s a FREE virtual conference – join the waitlist and find out more about the speakers here.
Rooting for you,