Here’s what we’ve been up to lately during French time in our house:
Fall colours French club
At our French club a few weeks ago, I divided a white board into 4 sections – brown (brun), orange (orange), yellow (jaune), and red (rouge). The kids took turns drawing fall things that were a specific colour and everyone else guessed what it was that they drew.
We read a story called Regarde, c’est l’automne by Allan Fowler.
Next came a little survey where each child would ask all the others what their favourite fall colour was, and tally up the results. We used page 18 of this product: http://www.dedicatedteacher.com/lautomne-au-boise-2aome-ou-3aome-annaoe-ebook/s-s-learning/SSLM204/pd/
Then it was time for a version of 20 questions. I had a bunch of fall pictures from this free product: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/FreeDownload/Automne-30-puzzles-GRATUIT-French-Fall-1878717 Note that the product is meant to be used as word puzzles, but I kept the pieces together so that I had a picture and word together for each item. Each child took a turn with an item that I gave them (some of the items are harder to describe than others so I tried to allocate to each child based on their ability). To start, the child would give a hint about the item (i.e. its colour or shape or where you might find it). Then, the rest of the kids would ask yes or no questions to help narrow down what the item was. If they were having trouble getting the answer, I would jump in with a few hints along the way. The idea was to figure out what the item was within a few minutes. The kids absolutely loved this game! It went so well that they all took 2 turns instead of the one each I had originally envisioned.
At the end of our time together, we played a version of “fruit salad” (click here if you don’t know what that game is). Instead of using fruit names, I assigned each child a fall colour (brun, orange, jaune, rouge). The person in the middle would call out 2 colours and those children would change places. Or, if they wanted everyone to move, they said “couleurs d’automne”. This game is always a favourite at French club!
Trees and leaves French club
We started with a scavenger hunt in the woods behind my house, using this free sheet: http://www.teachersnotebook.com/product/MadameByrd/cest-lautomne-scavenger-hunt-sheet
Next, I had the kids collect 4 different leaves to bring into the house with them.
We read Les feuilles by Martha EH Rustad, and then proceeded to make our leaf books. Each child glued their leaves into a home-made booklet (a few pages of blank paper folded in half and stapled along the side to look like a book). Then they were to write the names of their leaves beside each one and add some pictures and other information to go with it. To help the kids identify their leaves, I gave them a copy of this booklet: http://www.scientifiquesalecole.ca/_/pdfs/Guide-d-identification-des-arbres.pdf
In hindsight, I should have spent a bit more time discussing some of the other clues on how to identify what the leaves might be. For example, my daughter concluded that one of her leaves belonged to a Virginia cherry tree and she drew a bunch of cherries around that page of her booklet. I didn’t have the heart to mention that we have never seen a cherry in our backyard.
The ending game that I had planned was a version of duck, duck, goose using “feuille, feuille, pomme de pin” (leaf, leaf, pinecone) instead. However, we only had 3 children this week due to illnesses and family vacations, so we had to skip it. Duck, duck, goose with 3 kids wouldn’t have worked very well!
I used the lessons from Automne au boisé (http://www.dedicatedteacher.com/lautomne-au-boise-2aome-ou-3aome-annaoe-ebook/s-s-learning/SSLM204/pd/) as a base. Each day, we’d read a few books and complete some of the sheets and activities listed in the package. The kids especially loved drawing different things on the whiteboard.
For some of the lessons, we focused on a particular animal – bears one day, turtles another, frogs, racoons, chipmunks, and squirrels. We read books in French to learn more about the animal, and then we discussed how the animal prepared for winter.
We also put together some silly stories. I’d start us off with a sentence – for example: Il était une fois un champignon magique (Once upon a time there was a magic mushroom) – and then each child would add a sentence to the story in turn. The kids loved doing this, which really surprised me because it involved a lot of talking (which they still resist sometimes). My daughter managed to work a dog into the story, no matter what the theme. 🙂
I found a French recipe for apple pie online. My daughter and I made it together: http://www.mamanpourlavie.com/alimentation/recettes/5047-12-recettes-pour-cuire-les-pommes.thtml?page=5
I have a French club about apples planned for next time. We’ll do an apple relay race of some sort to start, and follow it up with an apple taste test. I’ll cut up a few different apples, have the kids taste them while blindfolded and indicate which one is their favourite. We’ll prepare an apple recipe, and sing this song:
I have prepared a whole bunch of other activities to go with the song. You can find those in French Sing & Learn Volume 1. Since we have already done the activities, we won’t repeat them again, but the kids sure enjoyed themselves when we completed them a few years back.
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