Lesson Plans

Examining the 2017 French Election

Marine Le Pen. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Marine Le Pen. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. 

Emmanuel Macron. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, 2014.

Emmanuel Macron. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, 2014.

Image by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images. France, 2017.

Image by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images. France, 2017.


Common Core Standard:


Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.



Students will be able to analyze how journalist Sarah Wildman unfolds an analysis of the 2017 French election in order to hold discussions and write reflections that examine differing perspectives on the final two presidential candidates.


Warm up:


  1. 1- minute lists: Spend one minute responding to each of the following prompts with as many examples as you can.

    1. What are your favorite things about your country?

    2. What are some challenges facing your country?

    3. What are your dreams for your country?

  2. Discuss: What role should a president play in addressing your responses to the questions above.

  3. On a scale of 1-10 (1=not invested, 10=very invested), how invested are you in presidential elections in your country? Be prepared to share your response with the class.

  4. On a scale of 1-10 (1=not invested, 10=very invested), how invested are you in presidential elections in other countries? Be prepared to share your response.

  5. What have you heard about the recent election in France? Where did you hear about it?

  6. Discuss: During a presidential election, how do you generally find out about the candidates? What sources do you trust and distrust during an election?


Introducing the Lesson:


Today’s lesson examines reporting on the 2017 presidential elections in France. To learn about the two final candidates, read the first two articles attached and answer the accompanying comprehension questions.


As you review the resources attached, also consider the following:


  1. How does the author balance arguments for and against the presidential candidates? Use the following table to keep track of details from both articles:




(Why do some French citizens support this candidate?)


(Why do some French citizens dislike this candidate?)

Marine Le Pen



Emmanuel Macron




  1. What is the tone of the author’s coverage of the election? How does the author use language to achieve that tone, and why? Be sure to keep track of moments where you notice shifts in tone.


Discussion Questions:


  1. What were the major issues concerning French citizens during the 2017 presidential elections? How do they compare to issues currently facing your country?

  2. Based on the details described in the article, who would you have voted for in the election, and why?

  3. How would you describe the author’s tone throughout the reporting? Based on the tone and structure of the articles, who do you think is the author’s intended audience? What do you think is the intended purpose of the articles?




  1. Reflection Essay: Connecting to the French election


How do the issues examined as part of the French election reflect issues facing your community? How might the election in France impact other countries around the world? Write a short essay examining what you learned about the French election, what surprised you and why you think it is significant.


  1. Monologues inspired by Sarah Wildman’s reporting


Write a monologue from the perspective of a French voter who is trying to convince someone to vote for their chosen candidate. To plan your monologue, consider the following questions:

  • Who is your character? What is their…

  1. Age

  2. Race

  3. Ethnicity

  4. Ability

  5. Gender

  6. Sexual orientation

  7. Financial situation

  8. Career

  9. Family situation

  10. Favorite thing about France

  11. Greatest concern for France

  12. Dream for France

  13. Political affiliation

  • Who is your character speaking to? What might convince that person to vote for your character’s selected candidate?


Your monologue should be 1-2 pages double-spaced and should include details from the articles.


3) Explaining the French election to different audiences


Using details from the article, write 3-5 sentence explanations of the French election (the candidates, the major issues, the outcome, etc.) for the following audiences:


  • A group of elementary school students in your community

  • An elder in your family

  • A group of teens watching your explanation via an online video


Consider how you might use language and order details differently based on the audience.


4) Examine Sarah Wildman’s reporting on the results of the election


Read the third resource attached to examine how Wildman explains the results of the French election. As you read, consider the following:


  • How does Wildman’s explanation of the election results present the views of French citizens who supported both candidates?

  • How does the article present the potential implications of the election in other countries throughout the world?

Educator Notes: 

The following lesson is written to be explored independently by students, but offers opportunities for small group and whole group discussion.

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