What makes a good curation?

Curating is an important 21st century communications skill. For learning a foreign language, it’s even more critical. In learning a language, you can’t just stick with the classroom experience to increase your proficiency and fluency: you HAVE to immerse yourself daily in its sights and sounds and acquire a level of learning autonomy.

Although you may have a class assignment for a specific topic (like food or travel), don’t let this stop you from finding and sharing really cool sites that tickle your fancy. Those are the ones that make a good curation for you.

Starting points: Where do you start? With a topic. Next, you open a search engine (google, duckduckgo, etc.; eg., http://google.fr) for a Francophone country (see country codes here) and key in a search command in target language (eg., “meilleurs rappeurs de 2018 “). If your list is too vast, try adding more keywords (“”meilleurs rappeurs de 2018 au Maroc“). Now comes the fun: check out several of them, learn about the topic from within the language and culture you’re learning. When you finally find a site that really ‘speaks’ to you, curate it. Still, decide if it has broader appeal for people learning French at your level, if not search around for one that you still like but that will engage your classmates. Curate it, too (you can curate as many as you’d like!). Tell us why it’s cool and important, what resonates for you. Categorize it so we can find it; tag it to provide even more depth and discoverability.

Voici un Français qui en parle (mettez les sous-titres s’il parle trop vite; les 2 premières parties sont les plus importantes):

Writing your own summary and reflections on your ‘find’ is what changes it from somebody else’s link to your curation. What follows are some good tips for writing in French at the intermediate low level.

Whatever you do, don’t start off in English. Brainstorm and click for vocabulary and phrases that touch your curation subject (go back to the search page for more). Brainstorm the kind of things you want to say about it: what parts of it should you quote or summarize? Make an outline or plan for what you’ll include. Keep it simple: Hemingway used short, terse phrases; you can, too. Pay attention to gender and agreement (if you write it up on a Google Doc or in Word, even here in WordPress, incorrect spellings and such will be highlighted: pay attention!).

Below are some sites to help you write better in French:


Revising/editing: It probably is best to write your blog post in a word processor or text editor which has French proofing tools, or at least a French spellchecker, and then copy and paste into the blog editor. If your word processor is not equipped with French proofing tools, consider using one of these online services:

  • Scribens.fr is performative and is free up to a certain word limit (just about right for a blog post!)
  •  BonPatron.com started with native English speakers, but can catch some other native language errors. Been around for years.
  •  Lang-8.com where you exchange with native speakers (@VCU, we’ll get your teletandem partners for this).

Some good online dictionaries are:

Google Translate is widely used by students and can be very helpful, especially in translating short phrases. It doesn’t perform well with longer texts or with idiomatic constructions. A tutorial from the Open University in the UK, Working with Google Translate, provides useful information on using Google Translate for French.


To finish, here are some good curations that have been done by students just like you!

On the artist, Zaz : https://rampages.us/french2atvcu/?p=779

On minimum wage: https://rampages.us/french2atvcu/?p=1851




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