For me (perhaps I'm lazy), I skip the stuff that doesn't work. Just because the teacher's guide say to do it, doesn't mean I must do it. But, I try to emphasize the stuff that DOES work.Texas Gal wrote:My kids LOVE fiction books and will sit still and listen while I read. But if it's non-fiction, I have the hardest time keeping my kids' interest. Does anyone have any ideas about how to keep their attention during the "activity" portion of MFW-K when we are to gather information about the new topic? Thanks!
First off, don't worry about the three year old. A 3 yo often can't keep his or her attention focused for long at all. A preschoolers job is to make messes, explore, and eat crayons (not to sit through a non-fiction book on cows). And many 5 yo's aren't ready for that sort of learning either. You could simply put MFWK up for a while and try again later.
Or, if you want to press on, then skip the non-fiction and get great fiction books (using the MFW list and beyond!). Read a colorful and fun fiction book on butterflies (I like Charley the Caterpillar) and after you read, skip back to a picture of the butterfly and show the three body parts. Or, skip back to pictures of both the caterpillar and the butterfly and explain it's the same animal! So, before you read the book, decide what facts you can present using the fiction book.
At this age, don't expect to be able to cram in a lot of different facts. A few well-said sentences work better than a dissertation...
Also, use craft projects to teach the facts. Again, do the craft, then point out some cool facts about the subject. So, do the leaf rubbings and then explain how the veins in the leaves bring the water to the tips of the leaves. One sentence ought to do it.
Posted Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:57 pm by kellybell
You know, some kids (my son included) eat up non-fiction like chocolate. Others see it as the equivalent of brussel sprouts.
I read a book saying if you need to get kids to eat veggies you ought to puree them and put them in pasta sauce, meatloaf, or whatever. Disguise veggies and they will go down the tube!
Sometimes you need to do that with information too. If non-fiction books on turtles leave your child cold, find a nice fiction book with the information pureed and included. That way your kids won't even know that they are learning.
Holling C. Holling has some really nice books on US Geography. I'd much rather read Paddle to the Sea than read a dry book on the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes. My dh even remembers seeing the movie Paddle to the Sea in school when he was a schoolboy in Michigan.
And, we just got done with a road trip (a very long one -- and, oh, did I mention I GOT TO MEET CRYSTAL FACE TO FACE) and we listened to several books on CD to pass the time in the van. One we enjoyed was Tree Castle Island by Jean Craighead George (she also wrote Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain, I believe). It was based in the Okefenokee Swamp which (before listening to the book) I remembered was "somewhere in Georgia." Well, after listening to the book I can (as can my kiddos) tell you of the current in the swamp, the rivers that flow out of the area, about peat bogs, bears, etc. The kids grabbed the road atlas and now know where in Georgia the Okefenokee is. Lots of science was mixed in that story. So, while we were entertained by a fun story, we also learned a lot (without really realizing it). Sort of the pureed vegetable approach.
If I had told the kids, "Okay, for the next 200 miles, we're going to listen to a CD listing facts about the Okefenokee Swamp," they would first think I'm crazy and then they'd ask if it were legal to hitchhike to grandma's.
So, don't fret it too much if a young student just doesn't "get into" non-fiction books. Find the best ones you can (I think there's a good "Crinkleroot" book on turtles but I might be wrong) and if they don't work, search for fiction on the same subjects. And, while I'll never advocate abandoning books altogether (gasp!), it's okay to substitute a cool video now and then too for imparting information. Reading has its place but its not the only way to get those veggies in. Hands-on projects also are a great way to learn things too. If you are making a paper mache (oh, that can't be how to spell that) turtle, you can brush up on turtle facts and then discuss them as you make the turtle, "and this bottom shell is the carapice. On some turtles, it's hinged so that the turtle can totally tuck in..."
If one approach doesn't work, try another...