From Ethiopia to Kandinsky

On this final week in Africa we traveled through Ethiopia and studied the few savanna animals we hadn’t yet discussed.  We watched, “The Lemurs of Madagascar,” narrated by Morgan Freeman which was quite relaxing until the children transformed into lemurs in my living room.  Then things fell apart.  Literally.


A Lemur House

We enjoyed reading The Full Moon is Rising by Marilyn Singer which is full of poems about the moon.  Many of these are focused on Africa, and we finally got last week’s Morocco book through the library request program- My Father’s Shop by Satomi Ichikawa.  It is about a boy who falls in love with a carpet in his father’s shop. It has a hole in the middle and when he wears it on his head through the village he attracts the attention of a rooster. I highly recommend this one for the K-2nd grade crowd.

img_8197The artist of the week was Vasily Kandinsky.  He is known for being one of the first painters of abstract art, a topic that five year olds can really sink their teeth into.  We chose him because although our library biography section is somewhat limited, particularly in the area of artists, we were able to find The Noisy Paintbox by Barb Rosenstock.  It is highly appealing to the elementary crowd and provides a solid  framework for those of us not familiar with this artist.  We were able to use his work as inspiration for numerous projects this week and all of them were a hit with the kids.

On Tuesday it poured so my daughter and I took advantage of the Calvert Marine Museum to learn some facts about the creatures living in the Chesapeake Bay and our local rivers.  We touched a horseshoe crab, examined a dogfish egg case, and learned what a burrfish looks like (puffer family).



Unfertilized dogfish egg case


It is thrilling to announce that we are finally getting started on some famous women in history.  Don’t ask what took so long- I’m already feeling like a failed feminist.  This week it is Amelia Earhart.  We have a small collection of library books and a free printable Earhart mini-unit that we found online.  It provides some writing and copy practice and it is a nice break from the writing we have been laboring through lately.


This is the best time of year to study apples so we made sure to get out to Forrest Hall farm to snag some.  They don’t let you pick your own but you can at least spot the orchard up on the hill.  We paired the trip with a study of three library books about apples that collectively covered pollination, botany, grafting, the spectrum of varieties, and uses.

To celebrate our completion of Africa (where we have been for a long time now) we will be heading to the National Zoo this weekend to see the savanna animals up close.  Although we have taken the kids to the zoo before they will be going this time armed with much more knowledge.  Bring it!




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