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Unit Study: Paris in the Springtime

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My elder daughter recently found a glass replica of The Eiffel Tower among my trinkets. It fascinated her, and she recognized the landmark from the Madeline stories. We’ve been exploring Paris ever since, and the resources below will show you how I’ve created a unit study based on her interests. My disclaimer is to follow the child’s lead and not push to make things strict or overtly education. Keep it flexible and playful, or kids will resist (or just hate it), and that’s not the purpose of creative inquiry.

This unit study is weighted toward culture (lots of humanities), so adding math and science requires additional resourcefulness. I’d also say it’s OK to not be perfectly balanced on coverage of all subjects in all unit studies, because my goal is balance over the long term (a month, several months, a year) not in a day or week.

 

READ: Balance fiction, non-fiction, reference, children’s and adult’s books (like the coffee-table art book).

Adèle & Simon by Barbara McClintock (language arts, social studies, geography)

“CIA World Factbook: France” (language arts, social studies, geography)

Charlotte in Paris by Joan MacPhail Knight and Melissa Sweet (language arts, social studies, art)

Chasing Degas by Eva Montanari (language arts, art)

Degas and the Little Dancer by Laurence Anholt (language arts, art)

E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet by Helen Wilbur and Yan Nascimbene (language arts, social studies, geography)

Everybody Bonjours! by Leslie Kimmelman and Sarah McMenemy (language arts, social studies)

Getting to Know France and French by Nicola Wright and Kim Wooley (language arts, social studies, home economics, geography)

Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Jane O’Connor and Jessie Hartland (language arts, art)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (language arts)

The Louvre: All the Paintings by Vincent Pomarède, Erich Lessing, Loyrette Henri and Anja Grebe (art)

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelans (language arts)

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet by Laurence Anholt (language arts, art)

The Mona Lisa Caper by Rick Jacobson and Laura Fernandez (language arts, social studies, art)

Paris in the Spring with Picasso by Joan Yolleck and Marjorie Priceman (language arts, social studies, art)

This Is Paris by Miroslav Sasek (language arts, social studies, geography)

 

WATCH: Use film where audio and visual matters most (like hearing native speakers of a language, seeing artwork or a city).

Brainy Baby: French (language arts–French)

Linnea in Monet’s Garden (art)

Little Pim (language arts–French)

The Red Balloon (language arts, social studies, geography)

 

LISTEN: Add music and audiobooks for immersion in the sounds of native speakers and creation of a fun atmosphere.

French Playground (music)

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (language arts–French)

Paris (music)

Putumayo Presents: French Café (music)

Songs in French for Children (music)

 

MAKE: Get creative and incorporate the unity study into everyday play; the possibilities are endless!

Build a replica of The Eiffel Tower with blocks (mathematics, art)

Cook Cool French Cooking: Fun and Tasty Recipes for Kids by Lisa Wagner (home economics, science, mathematics)

Color The Eiffel Tower (art, social studies)

Color the French flag and map (art, social studies, geography)

Color a world map (art, social studies, geography)

Create an Impressionist-inspired picnic (art)

Make a passport to Paris (art, social studies)

Set up a café at home (home economics, science, mathematics)

Track The Tour de France (mathematics–convert kilometers and miles, measure the route, track riders’ distances and percentage of riders in race, count finishers; social studies, geography)

Send postcards from France (art, social studies)