September 30, 2015

The Paper Bag Princess

I love doing literature based studies.

Five In A Row has such a good idea of using books to expand on learning. By reading the same book every day for a week, the students really get to know the book well. My kids often observe things in the illustrations that a one time read would never let you notice and I sometimes hear my kids quoting a book especially rhyming verses. I just find that overall they soak up so much more from the book this way. If it's a good book, then reading it every day for only one week is not too much.

Plus, learning this way provides a framework for diversity in our subject matter. This overcomes the monotony that sometimes comes with schoolwork. It allows us to visit and revisit different subjects thereby reviewing and building on what we have already learned in a way that keeps it interesting and new. 

I love researching for our learning time so I have not boxed myself into a curriculum, but plan the week ahead of time by picking a book and then finding something in the book to expand upon for each day. I try to vary the academic subject for each day so that we all enjoy the variety that each day brings.

This week we used the book The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch.

Day 1: Science
The dragon lives in a cave so we read about Caves in our encyclopedia. We discussed how the water collects minerals from the rocks as it seeps through the ground and then leaves deposits as it drips in the caves. Then we put together the experiment for creating stalactites and stalagmites.

Day 2: Language Arts
I wanted the kids to learn about the elements of a story so today I just focused on the Characters. We talked about what a character is in a story and identified the characters in the book: Elizabeth, Ronald and the Dragon. Then we discussed what each character was like. I couldn't find any coloring pages for it so I just traced each character and photocopied them for the kids to color. On the back they wrote or traced the name of each character.

Day 3: Science
The dragon burned all Elizabeth's clothes with his fiery breath so we discussed Fire on this day. I started by lighting 3 birthday candles poked into playdough on the table. Then we talked about how a fire needs three things to burn: heat, oxygen, and fuel. We sprayed water on the first candle to demonstrate how if the fire is cold it can't burn. Then I put a glass over the second candle and watched the flame go out to demonstrate how the fire will go out if it doesn't have oxygen. Then we discussed how when the third candle is burnt up, the flame will also go out. I left the third candle burning where they could see it while we went on with our lesson: Fire Safety. We discussed how if your clothes catch on fire you should stop, drop and roll. Then we coloured a Stop, Drop and Roll colouring page. I made sure to point it out when the third candle did burn up.

Day 4: Art
On heavy paper for watercolour, the kids drew a picture of a dragon with a waterproof pen on one half of their paper, then colored it with pencil crayon. Then they used red, orange and yellow watercolours and painted fire coming out of the dragons mouth and across the empty half of the page.

Day 5: Math
It took the dragon ten seconds to fly around the world once and then twenty seconds to fly around it a second time. We discussed how it took longer for him to fly around the world the second time because he was tired. So we timed how long it took us to run around the house as fast as we could and wrote it down. We did it a second time and then a third time. We noted how it took longer and longer to run around the house.

The links to the experiments and colouring pages are in the blog, but here's the book resources we used:
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
  • Geography a visual encyclopedia by John Woodward (DK Publishing)

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