Friday, April 1, 2011

Joy School - Ireland

Ireland was the perfect choice for this week of our World Cultures unit. Not only is our host mom of Irish decent, (with the red hair and last name to prove it!) but it was also the day before St. Patrick's Day!

When we walked into her living room, she had set up this big black pot with golden chocolate coins, and a crepe paper rainbow. It was so cute. It was all I could do to keep my toddler away from it the whole morning. He knew it had something good, and he wanted it!

Science Time:

Usually, our days start out with the lesson and then we move to the other things (songs, snack, etc) as we go along. But this time, as soon as we had finished singing our Hello Song, and O Canada and saluted the flag, she lead us into the kitchen for science time.

I have to confess I was very curious.

It was so great! She taught us about how bread rises and gets soft and delicious as it bakes, and then everyone worked together to make up a recipe of Irish Soda Bread, which would bake while we had the rest of our Joy School morning.
The kids got to have turns measuring out the ingredients, and counting out how many scoops they were using.

This was already very scientific, I thought. But then, our host mom had another great idea:

We did an experiment to see whether or not our bread would get bigger as it baked. We measured the dough with a tape measure,

And then after it was done baking, we measured it again to compare. It was two inches taller! Having the measuring tape really made it easier for the kids to see the difference because they could look at this number, and then at that number, and see the gap between them. I think it would have been hard for them to just remember what it looked like before, and compare it to what it looked like after baking. At least it would have been hard for me.

Lesson Time:

While the bread was cooking in the oven, we moved on to the rest of our Joy School activities.

* We learned the size, location, and population of Ireland

* We learned the history behind St. Patrick's Day

*The significance of the three-leaf-clover

*We talked about the weather a bit, and what the landscape is like

We looked at the national flag, and glued a small one into each of our passports. Then she brought out a surprise of some sparkly green foam shamrocks that we all got to put in our passports too.

Craft Time:

She had arranged for all the moms to email her a head shot of our children and she printed them off on her computer in advance. Then the kids got to use the above sheet to turn themselves into leprechauns.

Is it just me, or is she too pretty to be a leprechaun?

Music Time:

She had prepared two St. Patrick's Day tunes to do with the kids. The first one was a rhyme that went along with the rhythm of 'Alligator Pie' by Dennis Lee, and was called "Leprechaun Stew."

(Ha! Ha! I loved this picture of her as she taught us the words and actions!)

Leprechaun Stew! Leprechaun stew! (rub tummy)

If I don't get some I don't know what I will do! (make the above horrified face)

Take away my pot of gold, (motion of throwing something away)

Take away my shoe, (repeat with opposite hand)

But don't take away my leprechaun stew! (shake head back and forth while shaking a pointed finger)

The other song was "I'm a Little Leprechaun" to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot."

I'm a little leprechaun, (point to self)

Dressed in green. (point to green clothing)

The tiniest man that you have ever seen. (hold finger and thumb close together)

If you ever catch me,So it's told, (make a grabbing motion with your hands)

I'll give you my big pot of gold. (gesture giving something large to someone else)

What this mom did that really helped the kids learn this song was that we started by singing, "I'm a Little Teapot" so that they could have the melody and rhythm fresh in their heads. Then we practised each action without the song, and then put it all together. My boy loved these two little songs and we sang them many times over the next few days. He even sat his dad down that evening and went through each step to teach it that our host had done until his Daddy could sing it right. Ha!

Video Clip

She had a clip of a Riverdance all loaded up for us to watch on her computer. I don't think I found the same video to put here on the blog, but you'll get a good idea from it.

Snack Time:

Okay, seriously, an over the top snack. We had the warm-from-the-oven Irish Soda Bread the kids had helped bake, which she served with butter and honey. This would have been totally sufficient and wonderful.

Then she pulled out green pistachio salad, cute St. Pat's mini cupcakes, and little green cups to drink from. How fun! Also, please note the shamrock plate and the golden spoon. She also supplied some carrot sticks as a little something healthy, but as you can see from the picture, my son declined.

Oh - and while we ate we listened to a couple of Irish Songs, including Molly Malone.

When our day was done, each of the kids got to have some of the treasure out of the pot at the end of the rainbow that she had set up. It was such a fun way to end things off, and I know was greatly appreciated by my own little Joy Schooler!

1 comment:

  1. Marie, you make me want to raise our kids again. I'm saving these ideas for GRANDKIDS. Thank you so much for all the good and enthusiasm you share with the world.


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