Y is for Yak
We started with a charming story from e.e. cummings' book of Fairy Tales, "The House that Ate Mosquito Pie."
The illustration for this story shows a house with two tall chimneys, which forms the shape of the capital letter H. You can also see an example on the front cover of Putting the Heart Back into Teaching: A Manual for Junior Primary Teachers by Stanford Maher and Yvonne Bleach.
We used brown paint and a little clay brick from a Teifoc Brick Construction Set to stamp the shape of the capital H / house on a small square piece of blue card stock. Then we used green paint and a Princeton Catalyst Silicone Brush to paint the textured grass around our little house.
Next we read Philip Steele's short and nicely illustrated book How Do People Live? about housebuilding around the world. We looked more closely at the Mongolian yurt with Wonderful Houses Around the World.
I gave a brief lesson on wool (feeling/smelling/comparing a freshly shorn fleece with a collection of dyed wool roving, showing how wool roving can be spun into yarn, explaining how wet felting works) and then we felted a flat piece of wool using the bubble wrap technique. I had a cafeteria tray, plenty of towels, an enamel washbasin of hot water, the wool roving assortment (which I purchased from a Child's Dream Come True), a long piece of small-bubble bubble wrap, and some grated Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap.
After the felting he compared the texture of his finished felted piece with the loose fluffy roving we had started with. You can see how warm a house would be that was covered all in wool! Then we talked about an animal which lives in cold places like Mongolia, and which is very shaggy to stay warm, and which has a name that starts with Y. The yak! We looked at the illustration in Eric Carle's Anismals Animals (pages 66-67) and saw how the yak has a long snout and then two long horns that stick out on either side. We read the "Yak" poem in the book, which is by Jack Prelutsky. And then it was time to wrap up our tutoring session and for my student to head home! He's very interested in actually making the house with the Teifoc brick kit so I promised that we would start next session with that activity.
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