Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Studying Germany

(all book titles mentioned are in the book carousel below if you need more information)

I’ll be honest, we studied Germany at the end of January into the beginning of February. I was less than enthusiastic about our studies in this country. Maybe it was bad timing because of the winter blahs. Maybe it was the dark history of the country. Who knows? But it was tough to get excited about this country.

We began with some basics about Germany. Then we talked a little bit about the Berlin Wall. Dr. Suess’s Butter Battle Book was helpful during this topic, providing some fun literature!

Next we did some reading and discussion of the holocaust, in a child appropriate manner. Willy and Max by Amy Littlesugar and Elisabeth by Claire Nivola were some of the titles we read during our discussion.

My enthusiasm returned when I began to realize what amazing musicians came from a country with such a dark history! We spent some time studying the life of J. S. Bach. We thoroughly enjoyed the classical kids CD, Mr. Bach comes to call. What an excellent series!

And of course, The Brothers Grimm, were born in Germany. I think we read just about every tale they wrote. It was fun to see the differences between the original stories and the Disney versions for so many of them. We also got as many versions as we could find at the library. The kids were really able to see how lasting these stories have been over time.

Some of our favorite adaptations were The Snoring Beauty by Bruce Hale (the humor was over their heads at time, but mom was laughing hysterically)and The Bootmaker and the Elves by Susan Lowell. The library is FULL of alternate versions. We could have spent months on just this topic.

We used our Literature Pockets to create a pocket for Little Red Riding Hood, a Grimm Tale. The kids had a fun time doing this and we have a lovely keepsake to show for it!

Every unit ends with our a get together with friends. This one was no different! Without a doubt, it is the highlight of our studies!

Kayleigh reported on her favorite Grimm Tale, The Frog Prince.


T (age 5) used the finger puppets from her literature pocket to act out the story of Little Red Riding Hood.




Next, it was Edelweiss hat making!



Then we created Zuckertute bags, AKA Shuletute bags, a German goodie bag for the first day of school. They are filled with all sorts of candy and school supplies!





Time for mommy to fill the bags…


And then seal them up with surprises inside! IMG_0009 We gathered around to play a game with orchestra music. IMG_0010 Flip over the instrument when you hear it played.



Time to eat! We had some delicious apple cake and soft pretzels.

IMG_0028 IMG_0035

Off we gallop to our next country…


Debbie said...

We're going to be studying Germany in a few months, so I was glad to see your post. Despite the fact that you weren't enthusiastic about it, your activities were wonderful! I'm actually excited about studying Germany because my parents lived there for a few years (in the late 60s), and I grew up hearing all about it and watching their slide shows and looking at my mom's postcard collection. They loved it and still talk about it 40 years later. They were particularly amazed by all the castles and medieval towns. Anyway, I really enjoy reading your geography posts. I love how your girls give reports in a variety of ways. That's something I'd like to start doing with my kids. Thanks for sharing!

Ticia said...

What a wonderful unit! I'm so remembering this for when we start on countries.