This will be our last FIAR unit until January. We will be completing 3 more units from Hands of a Child but they are Thanksgiving and Christmas themed units and the festivities of this holiday season will provide plenty of additional instruction time. This story is the perfect story to lead into the holidays as it is about family ties and a love for home. Our family doesn't have far to travel for the holidays but we do go "home" to visit with cousins, aunts/uncles, parents and grandparents.
This story introduces the culture of Japan and also World War II. I plan to do a basic introduction to both. While the FIAR Vol 1 manual focuses on culture, poetry and art, the Using Caldecotts Across the Curriculum manual focuses on travel and writing. I feel like these are two great directions for both Elijah and Levi. It will take some work to adapt this for my 3 year old.
Each topic listed is straight from one of the two books. I will add links under each.
There is a Five in a Row Fold N Learn for this story. It is very color-rich so be sure that you have plenty of ink before you get started.
Social Studies: Family Relationships
We will work together to make a family tree. I don't know much past my great-grandparents but with this unit we have the perfect oppertunity to "interview" my own grandparents to go back a little further.
I like the simple family tree found on this blog post to be used by my preschooler.
Social Studies: Geography
A map and simple lesson on transportation are included in the Fold N Learn. I'd like to find a rug with a world map on it and use this along with a basket of vehicles as a lesson for my preschooler. He can play with them however he would like but my hope would be that through out the week he realizes that a ship goes in the water, airplane in the air, car/truck/bus on land, etc.
Social Studies: Culture
This is perhaps my favorite social studies topic. The FIAR guide mentions the kimono but I would like to look deeper into this culture. This is briefly discussed with the Fold N Learn but culture is something that I think every child should experiance at a young age, either through travel or literature. A field trip to Japan is not within our realm of reality right now but we there is plenty that we can do to experiance this culture right here at home.
There are recipes from both Japan and San Francisco in the FIAR Cookbook. It would be neat to cook a meal with an element of both to show how the family may have stuck to some things they were already familiar with but also how they embraced their new culture. I believe that this is an important concept to teach children as I know many adults that are unwilling to give things from other cultures a try. I'd like to instill in my children the courtesy of being polite when presented with a food they may not be familiar with but also a love of trying anything once. I love Andrew Zimmern's tag line from Bizarre Foods, "If it looks good, EAT IT!" I grew up in a family that didn't embrace cultural differences and was very negative towards anything that didn't fit into our realm of normal. After I got married, Gabe was able to get me to try a few foods that I wasn't familiar with, we began traveling and visiting other parts of the country and we became big fans of shows such as Bizarre Foods, Iron Chef, and No Reservations. I had a college teacher that encouraged us to explore other cultures through literature and around the same time I really became interested in foreign mission work. Each of these things combined to open my eyes and heart to other cultures and realize that normal is strictly a word and that no one culture has the privelege of defining normal for the entire world. Other cultures aren't weird, they're simply different from my own. Who am I to say my culture is normal anyways, I live in Louisiana and eat things like crawfish and alligator?
There are some great cultural activities in the Using Caldecotts book.
*Making a rock garden would be a lot of fun and the weather should be perfect around this time to make this outside.
*Making a few Japanese customes shouldn't be too hard to do and would be lots of fun.
*Practicing the art of flower arranging should also be lots of fun and again is something easy to provide.
*Making paper fans is an easy project.
*Of course, they also mention cooking some traditional Japanese meals.
Social Studies: History- World War II
This looks like a good book for kids but I will do more research on it before purchasing. It will likely lead to a much longer study but that never really bothers me much.
Eyewitness books are usually a good resource.
While I'd love to have fancy Montessori landform trays, we just don't have the room to store them. These can easily be made with clay and cheap ziploc containers. Making them can even be part of the lesson! There are several lessons available from Montessori Print Shop for Land and Water Forms.
I found this great video of a Bill Nye episode on pollution.
I love the Bird cards from Montessori Print Shop. We have the book and nomenclature cards. We also have the bird puzzle that goes along with the cards. We've done several units on birds, usually one per year, so we probably won't go into much detail on this one but we will introduce the topic as a review for my older kids and introduction for my younger kids. We tend to study birds a lot on our own so I don't feel a need to go in depth here.