Learning about ocean animals in French (activités d’apprentissage animaux de l’océan / la mer)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANormally I post activities on here after we’ve done them so that I can let you know what worked and didn’t but in this case, I’m posting the lesson plans before we’ve actually worked through them.  We are studying the ocean in our homeschool co-op this coming Fall, so in the interest of saving my friends some work, I’m putting my animal ideas up here.  Once we’ve completed the lessons, I’ll go back and add specific books that we used.

Before we start, I plan on hanging a blue, cheap, plastic, vinyl tablecloth that we have leftover from a past birthday party on the wall.  This will be our ocean backdrop.  As we learn about each animal, we’ll draw or paint a picture of it, then add it to our ocean.  We’ll be covering ocean layers and specific habitats (i.e. coral reef, estuaries, ocean floor, etc) in English while we are learning about the animals in French so we may add elements of this to our ocean backdrop as we go as well depending on space, etc.

Stuff I bought

For this unit, I bought Sous l’océan by Éditions Envolée.  It has 61 pages of stories, questions, and puzzles to go with the theme.  I love Envolée resources for so many reasons.  They are reproducible so you can print them as many times as you want for your own use.  They are well thought out and put together.  I can also see exactly what I’m getting before I buy it.  They have sample pages on the site and they also give you the corrigé (solutions) at no extra charge.  I looked through the corrigé before deciding to buy this product so I could determine if it was a good fit and it was.  I wish more companies would do this.  I would spend more money on this kind of thing if I knew what I was getting!

I also have a membership to Mille Merveilles. so I used some worksheets from there.  This site has some great colourful bulletin board printouts and lots of worksheets for the lower grades.  It has been worth the money for me this year, but I’m now finding that my kids are actually starting to outgrow it, so I don’t think I’ll renew it for another year when it expires.  (Update May 19/15):  I may have changed my mind about this – finding a lot of thematic worksheets on here.  🙂

I was able to find this book at our library, but if I couldn’t, I would buy it.  It has a ton of great experiments in it.  Many focus on other aspects of the ocean that we will be covering in English.  For the ones I’ve listed here, I plan on speaking in French while doing the experiment even though the book is in English.


Free resources I found

We are fortunate that our local library has a huge selection of French books.  For each animal, we will read a book or two about that animal.  I try to find fiction books as well that have the animal in them somehow, but that gets a little difficult sometimes.

As much as I don’t like basing my entire teaching on worksheets, there are only so many hands-on activities that you can do in one day without losing your mind.  So there are a fair number of worksheets included in each topic.

Ocean in general:  Fiche élève la mer de Cercle Gallimard

Whales (baleines):

Manatees (lamantins):

Seals and walruses (les phoques et les otaries):

Sea otter (loutre de la mer):

Turtles (les tortues):

Sharks (les requins):

Fish (les poissons):

For the ocean animals not listed above, I couldn’t find or think of any additional activities, so we will keep it to reading and drawing about them.  I do plan on getting the kids to do a short research project on one or two ocean animals of their choice.

If you have any other sites that you like for ocean animal information, activities, or worksheets in French, please feel free to link them in the comments below.     

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