Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mr. Gumpy

In May we spent almost two weeks on the book Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car by John Burningham.  At first look it seemed like a simplistic story, but once again there was a lot to learn.
I'm trying to get my FIAR posts for this year finished as we are now on summer break, so I'm not going to go into great detail of what we did.  I'll just describe some activities I developed and couple of our favorite activities from the manual. 
We spent a couple days learning about clouds.  I was going to do just one cloud day, but K seemed interested, so we added another day to do more exploration.  We started out by learning the three main cloud types.  This Youtube video does a nice introduction.  We also read Tomie de Paola's Cloud Book which describes clouds in more detail.  I cut a rectangle out of a sheet of paper to make a "cloud window" and we went outside and held the frame up to the sky.  It was a good day to do this; there were a variety of clouds and having the frame helped in talking about which clouds had which characteristics.  K also made a cloud chart of the three main types of clouds using cotton balls.

Since reading this book, cloud formation is a regular family discussion.  The next day we read Cloudland which is also by John Burningham. This is the story of a little boy who has an adventure in the clouds with the children who there.  Then, for appreciation of the beauty and stunning variety of clouds, I showed K a slide show of cloud pictures I'd put together from Google Images and photography by Aunt K.  I had K pick out her favorite, and I printed a full page copy of it.  Then in the style of the illustrations of Cloudland, K drew a picture of herself, cut it out and glued it to the photo.  Then she wrote a story of what she would do if she could visit Cloudland.  "I would rase," she said.

Another activity we did that I was pleasantly surprised with was discuss the passage of time in Mr. Gumpy.  The story happens in the space of an afternoon and we talked about how stories can take place in a few minutes or many years.  I read When the Fly Flew In... by Lisa Westberg Peters, which is about a fly buzzing in a room and happens in a very short time, The Sun's Day by Mordicai Gerstein, and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton.  The Little House was one of my childhood favorites and I was glad to have an opportunity to share it.  These three books turned out to be really good examples of time comparison.  I thought the lesson might have gone a bit over her head, but since then K has asked about time passage in other books we read.  How long does this book take? she asks.
Finally, I had intended to do an introduction to the country of England, but it didn't seem to flow and time was running out.  I ended up simply introducing the fact that even though the English speak the same language as us Americans, they pronounce their words very differently.  I played a Wallace and Gromit clip from Youtube which the kids enjoyed and introduced one of the many English accents.
This is a book with many quotable lines.  I love it when lines from a book become a way to communicate with your child.  Some favorites were:
It will be a squash. 
It's a lovely day. 
I've got a bone in my trotter.
This is also a story they've enjoyed acting out, weeks after we've finished the unit.
Another great Five in a Row book!

1 comment:

Dana said...

These have been lovely to keep up with, Rena!