Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mrs. Katz and Tush

Our fifth Five in a Row read was Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco.  (We are loving FIAR!)  This book is about friendship.  Larnel, an African-American boy, makes friends with his neighbor, Mrs. Katz, a Jewish widow who immigrated from Poland.  She teaches him many things, including compassion, and he gives her the company that a lonely old woman needs.  This book also introduces the reader to persecution and culture.  We enjoyed it thoroughly.
Day 1 - Social Studies
After we read the book, we did what we always do at the start of a new FIAR read, we colored our story disk.
Then, we placed it on the map.
Filling it up!  (We LOVE FIAR!)
Next, we talked about immigration.  We got our Ancestry album out and found the countries that Maggie's ancestors immigrated from, then traced their paths from those countries to the United States.
We talked about where Mrs. Katz immigrated from, Poland, and talked a bit about Judaism and the history of the Jewish people in the Bible.  Then, we made this handprint menorah, using brown and orange paint, brushes, and yellow paper.
After we painted both hands in brown, and laid them, spread out on our paper, but overlapping at the thumb (see completed painting below), we brushed on "flames" at each fingertip with our orange paint. 
Handprint Menorah.
 Then, we played with some dreidels that we've had from our trips to the Biblical Antiquity Museum.
 Here are some of the goodies I picked up for our "Passover" meal to simulate the things we saw in the book!  (This was new territory for me.)  Since we were already making three recipes out of our FIAR cookbook, I went easy on myself, and bought ready-made Matzo Ball Soup.  (Jewish people everywhere are cringing, I am sure!)
 In the story, Mrs. Katz makes Larnel Kugel every day for an after school snack, with a tall glass of milk. 
The FIAR cookbook had a recipe for the same, so we got busy preparing it!
Kugel, just out of the oven!
Here is Mags, with her Kugel and glass of milk, just like Larnel!  (It is quite good, despite its appearance!  It tastes like bread pudding, but with noodles instead of bread.)
 We also made Passover Seder Charoset ...
 ... and Potato Latkes!
Added with our Matzo Ball Soup, we were ready for a feast!
And, of course, we can't forget the matzo crackers!
Our "Passover" feast, complete with 100% grape juice and memorial candle!
Day 2 - Language Arts
Today, we learned about Yiddish, and deciphered some of the words in the book that Mrs. Katz uses.  (Maggie especially liked the words "bubeleh," meaning "darling or little one" as it refers to Tush, and "bubee," meaning "grandmother.")  We then watched this Yiddish lullaby on YouTube. 

Day 3 - Art

For the art study of this book, we talked about the patterns and textures in some of the illustrations, the expression on the faces of the people drawn throughout, and the detail, like those seen through the windows of the illustrations.  (Here, you can identify some of the things that Mrs. Katz can see from her window.)
(Here is another picture with a view from a window.)
Next, I challenged Maggie to look out one of our windows and draw what she sees.
(This is her drawing from her window seat.)
Then, though it wasn't a suggestion in the FIAR manual, I wanted to focus for a minute on the dancing that Mrs. Katz does with Larnel and Tush in the book, the Polka.  (We have Polish decent in my family, and my own grandmother loved to do the Polka.)  I showed this illustration again to Maggie ...
... and then we watched this YouTube video of some Polka dancing so that Maggie could see what it looks like in action!

Day 4 - Math

For the Math study of this book, we took the manual's simple suggestion of observing and counting some of the patterns throughout the book.  (I think the Math suggestions are the only weak thing I've encountered with FIAR, not that I could come up with anything better myself.)

Day 5 - Science

For our last day delving into Mrs. Katz and Tush, we focused on Science, in particular, cats.  This, as many of you know, is a popular subject in our house!  Maggie adores them, especially her own, our boy, Emmett.  (Here is one of my favorite photos of the two of them.)
We talked about cats, and kittens, like the four Tush had in this book, using this DK: Eyewitness Books: CAT that my friend, Anna, gave us.  We learned how long their gestation period is, how the kittens are born, for how long kittens are blind after they are born, and for how long they need their mothers' care.
Then, we talked some more about when Tush went missing in the book.  Here is a picture from the book, when Mrs. Katz and Larnel went out in the neighborhood to pass out "Lost Cat" flyers.  Then, we set out to make our own, as suggested at
 Here is Maggie, with her "Lost Cat" flyer for Tush.
 (She used the illustrations in the book to make her own picture, and I was quite impressed with the detail she put on Tush's belly!)
Then, for our next project, we used the cute idea at, using paper, cardboard, glue, scissors, and yarns in cat colors.  (We chose orange and white to look like Emmett, with some pink for his ears and nose, and green for his eyes.)
 To start, cut your yarn colors into small pieces.
 Then, glue your paper onto your cardboard piece so that it can stand the weight of the glue and yarn.  After that, make the outline of a cat head using your glue.  Start to place the pieces of yarn onto the glue.
 Add features and color in with your yarn, like Maggie is doing here. 
 The end result looks so good and is soft like cats are!  (Maggie is very proud of it!)
What a great book!  Check us out next week for another FIAR study!

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