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French students wrap up yearly Instagram hotel project

“Tout est bien qui finit bien.” (All’s well that end’s well)
Some+of+this+years+French+hotel+Instagram+accounts.
Some of this year’s French hotel Instagram accounts.

Each year, students who use Instagram are flooded with follow requests from fake French hotels. These accounts are part of a class project for the French classes that has been running for several years. 

 

French teacher Stephanie Baker runs the project with her French III classes to allow them to apply their vocabulary from the travel unit. The travel unit is taught in most foreign language courses in order to help students if they ever find themselves somewhere where English is not the primary language spoken.

 

“First, we explore different airport vocabulary things so if they were ever in a French-speaking country or Spanish-speaking airport they could get around. They could find their luggage if it was lost. They could ask someone for help, that kind of thing. Then, we move on to hotel vocab,” Baker said.

 

The project consists of the students creating a website and an Instagram account to advertise a fake hotel. Baker uses the unique medium of Instagram to allow students to practice their skills in a way that is more familiar and authentic to them.

 

“They get to choose the name, the theme, they create a website, and within that website project is the Instagram account. They’re trying to promote this fake hotel by making the website and Instagram,” Baker said. “I know I have a few students that–I don’t know how they find these people—follow people on Instagram that are French-speaking and sometimes they’ll even message them. I know at least one particular student who has French friends now because of messaging on Instagram, so, I think it’s nice that they can use things that are more like what they do or know, what they see every day.”

 

Each year, students create a variety of hotel themes, with many highlighting pop culture. Sophomores Camila Gazzarri and Sophie Long ran a Zootopia themed account called l’Hôtel de Nick Wilde.

Posts on the @hoteldenickwilde Instagram account.

“We wanted to do something funny, and we figured that a character that everyone could relate to and was already kind of a joke on the internet would be good,” Gazzarri said, in reference to the large amount of Nick Wilde fan content that can be found online.

 

Students have to post at least five times on their Instagram, and Baker says that she tries to encourage quality over quantity.

 

“You have to have good posts to get the followers,” Baker said. “They’ve gotten a little more creative this year. Rather than just posting pictures and talking about them, I’ve seen them go around to their friends and interview them and be like, ‘Hey, did you like your stay at Hotel Spongebob?’ or whatever. It’s been interesting to see how they can use Instagram, not just with pictures now.”

 

The quick creation of these accounts leads to a large number of students being followed at the same time. Baker says this is because the hotel with the most followers receives extra points on their project.

 

“That’s why it gets so crazy. This year, the highest number of followers was 563, which is pretty good. I would say last year we had a little bit more but overall, there were more hotels this year just because I have more students. They did a really good job though,” Baker said.

 

Given the unique format, students are graded on a variety of factors, but the most important is the effort they put into the project. Creativity, use of vocabulary, and use of technology are also considered. In addition to the website and Instagram accounts, students must make a promotional video for their hotel.

 

“I’ve had a group literally go to a hotel in Novi and ask to record in the hotel and pretend that it’s theirs,” Baker said. “It’s really cool to see the creative things that they think about on their own and to see them push themselves.”

 

While students used a variety of mediums to make their Instagram posts, Gazzarri’s group utilized an AI image generation app for their images.

 

“I would look up Zootopia hotel spa or Zootopia hotel restaurant and it would give me a couple of options and I would pick the one that I liked best,” Gazzarri said. “It didn’t work very well a lot of the time and you only had 10 tries each day. So it took a while to get all of the images.”

 

Sophomores Christiana Vushaj, Lakshmi Bijukumar, and Harshita Vangaveti ran the Hôtel De Pascal, a Tangled-themed hotel account. The images found on the Hôtel De Pascal account were made using images found on Pinterest.

hotel.de

Posts on the @hotel.de_pascal Instagram account

“We found pictures of hotels that matched our vibe that we were going for. Then we just posted those and then added captions in French,” Vushaj said.

 

Students from both groups felt like they did pretty well on the assignment, despite the pre-Thanksgiving break workload.

 

“We did pretty well, but I feel like I personally could have done better because there was a lot of stuff going on with other assignments,” Bijukumar said.

 

Gazzari felt the project was original and fun to do with her friends.

 

“I did like the project. The website was a lot of work but it was rewarding in the end,” Gazzarri said.

 

As this year’s iteration of the project winds down, students and staff alike can be sure to look forward to next year’s creative themes and poorly photoshopped images flooding their feed.

 

“I’m sorry they all followed you on Instagram,” Baker said.

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