Friday, September 12, 2014

Grandfather's Journey

Our most recent FIAR book was Grandfather's Journey, written and illustrated by Allen Say.  Amazon says, "Lyrical, breathtaking, splendid—words used to describe Allen Say’s Grandfather’s Journey when it was first published. At once deeply personal yet expressing universally held emotions, this tale of one man’s love for two countries and his constant desire to be in both places captured readers’ attention and hearts. Winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal, it remains as historically relevant and emotionally engaging as ever."
 After we read the book and enjoyed its paintings, we talked about the geography of the book (Japan and California), then placed our story disk on California.
 Next, we talked about family relationships, as this book mentions four generations in one family.  We discussed genealogy and family trees, then got out my husband's Ancestry Album, noting the family tree on the inside cover.
It was time to get hands-on with making her own version of her family tree.  I found a great printable for this at (see below).
Here is Maggie's version of her family tree, also showing four generations.
We connected people using a gold marker, which matched the existing branches on the printable.
It turned out great!
Then, after we touched on Japanese culture (which we did extensively last week when we rowed A Pair of Red Clogs), and WW2 (which we discussed in depth with All Those Secrets of the World), we talked about tolerance for different races and cultures.  Here is a painting from the book, with the text, "He met many people along the way.  He shook hands with black men and white men, with yellow men and red men."
We followed that with a reading of All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka ...
... The Colors of Us by Karen Katz ...
 ... and Whoever You Are by Mem Fox ...
After our reading, we decided to complete a fun activity we found at  
Maggie loved this activity!
She wrote that she hoped to visit Montana ...
... Japan ...
... and Canada!
 Once we completed that activity, we talked more about compassion for others, with the concepts of friendliness, kindness, and the Golden Rule.  We then read The Berenstain Bears and the Golden Rule by Stan & Jan Berenstain.
In our Language Arts study of this book, I used the printable I found at which had her write a sentence from the story.
And then it was time for Art!  We talked about reflections and shadows first.  Using an idea I found  at, we used the picture of the sunset on water in the book (below) as inspiration to make our own pictures like it, using colored pencil.
Here is Maggie's reflection picture!
We talked about medium, symbolism, style, and intensity in art.  We also talked about origami (which we covered in A Pair of Red Clogs).  This is a picture of an origami boat from the book, presumably made by Grandfather.
We set out to make origami cranes first, because birds are mentioned as being special to Grandfather in this book.  We watched this video to help us make them.
Here is Maggie, getting started on her origami crane!
They turned out so great!
Love them!
Once our cranes were done, we used this -- Evan-Moor's Literature Pockets: Caldecott Winners book -- to delve even more into the author and illustrator of Grandfather's Journey, Allen Say, winner of the Caldecott Medal for his artwork for this book in 1994.
We were challenged first to use watercolor to paint a place that we held dear in memory.
Maggie chose to paint the Space Needle, one of her favorite places she's visited.
Great job, Kiddo!  :)
Once dry, we mounted the painting onto heavy, black cardstock and she wrote on the back, "I would like to go back to see the Space Needle again because I had so much fun."  (This was then set aside for the literature pocket we were making.)
Next, we got to work making that origami boat we had noted in the story.
We then put together a Memory Book (accordion-style) for her to keep all of her own travel memories in and tied it with some pretty yarn she had picked out.
All this went into our literature pocket for this book!  (She loves making these Evan-Moor pockets!)
For Math, we talked about time, noting that Grandfather had been on a steamship for America for three weeks.  In our study of time, we read Me Counting Time: From Seconds to Centuries by Joan Sweeney ...
... and A Second is a Hiccup: A Child's Book of Time by Hazel Hutchins.
 After that, she counted how many days are in three weeks, that is, how many days Grandfather would have been at sea.
 For Science, we discussed birds, something Grandfather was fond of.  In our study, we read Birds by Kevin Henkes ...
 ... and The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library's Fine Feathered Friends: All About Birds by Tish Rabe.
Once our reading was done, we got to work on learning about the parts of a bird, and labeling them using this great idea I found at  (This is my picture of the great printable you can download from that site!)
I printed one on white printing paper and printed another on yellow cardstock.  Then, I cut out the bird from the yellow cardstock and cut it onto its different parts. 
After we discussed the bird's anatomy, I would call out a part and she would place the correct yellow part on top of the bird's image on the white paper.
This was fun! 
Later, we did an image search of warblers and silvereyes (the two types of birds that Grandfather raised) ...
... then watched this video of warblers.
 Next week, we'll row The Story About Ping!

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