Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wrap up: Papa Piccolo

Papa Piccolo was one of my kids' favorite Five in a Row units we've ever done!  We had a wonderful couple of weeks with it.  Here was the plan:

History/Geography: Venice! Papa Piccolo is about a cat who roams around Venice, finding adventures and befriending the gondoliers who feed him. We read There's a Dolphin in the Grand Canal, which was super silly, but had a really good overview of the geography of the city.  Google Earth then gave us a good close up view of the canals, boats, and landmarks in Papa Piccolo.  We are familiar with the concept of a city with canals, here in New Orleans, but to use them as "roads" for transportation? The kids were fascinated!

We also spent a day studying the travels of Marco Polo, who was from Venice. In the story, Piccolo names his kittens Marco and Polo, so it seemed like a good topic to discuss.  The kids colored a picture of Marco Polo while I read a story about him. 

Art: We looked at the bright happy illustrations in Papa Piccolo and noticed how many of them included complimentary colors.  We painted color wheels to see what all the complimentary color combinations were.  We did a different color wheel activity about a year ago, but they enjoyed this one all the same. Mixing paint to make new colors is always fun!

Science: cats! Charlie asked specifically for this book so that we could spend some time studying cats.  He is quite the cat lover. We read library books on caring for pet cats and then took a field trip to the New Orleans SPCA to see their kitties.  I so wish we could have a cat, but I am just too allergic to invite one into our home. :(
Field trips! We went to the SPCA, but our most exciting field trip by far was to NOLA Gondola. Robert, our local gondolier, had his gondola made in Venice and shipped here, to run tours through the waterways in New Orleans' Cit Park.  He was happy to work out a "homeschool package" for me and my kids that was about half the cost of his regular romantic evening cruise.  We didn't need 50 minutes out on the water, or the wine, cheese, and crackers.  It was perfect!  Robert was so nice, great wit the kids, and they had a blast! Such a treat to have a real Venetian experience so close to home.
Jono loved it when we went under the bridges! 
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During this row we also took a field trip with our homeschool group to tour the teaching garden at our local garden and nature center.  So fun! I had my boys in my group, but Hazel was in someone else's, so she's conspicuously absent form my pictures.  She was there, though--just playing with some girlfriends.
Planning and designing their garden
adding plants to their bed
all done!
beautiful spot for a picnic!
We've moved on to Miss Rumphius now, which we're rowing with a Texas twist. I'll be excited to share how we did that in a couple of weeks!

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