Today we turned our attention to Ancient Greece and the Olympics, especially as we continued to read Hour of the Olympics and the companion “Fact Tracker.” After learning some more about the ancient games, what contests were held, and who participated, Turkey and Bunny created Venn diagrams to show the similarities and differences between the Ancient and Modern Olympic games. We were pretty surprised at how many similarities there are, right down to both having parades at an Opening Ceremonies (even if the parades were a little different).
To celebrate the spirit of the Ancient Olympics, the children made their own “olive leaf” crowns. This was a super easy craft…I had leaf patterns in a book, but they’re really not necessary. The children got creative with using several different shades of green to decorate their wreaths.
We also did a little Olympic math today. Now that there are a decent number of medals on our medal chart, I had Turkey and Bunny add up the gold, silver, and bronze medals, and then add those totals as well. We also noted the difference between total gold, silver, and bronze, (interestingly, the countries we chose have more gold medals in total than anything else). As it’s still early in the games, this was a fairly easy task for Turkey and Bunny, but it was good practice in addition and subtraction, and allowed me to make sure their basic math skills haven’t gotten rusty over the summer. We’ll continue to repeat this exercise as the medal count grows…I’m curious to see how the ratios of gold, silver, and bronze pan out in the end!
Today’s Passport Stamp: The Parthenon
Today was another big day in Olympics school! The main event was a tea party. The purpose of this was two-fold: to enjoy an aspect of English culture; and to practice our table manners. I’ve discovered that the children actually have very nice table manners in this type of situation…I just can’t figure out why they don’t use them all the time!
We also read the first few chapters of Hour of the Olympics. This is a cute book (one in the “Magic Tree House” series), which sees the two main characters, Jack and Annie, going back to Ancient Greece during the original Olympics in search of a book. Along the way, they meet Plato, the wise man they were tasked to find.
The children wanted me to keep reading Jack and Annie’s story until it was done. I wanted to make sure we also had time to read from the Magic Tree House Ancient Greece and the Olympics Fact Tracker, (a companion to the above book) as well, though, so we’re splitting both books up over the course of three days.
To finish up our third Olympic venue, which focuses on athletes and sports, Turkey and Bunny had the task of researching an Olympic athlete. Not surprisingly, Turkey chose Michael Phelps:
Also not surprisingly, Bunny picked Jordyn Wieber:
Today’s Passport Stamps: Teapot and Olympic Venue Three–The Olympic Athlete and Olympic Sports
The Olympics are almost upon us–just 17 more days! Of course, an event like this means a special school unit (actually, that’s how this whole homeschooling journey started!), with special reading, crafts, and activities. Not to mention TV watching…but that’s kind of the point! I’ll share some of our crafts and other activities later, but for now, here’s our Olympics reading list…I got very lucky in that the library system carries all but one of the books I was looking for, and every one of those books was available. I’m also thankful that there are books out there for such a wide variety of ages, from preschooler on up to adult…there’s definitely something for everyone here!
- Great Moments in the Summer Olympics–This, and the following book, are part of a sports series for children. Other titles in the series focus on the Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup, and basketball…they may be worth looking into in the future!
- The Olympics: Unforgettable Moments of the Games–While the previous book focuses only on the Summer Olympics, this book has moments from both the Summer and Winter Games.
- Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics
- The 2012 London Olympics–This book is particularly interesting because it contains venue-specific information.
- DK Eyewitness Books–Olympics–“Eyewitness Books” are always popular around here, and this one is no exception!
- The Story of the Olympics–Not to be confused with the “Usborne Young Reading” series book of the same name, which was the only book on my list I couldn’t find at the library.
- A Passion for Victory–A kind of timeline showing how the modern games evolved from those that began in Ancient Greece.
- The Complete Book of the Olympics–2012 Edition
- How to Watch the Olympics: The Essential Guide to the Rules, Statistics, Heroes, and Zeroes of Every Sport
- Hour of the Olympics–A “Magic Tree House” title.
- Ancient Greece and the Olympics–A “Fact Checker” companion to the above book.
- G is for Gold Medal
- How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals—A cute book by swimmer Michael Phelps
- The Wildest Race Ever: The Story of the 1904 Olympic Marathon
- Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn’t Sit Still
- Eyewitness Travel–London–This book may not be about the Olympics, but one of the most fun parts about any Olympics for me is learning about the city/country in which they’re taking place. We’ll be using this travel guide to learn about some of the major landmarks in London, and plan a fictional trip there.
- Katie in London
I chose a selection of biographies of some famous Olympic athletes for Turkey and Bunny to read, all from the “Childhood of Famous Americans” series:
I also got some of the “official” Olympics publications, two of which are consumable books that the children will just have to share:
I have a teacher resource book, as well. The one I have is for up to grade three, which is too young for Turkey and Bunny now, but I had it from the 2008 Olympics, and I can always adjust things upward for them, and use the activities as printed for Moose and Ladybug. There is a book for older elementary students, as well, and I’m sure it’s similarly helpful:
I also found a few books that aren’t readily available here in the States, but would have made great additions to our Olympics study:
- The Official Countdown to the London 2012 Games—This is another of the “official” books, as the title suggests, and the only one I couldn’t get my hands on. If I can find it between now and then, though, I’m definitely going to get it…it looks pretty cool!
- Olympic Park Map–I know, not technically a book, but I think it would have been awesome to have a large-sized map to look at and practice map-reading, learn about the geography of London, and see just how many venues there are at the Olympic Games, and how spread out they all are.
- Meet Wenlock and Mandeville–Cute-looking book featuring the Olympic mascots. I don’t think anything will ever top the Beijing mascots, which were awesome, but I also liked Izzy, so what do I know? I just like cute stuff!
Wow! Upon completing this list, even I was shocked at how many books there are to be found about the Olympics! We have to get busy reading!