Friday, February 08, 2013

Three Names

We started the year with Three Names, the story of a beloved dog and life on the prairie.  We discussed what prairie life was like and used the website Build a Prairie to get to know the plants and animals that live there. 
K made a prairie composite picture.  It just so happened that the day before we did this lesson, we visited the library and I bought some magazines that were being discarded that had great pictures of prairie plants and creatures.  A FIAR serendipity.

A fun activity for this book was to teach K (and T) how to play marbles.  I have the marbles that my grandfather played with, and my sisters and I used to play epic games with them when we visited my grandparents' house.  Except we didn't play by the official rules where you play outside using a circle.  Our games were indoors and ranged throughout one or more rooms of the house.  You flicked your marble with thumb and finger and tried to hit your opponent's marble.  If you did hit it, it was yours.  When one person lost all her marbles : ), the game was over.  This version worked well for K and T (except their small motor skills were such that they were more comfortable swishing the marble with their hand), and they enjoyed playing several games this way.

We also briefly studied the topic of wind.  We talked about what causes wind and did an experiment to determine the wind's effect on objects of different sizes.  We made paper cones--large, medium and small--decorated them of course, and took them outside. The weather cooperated by providing a sufficiently windy day for the day I had planned to do this lesson.  K made a hypothesis of which cone the wind would push the farthest.  We lined them all up and waited to see how the wind would make them travel.
The medium cones were the winners, though it was interesting that when we did the experiment in the back yard, the varying wind currents coming around the house caused more unpredictible results.
Other activities were making a picture of a road on a prairie with a vanishing point and learning the song Home on the Range.  K really took to this song and sang it with gusto.
My finale for this unit was to have been making our own bread, then going for a walk around the block to simulate pioneer children walking to school.  We would have had a pioneer picnic lunch and maybe played a few games. 
That morning we woke to a broken laundry hose and the entire first floor of the house covered in a couple inches of water.  School had to take a break for a few weeks as our lives went topsy turvy with clean up, floor replacement, insurance claims, etc., etc.  It really got school off to a rocky start and the fallout continued for a long time.  But all's well that ends well; I like the flooring we have now better than the old flooring, we got to stay in a nice hotel, and the kids got to have some extra quality time with their grandpa as he came to watch them while I worked on flood stuff.
I'm glad we got to do most of our planned activities for this Five in a Row book.  And it it even turned out that later in the year we got to revisit the pioneer theme with another row.


Dana said...

"Lost her marbles"? Never!

Joelle said...

So fun that we both started the year with this book! Wish we could row some books together! Did you ever get to bake the bread? Ours didn't rise well, but it was still yummy. If you didn't, hope you can sometime!