Friday, December 22, 2017

Learning About Northern Europe

Over the past few weeks we studied Northern Europe! As usual, most of our books were recommended from Give Your Child the World by Jamie C Martin. We spent the first week learning about Scandinavia and Iceland, and the second week learning about the Netherlands, Germany and Poland.

Here is our Scandinavian/Icelandic booklist:

  • Hedgie's Surprise by Jan Brett
  • Who's that Knocking on Christmas Eve? by Jan Brett
  • The Hat by Jan Brett
  • Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett
  • The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
  • Fritz and the Beautiful Horses by Jan Brett
  • Going Fishing by Bruce McMillan
  • The Problem with Chickens by Bruce McMillan
  • Annika's Secret Wish by Beverly Lewis

    And here is our Netherlands/Germany/Poland booklist:

  • Mrs. Katz & Tush by Patricia Polacco
  • The Greatest Skating Race by Louise Borden
  • Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming
  • Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew
  • El Tesoro by Uri Shulevitz
  • Vincent Van Gogh's Cat by Indiana Second Grade Students of East Washington Academy in Muncie
  • A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert
  • The Boy Who Held Back the Sea by Thomas Locker
  • The Cow Who Fell into the Canal by Phyllis Krasilovsky
  • Katje the Windmill Cat by Gretchen Woelfle

    As always, Jan Brett's books and illustrations are a hit! Her artwork and storytelling is so entertaining. The kids also really enjoyed The Problem with Chickens, which is both beautifully illustrated and a humorous story.

    We absolutely loved The Greatest Skating Race, a wonderful WWII story of a boy who ice-skates his neighbors to safety. Our other favorites were Boxes for Katje, A New Coat for Anna and Mrs. Katz & Tush, all excellent post-WWII stories.

    We watched some about Scandinavia and Iceland on the Human Planet. (I refer to Wikipedia for the listing of what is shown in each episode.) The kids always love watching Human Planet. I love our Around the World Coloring Book and we colored a scene from Sweden from the Dolls of the World Coloring Book.

    After reading about the Netherlands, we learned some about Van Gough and looked at samples of his artwork. And then we made these "Starry Night" ornaments with swirls based on his painting! (I was originally going to do this craft for co-op, but it was more difficult than I anticipated, so I switched to paint for the large group of kids.)

    In our first week, the kids narrated in Spanish, and the second week, in English. Here are Rosie's:
    La problema de las gallinas es que actúan como mujeres. Las gallinas cantan a las ovejas. Ellas fueran a la fiesta. Las gallinas descansan. Entonces las mujeres hace ejercicios. Las gallinas estaban fuertes y mujeres dicen, "Remember you are chickens." Las gallinas vuelan. Las mujeres tienen huevos y vuele con las gallinas.
    - The Problem with Chickens

    Anna needed a coat. The stores didn't have stuff in them. They went to the sheep farm to get wool. They gave the lap to the abuela, and she made the wool into yarn. They picked berries because they wanted to make red coat. The weaver changed the yearn into cloth. The tailor made a new coat for the girl. They made a birthday party.
    - A New Coat for Anna

    And Juanito's:
    Había una vez un pero y su niña. Fueran al encima de la montaña. Luego las trolas quieren el perro, pero la niña darles sus cosas en cambio para el perro. Cuando llegaron al encima, ellos, los trolas, toman el perro pero la niña toma sus esquís y la niña susurra, "Yo puedo volar en estos."
    "¿Vuele? ¿Cómo vuele?"
    La niña dijo que necesita sus cosas para volar. Los trolas den las cosas a la niña y empújala con el perro. La niña y el perro van abajo de la montaña con los esquís.
    - Trouble with Trolls

    A boy Piete wrote a map in his notebook, the map was of all the places where the race was. Piete helped the kids, he helped them skate past the soldiers. He wanted to help the kids. He had to get them to their aunt's house, the house was not close by. They had to travel, they skated to Brugge. He went and showed the soldiers his map and they let him go. He said ti was for school and not a spy. And then they found the aunt standing on the doorstep just as Piete's grandfather had told them. And then Piete went back home.
    - The Greatest Skating Race

    We made a few meals, thanks to my favorite cookbook: Extending the Table: A World Community Cookbook by Joetta Handrich Schlabach. We also made Dutch Muesli and Finnish whip (a cranberry and cream of wheat dessert).

    For co-op we made cranberry sauce and a bundt cake (well, I fully intended to make this Polish bunt cake, but after recovering from sickness we just made a box cake in a bundt pan and topped it with cranberry sauce):

    In co-op, we prayed for the Livvi-Carelinana people people group in Finland and read about them in the Wycliffe book Around the World with Kate and Mack. We played games from Denmark and Poland. The Polish game was a here are the instructions:

    The Old Bear

    Children chose one person as a bear. The bear is sitting in the middle of the circle pretending that he is asleep and it is snoring loudly; the children in a circle and sing:

    (children are walking in the circle and sing)

    Old bear is sleeping deeply,
    Old bear is sleeping deeply,
    We walked on our tiptoes as we're afraid of him,
    When he'd wake up he would eat us!
    When he'd wake up he would eat us.

    (children are standing round in the circle and recite)

    The first hour (passed) - the bear sleeps
    The second hour (passed)- the bear snores
    The third hour - the bear wakes up and he's catching us!!!!

    Then the person in the middle pretending to be a bear stands up and tries to catch somebody while children break a circle and run away trying to escape; the next caught person is a new bear and the play repeats!

    We also read a few books, made an Norse weaving craft, and painted "Starry Night" ornaments based on Van Gogh's painting! (Juanito's is red, José's blue, and Rosie's is the multi-colored ball.)

    We will see you again in the new year, starting off with the Caribbean!

    Here are the previous countries in the series:
  • China
  • Spain
  • Tanzania
  • France
  • Colombia
  • Ghana
  • Italy
  • Thailand
  • Peru
  • India & Pakistan
  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Central and Southern Africa
  • The Middle East
  • Japan
  • Central America

    About Hannah Hinojosa...Hannah is a long time Compassion sponsor and writes about her sponsorship journey at Because of Shamim. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a part-time math professor and loves to read.
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