Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Geography: focus on Belarus

This week, I asked the Bibliophile what he'd like to study (not mentioning categories like geography or whatever - just leaving it open-ended).  As I explained in this post, he cracked me up by saying, "zebras in Belarus!"  So, our geography focus for the week has been on Belarus.  With that said, we haven't delved that deeply into learning about Belarus.  Since he's not even three yet, I struggle a little with following his requests without tossing a lot of information way over his head.  So in terms of geography this week, I just tried to present him with some activities that I knew he would find fun, with Belarus as a rough theme.

For instance, on Monday, I put a sheet of paper and some foam letter stickers into his geography "learning box" for him to unscramble and spell "Belarus."

Tuesday, he ignored his learning boxes (which is fine with me; I just try to leave them full with new activities for when he wants them).

Wednesday, I filled his box with a list of countries that were formerly part of the Soviet Union.  I explained that these countries used to be part of one place called the Soviet Union, but that they then decided to become separate countries.  He paid no attention to this, rushing immediately to reading the list aloud. 

I took a video -- I always say he's a good reader, but this is a funny example.


The "game" I set up was for him to find those countries on his Geopuzzle.  I actually had typed in the instructions that he should find the countries on his Asia Geopuzzle (this is what happens when I type up activities at midnight, I guess).  He ran to the other room, mumbling something about Europe and Belarus.  He recognized my mistake immediately and got out the Europe puzzle to find it there.  We found most of them between the Europe and Asia puzzles (some countries seem to fall between the boundries of the various Geopuzzles).  

Afterwards, I thought it might be a pain that we had muddled the pieces from his Europe and Asia puzzles.  I said, "which puzzle does this country go in, Europe or Asia?" and he answered for every piece!  Time will tell if he was correct, I guess, but I was still impressed.

I nearly forgot that I had started out the week looking for suitable books.  The nonfiction books about Belarus were way above his head. 

How Mama Brought the Spring
I found this one picture book, which we made it all the way through (it has a lot of text for his age, so I was pleasantly surprised).  How Mama Brought the Springby Fran Manushkin.  It tells the story of a mother in Minsk making Cheese Blintzes.  This would make a great book for reading and then cooking together as a companion activity.  The Bibliophile is allergic to 6 out of the 10 ingredients in the recipe, so that wasn't going to happen for us.

The Little SleepyheadI also read this book by the same author - The Little Sleepyhead.  It's not about Belarus, but I picked it up because it was much closer to his reading level (just a couple of sentences per page).  Little Sleepyhead is trying to find a place to rest amidst his natural surroundings. 
A bear!  That bear looked warm and soft, so soft, the Little Sleepyhead rested his head on him. / But that bear began snoring, Grrrr, grrrrr, grrrrr, making so much noise,...
I thought it was sweet, but he hasn't wanted to reread it for some reason.

As I was thinking about "Eastern Europe," I also thought it might be fun to introduce the idea of North, South, East, and West, and maybe let him play with the compass feature on my iPhone.  Not really related to Belarus, but our learning always takes random paths around here.

I am linking this post up with Children Grow, Children Learn, Children Explore.

Comment: Have you been studying any interesting places lately?

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MaryAnne said...

I think this post really highlights the difference in working with a reader vs a non-reader - so many of the activities you did wouldn't really work with any of my kids, because they are so literacy-oriented. And your son's reading is truly phenomenal - I've see two-year-olds read, but not like that!

Raising a Happy Child said...

IB is really an amazing reader and geography buff! Your post made me want to do my own Belarus week - Anna still thinks that I come from Russia since I speak Russian. Then I will make sure to get the book where the character lives in Minsk - after all, that's where I am from :)

Christy said...

Your son amazes me! Wow! I don't know what else to say!!!

Debbie said...

Great post, loved the video of your son reading. Thank you for linking up this week.