Monday, June 7, 2010

Next Stop: Asia

This summer, I'm tackling a new study program to keep my kids thinking and reading while they're not in school. It's called Passport to the World.

I spent a good long while on my local library's online catalogue trying to find the books on the list and discovered that my library is shamefully lacking in multicultural picture books. I was forced to substitute other books (this is okay, just more work for me) and trek across town to get a library card at the much bigger metro library (ours is a suburban library) in order to get books to fit the program. They were also rather thin on Asian picture books, something I find rather frustrating, but I was able to find enough to make for a workable set of lessons. We're starting with Japan and this book (left). This was not a book on the list.

Mainly the lessons call for observation of life in a particular country, then pick up on some custom or food and use that to extend the lesson. Since I haven't seen this book yet, I am winging it a bit as I plan. I did, however, find some nice complimentary crafts.

We can either make windsock fish (like those on the cover) or origami windsock fish. Or we can make Japanese paper dolls. Since I have a son to consider, we'll probably do the fish. For food, we could do fishless sushi, which interests me but is very complicated to make and requires special ingredients that might be hard to find. Or we could just go to Target and pick up some Udon noodles and make those, maybe chilled with a sesame dressing.

I am going to have my older child (9) look up some simple Japanese vocabulary. There is a good site for this here. I also found some other good upper elementary activities here. My littlest one (4) will do a coloring sheet or two -- I found some nice ones of people in native dress for lots of different countries (these are the kind you color online) and a site that has lots of cultural coloring pages. We'll talk about the letter J, too, and the sound it makes. We may do a coloring sheet of J words also.

I'm going to have my son (7) build something from the book out of Legos -- a carp, perhaps, or a building of some sort. He will be practicing his handwriting with some sentences about Japan. Also, there are some word searches here that he likes to do.

I'm looking for a recipe of some sort that we can make, particularly one my son can read and follow. Or, we may make our own recipe and write it out so we can remember it for another time. We may have a Japanese meal (everyone eating on the floor) although my kids are not what you'd call adventurous eaters. At any rate, we're planning to spend a week on Japan before moving on to China.

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