This past week we rowed our next book, Lentil by Robert McCloskey. Last year, we had a great time with another McCloskey book, Blueberries for Sal so I was exited to see the author on this year’s list as well. It certainly did not disappoint.
Here’s a look at our week…
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Read the Book
We started our week reading Lentil and immediately enjoyed it. We actually read this one more than most this week. It’s a lighthearted story about a boy who wants to make music but he cannot sing nor can he play many instruments because he can’t “pucker his lips.” So he decides to play the harmonica and spends all his free time practicing until he becomes an expert at it. His harmonica playing ends up saving the day when he is able to play even thought everyone else is frozen with “puckered lips.”
Since the book takes place in a fictional town in Ohio, we pulled up a map of the United States and found Ohio on it. We then found our state (Connecticut). We talked about how Connecticut was a small state and Ohio was much bigger. M was cute though, looking out the window exclaiming “but look at how BIG it is here!”
We then discussed directions and looked at the picture of a compass. After drawing a line from our state to Ohio, we figured out that we would have to drive West to get to Ohio and East to get home again.
The American Flag
M loves the American flag and points it out whenever she sees one flying in the wind. Since the flag was present in the book, we decided to make our own American flag. Instead of gluing it into the lap book, we taped it to a ruler (I couldn’t find a stick or pole!) and M marched around with it for the better part of the week.
*If you are going to make your own American flag, I would recommend printing a large copy of it to be colored in. M got really frustrated trying to color in the one provided in the lap book since it was small and even though she tried, she couldn’t keep the colors in the lines.*
We also read a book called Stars & Stripes: Our National Flag that showed depictions of different flags that have been used throughout the history of the United States. When we saw the original American flag created by Betsy Ross, we talked about what was different compared to the flag now. I explained that there are 50 states today but there were only 13 original states.
Since M and J aren’t in a traditional school, they don’t have many opportunities to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Despite what a growing number of Americans feel, I want my children to grow up both proud and respectful of the freedom our country has fought so hard to ensure. So this week we took our make-shift American flag and practiced the Pledge. One of my goals for this school year is to have the Pledge of Allegiance memorized by the end of the year.
As part of the lap book this week, M cut and glued a number of different monuments. M was really into this but I wasn’t surprised. Last year, we took a trip to Washington DC and M loved the different monuments and statues that were on almost every corner. She has spent the past year consistently asking when we can go back.
We then read this fantastic book about different American symbols and monuments. M was so excited that she had even seen a few of then in person already! After we talked about which one’s we’ve already seen, we picked the one’s we’d like to see next. Our list includes:
- Statue of Liberty
- The White House (M asked if we could take a tour inside, since we only saw it from the outside last time)
- The Capital Building
Fractions with Fruit
When the boys were napping one afternoon, M and I sat down with an apple and banana to learn about fractions. Using the apple, I walked her through the concepts of whole, half and quarter. I then gave her the knife and let her practice the same concepts using the banana. As she cut the banana into halves and then quarters, I showed her what that fraction looks like written out.
As an added bonus, we then had a delicious snack to enjoy while we finished her school work!
Lentil plays the harmonica because it doesn’t require him to pucker his lips. Towards the end of the story, the whole town is stuck with puckered lips because Old Sneep was sucking on a lemon. Instead of simply trying to pucker our lips like they did in the story, we took lemon slices and let the pucker come naturally.
I thought the kids would get a kick out of trying lemons. While they love to drink my lemon water, sucking the actual juice of a lemon is quite a different experience. I think I was the only one with truly puckered lips though as M and J treated it more like a snack they were enjoying! It was only afterwards that they admitted their mouths felt a little funny!
Lentil spends the majority of the book playing music on his harmonica. So of course, we did too! Using the same song he plays in the book (“She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain”), we picked out instruments and had our very own Lentil parade. If you don’t have a copy of that song (we didn’t), there were some great options on You Tube. M and J liked the Sesame Street version best.
We had such a blast this week with Lentil, I hope you do too with your little ones!