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Daily Grammar Practice en francais Review by Heather JackowitzKathleen Porto with Dawn Burnette
900 Becky Road
Blairsville, Georgia 30512
Daily Grammar Practice en francais (DGPF) is a simple yet effective grammar supplement for French students. A Teacher Guide (with answer key) is all you need to teach this program, although an inexpensive Student Workbook is available and recommended for ease. Three levels of DGPF are available, but this review is based solely on the first level, which corresponds to first year high school French.
The main author, Kathleen Porto, has ample qualifications to write this program. She is a current high school French teacher in Georgia, where she also serves as chairperson of the Foreign Language Department. She has multiple degrees in French and teaching French, and she has received training to prepare students for the AP French exam. As if that were not enough, she is also a member of the Alliance Francaise, the American Association of Teachers of French, and the Foreign Language Association of Georgia!
The first half of the teacher book explains the teaching philosophy behind DGPF along with suggestions for using the program. The second half includes all 30 lessons with reference charts, grammar helps, teaching points, and answers. The optional workbook provides a page for each of the 30 weekly sentences, with room to write answers. The workbook also includes the reference charts and grammar helps that are included in the teacher book.
DGPF is a daily grammar vitamin, according to its authors. Students work with one sentence per week, analyzing it first and then imitating it. Unlike other grammar programs that present isolated units on nouns and verbs with copious practice exercises, DGPF uses one complete sentence per week and breaks it down into parts. Early sentences are very simple, but they build in complexity as the year progresses, providing opportunities for review in context.
Let me explain the format of a weekly lesson of DGPF. On Monday, students translate a French sentence into English. On Tuesday, they identify the parts of speech of each word in the sentence (noun, pronoun, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, verb, verbal). On Wednesday, they identify the sentence parts (subject, verb, complement, prepositional phrase, infinitive phrase, etc). On Thursday, students diagram the sentence. Finally, on Friday, they build a new sentence from the provided dehydrated structure.
Now, let's look at a week in practice. The sentence provided for week four of DGPF is this: "Le grand garcon parle francais avec Paul." On Monday, students translate, "The tall boy speaks French with Paul." On Tuesday, they label the parts of speech using the abbreviations provided on their reference chart. In order, they are as follows: definite article, adjective, noun, action verb/present tense, noun, preposition, proper noun. On Wednesday, students identify the parts of the sentence. In order, here are those parts: subject, transitive verb, direct object, adverbial prepositional phrase. On Thursday, students diagram the sentence. Finally, on Friday, students write a similar sentence from a "dehydrated structure" given as follows: petit/ fille/ parler/ anglais/ avec/ Amandine. They write, "La petite fille parle anglais avec Amandine." So with just one sentence, students have learned about adjective position and nouns of nationality. In addition, they have reviewed subject/verb agreement and agreement of adjectives.
Now all this takes only a few minutes at the beginning of your French class. My daughter does her DGPF for about five minutes before her Rosetta Stone computer lesson. I am very pleased with how well these programs complement one another. My one complaint about Rosetta Stone has been the lack of systematic grammar study, and DGPF provides the perfect supplement.
The content of level one corresponds to first year high school French. At present, three levels of DGPF are available, each corresponding to one year of high school French. You may view a scope and sequence and sample lessons at www.dgppublishing.com.
My only caveat regarding this program is that students need to know English grammar fairly well in order to successfully use DGPF. Lesson one begins very simply but assumes a knowledge of nouns (common/proper), verbs (action/being, transitive/intransitive, tenses), and the subject/predicate relationship. If your student has never studied English grammar, you might consider looking into the original Daily Grammar Practice in English, available from www.dgppublishing.com. I have not personally seen this program, but I have heard from other homeschoolers that it is very good. My own sister used it with her daughter and saw her SAT scores leap after one year using the program.