Friday, August 26, 2011

BFIAR-Style Ideas for In-Print Books

Been toying around with ordering Before Five in a Row (we actually own even some of the out-of-print ones thanks to our Children's Choice Book Club collection), because I love the idea of (a) reading the book five days in a row, which I think has good to be a great brain builder, and (b) the idea of building out learning experiences--including making and eating a lot of food!--based on elements of the book. Note: I didn't really get the whole FIAR thing until I saw what Delightful Learning does with her kids and now I am enchanted.

That said, I'm skeptical (as I so often am about so many things!) that it's not worth the money. I suspect we'd really only do some of the activities for some of the books, and so I'm not sure I'm ready to commit. Anyway, I've been noodling around with building out a BFIAR-style curriculum of our own for when the time comes, and here are some preliminary thoughts.

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner
  • GEOGRAPHY: What and where is "old Mexico"? What is Machu Pichu? (As in El Skippito's sneeze "Aaaahh-chooo-pichu!")
  • BIOLOGY: Exploring animal breeds (Siamese kittens, Chihauhua puppies, et al), bumblebees and more.
  • FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Spanish words in the story: Siesta, fiesta, frijoles; plus how to count to 10 in  Spanish; playing around with Google Translate or a Spanish-English dictionary (library skills).
  • INTERTEXTUALITY: Zorro, Robin Hood, "stranger comes to town"
  • FOOD: Chimichangas, rice and beans, and a piñata full of jelly beans, obviously!
  • NATURE STUDY: Observe, feed, chase local squirrel population, identify and study species.
  • GEOGRAPHY: Map study of New York City, Central Park, Met, practice map and globe skills
  • ART STUDY FIELD TRIP: Visit a Getty Museum or LACMA and look for works by painters from "Micawber's Museum of Art"
  • STUDIO ART: Do some splatter painting in the style of Micawber and/or Jackson Pollock
  • COLORS: Introduce color wheel, visit paint store and look for paint chips that match "cadmium green...magenta, vermilion, ultramarine, alizarin crimson, and bright tangerine"
  • PHYSICS: How bicycles work, playing with gears, talking about balance
  • GEOMETRY: Folding paper boats
  • ZOOLOGY: Ostriches and chimpanzees and bears, oh my! 
  • HISTORY: "What's a newspaper, mama?" (Because you know it's history to kids these days!)
  • FIELD TRIP: Go see Cirque du Soliel and/or the Barnum & Bailey circus, discuss animal rights controversies, partake of cotton candy
  • BIOLOGY: Learn about frog development from egg to tadpole to full-grown froggy
  • FOLKLORE: Study the Loch Ness Monster and other "cryptids" like the Yeti and Bigfoot, talk about how folklore develops
  • GEOGRAPHY: Where and what is Scotland? Possible discussion of Britain/Ireland/British Isles/United Kingdom distinctions.
  • HISTORY: What are pirates and why are they always leaving sunken treasure all over the place?
  • P.E. & SNACKS: Visit the local public pool and go swimming, and then go out for cheeseburgers!

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