Our week with the Nutcracker

This week we have been learning more about the story, ballet and history of The Nutcracker. The girls have LOVED learning more about this story! Here are some things we have done this week!

We read several versions of the classic tale, noting several differences in the different books. Even the name of the main character was different in a few of the books!

I checked out a video of a ballet performance from Russia of the Nutcracker. The video was over 70 minutes long and I thought they would get bored with it quickly! However, Hannah just LOVED watching the ballet! She begged to watch it again after we watched it once! She knew all the characters and knew what was going on despite no words being said in the ballet! She really got into the character’s roles and was aware of all the little details!

We also learned more about the country of Russia this week.

We also began listening to the classical kids story of Tchaikovsky as well as lots of his music, both online and on cd. Today the girls begged to put on their ballet leotards and skirts so that they could dance to Tchaikovsky’s music in the kitchen. So sweet! They have surprised me by recognizing certain pieces from the Nutcracker, and especially a few that they are working on for their upcoming ballet recital!

We also decorated dancing ballerinas by giving them sparkly outfits for their performance. Notice the pretty buns on the ballerinas hair.

And finally, I gave each of the kids a toy nutcracker to play with this week. They all loved this, even Emily, who was not cooperating for pictures today!

The Nutcracker

I’m very excited about this week’s unit! And I’m especially excited about our field trip on Friday! A trip to see the Nutcracker ballet! So, I thought we would spend the week learning a little bit about the history of the Nutcracker, ballet, Tchaikovsky’s music, and start learning more about music in general. I will share a few resources that I have found as well.

The girls have both begun taking ballet lessons in the last year and love it! So, I think this will be an especially girly and FUN unit for us to do!

Nutcracker Ballet

HERE is the unit on homeschool share site. There are several versions to this story – a lot actually! I have about 4 on my shelf and I know there are quite a few more! I hope to compare and contrast this book throughout the week. I have one that is a bit longer that we may use as a chapter book read aloud. We will learn a little bit about the history of ballet this week as well.

Also, during this week we will be learning about Tchaikovsky and his music.

HERE is a great site with information for children on composers and classical music.

While learning about Tchaikovsky, we will be listening to the Classical Kids story called Tchaikovsky Comes to America. If you are familiar with Beethoven Lives Upstairs, this is the same company. Their products are awesome for children! When I taught music at the Christian School last year, we listened to this one on Beethoven and the younger kids as well as the older ones enjoyed listening.

Tchaikovsky Discovers America

HERE is a nutcracker coloring page.

THIS page also has another nutcracker to color.

And yet another COLORING PAGE.

Check out the craft ideas on the HSS site, I hope to make one of those nutcrackers this week – probably using toilet paper rolls!

And one last idea for you…if you have a Big Lots…I found a cartoon version of the Nutcracker for $2 there over the weekend! Yipee! Perfect timing for our studies this week! (and the voices in this story are even heard-of actors – Keifer Southerland being one of them!)

Katy No Pocket

This morning we acted out the story, Katy No-Pocket. We have done this in the past with other books, but for some reason, the girls LOVED acting this one out! They giggled, laughed and acted silly for quite awhile doing all the same things that Katy did in the story! We cried when Katy cried because she had no pocket, we hopped when Katy hopped, looking for her pocket.

We held the animals like the ones in the stories – crocodiles hold their babies on their backs, so we tried this!

Monkeys hold their babies in their arms, so we tried this as well!

Katy was so sad because none of these ways would work for her. So finally, she had the idea to go see the wise old owl, so we pretended being owls.

With the advice of the owl, we went to the city to find pockets. We found our special aprons with pockets on them – sewn for us especially by Aunt Valerie!! Thank you so much, Aunt Val!

First we dumped out all that was in them (like the man in the story) and then we tried filling our pockets with as many little animals as we could, just like Katy! We loved this story! We also learned about what marsupials are, saw pictures of TINY baby kangaroos – did you know baby kangaroos (called joey’s) are only an inch long when born? WOW! The pictures were pretty neat! We learned what kangaroos eat and where they live.

Changing Seasons Craft

Today the girls did this craft showing what trees look like through the different seasons. Of course, they loved the chance to use glue, so it was a hit with them. This is one of my favorite crafts I used to do with my kindergartners as a teacher…and I found it in my “Fall” folder the other night…so I had to do it with my own girls!

The spring flowers are just construction paper, the others are colored tissue paper for the different colored leaves.

And here is a picture of Hannah’s drawing of her leaves from our leaf hunt the other day! We were out of space in her nature journal so she used a piece of paper. I got new nature journals for the girls the other night…I get so excited thinking about them having used up a whole notebook over the last months drawing pictures of God’s awesome creation! I’m so glad they are loving drawing…it took awhile for them to feel comfortable, but they both are eager and love it now!