In February our next Five in a Row unit was another classic book, Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. This was another story that covered many topics. We spent about two weeks on it.
We started off with a discussion of healthy habits and made an illustrated list of things K can do to stay healthy.
Then a day was spent focused on language arts: rhyming words and repeated phrases. The vocabulary word we talked about and added to her notebook was "solemn".
Madeline lends itself well to the introduction of symmetry. First we looked in the book for pictures that showed symmetry, then K set the dining room table with play dishes to show a symmetrical arrangement. I cut out some pictures from a magazine that were symmetrical (hooray Martha Stewart Living!) and K was able to find the line of symmetry in all of them. She also completed an online math lesson about symmetry. These activities were really interesting to her and it was funny to me to watch her become really excited about symmetry. She was especially intrigued by the idea that a circle can have an infinite number of lines of symmetry. She asked if I would cut out a circle shape for her to fold different ways to see if that were true. Of course, I willingly complied and cut out some additional shape for her to fold. Symmetry is now something she often notices in daily life.
Another day we made a French flag. "Vive la France!" K and T shouted as they marched around the house waving it. If only we Americans had such a catchy national phrase. K also learned to count to ten in French.
Many of the pictures in Madeline are of real Paris locations. It was some extra work, but I made a worksheet for K to match the book drawings of buildings such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame to googled images of the real ones. She liked this and wanted me to make a matching game of the pictures as well. So I printed everything on cardstock and it was a fun game to play. A wonderful go along book for learning about Paris is Crepes by Suzette.
The instruction manual suggests looking at some of the ways life has changed since Madeline was written. For example, houses are heated by furnaces rather than radiators in each room and buses have changed considerably. The manual suggested examining the differences, then if you live in an area with public transportation, to take a ride on a city bus. So we did! The kids thoroughly enjoyed that. Though it was a little unnerving, especially to T, that there were no seatbelts, it was tremendously exciting, and T still asks when we will ride a "seedee bus" again.
Madeline was a fun book to row, a very satisfying read. It was one I enjoyed as a girl and it was a great opportunity to introduce it to the kids.