Saturday, April 30, 2011

Night of the Moonjellies

Somehow April got away from me completely.  I've got a lot of catching up to do!  Here is our next Five in a Row book: Night of the Moonjellies.  This was a new-to-me book.  We all enjoyed it immensely.  It is the story of a little boy who helps in his family's restaurant and also experiences life on the New England sea coast.

Night of the Moonjellies has beautiful pastel illustrations.  One of the activities was to find pages where a warm or cool palette is noticeable.  K was especially interested in this and she then picked out her warm-colored markers to make a picture. She made a picture of a sun setting behind a hill and then decided she needed to make a cool picture, too.  I was so pleased she wanted to make another picture on her own.  Since we did this lesson, she continues to notice warm pictures in other books we read.  Usually, she says, "Look, there's a hot picture!"   
We tried drawing a picture with oil pastels.  I think it was good for K to experience filling up an entire page with color.  We tried reproducing the scene of the Periwinkle out on the sea at night and K was interested in overlaying different colors to create the dark blues and greens of the illustration.
  The Moonjellies family runs a restaurant, which is a kind of business.  After discussing the many other kinds of businesses people have, K decided she would like to have an ice cream truck business.  Then the next day I put together a grocery store business for her to experience.  For math during our Moonjellies unit, K had been learning about coin value and had become familiar with counting by fives, tens and twenty-fives.  I had a bunch of food pictures that I attached prices to and together we set them up in a store, sorting them by food group.  Then I gave both kids shopping baskets and they had a ball shopping for food for a meal.

At the end we "rung up" the sale, and using real coins, K picked out the correct change.  I was surprised how well she did with this.  T had a blast, too.  It was funny watching him expertly "scanning" the items and ringing them up.  He is such a good imitator.
 From there we moved into a study on sea creatures, specifically jelly fish.  We had a Jelly Fish Day and made jelly fish by painting half styrofoam balls and attaching curling ribbon that I had somewhat straightened to the bottom.

The kids learned a cute jelly fish song and we watched some lovely moonjelly fish footage on Youtube.  I had the kids examine jelly fish movement by using a turkey baster in the sink and then I made jelly fish "costumes" by attaching crepe paper streamers to yarn for them to wear around their waists.  We went outside and played a couple games.  First we tried a kind of tag where some of us were the fish to be eaten and the other was a jelly fish. This didn't work too well with only three of us, but T especially thought it was hilarious to chase and be chased.  Then I scattered duplo block "fish" in the grass and timed how fast they could "sting" them with their tentacles and gather them in bags.

Another day we learned the vocabulary words pier and marina.  After talking about it at home, we stopped at a local marina while out and about, and the kids got to see what a real one was like.  Since it was winter, it was cold with nothing happening, but it was still interesting to see.

K has never been to the beach, so to help her get a feel of what it is like, I gathered some pictures of the Oregon coast from old calendars I'd saved and also dug out some ancient pictures of family vacations there.  Putting them up on the wall made us feel like we could almost hear the roaring waves.

Those were our "big" activities while completing Night of the Moonjellies.  It was a good mid-winter unit to help get rid of those winter blahs and we were sad to reach the end of this unit.  


Dana said...

Wow... PE, math, art, vocabulary, and a field trip. Sounds like some very fun exploration. Any cloth vegetables in that grocery store?

Looking forward to their first trip to the beach.

Joelle said...

just re-reading this post since we'll start this book next week. We'll be going to San Antonio soon and will be able to see live jelly fish at Sea World!! Woohoo! Hope you're able to post about your new books soon!