Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lessons from Japan (and one for Mom too)

Last week was our unit on Japan...I had the whole week planned with many activities to help Old Crow experience Japan.  It quickly turned into a lesson for mom...a lesson on "we can't do it all."  With scheduling conflicts and unexpected outings, we weren't able to complete everything.  And I'm ok with that!

Here's what we were able to work on:

Our Japan unit centered around our Five in a Row book for this week...A Pair of Red Clogs.  A story of a little girl who tries to trick her mom into buying her a new pair of red clogs.  
Our virtue this week was honesty...a perfect chance to study it along side this wonderful story.

Monday:  We located Japan on our world map and discussed how the country is a group of islands.  We watched a short youtube video on Japan and then used playdough to depict the island and surrounding ocean.  Old Crow also colored a Japanese flag and added it to his lapbook of flags.  As another read aloud, we read Hiromi's Hands...the perfect book to introduce sushi.  It also gave a wonderful opportunity to view Japanese culture. 

Tuesday:  After reading A Pair of Red Clogs again, we looked closely at the illustrations.  We talked about the use of shading and mixing of colors especially in a sunset scene.  Old Crow attempted this with his colored pencils.

We also learned about Children's Day in Japan...a special holiday where they celebrate and honor boys.   Families with boys fly carp kites outside.  After reading I Live in Tokyo which had several pictures of carp kites, we created our own carp kite to fly on our porch.  You can get step-by-step directions here.

Wednesday:  We read A Pair of Red Clogs along with Suki's Kimono.  We discussed the culture and clothes depicted.  We also talked about special Japanese gardens made of sand and rocks.  Old Crow made his own mini-garden.  You can visit Confessions of a Homeschooler to learn more about this activity.

We read Look What Came From Japan and focused on the animals from Japan.  We talked about their habitats and compared them to animals we had already studied in other countries.

So that's our experience with Japan...and after typing all of that out I'd say Old Crow was properly introduced. :) are some of the other activities that would have been a great addition (had we had time).
1.  visit a restaurant and watch someone make sushi (perfect with Hiromi's Hands)
2.  make our own "sushi" using turkey and cheese rolled up     
3.  have a Japanese festival and dress in kimonos and eat on pillows with chopsticks 
4.  make a salt-dough map of Japan
5.  make origami art
6.  read Little Oh, Tea with Milk, Pink Paper Swans, How My Parents Learned to Eat


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