Friday, 7 September 2012

Africa Part 1

For the last month or so we have been doing a topic on Africa. I had thought the kids would love The Lion King. Who doesn't love The Lion King? Yeah, they weren't much fussed with it. Ho-hum. But we have been working with some lovely books. We painted African animal alliteration pictures after reading 'We All Went on Safari: a counting journey through Tanzania' which is a fabulous resource we ordered from the public library. It works on so many levels. Lots of animals for pre-schoolers of course, but also alliteration on every page, a nice easy rhythm, and part of the book that we really enjoyed was learning how to say these animals names in an African language. This is Lamb's lion which I had to save before he completely obliterated all trace of it with the brown paint. Interestingly he 'got' the rather abstract concept of alliteration, understanding that he needed to find a 'l' word, but then struggled to actually think of one. He came up with 'long lion' in the end, and 'wide warthog'.

I wanted to get across that Africa is NOT a country, but is made up of lots of countries. We coloured all the different countries on a map and then we made these 'Welcome' posters. The idea was that we could all make posters that said 'hello' in lots of different languages used in different parts of Africa, using whatever materials the heart desired. It didn't quite work out as you might see. Impressively Lamb recognised 'bonjour' as French and expressed some surprise that French was spoken in Africa, but when it came to actually making the poster it wasn't so great. He wanted to scribble and glue. He did not want an objective. My trying to keep him on task only led to him becoming frustrated and aggressive, so it was an achievement to even get 'sopa' out of him!

Another wonderful book we have read is 'Mama Panya's Pancakes', which is about a little boy and his mum heading of to market. Along the way the little boy invites all of their friends to share their pancakes, leaving mum stressing over how she is going to feed all of these people. In a predictable but sweet turn of events all of their friends bring some extra food with them and everybody has enough to eat. At the end of the book there are a nice few pages of information about living in a village in Kenya. We used this book to look at how people live in Kenya and with some help to stay on task Lamb produced a great picture. There are even pancakes being cooked over a wooden fire and and outside toilet. Was really pleased with how this went actually!

Send-A-Cow have some wonderful resources available on their website that we've been using too. Lamb had fun using the 'Povertron' machine to compare rural African life to our lives, and they also have a huge photograph bank which we have used lots to look at different aspects of living in rural Africa, which led us to thinking about wants vs needs which Lamb coped with admirably (though I had to laugh inwardly at some of his thoughts - we don't need beds but they are nice - school is a want but it is important - play is definitely a need)

And of course a topic on Africa wouldn't be complete without reading 'Handa's Suprise' which we used to cut open some exotic fruit... It was a great activity. KS1 I would guess? The kids had to estimate how many seeds each fruit would have inside, then actually count the seeds and record the information on a table. We got some pretty neat handwriting from Lamb for that too! Once the fruit was cut open the boys got the opportunity to taste the fruit. Moo loved this but Lamb couldn't be convinced to try any of the fruit. He did consent to sniff the familiar orange though so I count that as a success. He was pretty afraid of the pineapple though so we had to tread carefully there. Afterwards we used all the fruit to make prints - see, what a great all round activity?! Incidentally passionfruit makes great prints :)

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