Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Rag Coat

This week or um, a few weeks ago our book of the week was The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. Here is the School Library Journal's description of the book. Minna, a young Appalachian girl, wants very badly to attend school, but she doesn't have a coat. Her father has just died and her family cannot afford one. When a group of mothers who gather at her house regularly to make quilts hear of her predicament, they decide to help her. Minna is thrilled, but when the new coat is finished and she wears it to the one-room schoolhouse, she is teased by her classmates for wearing rags. Minna is hurt, but she eventually gains their interest when she explains that her coat is full of stories--their stories--for each scrap has come from one of their homes. The children are enthralled and sorry for their taunts. (I did that to save me some time.)

After reading the book with Zoey and discussing the different relationships in the story we found the Appalachian mountains on our world map and our USA map. I tell Zoey how we have been to these mountains and she remembered.

We expanded on the book's theme around quilts and read many, many stories about quilts. A special thank you goes out to Daddy here for reading many of these stories at night before bedtime. We also got out my box of leftover fabrics and cut out squares to make a baby doll quilt. Zoey choose all of the fabrics and decided what order to put them in. I gave her different suggestions of possible patterns but ultimately she came up with her own uniquely Zoey pattern. While I worked on sewing the quilt with the sewing machine, Zoey sewed for the first time with a needle and thread. I really didn't think it was going go too well but she really surprised me.  She made many mistakes that I had to fix but she didn't give up and was so thrilled when it was done. When she was stuffing the pillow with fiber fill Sierra woke up and had to have one too. At least it only took a few seconds on the sewing machine to make her a simple pillow that she could stuff. Now they are both thrilled!

I can't figure out how to flip this, sorry.
Of course, they both couldn't wait to glue the scraps of fabric too.

Zoey has done this with every sewing project I do. She stands by the table to collect anything I classify as garbage. This time Sierra is able to join in now that she can glue too.

On Art day we had a discussion about the viewpoint of the book on the page where the two children are sitting in the corner of the room looking scared. Why did the artist choose to make them look so small against the very large adults? We also discussed their facial expressions throughout the book. Were they happy, sad, angry? Then we got out the paints. We had also discussed how the colors of the book are warm colors and so I let Zoey paint with just a few colors to see how it maybe changed her mood or what she chose to paint. When Sierra woke up and saw paints out she couldn't wait to get in on this. I added more colors and they painted for a very long time. They did not like it when I made them stop so I could run to the grocery store.

For math day we explored our tangrams and looked at the shapes in quilt patterns. I should of done more with the tangrams but I just ran out of time. I had cut out the shapes for the quilt pattern Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, the pattern showed in the book, out of material. The girls put the pieces of fabric on the carpet and I showed them how to make the pattern. Zoey liked taking it apart and putting it back together by herself.

In the book, Minna's father was a coal miner so we also had a few books about about coal mining this week. Zoey was not very interested. I wasn't surprised. All of that changed when we became coal miners. I taped flashlights onto bicycle helmets and we pretended to be coal miners. There were cave ins but we all got out alive. This was by far Zoey and Sierra's favorite thing we did. They were especially thrilled when I let them do it again at night time and turn all the lights in the house off. Sierra had to use Mat's bicycle helmet so it kept sliding off. She didn't give up though. The pictures didn't come out too great because they were on the move the whole time.
The next day they wanted to play coal miners again at night time. They were so excited when I let them take their gear in the car when we went to go pick up the pizza for dinner. I would not let them have the flashlights on while I was driving but said they could have them on when I went in to get the pizza. I was watching the van from inside Papa Johns and all I could see was these two flashlights shining all over the inside of the van. I just had to laugh.

We had so many things to do this week spilled over into the next. It was worth taking two weeks to explore this book and it game me time to finish the quilt.

Thanks for sharing our adventure with us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Pair of Red Clogs

We were off to Japan for our adventure with A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno.  This is a story about a grandmother who remembers when she was a young girl and got a new pair of red clogs. She was so proud of them until she got a crack in one of them. She then decides to trick her mother by getting them muddy so that she can get a new pair. She realized that it is not right to trick her mother and will never do it again. A Pair of Red Clogs is a very sweet story. It was nice too because the story was short enough that Sierra could sit and listen to the whole story.

We started off the week like we always do with a story disk and found Japan on the map. We learned what and island is and noticed how close Japan is to China. Zoey remembered China from when we did The Story about Ping.  We had a discussion about lying and dishonesty. Then we looked at the things in the book that were different than how we live. We found so many interesting things. Later, Zoey wore my bathrobe as a Kimono and bowed to me. I had to bow too. She put on her flip flops and said they were her clogs. She came up with that on her own. Once again anything that had to do with pretend Zoey loved.

We had vocabulary on Tuesday and since then Zoey has been using the word perfectly often. I told her to ask her Poppy about lacquer. It may not be the same kind but I am sure he could show her something similar. We also discussed what reminiscing is and how the author used that method of storytelling.

Next we noticed how all of the pages had yellow on them except where the grandmother is not talking about the past. We discussed how this unity made the story better.  Then we used some examples of stick figures in the Five in a Row book and compared them to the people in the story. We looked to see if we could find the people they were drawn from. I showed Zoey how you can start with a stick figure and add to it to make a whole person. She pretty much already does this so she didn't seem to care to much. lol

Counting clogs! We counted all of the clogs in the whole book. There were over 100 clogs! I had to help with this one since Zoey stalls out in the 40's right now,  48, 49, 40, 41, 42... 

We also started a weather chart this week. We are tracking the temperatures and weather conditions. We are a bit behind this right now. Maybe we can catch up today. Zoey wants snow so badly.

Over all this was a great week. Zoey is moving right along with her letters, numbers and other work too. Right now she likes dot to dots and mazes better than anything else. Sierra is just tagging along and loving coloring is Zoey's old workbooks.

I almost forgot, we also played store. We didn't shop for clogs though. We pretended grocery store and used play money. Both of the girls really got into this.

One idea in the manual was to eat a meal at sitting on pillows at a low table. Tonight we finally had a chance to do this. It went so well. Both of the girls ate much better than they usually do. I used a diaper box for the table with a pillow case for the table cloth. It went so well we may try this again. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dinosaurs and Volcanoes

Recently we spent two weeks exploring the world of dinosaurs and volcanoes. Zoey requested this so I really wanted to see what we could learn together. The curriculum Five in a Row that we are using this year does not have any lesson plans for dinosaurs or volcanoes so I was on my own with this one. I got a TON of books from the library and even a DVD for children about volcanoes. So our journey began.

We read book after book after book, fiction and non-fiction. Lately Zoey has been only wanting to hear stories and does not want anything to do with non-fiction but when it came to these subjects she was all ears, especially with the volcano books. There was an especially good book that was titled You Wouldn't Want to Live in Pompeii by John Malam. This combined telling a story but taught many things about volcanoes too. Here is a link to the book, Click here. 

Some other fun things we did were to make dinosaur fossils and dinosaur eggs which we later painted.

The girls were really concentrating when painting the dinosaur eggs and they came out pretty cute. We did the dinosaur and volcano unit for two weeks and Zoey is still asking for more books on the subjects. Guess she really knows what she wants to learn about.

Thanks as always for reading. I hope you enjoy sharing our adventures with us.