Thursday, February 6, 2014

Mythical Magic

I love having a flexible curriculum! If you're ever stuck for ideas, just ask your class what they want to learn about.
Mine said "monsters."
We had just finished up our Ocean topic, so my first thought was "Sea monsters." Then I started brainstorming. Obviously, we couldn't talk about zombies or real monsters, but we could talk about mythical animals. We had a lot of fun, even with some snow days. You can view my lesson packet here soon for the full set of ideas.

It really is amazing what can happen with a great book. Here are some books we read and the ideas they inspired:

Cock-a-Doodle Moo: a Mixed-Up Menagerie 

This book introduces the children to some classic mythical beasts: gryphon, hippocampus, and a few other mixtures of animals. It then went on to combine animals in new ways.  The children loved the pictures and silly names.
The next day during circle time, I reviewed the book and talked about how they came up with names. Then, they got to make their own. I gave them heads and bodies from magazines and they creations they came up with hilarious! Some of them even came up with great names for them. I think my favorite was "Cat Monkey Bomb." Sorry, I didn't get any pictures of them.

Where the Giants Hide

Some of the children got philosophical yesterday. We had been reading this book, which talks about reality and imagination . I wish the other children had not been so antsy; we were done with the book and they wanted to go outside. Two of the children got into an argument about what is real and what isn't. I asked, "How do you know?" One of them said, "You can't see it!" I said, "You've never seen my house. I could live in a box." "NOOoo!" they chorused. The other child said, "Well dragons are real to me!"  I guess that settles that.

The Boy Who Cried Bigfoot

This is a funny take on a classic tale. We carried that discussion over into the next day, when we talked about unsolved mysteries. I got some great gasps that day. Inspired by a giant Kraken I saw on Pinterest, we made our own giant sea monster.

Giant sea monster! It ended up being about 10 feet long. Some children drew a monster instead, so we gave it friends. The head is on the right and the tail is on the left.

Outside Over There

Banned book bonus! It also inspired the classic 80s movie Labyrinth. My kids liked it well enough that they remembered what would happen the second time we read it. They liked pointing out small details in the pictures.  

We also created some great art:

Making themselves into monsters

Chinese Dragon after reading "The Seven Chinese Sisters"

Have you ever had a book inspire you and your students? Please share in the comments section.

Until next time!

--Amy Latta


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