Tag Archive | Alice K Flanagan

Year of the Monkey

Well, it is that time again… Chinese New Year and our yearly revisit to all things Chinese. This year I decided to go a slightly different route and combine a look at the country with light worksheets with a monkey theme. Instead of doing a notebook like last year (which was a blast HERE), the younger ones voted for a binder like they did for Christmas, and the twins continued their special event book they also began at Christmas. The centerpiece of our unit is a lovely large map of China that Ken created and printed out for us – 9 pieces of printer paper in all. With some star stickers I lucked out and found at the Dollar Tree last year we were well on our way.

We started with the Great Wall of China. I found a video documentary on youTube and some wonderful books. We really lucked out with a series of entertaining and educational books, for the Great Wall we used  For some other helpful books!

  • 20 Fun Facts About the Great Wall of China by Therese Shea HERE
  • Great Wall of China by Elizabeth Raum HERE
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China HERE

One of the activities I came up with for the kids to do was make postcards based on famous landmarks in China. I basically Googled those terms and let the kids scroll through the list and images at the top of the search engine. I love it when they have that freedom to make their own choices. Granted we vetoed The Forbidden City and The Great Wall since we were covering those as a family in detail.

  • Trinity chose the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Their official site HERE is adorable. Trinity got her fact about the beginning point of this amazing place off Wiki HERE. It all began with 6 panda!
  • Emanuel chose Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin. So called for its shape that mimics an elephant with its trunk in the water. We went to a travel site for amazing pictures and some great information HERE. Thanks to China Travel Guide.
  • Gavin chose Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian City. There is a lot about this Buddhist temple and some good history to cover, so he got picked to do a mini report on it as well. But for starters, we went back to the China Travel Guide HERE.
  • Zander chose Mount Sanqin in the Jiangxi Province. One of the top mountains for tourism it was chosen strictly on the amazing google search picture he found next to it HERE. We went back to our travel guide site for help with facts and numbers. Talk about and animal and plant rich mountain! HERE.

We do love our colouring pages and beyond the bounty that is Activity Village, we found some other gems… the twins love the stained glass style year of the monkey page at The Imagination Box HERE.

Sparklebox has some great stuff on their page, we specifically printed out the full list of animals and their Chinese characters HERE.

This year we spent a good week on the Forbidden City. There is so much to see and learn about, I think we could have spent a month. BUT here are the links we used:

We found two amazing books… You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the Forbidden City! by Jacqueline Morley HERE and In the Forbidden City HERE

Guangzhou is a relatively new topic for our family, but important all the same. This is the city that our dear friends and family came from. So this year I figured we needed to know more. And boy is there a lot to know! A massive place there was a wonderful official site to look through HERE. But we used so many more links, all to get a handle on the size… the lifestyle and the amazing uniqueness of a place that must be so different from anywhere we have visited ourselves.

  • Trip Advisor HERE
  • Kidz Search HERE
  • Top China Travel HERE
  • Travel China Guide HERE, HERE
  • Science Kids HERE
  • Wiki HERE
  • Connect the dots with Connect the Dots 101 HERE
  • Maps of World HERE

We covered a few cities in a relatively brief overview… Hong Kong was a rather complex concept with a few helpful links at Crayola.com for a colouring page with information of their flag HERE, Academic Exchange HERE, About Travel HERE, Travelling East HERE, Ducksters HERE, Kidz Search HERE.

One of the kids’ favourite activities this time round was to try out origami… especially once the twins figured out they could make THROWING STARS!

  • Kids Gen has videos HERE
  • Origami with Rachel Katz HERE

As something relatively new to our China unit we covered two people important to the shaping of China – Confucius and Chairman Mao. It was our first foray into this deep of a conversation for the twins and as interesting. Things like Communism and philosophy came up as did the concept of a rather brutal leadership. Here are some links!

  • Kids Philosophy Slam HERE, A China Family Adventure HERE, Biography.com HERE, My Interesting Facts HERE, Ask.com HERE,

General China sites that were helpful:

  • Science Kids HERE
  • Take a peek at language differences though I warn you there is a missing resource with Discovery Education HERE. We contacted our friends who are the true pure resource for this one.
  • Kai-Lan’s official printables thanks to Nick Jr. HERE

Of course we had to look at inventions. This was an exercise in the twins actually choosing inventions and searching for them themselves online to find out things like who, when, where… so I will just link the main ones used.

  • China Whisper had a list of top 20 HERE
  • Wiki has their own list HERE
  • Did you know toilet paper was first used by the Chinese??? Today I Found Out explains HERE

And Chinese New Year itself:

  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester HERE
  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE

Videos:

  • Stone Soup… and other stories from the Asian Tradition HERE
  • Beijing Travel Guide DVD 2002/2004
  • Food With Friends! (Dora) HERE

Additional Books:

  • A Gift by Yong Chen HERE
  • China by Michael Dahl HERE
  • Beijing and Shanghai HERE
  • China by Christine Juarez HERE
  • China a Question and Answer Book by Nathan Olson HERE
  • Ancient Civilizations China by Valerie Bodden HERE
  • China phrasebook by Lonely Planet HERE
  • The Magical East HERE
  • D is For Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Wonders of the World by Colin Dibben HERE
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan HERE
  • The Runaway Ricecake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

Two books I am dying to add to our collection:

  • Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue HERE
  • And a family favourite… The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

To add to our unit we focused on monkeys that live in China. I won’t link all the pages we used, but I had the kids check out the list on Wiki and then we did our research online. We had the Slow Loris, Golden Snub Nosed, Black Crested Gibbon and. It is always fun to add an animal connection to a unit.

I am sure I could continue on with more and more links. We really went ALL OUT on this unit this year. But I figure I will just add those to the random resource post I plan on adding to the site later in May. I would suggest, if you have not looked into China as a homeschool or personal research project, do so! The culture, the people and the country itself is AMAZING! We are so blessed to have friends who are family who are directly from there. They have opened our eyes and our hearts to an amazing new world! 

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations..  lucky orange tree!

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations.. lucky orange tree!

Christmas In Our Homeschool

We have always based a lot of our curriculum around the seasons and holidays and Christmas has always been a month long unit for our family. This year I took a bit of a different approach. While the little ones still did the group binder with its worksheets, drawings and colouring pages the twins were in charge of their OWN notebook. Surprisingly enough, with some whining and complaining we still managed a project that we ALL feel proud of. Lots of independent mini reports were written up and even ideas of things to paste in their books on their own were brought forth!

Of course I have a long list of resources and I am going to share them for my benefit as well as others… Movies first!

  • the Muppet Christmas Carol, I found a great worksheet set thanks to IPA Productions that deals with the original story for the twins that tied in nicely with the movie. We used the movie as an accessible medium to introduce the story and then they read the condensed version in these worksheets HERE. There is a cute colouring page for the movie HERE from Coloring Wallpapers.
  • Veggie Tales – Saint Nicholas, A Story of Joyful Giving
  • Veggie Tales – It’s a Meaningful Life
  • Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Books! (sorry no links… but hopefully with name and author you can stumble upon them… this post is simply too late as is!)

  • The Legend of Saint Nicholas by Demi. This was a great introduction the origins of Santa without ruining the magic for anyone as the book ends with the tradition being continued on after Saint Nicholas’ passing by a boy in the village who was chosen to continue his work.
  • Christmas by Trudi Strain Trueit
  • Christmas Around the World by Emily Kelley. We love this book, each of the twins chose THREE countries and summarized the traditions they have into on brief paragraph that I spell checked and then they copied into their notebooks.
  • Christmas by Natalie M. Rosinsky
  • O Christmas Tree by Jacqueline Farmer
  • Christmas by Alice K. Flanagan
  • Celebrate Christmas by Deborah Heiligman
  • A Short History of Christmas by Sally Lee
  • Merry Christmas Everywhere! by Arlene Erlbach and Herb Erlbach
  • Twelve Days of Christmas in Minnesota by Constance Van Hoven
  • Christmas Traditions Around the World by Ann Ingalls
  • Christmas Trolls by Jan Brett… this was a random mid unit find at the library. The art is AMAZING!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
  • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
  • What Star is This? by Joseph Slate
  • City of Snow, The Great Blizzard of 1888 by Linda Oatman High
  • The Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • A Child Was Born by Grace Maccarone
  • The Heron Christmas Carol by Frances Tyrrell
  • My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
  • What is Christmas? by Michelle Medlock Adams
  • The Christmas Story by Jane Werner
  • A Very Shiny Christmas by Debbie Guy-Christiansen
  • A Pussycat’s Christmas by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Santa’s Snow Cat by Sue Stainton
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer by Barbara Shook Hazen
  • Santa is Coming to Texas by Steve Smallman
  • A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker
  • Christmas Is… by Gail Gibbon
  • A Kenyan Christmas by Tony Johnston
  • The Nutcracker by Bethany Snyder
  • The Gingerbread Man by Dawn Bentley
  • Recordable storybooks read by Gammie – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Night Before Christmas
  • And a lovely British book mailed by a friend of Favourite Christmas Stories from Brown Watson publishers

Hanukkah, while not the most important Jewish holiday IS the one closest to Christmas and the best known generally so we did cover it briefly. Here are our books.

  • Hanukkah by Rebecca Pettiford
  • Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
  • Hanukkah by Lisa M. Herrington
  • Chanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen

You can find some terrific printables on Teacher Vision HERE and a Hanukkah mini book thanks to Family Education HERE.

Of course we covered Polar Express, both the book and the movie. The little ones did parts of a lapbook I had purchased years previous but we supplemented with worksheets… pages from a party kit by Houghton Mifflin Books HERE, Scholastic.com had some resources HERE, and activities and lessons by Busy Teachers Cafe HERE.

  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

We covered a lovely range of topics from symbols to world traditions and including Santa Claus and reindeer. A supplementary fact page about reindeer HERE thanks to Kids Play and Create. I also have some resources I have acquired from Currclick:

  • The History of Candy Canes HERE. We also watched how candy canes were made on The Kid Should See This HERE
  • Christmas Symbols Lapbook HERE

Want a little info about Boxing Day? We got ours from Ducksters HERE.

 

I hope these links are helpful… late as they are posted!! IMAG1959

China… a Family Study

We do love our Chinese New Year celebrations. All thanks to some of the family we chose… specifically the den Otters! So even here in Minnesota we do our best to hold onto the new traditions we added to our family while in Alberta. One of these is to spend a month on China, Chinese New Year and Chinese characters. This year we chose to do another poster… and of course with that comes a boatload of resources!

Books!

  • Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
  • Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan
  • Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations Chinese New Year by Ann Heinrichs
  • Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn
  • Children Just Like Me Celebrations by Anabel Kindersley
  • I Wonder Why Countries Fly Flags by Philip Steele
  • Kai-Lan’s Great Trip to China by Mickie Matheis
  • Pandas by Donna K. Grosvenor
  • Chinese New Year by Lola M. Schaefer
  • Max Celebrates Chinese New Year by Adria F. Klein
  • A Gift by Yong Chen
  • The Runaway Wok by Ying Chen Compestine
  • Chinese New Year by Fay Robinson
  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester
  • National Geographic Kids March 2014 issue (special focus on twin baby pandas)
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto
  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! by Lauryn Silverhardt

Videos!

  • Celebrate With Kai-Lan! HERE
  • Ching’s Chinese New Year HERE

Our general helpful links!

  • Activity Village is the place to go for printables! First Chinese New Year itself list HERE.
  • The Horse of the Zodiac specifically HERE.
  • China specific HERE.
  • And of course the horse as an animal HERE.

Chinese Flag!

  • Gotta cover the flag right? You can find out printable HERE thanks to Rainbowkids.com.
  • If you want to find out some history on the flag check out this link HERE thanks to the site A China Family Adventure.

Dragon Dance!

  • GMA News Online’s image for 2014 HERE. What a gorgeous looking dragon!
  • And then there was the video we watched. I do so love watching the dances. This one was done in Hong Kong in 2013. The dancers are AMAZING and well worth a watch. Thanks to HongKongMap on youTube.

Chinese Music/Instruments! We did not cover a ton on the music. More of a surprise addition when I came across a neat picture of what is commonly called a guitar. So I grabbed a couple website, some music and an image to colour.

  • The YueQin on Confucius Institute Online HERE
  • Top 10 Chinese Instruments on China Whisper HERE. This girl was amazing. Thanks to NoodlesFaced on youTube. This is XiaoMu Ming.

    • Our second video was of some traditional Chinese music entitled Shepherdess’ Song. Thanks to MadePossible on youTube. 

  • Our original printable that started this train of interest is found on Rainbowkids.com HERE. They have a great list of resources on their site HERE. It is an adoption site with some great printables for kids. 

The horse itself!

    • Animal Facts HERE thanks to Science Kids.
    • More facts and breed information on Ducksters HERE.
    • A great video of wild horses thanks to National Geographic.

  • Zander wanted to know all about the world’s tallest horse so I had to help him out and check into that fact. HERE Guinness World Records site.
  • A great list of horse related crafts thanks to Activity Village HERE.

Check out some Zodiac predictions for 2014 HERE. (Huffpost Living Canada)

Links for the three places of interest covered by Ken and the kids:

  • Terracotta army thanks to Ducksters HERE
  • Great Wall of China thanks to Science Kids HERE
  • Shanghai Tower thanks to Wiki HERE
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