Tuesday, 17 April 2007


Yesterday we began our study of Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. The story went down ok but I don't think it had them totally enthralled like Ping and Very Last First Time.

We placed our story disc on France and talked about how the story is based in Paris which is the capital city of France. Hermione knew that the capital city of England is London which was an encouraging start. We didn't go into lots of detail save to say that governments, royal families and big businesses are often (but not always) based in the capital city.

We went on to look at the Eiffel Tower. There is a picture of it on the front of the book and a picture of it inside. I found a good picture of it on the Internet and blew it up and printed it off for the wall. It was built by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel to celebrate the end of the French Revolution. It is over 115 years old (was built even before my grandparents were born). It is made of steel and took 300 men two years to build. It is 300m high - more than 30 houses standing one on top of the other. It's the most visited monument in the world.

We went on to look at the English Channel on the map. I explained that lots of people have tried to swim it and many have been successful - not all though as it is a long way, the water is very cold and the tides and currents can be strong. The quickest person to swim it took about seven hours. An escort boat usually sails alongside in case someone has to be rescued.

We also played word and number bingo - a gentle reintroduction to 'work' after the holidays.

Later in the day we went to the garden centre and chose lots of plants for the garden. There was no way we could get them all into the car, they are going to be delivered on Wednesday. Later in the day 20 tonnes of top soil arrived. It looks like a small mound in the corner. I'm worried that it will be no where near enough.

Today we used the sound matching cards and additions cards before starting on Madeline. Hermione announced that they were both easy and in fairness she did whizz through them with no problems. Time to prepare more 'normals' materials I think. I had hoped that the Horizon Maths would have arrived by now but I received an email from Sonlight yesterday to say they will be with me within three to six months!! I can't believe it and now regret placing my order. I'm sure someone said you can get them in this country now. I really should have investigated that option.

I detected slightly more interest in the story today. Once again not exactly enthralled but I think the illustrations at least attracted more attention than yesterday.

We started off by wondering whether or not the story is fact or fiction. I was surprised by the answer. Hermione explained to me that it has been on television and when it was on television it was in black and white not colour and therefore must be a true story. I think I managed to dismiss this strange theory of reality and we concluded it was most likely fiction.

Next we did a dot to dot of the Eiffel Tower. Although it was one I had prepared myself and was not detailed in any sense of the word Hermione recognised it as the Eiffel Tower so thankfully she was listening yesterday after all :-)

At one point in the story the girls 'tiptoe solemnly.' I wasn't sure if she would know what 'solemnly' means so we acted out a solemn tiptoe and chatted about what solemn means - serious, without joking, thoughtfully....

Then on to symmetry. Many of the illustrations in the book are almost symmetrical. We looked at them and talked about symmetry. We drew the other half of shapes to make them symmetrical. We coloured symmetrical patterns on grids and drew in the line of symmetry. Hermione was really keen. I had to print off more blank grids.

Later in the day we went to Hardwick Country Park. We saw moorhen chicks and climbed the hill to the Gothic Gate Tower which is fairly impressive. Must take my camera along some time.

Lots of activities prepared for tomorrow. It is strange this text in so far as I am not particularly impressed with the story but it does throw up lots of avenues for discussion and investigation - which has to be a good thing.

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