Course Description


SEQUENCES (3rd edition!! -- please do NOT buy an earlier edition, as the films and a great deal of content changes from edition to edition).
Michèle Bissière.
ISBN: 978-1-305-10563-8

Note: Copies of Séquences will be available at the SSU Bookstore. You may also purchase or rent a copy of the book or the eBook at the Cengage website; for a direct link to the 3rd edition, click here. If you decide to go with the eBook, you should probably at least get access through January 25, 2018. (Should there be an option to purchase only selected chapters, note that we are covering the following:  the preliminary chapter plus chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.  We will NOT cover chapters 6, 8, or 9. Grammar covered in chapter 6 will be taught in FR202; the last two are review chapters.)


The goal of Third-Semester French is to increase your proficiency in French while providing you with a francophone context within which to use and practice what you have learned. Because total immersion in a language is the best way to learn that language, in class we will speak only French. DON'T PANIC if you don't understand everything I say, or even half of what I say at first ! And DON'T PANIC if you don't understand every word in the textbook, either. I will do my best, with a combination of gestures and pictures and cognates, to communicate the main ideas we are trying to cover. It is normal to get frustrated or confused, and the best way to work through your frustration is simply to come to class ready to listen and to respond assiduously. Be open to new experiences! Take risks! Open your mouth as often as possible and speak, even if you aren't sure of the answer ~ it's the best way to develop a kind of ease in class that fosters language learning. Play by the rules ~ only French, and note that I will make a point of marking down the participation part of your grade if you break the rule! So, remember that there is NO CHATTING IN ENGLISH with your neighbor during class. And if you have questions you cannot ask in French, do wait until the break or the end of the class to ask them.

One important suggestion: Students often ask, "Comment dit-on...X... en français?" and I repeat the cognate back to them (the same or a very similar word but pronounced with a French accent). So before you ask, just try saying the word you want with a French accent -- you will be amazed at how often you are correct or pretty close!.

Our textbook, Séquences, is organized around the study of French and Francophone films, and thus contains a good deal of cultural content as well as grammar and vocabulary. In addition to review some key points of French grammar, we will spend a good deal of class time discussing the films, reading related authentic texts, and discovering many facets of Francophone life, both in France (l'Hexagone) and the rest of the Francophone world. Our goal is that by the end of this course, you will feel confident in your ability to discuss contemporary issues and cinema, and use language creatively. You will also have seen some pretty great movies!


French 201, Third-Semester French, is intended as an in-depth review of French grammar and francophone culture. Attention will be paid to all the basic communication skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. Note that since it is assumed you have already mastered all or most of the basic points of French grammar, much of your revision of grammar will be done on your own, as you review the pages devoted to grammar in your textbook. Even if you feel you are an expert on a given topic, reread the material in the section anyway: the mastery is in the details. This is a rather fast-paced course which requires very steady work habits, so be prepared! Over the course of the semester, we will cover six chapters of the textbook, Séquences, spending approximately 4 class days on each chapter. There will be three tests, as indicated on the calendar, including the final exam, which will cover chapters 5 & 7 only.

We will also be testing the new language learning platform Busuu; details for our trial period will be distributed in class, and you should be able to do this work on a smart phone or tablet. Should you have questions about vocabulary or grammar, your phone or tablet is probably also the best place to start. For example, is a solid on-line French-English dictionary complete with idioms, verb conjugations, etc.

The best way to learn a language is in small increments. We only meet two times per week, and we can only cover so much material in that time. The rest must be done at home, preferably a little bit each day, including (especially on) days the class doesn't meet. Try to set aside 30 minutes to 60 minutes daily to work on French. Keep up with the daily homework, doing all grammar and writing assignments, and also studying vocabulary and grammar conjugations for the next class's quizzes, and to be sure you are prepared for the next section we cover in the book.


Participation -- and, of course, attendance -- is essential to language learning, and you will be receiving a daily participation grade (from 0 to 10 points) based on your presence, alertness, and responsiveness in class. Presence and participation will count for 10% of your final grade, and you can get a general idea of your participation grade based on the quality of your participation:

In other words, the grade will go up or down depending on how active you are in class, or how closely you respect the only French rule. So, if you are present and very active in French only during every class, you should easily earn a A for participation!

Note that you are responsible for any material missed because of an absence, whatever the reason. If you must be absent, make arrangements with another student to get the notes from class. If you have problems catching up, make an appointment to see one of the university's French tutors or to see me.


There are three exams in the class: one on chapters 1 & 2 (October 2), one on chapters 3 & 4 (October 30), and one on chapters 5 & 7 (during our final exam slot, December 11). Missing an exam will make your life (and mine) extremely complicated, so please, do whatever it takes to be there those three days.

There will also be one oral exam in the middle of the semester. I hereby reserve the right to assign a final grade of F to any student who does not pass the all written and oral exams.

The FINAL EXAM is scheduled for Monday, December 11 from 11:00am to 12:50pm.

NOTE: Students should be aware of a wide variety of important University policies, such as the add/drop policy; cheating and plagiarism policy; grade appeal procedures; and the diversity vision statement. Go to the URL to find them: .


Your grade in this course will be calculated as follows:

Notice that a big part of your grade is based on test scores, but that you can easily drop a full grade or more by not keeping up with your participation, grammar homework and essays. (See "A Bit of Advice" on the homework page to get a sense of how important this is, mathematically speaking, to your grade!)

A suggestion: I can't stress how much regular work on French is essential to success in this course -- keep from falling behind and you're halfway to success!


  1. Please turn off all cellphones when entering the classroom. Cellphone disruption will not be tolerated; texting during will result in the confiscation of the phone for the remainder of the class. I may feel compelled to answer your phone in French if it rings. Don't tempt me.
  2. Students who talk repeatedly amongst themselves when course material is being explained will receive a warning. If the behavior should persist, the student may be asked to leave the class. Please note that there will be ample time for conversation in French during class activity periods.
  3. Please save your questions in ENGLISH for the break time!
  4. Finally, keep in mind that I am available for help, both in my office and at home, via e-mail, at your convenience. Please don't hesitate to come and see me or e-mail me if you are having problems in class or if you want study suggestions


If you have a disability that requires accommodation in this class, please notify the instructor as soon as possible regarding the nature of the accommodation(s) you require. You must register with the campus office of Disabled Student Services, located in Salazar Hall, room 1047, phone 664-2677. DSS will provide you with written confirmation of your verified disability and authorize recommended accommodations. This authorization must be presented to the instructor before an accommodations can be made.


The French Program of Sonoma State University seeks to develop in its students the basic linguistic skills, analytical skills, and cultural and literary knowledge which will enable them to appreciate the uniqueness of other cultures and to function in francophone communities around the world. In all of its offerings, the French Program seeks to support the ideals of a general liberal arts education.

In order to facilitate students' integration of this course into their understanding of the greater goals of the French Program and the General Education Program at Sonoma State University, it should be noted that:

French 201, Third-Semester French, meets the following French Program learning objectives:

This course also meets the following GE Program learning objectives:

This course also exposes students to knowledge about values and ethical issues, including:

To view the Mission, Goals and Objectives of SSU's General Education Program, please visit: