February 18, 2007

Plum Creek Lesson Plan

I am co-teaching a Little House class with a friend for our homeschool cooperative. We are basing the class around the On the Banks of Plum Creek book from the Little House series. Plum Creek was a natural choice as it is set in Minnesota not too far from where we live and the girls are 7 and 9 in this book. The children in our class range from 7-10 so it was a perfect fit. Plus we can do an end of the year field trip to Plum Creek if we want.

This past week was a fun class. We have 15 kids in this class both girls and boys and 2nd through 4th grade. We began the class by teaching the kids Oh Susanna - okay honesty here - I did not teach them I tried hard not to sing at all since I can't carry a tune in a bucket. But my co-teacher did a fabulous job.

Then I talked to them about the book - we were discussing chapters 7-12 this week and I engaged them in discussion about a few stories and lessons we could learn from this chapters. First we talked about Laura and Mary sliding down the haystack and the importance of full obedience and not making false distinctions with the rules. We also talked about leading others astray since Laura led Mary in a way she did not at first want to go. We read some bible verses that applied here and made the point of listening to our parents true rules and not making nit picky distinctions and about how we teach our friends and siblings.

Next we talked about when Laura and Mary had to run the cattle away from the haystack. We discussed their initial reactions of staying still and running to help and talked about the fight or flight instinct and being brave even when it is hard.

Then we discussed the Christmas horses and how the girls chose to put their own desires second for Pa's sake and the unselfishness of that. We also read some bible verses here and talked about how Laura prayed for help because it was hard for her. We applied it to their lives and this moved into a natural discussion of how the pioneers depending on God so much.

Other topics we talked about were how the pioneers reused everything they could and wasted nothing. The kids pulled out examples from the book and this was a natural transition into our craft of making a 9 patch quilt pillow.

Before they started the pillow we had a snack of plum jam and bread. We talked about picking plums and how to make jam and read a cute story from the Little House Cookbook as well.

We ended the class with time to work on their 9 patch quilt pillows. The kids had selected their 9 patches from pre-cut quilt squares and laid them out the way they wanted the week before. This week we taught them to make short seams and sew the first three squares together.

Okay another moment of honesty. I don't sew. I mean it, not really at all. I have in the past used a sewing matching to make straight seams (sort of) for my kids diaper wipes when we used cloth diapers. Only because it really did not matter what they looked like. I can put together pieces of a sweater but I hate doing it and the fact that yarn is thicker makes it tolerable to me. However needle and thread and actual sewing and I do not get along.

I warned my co-teacher of this when she had the idea to make the quilts. She realized how honest I was when she discovered I could not thread a needle and tie off the end the right way. Nor did I know whether stitches were too far apart or too close. I was not much help to any of the students and was thankful for the two other moms I had there. It made her laugh and she said "You really weren't kidding" and I assured her that was correct.

Anyway they all managed just fine despite me :) The other women were wonderful and the kids caught on quickly. While they sewed we played a CD called Laura Ingalls Wilder's Songs from Home that I purchased in DeSmet on a Little House Field Trip we did years ago. The CD was filled with fiddle music, songs from the time, short stories about the book and Laura's life as well as some actual voice recording clips of Laura herself.

All in all the class was a success and fun. While I typically print my entire lesson plans in their entirety here I feel I can not as I am often using resources from The Prairie Primer by Margie Gray for this class and I would not want to violate any copyright or her hard work. It is an excellent resource for teaching any Little House class. I have also put together a list of some free Little House Lesson Plan resources.

Look for more updates every few weeks as we teach more classes.

1 comment:

  1. I'll have to look for that CD. We're near Walnut Grove and my daughters and hubby are in the Wilder Pageant every year. My hubby usually plays The Reverend and Mayor Bedal, and my girls have played all different parts.

    I just discovered your blog and am awestruck by it! What a lot of information! I can't wait to look around some more. :)