French percussion and poem performance les feuilles mortes

Using this simple , effective and beautiful poem about Autumn in French we can explore and interpret and perform linking languages to percussion music. This could be a poem to be explored by the children in UKS2 (with two or three years language learning) or possibly in KS3 Y7. 

  1. Can the children identify for you the verbs in the text. Can they spot the repetition of the verbs?
  2. How do they know that the poet is speaking (j'entends)
  3. Can they identify the nouns in the poem and can they identify the noun which is repeated over and over again in the text . Is it singular or plural and how so they know? Maybe they are able to tell you whether the noun is masculine or feminine using detective work and looking at the spelling of the adjectives after the noun.
  4. In each verse explore the descriptions of the leaves,looking up the final adjectives in each line where necessary ,using a bi-lingual dictionary.
  5. Can they practise the nouns and adjectives for the leaves and descriptions as sound bites ( saying the description e.g les feuilles rousses/molles/d'or and making the sound of the words create a "sound bite picture of the leaves as they fall to the floor)
  6. In each verse explore what the poet tells us he can hear- which words for seasons and weather can they identify in the individual sentences that start with "j'entends....".
  7. Identify the pattern of each verse and the use of the verbs in each verse and the repetitive nature of the verb "tombent" and ask the children to suggest reasons why this might be the case (i.e perhaps to suggest leaves falling gently from the sky over and over again)
  8. Identify the rhymes at the end of each sentence in each verse.
  9. Write down in random order on the whiteboard the final words in each sentence.Can the children match up the rhyming pairs?
  10. Ask the children to read the poem with you and to visualise what is happening and how Winter is drawing in.Ask them to describe to a talk partner what they have visualised. 
  11. Give out the poem as cut up sentence strips . Can the children reconstruct the poem?
  12. Can they now close their eyes and listen again to the poem and imagine Autumn moving toward Winter as they listen to the poem with their eyes closed?
  13. Read and practise the poem out loud with the children.
  14. Ask the children to suggest musical percussion instruments to portray the falling leaves and also to portray the weather or seasonal changes in each verse. Ask the children to work in groups with percussion instruments to create the sense and  rhythm and  to convey the description in one of the verses of the poem. they can select their favourite verse to match the percussion instrument they have been given on their table.
  15. Ask the groups /tables to create a performance with spoken language , actions and music of their chosen verse. Ask them children to create the dynamics of the verse through the actions , music and the way they alter their voices (volume and stress etc)  
  16. Listen to the groups performances of the verses.
  17. Can the class decide which percussion performance matches the French poem description the best? 
  18. Can the class read the poem with you and can four children representing the selected percussion performances create the different music effects for each of the verses as the class reads out the poem?