Friday, February 23, 2018

Africa Week Three and Recipes for a Feast

Today was the culmination of our Africa main lesson block and we ended with a party. We cooked four recipes and sat down in the afternoon and enjoyed them, along with my African Playground CD from Putamayo World Music!

Yesterday we were so fortunate to have Ms. Sharifa come as a special guest and give us a lesson in Swahili. She taught us the words to the Jambo song, and then today we were able to sing along to the music during our feast.

Our African Feast recipes were:

I couldn't find teff (an Ethiopian grain) in any of the grocery stores in Carbondale, so I ordered it from Amazon.

This week has been busy and FULL of reports! Our schedule was:

  • Monday - Animal Reports
  • Tuesday - Country Reports
  • Thursday - People Reports
  • Friday - Bonus Reports & Feast Day

Students proudly presented animal reports on their favorite animals of their biomes. We learned about the knifefish (wetlands), hooved hyrax (mountains), giant African snail (tropical forests), cheetah (grasslands), and sandgrouse (deserts). There was also a bonus report on the Nile crocodile.

The younger group also researched and presented people reports focused on a native people of the biomes. They taught us about how fundamental needs such as shelter, transportation, food, and clothing are met by the Masai (grasslands), the fellah of the Nile Delta (wetlands), the Konso (mountains), the !Kung (deserts), and the Efe pygmies (tropical forests).

When needed, older students paired up with younger to help with research, summarizing, editing, writing on the posters, and presentations. It was so much fun to watch them demonstrate the n!n!ahua game of the !Kung children. Students also worked in pairs preparing the recipes for our feast.

One student who was absent last week shared his book report on Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story. He did project #3, the Wanted Poster, and his classmates gave him a 13/16 on our Oral Book Report rubric.

For the country reports, the older students each presented a country PLUS an animal which lives there. We heard about Lesotho and the white-tailed rat, Niger and the fennec fox, Chad and the African bush elephant, and -- last but not least -- Madagascar. Leah loved so many of the animals from Madagascar that she included lots of them on her poster: the ring-tailed lemur, tenrec, Morgan sphinx moth, flatid sapsucker, satanic leaf gecko, and the pygmy mouse lemur.

We also had an older student do an extra assignment on Mansa Musa (the link is to an excellent lesson plan from Stanford History Education Group's "Reading Like a Historian" series) and share what he learned with the class. This happened on Thursday morning after we read the story about another famous king, who was an ancestor of Mansa Musa, named Sundiata.

Of course, I still continued to read picture books to the group daily. We couldn't possibly read aloud all of the books which I checked out from the library, but I did my best to give the children a wide-ranging view of Africa. Here were the books for Week Three:

This morning we also did an art project with chalk pastels which accompanied The Village of Round and Square Houses. It was interesting to work with different colored backgrounds; I had an assortment of colors of pastel paper! This art lesson is found in Teaching Art with Books Kids Love: Art Elements, Appreciation, and Design with Award-Winning Books.

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Steve Jenkins and the Animals of Africa

We have had so much fun using the many wonderful books by Steve Jenkins to supplement our Africa research! Some of the animals he has in his books are mentioned in our nomenclature cards... see these in my Waseca Biomes Africa Cards post... so they're really helpful as a secondary source.

But there are a ton of fascinating creatures which live in Africa, so we have been expanding our report topics; students who are interested in other African animals have the opportunity to do BONUS reports!

In case anyone else is doing Animals of Africa reports, I just wanted to list all of the African animals Steve Jenkins has in each book, before I return this huge stack back to the public library!

Note: Hottest, Coldest, Highest, Deepest includes facts about the Sahara Desert and Nile River.

If I have missed one of his books, please let me know in the comments box and I will check it out and update this list.

Actual Size

    ostrich, Goliath frog, gorilla, pygmy mouse lemur, Goliath beetle, African elephant

Almost Gone: The World's Rarest Animals


The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest ―- and Most Surprising -― Animals on Earth

    African elphant, African foam grasshopper, archerfish, armadillo lizard, blackchin tilapia, blue-winged grasshopper, bolas spider, bombardier beetle, Cape buffalo, Cape stag beetle, cheetah, Nile crocodile, extinct elephant bird, elephant seal, European roller, fat-tailed scorpion, flat-faced longhorn beetle, giraffe, giraffe weevil, gorilla, hairy frog, hippopotamus, Jackson's chameleon, kestrel, manatee, Morgan's sphinx moth, mosquito, naked mole rat, ostrich, pangolin, porcupine, pygmy mouse lemur, red spitting cobra, Ruppell's vulture, satanic leaf-tailed gecko, sifaka, tenrec, termite, warthog

Animals by the Numbers: A Book of Infographics

    Afrian elephant, hippopotamus, termite, cheetah, ostrich, impala, mosquito, giraffe, porcupine, greater kudu, Jackson's chameleon, white rhinoceros, ibex, scimitar-horned oryx, Morgan's sphinyx moth, lion, hyena, Cape buffalo, crocodile, fat-tailed scorpion, tsetse fly, Ruppell's vulture, Sahara desert ant, wildebeest

The Beetle Book

    flat-faced longhorn beetle, rose chafer beetle, African jewel beetle, Cape stag beetle, giraffe weevil, dung beetle, tok-tokkie, Madagascar hissing cockroach, African goliath beetle

Big & Little

    ostrich, Nile crocodile, African chameleon, African rock python, gorilla, fennec fox

Biggest, Strongest, Fastest

    African elephant, giraffe, cheetah

Bones: Skeletons and How They Work

    aardwolf, elephant, stork, python, giraffe, mouse lemur, baboon, chameleon, rhinoceros

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do

    Egyptian vulture, mandrill, mole rat, giraffe, shoebill stork, rock hyrax

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World

    stalk-eyed fly, panther chameleon, hippopotamus

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish: Leaping Lemurs, Tumbling Toads, Jet-Propelled Jellyfish, and More Surprising Ways That Animals Move

    agama, springbok, ring-tailed lemur, baboon, mudskipper, Moroccan desert spider, hedgehog, armadillo lizard, pangolin

How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?

    lily trotter (jacana), Jackson's chameleon, worm lizard, aardvark

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships

    zebra, wildebeest, ostrich, cattle egret, waterbuck, honeyguide, ratel (honey badger), oxpecker, giraffe, rhinoceros, red deer, African buffalo, warthog, mongoose, Egyptian plover, African crocodile, hippopotamus, African helmeted turtle, social weaver, African pygmy falcon, black tree ants

How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom

    vervet monkey, Nile crocodile

I See a Kookaburra! Discovering Animal Habitats Around the World

    serval, giraffe antelope (gerenuk), elephant shrew, dung beetle, rhinoceros, secretary bird, termite, naked mole rat

Living Color

    tomato frog, blue-winged grasshopper, Madagascar moon moth, yellow mongoose, African chameleon, flamingo


    lily trotter (jacana)

My First Day: What Animals Do on Day One

    giraffe, blue wildebeest (gnu), sifaka, zebra

Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember

    hippopotamus, spitting cobra, African buffalo

Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World

    African elephant, naked mole rat, termite, spotted hyena, cheetah, Nile crocodile, cichlid, cuckoo catfish

Slap, Sqeak & Scatter: How Animals Communicate

    vervet monkey, mole rat, chimpanzee, ring-tailed lemur, elephant, klipspringer, hippopotamus

Time for a Bath

    giant pangolin, African elephant, jerboa, web-footed gecko

Time to Eat

    butcherbird, ostrich, dung beetle, giant hawk moth, aye-aye

Time to Sleep

    giraffe, European bee-eater, flamingo, warthog, white stork, gorilla

Trickiest! 19 Sneaky Animals

    fork-tailed drongo, archerfish, bolas spider, satanic leaf-tailed gecko

What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You?

    bombardier beetle, pangolin

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?

    hyena, African elephant, yellow-winged bat, hippopotamus, giraffe, chameleon, bush baby, chimpanzee, mosquito, egg-eating snake, archerfish

This post contains affiliate links to the materials I actually use for homeschooling. I hope you find them helpful. Thank you for your support!