Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A New Coat for Anna {and Christmas in Germany} with Five in a Row

Well I'm just a little behind getting this one posted.  I chose A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert as our only row for December because it tied in easily with winter and Christmas, and when I was planning the row, I realized how we could springboard into studying Christmas in another country.  I've wanted to do a Christmas Around The World type theme for awhile, but to simplify I decided one book and one country was all I could handle.  {Of course you could easily leave the Christmas activities out if you're rowing this book at a different item of year.}

We rowed this before Christmas, and we didn't get to everything, simply because we ended up being busier than I anticipated with all of the holiday festivities, so some of the more time consuming activities were set aside.  We still had a lot of fun, though!

A New Coat for Anna {and Christmas in Germany} with Five in a Row

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Social Studies
Barter and Trade
While we discussed the lesson in the manual, we talked about some of the bartering that goes on in our house.  "I'll help you build your robot after your chores are finished" or "I'll let you play with my toy if I can play with yours" type scenarios were mentioned.

The setting of the story is not specified, though we know it is in Europe shortly after WWII.  We discussed the general devastation of the war and how it would have affected many countries in Europe.  We touched on WWII and also referred back to our Grandfather's Journey row and the affect of the bombings there as well.  Elliott loves geography though, so I decided we would choose a specific country that would have been involved in the war to focus on for the row.  I picked Germany, considering it is infamously known as part of WWII, and it would be easy to find some simple activities for Christmas in Germany.

I used a labeled map of Europe (just because it's hard to write in tiny country outlines) so we could mark Germany and look at the other countries that would have been involved or affected by the war.

We also colored the German flag . . .

and a picture of a boy in traditional German clothing.

Christmas in Germany
Since the book ends at Christmas time, we learned a little about Christmas in Germany and answered the worksheet.  Then we learned how to say "Merry Christmas" in German.  Elliott is also fascinated with Disney World, so we watched Christmas EPCOT Germany Holiday Storyteller, Helga.  This led us to discussing the origin of the Christmas tree and discussing/singing Oh Tannenbaum!

While we were talking about Christmas trees, we got out the book If He Had Not Come (you can read my full review) and completed the Christmas Tree activity in the back, which helps us understand some of the symbolism associated with the Christmas tree.

Language Arts
Narration, Sequencing of Events
Elliott retold the story, answered some questions from the manual, and then did this Sequencing Worksheet.  He picked a topic (I gave several suggestions) and then dictated the steps.

How to Make A Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
First - Get all of the ingredients out.
Next - Spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread.
Then - Spread the jelly on the other piece of bread.
Last - Smoosh the pieces of bread together.
Finally - Eat the peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Letter A (Emory)
Emory needs a bit more reviewing of his letters and sounds, so we did Letter A this week for Anna! He did the Letter A from the apple tree on Red Apple Reading (I won a free subscription) and some of the free worksheets from Starfall.

I had the boys recite Baa, Baa, Black Sheep and Mary Had a Little Lamb for Eleanor!  We also read Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaola as the story, sequence of events and vocabulary are similar.  I wanted to read Hansel and Gretel (since it's a German tale) while we did gingerbread houses, but with three kids that was an all-hands-on-deck job, so no Hansel and Gretel.

Keeping Well (Health), Lingonberries, Natural Dyes
The manual's lesson gave a good conversational starter for us for why Anna's mother worked so hard at getting her daughter a new coat.  We also talked about how lingonberries are related to cranberries (which we had just learned about in our Cranberry Thanksgiving row) and we discussed natural dyes, but we just didn't get around to dying our own yarn.

We kept this one simple too.  We talked about sheep and watched a short video about sheep sheering.

I gave the boys two options.  Art for Kids Hub has a more cartoon like lamb, while we found this slightly more realistic sheep at The Drawbot.  Elliott picked Art for Kids of course, but Emory actually wanted to draw the other.

Measurements, Rulers
One of the lessons in the manual involved measurements, so we discussed that, and then took another twist on it as we did this Measurement Treasure Hunt.  The boys gathered the items, then Elliott measured while Emory watched and filled in his worksheet.

Another lesson in the manual discussed patterns.  While the book utilized patterns for clothing, we discussed other types of patterns as well.  We got out the pattern blocks and created our own patterns.

Food Fun
Homemade Gingerbread Houses
When we were learning about the German Christmas, we learned that Gingerbread houses are popular at Christmas there too, and this is on our list every year anyway.  The timing with the book worked out well.  We always do kits, because....well, I'm no supermom.

Even though we didn't get to some of the hands-on activities, the kids really got a lot of out this row.  We're finally starting to ease back into a new routine, post-baby, and Emory chose our next unit, airplanes.  So we're slowing rowing through The Glorious Flight by Alice and Martin Provensen, and we're going to cover airplanes (obviously), pilots, inventions, and more!

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