Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Venice

My friend, Rachel, told me at the end of last term about a unit study that she had done with her children as she thought that I might be interested. The study was on Venice and the more I thought about this idea the better it seemed. So, this term, we've started our geography/art/music for the younger two, aged 3 1/2 and almost 6, with a unit study on Venice. I have to thank Rachel for this-the overall idea as well as many of the individual ideas, come from her.

Geography
We found Venice on the map and talked about the shape of Italy:
Great big Italy
Kicked little Sicily
Right into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
We found some wonderful pictures of Venice on the internet and an aerial photograph. There were several interesting discussions about whether you can walk around in Venice and passages vs canals.

Art
Miss Belle and I took a Mummy and daughter trip to the National Gallery, on a Saturday afternoon, just before we started this. We made the most of the opportunity to look at some Canaletto paintings.
Later, we took a trip to see yet another Caneletto. I discovered that I had a book with a picture of Caneletto's picture Arrival of the French Ambassador in Annotated Art by Robert Cumming. We used this as a "Picture of the week."

We talked about the shades in this picture as well as the meaning of the clouds and then went on to do some painting with sea and sky shades. Mr Exuberance got into the swing of this with his sea picture.

Music
We listened to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons.  This has been a favourite for sometime and was greeted enthusiastically.

Books
We read three books about Venice: one wasn't obvious!
The old Ladybird book on Marco Polo. These books are such a good introduction for children.

Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew-yes, I know that the Mona Lisa has nothing to do with Venice but one of the other pictures in the book is the Lion of St Mark by Carpaccio.

Olivia goes to Venice by Ian Falconer-funny story of the determined little Olivia


Cooking
Miss Belle chose an Italian meal from a recipe book. Rather aptly it involved marinated fish-a slightly strange recipe in that the fish was cooked then marinated. If I made it again, I would marinade then cook.

Languages
I conveniently had a copy of the McGaw Hill Italian for children which is aimed at 3-10 year olds and the children listened to the first unit. I was rather surprised at their enthusiasm. Gelato seems to have become part of the vocabulary. They were keen enough that I might try a few more of the lessons.

Other activities
Duplo: we made Duplo model of Venice with several bridges but Mr Exuberance transformed this into something more splendid.

Now we just need an educational visit!

This is linked to Frugal fun for boys.