French as a Second Language – Our Friends the Animals

Bounjour mes amis!

This blog post today is for all of my French as a Second Language (FSL) Friends. I am going to make your life super duper easy and lay out your entire French animals unit for you.

This unit was designed to accompany the Alberta Grade 5 FSL Unit – Our Friends the Animals. However, it’s general enough that even if you don’t teach in Alberta, this could totally work for you and your kiddos.

Step 1: Introduce animal names to students through fun songs!

Songs are a great way to introduce new vocabulary because you can play them during transitions, during independent work time, etc. Plus, students happen to LOVE listening to these fun songs!

Avec un Gros Nez:

I seriously LOVE this video because not only does it help get students into the “les animaux” groove, but it also provides a fantastic introduction to the ways that we describe animals and their physical traits!

Petit Poisson:

This song is a classic (yes I learned this song back when I was in Kindergarten!). It is a fantastic way to introduce students to the animals of the ocean. At first I thought it might be a bit too young for fifth grade, but kids of all ages seem to love this one. 


Finally, Alouette is a great way to remind students of the body parts that they learned in grade 4! Hopefully they will remember this one and it will be super fun for them 🙂

Step 2: Reinforce Animal Names with Interactive Notebooks

After listening to these songs, students will still need a lot of reinforcement of this new vocabulary. I love using interactive notebooks for this purpose! Interactive notebooks make note taking more engaging, but students still get that repeated practice that they need. If you are looking for an interactive notebook to introduce students to animal names as well as animal traits, click HERE.

Step 3: Take it up a notch with a Powerpoint Presentation!

I love to introduce key vocabulary using a powerpoint presentation because it provides me with an opportunity to ensure that all students know the proper pronunciation for all of the terms. Plus the added visuals really help all learners to be successful. If you are looking for a Powerpoint presentation to help you introduce the physical traits of animals, click HERE to check it out! Best of all, this presentation comes with audio so even if you are new to French, you will still LOVE this resource! Plus, it goes perfectly with the interactive notebook above. Students can complete the physical traits mini book while you walk them through this presentation. 

Step 4: Play Games!

What kid doesn’t love games? Games are your best tool in the second language classroom because there is instant buy in and engagement when using them. Another way to use the presentation from above is to play a simple game of charades. One person stands with their back facing the screen so that they can’t see which physical trait is being shown. Meanwhile, the other students act out the trait so that the guesser can get it right. Of course, they must only guess in French! 
One of my other favourite French games is “J’ai… Qui a?” This simple card game is quick and to play. Students get an opportunity to practice reading French and their oral language skills! If you are looking for a set of “J’ai… Qui a” cards, click on the image below.

Step 5: Review with Digital Activities

Digital activities are my new life saver! They require practically no prep, are engaging, and super effective! Students can practice reading and writing in French, all on their device! Check out these “Les Animaux” digital activities HERE to see what all of the hype is about. 

Step 6: Assess Student Understanding with Fun Activities

I always suggest doing at least one group and one individual activity per unit. This way, students get an opportunity to work in both situations. 
I like to do the group activity first. This provides students with the extra scaffold of working with and bouncing their ideas off of their peers. 
In their group project, students will work together to design and create their own animal habitat. 
1) Assign each group a habitat
2) Have kids brainstorm animals that live in that habitat
3) Students each build at least one animal to go in their habitat
4) The group builds a habitat for the animals
5) The teams create and present an oral presentation talking about the animals and the habitat that they live in
6) Students self assess using a checklist
In their individual project, students will work to create an animal mash-up. Then they will do some writing about their animal and present it to the class. Finally, students once again perform a self assessment. You can see my “mouval” below. Check out both of these projects HERE. 
There you have it, a complete unit to help you teach about the world’s animals, their physical traits, and the habitats that they live in. If you would like to purchase all of the resources mentioned in this blog post, check out my “Les Animaux” bundle on TPT by clicking HERE. By purchasing the bundle, you will save a bunch of $$$ and make you life so much easier!
Have a sweet week!
How do you teach French as a Second language students about animals and their physical traits? This blog post is full of great ideas that will help those tricky French vocabulary terms to stick. Students will play a variety of games, learn with songs, powerpoint presentations, and more!

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