January 5, 2005

China Coop Week One

Today we began our trip to China in our homeschool coop class. The kids began with a review of the other countries we have visited (United States, Israel and Iraq). The teachers reminded them how small Iraq and Israel were in comparison to China and talked a bit about the country. Then they read the story The Empty Pot by Demi, a nice story about the Chinese emperor and a young boy who becomes the successor. My kids have heard it before and truly enjoy it.

The kids broke up into two groups and did the rest of the class in stations. First they went to a map and a food station. At the map station one mom handed each child a map for them to label and draw on. They drew and labeled mountain ranges (including the Himalayas), rivers (including the Yangtzee and Yellow), deserts (including the Gobi), oceans and other landmarks including The Great Wall and the capital. They looked at some pictures and compared the geography of China to other countries we have reviewed.

At the food station they listened to the book Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin. They looked at little dishes and bowls of food such as chow main noodles, rice, bok choy, garlic, ginger and snow peas. They got to use chop sticks including these really neat child chopsticks I had never seen before, they also attempted to pick up food with real chopsticks. They learned about some of the exotic and what the kids thought was strange foods including bear claws, monkey brains, shark fins and duck eggs. They learned some nicknames for foods including drunken chicken and lions head. They also learned about some food customs in China and seemed to really enjoy themselves.

The kids had snacks, one mom provided fortune cookies for the kids. Then they went to the flag and great wall stations. At the flag station each child made a replica flag of China. They glued yellow stars onto a red piece of felt and had that glued on to a craft stick, they came out nice and were one of our easier flags so far.

At the Great Wall station the kids looked at some pictures of the Great Wall of China and learned a little about it. Then they got to work together to build a replica (not exact by any means) of the wall with lego's.

We ended the class by the kids sitting around in a circle and sharing the one thing they found most interesting or would like to learn more about. Many of them shared things from the food lessons which seemed to make a lasting impression on them. After each child shared they received their passport stickers. We made a passport for each child at the beginning of our year and each week one of each country they get a "stamp" in their passport.

All in all coop seems to be going very well and the kids are enjoying themselves. We will spend the next two weeks on China in the classroom and then the last week of the month we will attend a Chinese New Year dance and likely eat at a Chinese restaurant. Also we discovered there is an exhibit of China's dinosaurs at the Minnesota Science Museum we will be sure to check out.

Some other countries we will be studying this year include Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore and India.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this great experience!