Non fiction in the target language and the wonderful links we can make with the primary currciulum

We can focus on creative aspects of writing in the target language and just like me I am sure you really enjoy developing children's imagination and creativity through story and simple poems etc.I think though we have also met many children who actually prefer to read and write about factual information.Indeed I can see how non-fiction books really help us to explore "familiar everyday language" and make comparisons and differences between ourselves and others.

Today I was tidying a language book shelf and came across these books,which  a good friend had given me a few years ago , when her bi-lingual children had grown out of them.
They are factual books which her boys had read and loved.

Truthfully it's less common that I read a factual target language book rather than a story book with children in KS1 and KS2 ,but it set me to thinking, why is this? It also made me think about all the times when young children want to tell you everything they know about ...... trains,dinosaurs,space etc!

Take look here at the books that were on my shelf and how I am going to try to develop some target language work across all four skills of listening , speaking reading and writing with these books as a platform to our learning

This story about the daily life of a prehistoric young girl and her family exists in many languages and is based around the cave dwellers of the Pyrnées.
So surely this is a story that we should unpack with target language learners and link to a history focus too!

  • We can practise target language phrases for daily routine 
  • Create role- plays based on the life of Noune and her family 
  • Create our own cave dweller pictures with target language titles etc.
  • Shadow puppet theatre would work really well here too - giving the feel of cave dwelling and poor light, with narration in the target language about everyday life.
  • We can create our own target language museum table with artefacts that we can draw, make out of papier mache or paint labelled and possibly explained simply in the target language 

Le train
Why not look at the wonderful ways of travelling across Europe ,when we are thinking about  ways to travel and transport. Wonderful books like this tell us all about train travel in a target language country. Authentic text for a reason. 

  • Create a poster or information photo shoot of target language country travel facts
  • Make a same and different fact file - colours of trains here and abroad, places we can go here and abroad, speed of trains and journey times, train tickets here and abroad
  • Investigate places we can travel from and to and look at geographical features we may pass though,distances duration and time changes. 
  • Investigate all the far away places you can travel to and from ,when you are at a major train station in Europe.(I think this was one of the most "liberating" moments when I first went to live abroad- that I could get on a train and go to so many countries!)
  • Create role plays to take us to far away places we want to travel to  and take a google map tour of the city or country when we "arrive" there.

Les petits malheurs :
Here's an opportunity to 
  • compare and investigate doctors and what the surgery looks like and what the signs mean (you could create a target language doctor's surgery in the role play area etc)
  • hospitals 
  • practise illness role plays
  • practise key language to describe illness as a child might describe illness
  • create a traveller's hand book of "les petits malheurs"

I love this series of books and this one inspired me to think about history ."J'observe la vie sous la ville". It's all about the history under our feet !

I absolutely adore the book as it opens so many opportunities.It's about the layers of life that are under current day streets. It considers what we would find if we began to dig below the surface- 18th Century life , medieval artefacts , Roman roads etc. The book allows us to make links between previous times in our own culture and those of the target language countries.The book  once again offers us the opportunity to 
  • explore daily routines,target language role-plays  based on everyday life but in different ages 
  • explore and visit museums on line that show us life in medieval times/ romans times in  the target language countries etc
  • performance to portray life  
  • factual simple present tense first person singular descriptions as if we are visiting in a certain time period.
  • create our own fact sheet about the ages below our feet - in the present tense as if we are going back in time to visit these people and their daily lives
  • a 3D street that takes us back in time with simple target language sentences as we peel back the years.
I am off now to find all my other non-fiction books and see what else I can create!