Last week we rowed our first book of Five in a Row for the year with Clown of God by Tomie dePaola. It provided a great start to our year.
Here’s a look at what we did…
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Read the Story
Nothing is more important with Five in a Row than reading the book each week. Even though I could tell right away this wasn’t going to be M’s favorite book, I think it’s so important to expose her to a variety of literature. It’s one of the reasons I love this curriculum so much.
I consider the author, Tomie dePaola, to be a classic in children’s literature and highly recommend him to anyone looking for books to read with your children.
Compare / Contrast
I had picked up a copy of The Legend of the Bluebonnet, also by Tomie dePaola a few months ago at a used book sale and thought this week provided a wonderful chance to read it. Just one look at the illustrations on the covers and you can tell it was done by the same person. Before even reading the book, I put them down next to each other and asked M what she thought.
Since the book takes place in Italy, we traveled there for the week and immersed ourselves in the Italian culture. I had taken a few great books from the library that provided the backdrop for our travels.
First, we found Italy on a map and talked about how it was part of Europe. If she remembers nothing else from this week, I don’t think she’ll ever forget that Italy looks like “a high heeled boot” – she was pretty amused by this fun fact.
We used this book to practice counting from 1 – 10 in Italian. She picked up right away that the words were very similar to their Spanish counterparts.
Welcome to Italy was a perfect book to learn basic facts about Italy, it’s people, culture and geography. We spent lots of time learning about the foods that Italy is known for. M was most excited to learn how much Italians love pasta because she does too! For most households, Italian foods are probably a staple in the weekly meal rotation. Since that isn’t the case for us, one night we created our own “Italian Feast” for dinner. It consisted of:
- Pasta with meatballs
I think it’s safe to say that between the pasta (for M) and pizza (for J), my kids would love Italian food served more often.
I don’t have any grand illusions thinking that after this week M will know or understand exactly what the Renaissance is. However, I think sometimes we underestimate kids and the best thing we can do is expose them to ideas and concepts, even if they won’t truly understand them until later. That’s what I tried to do with this. We talked about how the book was set during the Renaissance and flipped through some books about the time period to get a sense of what it was like.
The books I could find at the library were way over her head but we had fun looking at the pictures. She zoned right in on the royalty and pointed out immediately that they were dressed just like her Merida (the princess from Brave for those whose kids are not princess-obsessed) costume.
Since M spends most of her days lost in the worlds of Kings, Queens and Princesses, I wanted to make sure I pointed out the contrasting lives of the peasants. One of the books on the time period contained a sample peasant meal so I decided to recreate it for us one day for lunch.
The day after our “Italian Feast”, I served a peasant lunch which consisted of:
- Chicken broth with peas
- Bread and butter
- Apple juice (we didn’t have cider)
- Hand-held fruit pies
M and I made the fruit pies together one afternoon, she loves cooking and I love the secret learning that happens!
The lap book work is usually one of M’s favorite parts of the week and this year I’ve decided to spread it out throughout the week. Each day, we did the lap book pages that correlated with what we were talking about. One day, she worked on the map and found Italy on it. The next day, she learned a few Italian words and pictures of Italian landmarks. Then she learned aspect of the Renaissance and enjoyed the picture of the performers!
I was really happy with how the week went and can’t wait to keep our adventures going! I hope you’ll come along.