The topic of long-range planning is on the minds of many teachers as we go into the new school year. By request, I am sharing this information here after the topic of using CEFR in a long-range plan came up in a teacher group on Facebook.

In Ontario, our new French as a Second Language curriculum focuses on skills and strategies but is (purposely) vague on exact “content”. This is where the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for languages can come in handy.

I took the CEFR “I Can” goals for the A1 level and sorted them out into several broad “themes” or connected ideas. I no longer teach in distinct “units” per se, but I do continue to use this long range plan to guide what structures and vocabulary I introduce to students while teaching language strategies. Note that the goals are progressive, not distinct; you can’t “move on” from them when you move into a new topic. The goal is to master them and then build on them.

Long Range Plans – Core French


The goal is for students to be proficient at an A1 CEFR level by the end of Grade 8. The yearly plan below provides opportunities to achieve all A1 “I can” goals; however, not all students will master all goals every year. Students will self-assess their progress and identify areas in which they wish to improve, choosing activities to practice what they wish to learn in a student-centered environment. The teacher acts as a facilitator, providing the materials, opportunities and feedback students need to achieve their individual goals.


September & October: Back to School


  • Routines
  • Classroom vocabulary
  • Why learn French
  • Introductions
  • Comment ca va?
  • Colours
  • Weather
  • Basic needs
  • Months/year
  • Days/week

CEFR A1 Learning Goals. I Can…

  • Understand basic vocab related to my surrounding (e.g., school, classroom.)
  • Understand questions and follow short simple instructions in class to find objects in class, house, mall, city, map, etc.
Spoken Production
  • Express my basic needs (e.g., washroom, food, drink.)
  • Say when I don’t understand
  • Very simply ask someone to repeat what they said
  • Ask somebody to speak more slowly
Spoken Interaction
  • Introduce somebody
  • Use basic greetings such as hello and goodbye
  • Ask how people are
  • Ask and answer simple questions and make simple statements about basic needs or very familiar topics
  • Provide the date including the day or the week, month and year
  • Follow simple written directions
  • None. (Not a focus for this topic.)

November & December: Holidays & Celebrations


  • Addresses
  • Phone numbers
  • Dates
  • Quand, qui and ou questions
  • Family
  • Invitations & cards
  • Food

CEFR A1 Learning Goals. I Can…

  • Understand basic vocab about myself and my family
  • Understand numbers, prices and times
Spoken Production
  • Briefly describe my family and where I live
  • Simply describe my family members (who they are, how old they are, and what they do)
  • State my likes and dislikes about food, clothing
Spoken Interaction
  • Ask people for things and give people things
  • Ask people questions about where they live, people they know, things they have and answer similar questions addressed to me provided they are spoken slowly and clearly
  • State my birthdate and ask others when their birthdays are
  • In everyday situations, I can read short, simple messages and notes
  • Read short texts with familiar words and very simple sentences and grasp the overall meaning of the text (e.g., comptines, rhymes, greeting cards.)
  • Write a greeting card (e.g., birthday card.)

January & February: Sports & Activities

(or Olympics, in an Olympic year)


  • Sports, pastimes, activities
  • Jouer/faire/pouvoir
  • Athlete biographies
  • Olympic headlines and news
  • What I/others can/cannot do
  • Countries

CEFR A1 Learning Goals. I Can…

  • No new focus for this topic. Continue to review/practice goals from other topics.
Spoken Production
  • State a list of items (e.g., hobbies, animals, food, classroom objects, etc.)
  • State my likes and dislikes about sports
  • Describe what I, or others, can or cannot do
Spoken Interaction
  • No new focus for this topic. Continue to review/practice goals from other topics.
  • Understand information about people (place of residence, age, etc.)
  • Understand some newspaper headlines with familiar words
  • Write short simple sentences about myself (e.g., where I live and what I do.)

March & April: Music, Movies & Media


  • Answering the phone
  • Making plans with friends
  • Posters
  • Purchasing (tickets, food, etc.)
  • Technology vocabulary

CEFR A1 Learning Goals. I Can…

  • Understand some simple messages and stories by identifying some words and expressions
Spoken Production
  • Describe objects’ size, shape, colours
Spoken Interaction
  • Make simple purchases by pointing or using other gestures to support what I say
  • Make statements involving numbers, quantities and cost
  • Use and understand simple numbers in everyday conversations (e.g., phone numbers, prices.)
  • Answer the phone, give my name, and answer basic questions
  • Decipher posters, signs and labels in everyday life to determine times, dates, costs and locations
  • Understand important words relating to computer programs (e.g., save, copy, print, etc.)
  • Write a note to tell somebody where I am or where we are to meet

May & June: Travel


  • Forms
  • Signs
  • Postcards
  • Time phrases
  • Schedules
  • Dates
  • Directions
  • Ordering food/purchasing souvenirs

CEFR A1 Learning Goals. I Can…

  • Understand simple directions to get from A to B by foot or public transport
Spoken Production
  • No new focus for this topic. Continue to review/practice goals from other topics.
Spoken Interaction
  • Ask and give the time and can use such phrases as ‘next week’, ‘last Friday’, ‘in November’, ‘3 o’clock’
  • Understand basic questions on standardized forms to give the most important information about myself
  • Write a postcard describing how I am feeling and what I am doing
  • Fill in a form or questionnaire giving basic personal information (e.g., age, address, hobbies, etc.)


  • French Quest
  • iPad applications: Puppet Pals, Pic Collage, iMovie, Mind Snacks French, Futaba, Google Drive, Camera, Explain Everything, etc.
  • Languages Online
  • YouTube: Alain le Lait, sduckworth100, French musical artists, native speakers, etc.
  • Authentic materials: bilingual packaging, online stores, store fliers, train/bus/movie schedules, etc.


Anna · January 8, 2017 at 2:08 pm

Hi Ms. Armstrong. I love how you have broken down everything but my only question is are these plans for grades 4-6 and if so how do you differentiate between the grades. Thanks in advance.

    Erica Armstrong · January 8, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    The goal would be for students to be proficient at the CEFR A1 level by the end of grade 8. When I teach multiple grade levels at once, I prefer teaching the same topic to all grades at the same time – it makes my planning and organizing easier; however, the lower grades may be scratching the surface and talking about things simply, while the older grades can go in more depth. In each topic, I’ve listed way more than could possibly be covered in one year so the idea would be to review and build upon it over time.

Matthew Rappolt · August 23, 2017 at 3:28 pm

This is a fantastic resource! So helpful! One question though: how do you get access to the CEFR? I can’t find it through Google.

    Erica Armstrong · August 26, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Thanks, Matthew. When I google “CEFR A1”, I find lots of useful resources. Perhaps adding the “A1” makes a big difference? The following link, in particular, helped get me started in thinking about integrating CEFR “I Can” statements into my teaching practice:

Madame · August 26, 2017 at 9:56 pm

Very good question and great reply. Thank you Erica and Anna!

    Erica Armstrong · August 26, 2017 at 10:08 pm

    You’re welcome! Glad you find it useful.

kimmeroo · May 30, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Wow, I love the clear expectations for A1 and the themes! Do you know if something similar exists for the A2/B1/B2? Or where find the information to use to put something together? Thanks!

    Erica Armstrong · May 30, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Hi there – Thank you. I created this myself and have not done any for the other levels since I only teach students at the A1 level. That said, the process I used to come to this was to become familiar with the ‘can do’ statements/descriptors for each level (several school boards have resources on this – Google would come up with lots as well), then try to find ‘can do’ statements that logically fit together under the umbrella of an authentic context/scenario.

      kimmeroo · May 31, 2018 at 9:14 pm

      Awesome, thank you. So just to clarify – the `can do` descriptors exist already, but you moved them around? My first place to look will be asking the French specialists at our board, but want to make sure I`m clear on exactly what I`m asking (I don`t want to ask for something that doesn`t exist). Merci beaucoup!

        Erica Armstrong · May 31, 2018 at 9:23 pm

        Yes, that’s exactly it 🙂 From my quick research today, I see that they’ve put out some new revised descriptors this year.

          kimmeroo · May 31, 2018 at 9:24 pm

          Thanks so much! If I find some great resources I’ll send them back your way as well. I’ll be trying to follow your model for grouping them as well, but that won’t happen until the Fall.

    Erica Armstrong · June 4, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    I was able to re-find the original checklists I based this off of – and good news – they do have ones for the other levels there, too:

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