Les spectacles de marionnettes simples

If you guys learn anything about me from this blog, I feel like it will be that I like prepping as little as possible. Having a life outside of school is super important to me, and I try and find as many ways as I can to ensure that I provide my students with awesome learning opportunities, while never spending more time prepping an activity than my students spend doing it.

(exception - Giant Sight Word Twister)

So when I do things like puppet shows with my class, they are NOT elaborate. But they are fun and awesome and get all of my students speaking en français, and they touch a lot of outcomes - for communication orale AND understanding texts (lecture).

We also go "on tour" and perform for the other classes in my school, and they all seem to think our shows are pretty great, too ;)

If you are looking for a super easy, low-prep activity where your students can speak in front of a group, show their understanding of a story, and say a whole bunch of French words and phrases, then this blog post is for you!

Read on to learn about how I use Big Books and inexpensive clip art for simple puppet show scripts and props in my maternelle class!

Looking for a fun way to get your French primary students speaking more, and to help them understand what they read? Check out this blog post for instructions and ideas for creating EASY puppet shows with your students to go with your shared reading books!


First of all, you will need to choose a book. It is important to consider the number of characters in the book and the simplicity of the text. You will be practicing the book a bunch of times during shared reading, so it's okay if the text is above most of your students' reading levels, but you obviously don't want it to be too complicated.

I like using big books because I find my students are more into the "shared" part of shared reading when the book is gigantic and they can see the words really well. One of my favourite big books to do a puppet show with (you will see it in the pictures in this blog post) is called Une autre maman by Jill Eggleton. It is published by Chenelière.

Looking for a fun way to get your French primary students speaking more, and to help them understand what they read? Check out this blog post for instructions and ideas for creating EASY puppet shows with your students to go with your shared reading books!


(If you work for the CSAP like I do, as far as I know, the board bought a copy of this book for all of the maternelle classes this year!)

If you don't have access to big books, there are other story books that can work, too. Again, you want simple text and 2-5 characters. A few that come to mind are Gros grognon, Bzz fait l'abeille, the Gérald et Rosie books, and J'ai besoin d'un câlin.

After you have chosen your book, spend the week reading it during shared reading and doing other activities with it. You want your students to know the book really well! Une autre maman has suggestions for activities right inside of the book.

If you are looking for activities to do with Gros grognon or J'ai besoin d'un câlin, I actually have reading strategy packs to go with each of those books in my TPT store.

After practicing the book all week, I usually plan to practice and perform the spectacle de marionnettes on the Friday.

You will need to divide your class into groups depending on the number of characters in the story. For Une autre maman, I had planned to have four groups of four students - I have 16 students so it would have been perfect. Naturally, three of them were absent on puppet show day... but we just had one group of five with two serpents and it all worked out just fine!

Next, you will need to make puppets. I just find black and white clip art on TPT of the characters I need and print them out. Easy!!!! Have your students colour in their puppets and tape a craft stick to the back.

(If you can't find an emu and use an ostrich like me, it's okay. Really!)

Looking for a fun way to get your French primary students speaking more, and to help them understand what they read? Check out this blog post for instructions and ideas for creating EASY puppet shows with your students to go with your shared reading books!

Looking for a fun way to get your French primary students speaking more, and to help them understand what they read? Check out this blog post for instructions and ideas for creating EASY puppet shows with your students to go with your shared reading books!


You can also have your students draw the characters themselves. I usually print out the clip art because this is a communication orale/lecture activity and not an art one for me, and because I get my students to decide who is going to be which character among their groups. I find it can help with "chicanes" to have one of each character right in front of them - otherwise, you may end up with two students thinking they are (and therefore both drawing) the same character. Also, you may end up with some puppets that are very small and hard for the audience to see. But it's totally up to you!!

Speaking of deciding who is going to play which character - there are always a few disagreements. We use "rock, paper, scissors" to solve them. It's binding in our class, ha!

Once the puppets are ready to go, students get back into their groups and practice. Depending on the story, I will either float between groups to make sure they stay on task and let them handle the whole script on their own, or I work with one group at a time using the big book. Using the big book as the script is helpful if you are going to perform for other classes, because it ensures that they perform the same play that they practiced ;) The shows they come up with on their own are usually awesome and hilarious, but our five year olds can have a hard time remembering how to stay on track and follow the same script during subsequent performances - especially since most of them can't efficiently write the script down to reread later.

When you use the big book, you just read the story as the narrator, and stop and let your students do the speaking parts in character. It helps everything stay organized, and means that you need fewer rehearsals :)

Looking for a fun way to get your French primary students speaking more, and to help them understand what they read? Check out this blog post for instructions and ideas for creating EASY puppet shows with your students to go with your shared reading books!


Finally, it's time to perform! We usually do performances for our classmates first (one group at a time), and if those go well, we go on tour and each group performs for another class in the school. During those performances, I get the non-performing groups to read along with me, choral-style, as the narrators.

I also spread a green plastic table cloth from the dollar store over a table for my students to perform behind. That seems to be the magic special touch that makes it a "real" show! We bring it with us when we go on tour ;)

After we are done performing, the puppets go in a basket for the next week or so and my students often return to their puppets to put on little shows during free play. I love it!!

If you are still looking for a bit more guidance in having your students perform a puppet show after reading a story together, check out my latest reading strategies pack on TPT. It goes with the book J'ai besoin d'un câlin by Aaron Blabey, and inside, I provide instructions for a puppet show and the clip art that you will need for each character. There are also other activities to do to help teach and practice reading comprehension strategies all week long! Click right here to see it on TPT.

If you give this a try, I would love to know about it! Write me a comment below and let me know if your students had fun :)

Looking for a fun way to get your French primary students speaking more, and to help them understand what they read? Check out this blog post for instructions and ideas for creating EASY puppet shows with your students to go with your shared reading books!






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