Part One: Weekend Planning Time
The Apprentice brought home a few issues of a French-language children's nature magazine, Coulicou Hibou, from the discard shelf at the library. Canadians will recognize these as a French version of the Owl and Chickadee magazines. (I've been searching online for the French version, but can't find much--maybe it's not being published now?)
So pretend you're looking over Mama Squirrel's shoulder--this is what I do when I'm first looking at a book or magazine that might or might not fit well with our plan for the year--in this case, what we're already doing for French.
Each issue is 24 pages long; the cover says that it's aimed at (French speaking) children between four and eight. Some pages have very little text or are puzzles; some have longer stories.
I'm flipping through a December/January issue; there's an article about the praying mantis, which fits with our general theme this year of insects; but the language is a bit advanced. There's a two page spread with facts about the province of Quebec. Something to keep in mind. There's a long story about Christmas presents, toys, and wanting a puppy...good for everyday vocabulary, but maybe a bit long.
Here's a fun page--hand shadows on the wall, how to make a swan, a bird, and a rabbit. I can imagine using that with the verb "faire," which means "to make, to do." Crayons makes a bird. Ponytails, make a rabbit. Who can make a swan?
Another issue...there's a page of facts about camels. And a photo story about a young camel named Pato who lives at a zoo. That one's probably at about the right level. OK, it looks like this issue is mainly about camels...there's another story about a camel in the Gobi desert, and it has something to do with (oddly enough for the Gobi desert) Christmas. Oh, cool...matching finger puppet cutouts for acting out the story. Or you could use them on a felt board.
Part Two: Monday Lessons
So that's what we did. The little figures--several of them--were glued on to fuzzy backing paper (leftovers from Sunday School, years ago) and cut out. We also needed a key (used one from the junk drawer), a sun (drawn on a yellow Post-It), two Post-Its saying "Dec 24" and "Dec 25", and a bunch of bright cut-up bits of paper to represent feathers. In the story, the camel and his friend the rooster run away to the desert for the day and can't find their way back; luckily, the rooster is prescient enough to throw a trail of feathers behind him. That's about it...oh, and a bit of plastic netting--that was to show the camel's enclosure. And a paper Christmas tree (drawn on a Post-It), a cutout of a gift, and a cutout of holiday food--the camel's keepers were busy celebrating while the animals ran off.
What did we do with it? Mama Squirrel read the story from the magazine, showing the cutout figures as we read. We didn't translate words as we went along unless it was absolutely necessary. Afterwards, Ponytails retold the story, partly in English and partly in French, using the cutouts. Mama Squirrel held up a few of the cutouts and asked for the French words for things like camel, gift, and sun.
At that point the lesson suddenly ended because of an unrelated phone call, but that was enough for one day anyway. The next lesson will be on Wednesday--stay tuned for an update.
Rabbit-trailing here...French camel stuff online? Facts and colouring pages. More colouring pages.
Here's a children's song:
The words are here.