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
So with our in depth examination of China the kids requested another country… Being all democratic (first mistake) I let them choose… even after extorting the amazing qualities of some European countries (ok so Mommy has some interests not yet tapped) I was out voted and we chose a month+ long focus of MEXICO!!!
This is another first for us. I the topics I thought would be interesting and made up pages for the twins (and the littles to a more limited extent) to chose from. Topics like Sports, Inventions, Capital City, the list goes on and on… so we shall see how giving some more independence and choices works with the kids… FINGERS CROSSED!
However I am still verifying all websites before they settle on them so I had some major work ahead of me. And of course I have some to share as well!! I will post them according to topic, the only order is the one chosen by the boys to cover!
What hemispere is Mexico in? Ask.com has the answer HERE
DINOSAURS… yup we went there… Emanuel and Trinity and I!
Our dinosaur list was found on EnchantedLearning HERE
Gorgosaurus: a wonderful picture on deviantArt thanks to SommoDracorex HERE. Dino Hunt Canada with their “breathing” image HERE. EnchantedLearning facts HERE. Raresource HERE.
Labocania: not a common dinosaur AT ALL… so this is the best I could do! Dinosaurs.about.com HERE, CoolDinoFacts Wikia HERE, RareSource.com HERE. BUT an amazing picture to colour thanks to deviantArt and hyphenatedsuperhero HERE.
For Hypacrosaurus we used one site as our launching pad and clicked their links. VERY helpful. You can find our link HERE thanks to Dinosaur of the Week.
Pterosaur: not so much a specific animal but a grouping of apparently NOT dinosaurs, so fun for the kids being as these were FLYING critters. EnchantedLearning HERE. SomeInterestingFacts.net HERE. And our colouring page on SuperColoring.com HERE.
Lambeosaurus: A duck-billed dinosaur we had a few good resources we used – KidsDinos.com HERE, EnchantedLearning HERE, and our colouring page was from IAmFritz.com HERE.
Apatosaurus: Our last dinosaur chosen to research… Science Kids HERE, Kids Dig Dinos HERE, EnchantedLearning HERE and our colouring page from Ducksters HERE.
PLANTS AND ANIMALS
The National animal/bird is the GOLDEN EAGLE… and the plant the PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS. We found that out using Wiki HERE. Learn more about the Golden Eagle thanks to Sandiego Zoo HERE. And all about the Prickly Pear Cactus thanks to DesertUSA HERE.
Of our list Zander chose TWO animals to research (online)… Axolotl was the first with three links: A-Z Animals HERE and National Geographic Kids HERE and Mother Nature Network HERE. It is crazy cool! The second was the Tigrillo or the Margay. We found various pages once we realized the secondary name so here is a quick list – Encyclopaedia Britannia HERE, SoftSchools.com HERE, PoC HERE, The Animal Files HERE.
Education.com worksheet for traditional clothing for both genders HERE.
Facts about traditional clothing thanks to FactsAboutMexico.com HERE.
Spanish word book and more HERE thanks to Homeschool Share.
Clothing colouring page HERE thanks to Coloring Book 4 Kids
BOOKS… boy did we have books!! I may have cleaned out 2 or three local library branches!! So enjoy the fruit of my requesting! I will try and point out the super useful or fun books with a bit of further information. After all, this is useful for me too when we chose to revisit a topic for the littles to learn more about!
Cactus Soup by Eric A. Kimmel. This is a take on the stone soup idea set in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1922). The kids picked up right away that it was a great lesson about sharing. Though the girls were VERY put out about the people lying about having things at first… not cool! Great book HERE.
Little Egret and Toro by Robert Vavra. This is not a MEXICAN story but we chose to read this book because it was set in Spain and about a fighting bull. The whole concept of bull fighting and the ending of the fight in the death of the bull is visited. It does have a happy ending though! HERE
Mexico by Gina DeAngelis (a common name for a lot of the books we borrowed but I will link each one if I can!): Many Cultures, One World. HERE