043599798x.jpg Suggested teaching sequence for KS2: Mimi la Fourmi de l‘Espace

- by Celia Warren & Andy Parker adapted by Marie-Georgette Bolger.
Mimi la fourmi de l'espace (online version) and/or you could also order a class set of readers from Pearson
Introduce some key vocabulary, using flashcards (see document in pack or make own). Ask KS2 children to repeat the words as you say them. Build in some questions when you’ve been through them all eg hold up one and ask ‘C’est un elephant ou une fourmi?’ giving the children a choice, or call out a card for them to point to, etc.
Pronunciation point - the 'ti' in un vaisseau spatiale (a space ship) makes an 'ss' sound. This often happens in words such as
'station service' (petrol station) or natation (swimming).
Play some familiarisation games with the flashcards - ask the children to sort them into masculine & feminine nouns/proper nouns/adjectives; put them into alphabetical order; Or try spelling out a word in French and challenge the class to guess which one it is (you will need to have taught them the alphabet in French); play Kim’s game – turn the cards facedown and ask how many the children can remember?
Introduce the key repeated phrase “On n’est jamais mieux que chez soi” which literally means ‘one is never better than at one’s own place’. Can we think of a similar saying that would make more sense in English? (There’s no place like home). Ask children to think of a gesture they could make when they hear this phrase in the story.
Finally give pairs or groups of KS2 children a flashcard each. (But not the Kangaroo, elephant, tiger or bird). Ask the children to think of a gesture or noise they can make to go with the word. Explain that when you say the word on their flashcard in French, they should hold it up and do the gesture or noise. Have a practice.
Reading the book:
· Show the children the cover of the book and ask them which words do they think make up the title? Who is the author/illustrator? How can they tell? Encourage the children to do this by spotting the similar convention of text layout as in an English book. What do they think the story will be about?
· Point to the ant and ask “Qu’est-ce que c’est?” try to elicit a whole sentence in response - “C’est une fourmi”. Ask the children if they can work out from the title what the name of the ant is and where she lives? (Mimi – in Space).
· Remind the children that the first time you read the story you want them to listen out for the word on their flashcard. When they hear it they should hold up the flashcard and make the associated gesture or noise.
· Read the book theatrically & do not translate. You may need to conduct the children as they listen out for their words so they do not become over-excited. Always wait for silence before you turn the page. (The idea is that you want the children to ASK to hear the story again in future so they can work out more of the story each time.)
After reading the book:
Talk about the meaning of the book: What happened? Even though the language was very difficult, did they enjoy it? Would they want to read it again to see if they can work it out?
How do you think ‘Tigrou’ and ‘Eléoiseau’ got their names? The children might like to create their own aliens / new creatures in the same way.
What was wrong with the Blue Planet and the Red Planet respectively? (too hot / too cold).
Play some reinforcement games – for example joining the pictures to the text? Or re-ordering the pictures to retell the story.

Extension activities:
Consider moving to the hall to dramatise certain scenes from the book. Can the class act out the whole story scene by scene? However, while some children will respond enthusiastically & be able to practise speaking whole sentences in French from the book, others may be uncomfortable/embarrassed so use your professional judgement & knowledge of the class.
Read the book again – discuss in English how would they improve the story themselves? (links to literacy and story planning)