When I saw the book Grandpa Green by Lane Smith I just fell in love. So much in love in fact, that I had to revise my art lesson plans for the remainder of the year just to get this wonderful lesson added in time. It was the book’s charm and gentle story that first intrigued me. But I have to admit that it was the fantastic illustrations that finally sold me in the end. I just could not resist such a holistic way of teaching art: through literature.
Grandpa Green Activities
Especially as a homeschooler, I know the value in teaching cross subject lessons. With the following information you’ll be able to teach a whole days lessons just from one book and it can cover language arts, science and horticulture, some history, and a fabulous art lesson on color. You can easily do the lessons with multiple ages, too.You may want to add some math; but other than that this could make up the lessons for a fun Friday, so let’s get started!
Grandpa Green Language Arts
Obviously, the activities are based on the book. So you begin with reading it. It’s short and charming and can definitely be read a few times. Simply enjoy and talk about the book. It’s the story of a boy’s grandfather, Grandpa Green, and his relationship with him. It’s told in front of the backdrop of the grandfather’s garden topiaries. With each Edward Scissor-hands type creation of Grandpa Green’s you’ll learn a bit more about him and come to admire him as much as the boy.
Do a little story analysis if you like, come up with spelling and vocabulary from the book. An important vocabulary word for this story would be horticulture. You could also give your child a copywork or dictation selection for writing right from the story. Make your selection with purpose that highlights something you want them to know or remember from the book.
Colorful Characters Project Tutorial
What you will need for this Grandpa Green Activity:
- corrugated cardboard- torn for an artistic backing
- multimedia art paper or cardstock cut into various wide strips (neutral color)
- tissue paper in selected color harmony
- black art ink pens or a felt tip black pen
- paintbrush and water
- watercolor or colored ink
- Color Harmonies Mini Workbook
Vocabulary for this lesson are: Color Wheel • Color Harmonies • Monochromatic • Analogous • Triadic • Complementary color harmonies • Line drawings and line as an element of art
Grandpa Green Story Telling Activity:
Once you make your own Colorful Characters they seem to take on a life of their own. Now you can use them to tell a story. You may want to have your children write their own picture book in which a story similar to Grandpa Green is told. Perhaps it could have a color theme or a theme that ties into color. Have your children identify the theme of their story. Will it be a monochromatic color story about their baby brother who cries a lot titled “Baby Blue”? Or perhaps a story using an analogous color palate of purple to red about their favorite berries titled “Violet’s Berries“?
There is no end to what the colors or characters might inspire. The story can be autobiographical about a person they admire or a work of fiction. It can be about a person, thing or idea. Have your child tell their story using the characters they have created. Most likely, the characters themselves will come to life and inspire a story. One possibility is adding felt to the back of the Colorful Characters and creating a felt board as the back drop for the story telling experience. Consider having your child write or type their story after it’s been told verbally once or twice.
Grandpa Green Horticulture Activity:
Grandpa Green loved to garden. Have your child share in the beauty of creating and tending a garden. Take some time at the end of the day to plan and plant a small spring box garden. Your child can use these free Spring Garden Plan Worksheets to research cold weather plants and then design a garden box, whatever the size.
Once your child has learned about the plants they plan to have in their garden, then it’s time to go outside and do the planting. Another option is having an indoor terrarium or a small bonsai tree to care for. But for us, since we garden anyway, it was a nice opportunity to open my home to some of our homeschool friends and I let children from each family plan and plant their own small flower box. They had the opportunity to use a variety of spring flowers, vegetables, and herbs and arrange them however they saw fit.
Despite high Kansas winds we had an amazing time together. I taught them just a little on each plant, about soil prep and planting. I was so very impressed by the children’s willingness and desire to learn and their eagerness to try planting, some of them perhaps for the first time. It seemed they enjoyed the process so much and it occured to me that they don’t often have the opportunity to do such a “messy” project with out several restrictions applied. I mean how many moms often let their children play in dirt? They really took an interest and enjoyed the freedom of doing it themselves. We had an adventurous time digging, arranging, examining earthworms and other findings, planting, and watering- there was a little P.E. involved too. Outdoors=RUN! What a time it was!
More learning ideas and Grandpa Green Activities.
Grandpa Green fought in WWII. You may want to take this opportunity to talk about the generation that won that war for us and the level of it’s importance. Or you may want to do a brief history lesson by discussing dates and, even though he may or may not be a fictional character, you could make a Grandpa Green timeline figure and add WWII to your timeline that way. He certain represents all the men who served in the war. You may also wish to discuss the shift from agrarian life to city life ushered in by the war. In the book, it discussed Grandpa Green growing up on a farm.
Another possibility is talking about the stories referenced in the book. The Wizard of Oz is a subject that is made evident by an illustration. It’s on the page that talks about the classic books Grandpa Green read when home from school. You may want to read selections from these stories or tell your children about the classic stories that are referenced. I was surprised that there were some my son did not know. Look up the dates of their publications and see that they are books Grandpa Green would have read as a boy.
Grandpa Green is an excellent book for discussing respect for the elderly. The book talks about how grandpa forgets things now that he is older. What type of lessons can your child learn from their own grandparents? Perhaps they can call them or write them if they don’t see them often. A trip to an elderly person in a nursing home may be in order. This would be a great way to talk about growing old and how we change as we grow old both physically and mentally.
Now, how about checking out some other spring ideas to go along with some more great books! Make a stop over at iHomeschool Network for more Spring Books and Big Ideas! What ideas do you have for this spring? Please do share!