Monday, July 19, 2010

Off to Vietnam...

Passport to the World actually didn't have a book listed for Vietnam, but I thought it was worthwhile to add it since our own history was so bound up in some of the events there. I had a hard time finding books, not because there aren't any, but because my library didn't have them. Grrr!

As it turns out, they did have a few, but for some reason their cataloguing system does not allow users to search picture books by terms like "Vietnam" or "Asia." Kind of a critical failing, I'd say. How else are we supposed to find picture books about Vietnam? Or India? Or Korea? Or pretty-much-insert-any-country-name-here?

At any rate, I ended up with two very nice books about Vietnam, one about a family trying to bring back the cranes that disappeared during the war, and the other about a little girl travelling to Vietnam to visit her grandparents. Both invite extra exploration of the country through some supplemental activities.

We will make origami cranes (instructions here) and we'll Google some sarus crane images. These cranes are a symbol of long life and happiness, and they really were driven off during the Vietnam war, so we may talk a little about how people affect habitat and what that means to the animals. We'll also talk about what makes a home and whether you can feel at home when you're someplace far away (the subject of the second book shown above).

We'll track how far Vietnam is from our town on our graph and we'll talk about how rice is grown, since it's so prevalent in Southeast Asia. There are good sites for this here and here. This last site is a video showing how the paddies are planted by hand. We'll probably make some rice for dinner. We'll do other supplementary stuff -- math and handwriting and practicing time-telling. I have a lovely book called Somewhere in the World Right Now that introduces kids to the idea of time zones, which I think we'll also take a look at to see what time it is in these countries we're talking about. The books are a great way to put some context and content around the other activities so we're not just doing math in a vacuum, or practicing meaningless handwriting sentences.

Next up: Cambodia and Thailand!

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