“Anna Hibiscus”, African fruits and Our Five Senses!
After some discussion and a little research into fruits generally (reviewing the food group and plant key features here), in careful study of the fruit Anna Hibiscus (Term 4 Power of Reading book) is picking on the front cover of our book, we sampled a variety of African fruits.
Most of these were loved by most of us, with some pleasant surprises along the way, with the texture of Pomegranates, the smell of Pawpaws, the colour and size of Figs, and the overall favourites coming out in our informal survey as Golden Plums, Peaches and Mangoes. We used all our senses, even hearing other people licking and chewing (we weren’t social distancing then) and hearing our own jaws and teeth biting various textures!
Some children asked me to inform their Mums of their preferences for shopping trips and snacks at home, so this was very positive in terms of healthy eating and developing more diverse tastes!
We both described the sounds, sights, smells, feels and tastes, and then made observational drawings of fruits in different media, for our Story Wall.
We voted and the consensus was that Anna is picking Mangoes in the front cover illustration.
Anna Hibiscus Poppy Story Wall creation:
In relation to our Science topic of our bodies, we focused on developing our representational drawing skills, adding in body, arms, legs, toes, fingers and more facial features (also linked with our five senses) than individual children used to do. Much discussion went on about Anna’s body, her skin tone, and also her mother’s, a Canadian (“Anna laid her soft brown cheek on her mother’s white arm”) with some other book illustrations referred to here. We also walked through some other story books based in Africa, as well as our new class books, “A is for Africa” and “Letters to Africa”- both are well worth a read at home as they contain wonderful photos and the latter is a celebration of a letter writing exchange between UK and African schools, with the involvement of the author of Anna Hibiscus.
We employed colour mixing of chalks and pastels, using smudging techniques, to try to match to our own individual skin colours, and decided we were not all the same, but beautifully different in terms of skin, eyes, hair and other features.
The progress in drawing people was very clear to see in our Art Gallery work, below!
Anna’s family compared to our own families: describing phrases:
We practised signing and saying the multisyllabic word: “Family”, and talked about the similarities and differences comparing our own families with Anna’s large extended African family, most of whom all live in the same house and even share bedrooms and beds in a way very different to how we do in England now.
We labelled Anna’s family members and drew our own, talking about why each person is so special to us.
We enjoyed Decision Alley drama in role as either Mum or paternal Grandma, and chose whether we’d say being on our own in a bedroom at night and spending time in a quiet home, or sharing a bedroom and being in the midst of a large, very noisy family, was our individual preference.
Amongst other fun activities and meeting our visiting author, we much enjoyed a visit to West Malling Library in book week, with our classes. Naturally, we thought children would be able to visit this and their other local libraries where Mc Ginty pupils travel in from, at weekends, and over the Easter holiday.
When we do go back when all is safe again, we can be even more excited about free and wonderful book loans, as we won’t be taking this service for granted any more, maybe!
We have started creating our new Role Play Area to support exciting ways of learning through this term’s Power of Reading book! Our role play and hot seating of the model’s magical transformation under the moon, into a living dragon with superpowers, have been a lot of fun this week, with mysterious music and even shimmering fairy dust falling from the skies.
We regularly invite pupils’ suggestions and wishes, listening to what they consider would improve our shared learning and teaching (pupil voice), and last Summer introduced two Guinea Pig brothers, Pablo and Picasso, following requests for some pets. Pablo was very adventurous and far the most confident, but sadly his curiosity and agility meant that he escaped from a locked run door in my garden during a holiday, and he has been pursuing a life of liberty ever since (with the foxes!!) We are still searching for a female rescue guinea pig to join Picasso, as Guinea Pigs are social rodents (another male and he would now fight territorially).
This term, again by popular demand, we have added another pet to our menagerie, a rescue female hamster, called Chunky (apparently, dark furred hamsters are less preferred by pet shop customers, as not so photogenic in owners’ selfies ): )
Poppy children are loving reading to their pets and have learnt to respect their feelings (as well as their own fingers) and resist the temptation to put their fingers into her bed until she’s woken up and emerged herself. The children’s awareness of life processes and needs of animals is definitely enhanced by caring for living things in class themselves.
We really enjoyed exploring this story together, through a great deal of first hand experience of Pumpkins (even if we didn’t actually make it to the Pumpkin Farm in the end) and virtual visits to Kerala in Southern India. The children showed deepening understanding and empathy for the main characters, whose crops and animals were hit by flooding alongside them, and particularly loved the whispering advice technique and leaving suggestion notes for Kanni and Pattan. The Class’ ability to really become absorbed in role, and engage more fully in drama techniques such as thought tracking, freeze framing, mobile conversations and role on the wall, was very pleasing to watch. They loved role play area creativity, too and made this fabulous papier mache pumpkin!