One thing we love to do in Fourth Grade is not just read, but learn more about (if possible) the settings of our books. Recently, the Fourth Grade class at Rohan Woods read a book called “The Family Under the Bridge,” by Natalie Savage Carson. This Newberry Award winner is about a down-on-their-luck family who lives on the streets of Paris. They all befriend a hobo named Armand, who eventually adopts them as his own family.
As we began to read the book, it was clear that the setting was unfamiliar to the students. So, we started by taking a visual tour of Paris. The students got to see what many of these landmarks look like, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe. A week or so after that, the class got a surprise. When they came back from one of their specialists, they arrived to find foreign currency on their tables.
They were to use the Francs to approach the owner of a lovely French Bistro (me) and ask to make a purchase. In exchange for their money, they got a beret, some baguette, and Champagne (which, of course, was sparkling grape juice). Students were also invited to try a couple different types of cheese. It became evident very quickly that Gruyere was MUCH more popular than Brie. 🙂
Now our group is getting ready to take another trip. We just started a book called “In the Year Of the Boar and Jackie Robinson,” which is about a girl who comes to the United States from China in 1947. It’s a wonderful story that is based off of the experiences of the author, Betty Bao Lord. As the title indicates, the book does have some focus on the Chinese New Year. With that holiday fast approaching, the class will learn a whole lot of the history and lore of Chinese New Year, as well as find out which animal was represented in the year they were born, and what character traits people born in that year are said to have. It should be a blast! Off we go!