Colours make memories through poetry

It's almost the end of the term.I wanted to find a poem in French that linked Year 5  UKS2 prior learning and knowledge of colours and nouns (since Y3 ) and the use of a bi-lingual dictionary to create memories of the school year and their French language learning.
I didn't need too look far -did I?
Here is the poem by Chantal Couliou :

Crayons de couleur

Le vert pour les pommes et les prairies
Le jaune pour le soleil et les canaris
Le rouge pour les fraises et le feu
Le noir pour la nuit et les corbeaux
Le gris pour les ânes et les nuages
Le blue pour la mer et le ciel
Et toutes les couleurs pour colorier 
Le monde

So how can this be used? Well each line is about a colour and objects associated with the colour. It would lead on very well from an early blog post of mine about word association and colours which the children always enjoy - even if they have played the games and created word association symbols before .Colour mimes and word association

Let's unpack the meaning of the poem 

Read the poem for the children.

  • Ask them to listen for the colours.
  • You could ask them to order coloured cards from top to bottom in a row as they hear them mentioned or place counters on the table in the order or pop dots of crayon colour on a strip of paper in the order they hear the colours.

Let's investigate the nouns and find their meanings 
Now let's ask the children to see what links they can see between nouns. 
The poem is being used to unpack language learning memories so these activities are based on reactivating memory - of words/ links/ ways to investigate meaning...

  • On tables of four give the children the nouns from the poem- which do they immediately recognise (probably les pommes/ les fraises/la mer/le soleil ) as we will have practised these before e.g. when learning fruits or when practising greetings and farewells (bonne nuit) or weather (il fait du soleil). 
  • Which are cognates or which are semi cognates (e.g les prairies, les canaris)?
  • Which might they need to look up in bi-lingual dictionaries ? However before they do explain that the nouns are linked as pairs of nouns by colours.
  • Can they identify colours that they would associate with any of the nouns they can recognise (e.g noir- la nuit/ rouge - les fraises/ bleu- la mer/ jaune - le soleil)?
  • So does this help them now to take an informed guess at the nouns they may still not know - if nouns make pairs linked by colour? 
  • Only now let them check their informed guesses in bi-lingual dictionaries.
Create a calm performance with full concentration
You will need small picture cards that represent each colour and each noun- enough so that each member of the class has a card.
  • Take feedback from the children on what they think their pictures represent in the target language from the nouns they have investigated or the colours they know.
  • Ask the class to listen to the poem again very carefully.
  • Can the class lift their cards as they hear the word represented by the picture?
  • Swap cards are repeat the activity again
  • Now invite a child holding one of each the cards to the front- stand them in random order.
  • Can the class recall and reorder the cards in the order they have heard them spoken in the poem?
  • Ask the class to listen one more time and check their cards are in the correct order. Are there any cards that they want to reorder?
  • Can the class say the whole poem up to the last line with you using the cards as prompts?
Et toutes les couleurs pour colorier le monde ....
Give out paper and ask the children to create a pictorial depiction of the poem they have heard, investigated and spoken in all the colours and using all the items that the poet has referred to in the text.
They must draw the world and add their own pictures in correct colours within the shape of the world.

Reading opportunities  
You may be inspired to offer the children when they have finished their pictorial depictions some independent reading of poems written by young pupils based on the poem above.
I found some lovely examples on this school site here:ecole elementaire examples  

Finish with a song 
We always love this particular song about colours so maybe this is one you could either play whilst the children create their own pictures or at the end of the lesson - just to listen for pleasure or whilst they tidy away..