Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week 9, A Bevy of Books

For week nine, our geography memory work included China and India.  We read a lot of picture books set in these two countries.  They all had merit, but as always, the kids enjoyed some more then others.  I'll count 'em down, least to most favorite, below:

8.  Monsoon by Uma Krishanaswami:

This one had very good illustration that captured the vibe of present-day India, but the story of an approaching storm at the end of a dry season is a little flat:

7.  Once a Mouse by Marcia Brown

This Caldecott Medal winner is a book from our home library that we've read many times although it's not among our favorites.  Based on the illustrations, I assume this takes place in India although there are no references to the country or the culture.

6.  Yeh-Shen:  A Cinderella Story from China by Ai-Ling Louie

I thought this would go over better than it did since Cinderella is popular figure with my three-year-old, but I think possibly they didn't connect to the misty, dreamy quality of the illustrations.  I'm going to read this to them more because I think that Yeh-Shen is a beautiful character with admirable qualities and familiarity always helps their enjoyment of stories.   

5.  Lon Po Po:  A Red Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young

I thought it interesting that many of the books we read this week had to do with either greed or contentment.  This story illustrated the dangers of greed but also featured three resourceful girls.  This book was illustrated by the author, who also drew the pictures for Yeh Shen.  As a result, the illustrations had a similar quality to those of Yeh-Shen.  However, we've read Lon Po Po many times, so the kids connected with it more. 

4.  The Boy and the Tigers by Helen Bannerman

I know this story from my own childhood as Little Black Sambo.  Whatever the name, the story is a classic...and again features the dangers of greed.

3.  Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel

Something about the plight of those children in the well and the way the name of the 'most honored son' rolls off the tongue appeals to my kids.

2.  The Gifts of Wali Dad, A Tale of India and Pakistan by Aaron Shepard

I fortuitously recovered this treasure from the depths of the bin at Goodwill just a week ago.  It is an entertaining story of generosity and contentment that we all learned from and enjoyed.

1.  The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahay

We all loved this book.  I read it to my kids last year, and they were not interested in hearing it again.  This year, it was a hit.  It is a wonderful story of seven brothers with special powers who work together to save each others' lives.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Week 8, Adventure on the High Seas

One of the best parts of Classical Conversations is the weekly presentation.  Each week the children get in front of their class and give a presentation that can range from a simple 'show and tell' to a persuasive speech.  The class tutor picks the topics.  This year, my kindergartner has given 'speeches' on raccoons, tropical rain forests, and Leonardo Da Vinci....fairly heady topics for a six year old.  

For week 8, he was to give a few facts about a famous explorer from our Classical Conversations week 8 history sentence.  Our history sentence for week 8 was about five different explorers during the golden age of exploration.  My son picked Ferdinand Magellan.

We got information from Magellan from this book, which was the best I could find at our library for the kindergarten level:
Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration
The story of Magellan includes mutiny, shipwreck, slimy water, sawdust consumption and poisonous spears--titillating topics for a six year old.

I copied a few illustrations from the book, which he colored to use as visual aids:

The only ship to complete the journey

Magellan's Route

My husband, an exceptional public speaker himself, is in charge of getting him prepared for Monday's presentation.  Unfortunately, neither of us gets to see the end result because my husband works, and I tutor another class.  However, I'm sure he does fine if he doesn't go into silly mode (a big "if").  He's not at the self-conscious stage.  

I'm confident this weekly public speaking practice will serve him well in the years to come.