I have to admit that when we first received a few Robert Munsch books as gifts for our kids when they were younger, I wasn’t a huge fan. Call me fussy, but who wants to give kids the idea that their parents are complete idiots (a common theme in the books)? They are fed that message enough from their peers as they get older – I didn’t want to start that thought process in preschool. Now that they are a bit older (ages 8 and 7), we’re enjoying these books much more. I can discuss with them the ideas that are presented and they are much better at distinguishing fantasy from reality.
A friend of mine mentioned that her son studied these books in French Immersion at school, so I decided to start googling to see if there were any activities to go with the French versions of the stories, which are all available at my local library. I was quite happy to discover that Scolastic publishes 3 teachers’ guides. Each volume covers 6 Robert Munsch books.
We’ve been working through the activities in these books for the last few weeks. I’ve been alternating between them and Mon Coffret des Grands Rats for our structured French lesson time. The coffret activities are more low-key (read book, answer questions), so we do those on days when we already have lots of hands-on activities on the list. The Robert Munsch en classe activities tend to be more involved, so we do these on days when our other lessons are more reading/writing oriented.
So far, both kids are enjoying the books and the activities. I was a bit concerned that my youngest wouldn’t be able to follow what was happening in the books because their vocabulary is a bit more involved than what he’s used to, but he’s been fine. The illustrations in these books are so captivating and detailed that he’s drawn in. My oldest can follow the story from the words alone, but she loves the pictures too.
Details of how we’ve been using this material
I check out the books from the library. If they aren’t available at your local library, you can easily buy them (see below for full list of which volume covers which books).
Day 1 – I read the story aloud. We discuss (in French) what’s going on so that I know they are following the story. The study guides have specific questions to discuss. Sometimes I use them, sometimes I don’t.
Day 2 – I read the story aloud again or sometimes my oldest reads parts of it. We do the first activity in the study guide. For example, one of the activities in volume 1 was a store. The study guide had reproducible Munsch-money, which I used. Instead of having stickers etc. for the kids to buy like they suggested in the book, I had my kids buy their snack for the morning. They absolutely loved it and it gave us the chance for some French dialog.
Day 3 – We do the second activity in the book. The companion activity for the store was a personality chart. Reproducible sheets were included in the guide, so I copied one for each child. My oldest filled hers in with some assistance and I wrote ideas for my youngest after I coaxed them out of him with great difficulty (this is normal for him!).
Each activity takes between 10-20 minutes depending on how much you want to talk about it or how much detail you want to put in.
Update May 30, 2014: I completely missed the section at the end of the teacher’s guide that lists additional book suggestions and activities. We will be incorporating these into future lessons.
Overall, I’ve been really happy with the purchase of these volumes and would recommend them to parents who speak French fluently (all instructions are in French) and kids who have a reasonable base of French vocabulary.
|Volume 1:Une maison pour rireMaquillage à Gogo
Sors du lit, Annie
Un bébé alligator?
On partage tout
Ribambelle de rubans
|Volume 2:Ma dent ne veut pas tomberBouh!
Mmmm… des biscuits
Chaussettes sentent de mouffette!
|Volume 3:La tignasse de MaxJamais je ne t’oublierai
Rien à porter
Ma mère exagère!
Une tonne de tartes
J’ai un beau château
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