Thursday, February 28, 2013

Papa Piccolo

A bachelor cat in Venice finds himself becoming an adoptive father to two spunky kittens.  This is the story of Papa Piccolo.

Our Five in a Row journey in late November/early December took us to Italy, and K had a good time learning about this country, along with other topics.

We started with talking about the lullaby Piccolo sings to the kittens.  We talked about what sort of lullaby would you sing to a dog or a tree?  I had K make a book of lullabies and she thought of quite a few, including lullabies for a dog, cat, eagle, tree, butterfly, sun, fish, house and horse.  I was surprised at how quickly and easily she thought them up.  She sang each of these lullabies, too.  T, meanwhile, thought he would take this on also, one of the few more academic activities he's wanted to try.  Here is the lullaby he dictated to me:

Dear dog
and cat
shut your eyes
and think of Bateman Island.
And think of dreams and wishes
and your wishes will come true.   And don't worry about dragons.  Tobiah will be with you in his costume.

We discussed the meaning of "sour grapes" by reading Aesop's fable of the fox and the grapes.  I got some cute free printables from Homeschool Share's Papa Piccolo unit, but now that they have removed all their FIAR resources, you can find the fox and the grapes resources here.

Then we spent some time learning about Venice.  We watched a Rick Steves travel clip from one of his exploring Italy shows and we looked at lots of pictures in books checked out from the library.  We also learned to say a few words in Italian.

Since Papa Piccolo names the kittens Marco and Polo, one of the activities is to learn about this famous explorer.  Marco Polo is one historical figure that I knew very little about.  I figured this was a good opportunity for me to learn about his life.  I checked out a few books from the library, and we watched a short movie about his explorations.  I made a fill in the blank worksheet for K to fill in while I talked about Marco Polo's life and showed her some of the books.  She seemed to really enjoy doing this.  My favorite Marco Polo resource was In the Footsteps of Marco Polo, a documentary about two friends retracing Marco Polo's journey across Asia.  It was completely fascinating, very good story telling.  I didn't show it to K and T, it was something B and I enjoyed watching after they'd gone to bed.  I highly recommend it.  Apparently these two have written a book about their travels, too.

Other activities included becoming familiar with Vivaldi's music, learning about orphans (what are they?  What does a father do?  Why do children need fathers?  God call Himself Father--let's look at some Bible verses that reference this), doing an experiment to learn about peripheral vision, and being introduced to different types and breeds of cats.

It was a good row.  Sorry there's no photos this time!

1 comment:

Joelle said...

This was Audrey's favorite story last year. I think it was because the story was about cats. Your kids do so great with creative writing tasks! Audrey struggles with that still, so I didn't even try to do the lullaby activity last year. Love Tobiah's lullaby!! I liked learning about Marco Polo also - Audrey didn't seem to care about that much. I'll have to see if I can find that documentary!