Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Unit: Sheep, Wool and Knitting

We started a new unit on Tuesday, the 24th. This one is very near and dear to my heart: we're learning all we can about sheep, wool and knitting (and a bit too about weaving and spinning).

On Tuesday we read:

Faukner, Keith – Bee Gets a Sweater
This is a really cute picture book about why Bee always wears a yellow-and-black sweater. The book uses textured pages to help tell the story of Spider and her knitting.

Mitgutsch, Ali – From Sheep to Scarf
Through short sentences, clearly defined terms and bright drawings, the reader comes to understand the knitting process – from source to store to grandma’s knitting needles. This is written by a German illustrator and really has a nice, simple (without being simplistic) feel to the overall presentation.

Arrigan, Mary – Pa Jinglebob The Fastest Knitter in the West
This is an easy reader chapter book that has a great twist to it. This book is similar to Ferdinand in that Pa Jinglebob, definitely the under-dog and not a typical sheriff saves the day with his knitting prowess, rather than his gunslinging abilities. Great book for the boys in the audience (although my daughter liked it too; and mom had fun reading it).

Wolfman, Judy – Life on a Sheep Farm
Great, clear photographs are scattered throughout this book that discusses all the processes occurring on a sheep farm. The narrator is the granddaughter of the farm’s owner. A “fun facts” page, glossary and “how to learn more about sheep” finish off this well-written, informative book.

Wheeler, Lisa – Wool Gathering: A Sheep Family Reunion
A great series of poems – centered around various sheep family members – that are often humorous while also being informative. These poems are illustrated (by Frank Ansley) with cartoony drawings that make the kids giggle as they learn about sheep. Many of the poems are funny in their own right; but also have creative word-plays that make it fun for the older folks in the crowd!

Lyon, George Ella – Weaving the Rainbow
I had heard “rave reviews” about this one, but just got around to reading it to the kids. Boy, it is as good as they all said! This is the story of a weaver who raises and shears her own sheep – all the while thinking of the rainbow they’ll make. The illustrations (by Stephanie Anderson) are absolutely gorgeous and I only wish they had a full-size picture of the final product!

We also watched:
Sheep Crossing – The Great White Dog Picture Company, 1996
This video has lots of animals and great information about how we get yarn. There are scenes from farms, spinnery mills, county fair competition and lots more footage to give the kids a great understanding of sheep, shearing, spinning, weaving and knitting. This video really helped to illustrate what we’d been reading about in the various books!
I have big plans for this unit -- teaching the kids to knit (after making our own knitting needles), adding in the info about the Dulaan Project that I've volunteered for (which will add in a bit about Mongolia as well as being a service project), and more. LegoManiac has already started "getting into it" by (of his own free-will) starting a small weaving project (he's going to make me a scarf to match a sweater I just finished) on a wooden peg loom we've had banging around for the last 10 years!

1 comment:

Theresa said...

That sounds like a great, fuzzy, warm unit-perfect for this time of year!