If you have been following my Literacy Tuesday blogs you will know that we were reading a number of alphabet concept books. One of the books we read was D is for Dancing Dragon – A China Alphabet by Carol Crane and Illustrated by Zong-Zhou Wang, and if you are interested in the book I commented on it at my library blog. This book was the jumping off point for our China day. From here we found a research idea, crafts and decorations to make, and food we had to include in our celebration. I am not going to try an include everything in one blog post, instead I am going to try and group what we did preparing for the day and on the day itself, into a few blog posts.
The past few years I have worked as a teacher-librarian and one of the main focuses has been to teach students how to learn for themselves. This was the first opportunity I have had to directly teach my own children research skills, well Kaitlyn was the only one actually researching, Eileen just was along for the ride. We started by reviewing the letter P in our alphabet book – The Giant Panda. We started this on a literacy Tuesday so I printed off some P worksheets and colouring pages for an introduction. Kaitlyn particularly liked the P wordsearch and I appreciated that it was the perfect level of difficulty for her. Eileen made an attempt to trace the P letter pages I gave her, which is a big step for her. They both coloured a few printable pages, and Kaitlyn even made an effort to colour the correct colours in the correct places.
Because my kids respond to hand-on crafts, we made paperbag panda puppets. I found many different templates online but we chose the one through Circletime kids. They were very easy to make. Kaitlyn did hers all herself and I helped Eileen cut out her pieces but she did most of the gluing. A quick and easy panda craft
The final part was to learn a bit more about Pandas. I picked up a number of panda books at the library, both fiction and non-fiction but before I let the girls look at them I told them they had to come up with 5 questions they wanted to know about Pandas. I first introduced the concept of an endangered species and the definition of extinct. The example of the dinosaurs being extinct is easy for them to understand.
Kaitlyn’s Research Questions:
- Why can’t we have a panda as a pet?
- What do they eat?
- Do they live around people?
- Do they run or walk?
- How long do they live?
- Why are they endangered? (O.K. this last one was Mommy’s question)
I thought they were pretty good questions. We used our books from the library to find the answers. I read the books to the girls and Kaityn stopped me everytime there was an answer to one of her questions. When we were done we made a Giant Panda poster and picked pictures that answered some of the questions. For example she learned that Giant Pandas like climb so we made sure to include a picture of a panda climbing.
I decided to try and take it one step further and introduced some social awareness to Kaitlyn. After discussing endangered animals and the possibilities of extinction we started to talk about what we could do to help. We discussed the WWF and decided to have a donation jar at our Chinese festival. She let our family who was coming know of the jar and she collected $13.87 in loose change and her Aunt & Uncle also made a symbolic adoption in her name. Mommy and Daddy added to the $13.87 to make another symbolic adoption. One small step to start raising the idea of making a positive impact in the world. We even got a bit of a math lesson out of it sorting all the coins.