Archive for the ‘Exploring Countries and Cultures’ Category

Gladys Aylward Movie

Last year as we studied countries and cultures, we read about several different missionaries.  We really enjoyed learning about people who laid down their lives to serve the living God and to spread the good news of salvation.

Gladys Aylward was one of the missionaries we read about.  I found this movie online which re-told the story of her life. Since my kids frequently request to watch it, I’m finally putting the twelve part youtube series up here so that they can access it more easily. (Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any other version that had been uploaded in one continuous part.)

We hope you enjoy it too!


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African Meat Curry

As I mentioned in this post, we’ve been studying countries and cultures.  In conjunction with our study of Kenya, we made a dinner from the book, Cooking the African Way.

Though I didn’t have everything in the precise form the recipe requested, it still turned out great. In fact, my dad said we should bottle and sell the sauce.  I wouldn’t go quite that far, but we definitely saved the leftover sauce for later use.

In a large frying pan, heat for 1 minute:

  • 1/2 cup  vegetable oil

Add and stir:

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger root, cut in half
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed (I used ground cumin)
  • 4 whole cardamom seeds (I didn’t have this, so I skipped it)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (I used a teaspoon or so of ground cinnamon)
  • 4 whole cloves (I used a few dashes of ground cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Stir in and cook about 10 minutes:

  • 6 oz tomato paste

Add:

  • 4-6 pieces chicken (I used both drumsticks and boneless breasts)

Reduce heat to low, and cover. Simmer for 35 minutes.

Add:

  • 2 medium white potatoes, peeled and quartered

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.

Add:

  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander (I didn’t have this, so I skipped it)

Simmer uncovered 10 minutes more.

I served the curried chicken and potatoes with steamed broccoli and sauteed asparagus.

Homemade, Non-toxic, Bake-able Play Dough

Our Countries and Cultures curriculum has brought us to the wonderful continent of Africa.  In the spirit of unit studies, we’re doing things like reading a biography of an African missionary, writing creative compositions about lions, playing a geography game requiring correct identification of African countries, listening to African music, and doing fun African art projects. . .which brings me to the topic of this post.

Today’s art project was to make African animals using a very simple homemade dough recipe included in the book, A Trip Around the World: Bringing Cultural Awareness to Your Classroom with Activities Across the Curriculum.

The dough was so simple that I wanted to be sure to post it here so that I could find it again.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix:

•4 cups flour
•2 cups salt
•2 cups water

After it is mixed, the dough can be formed into shapes, placed on foil, and baked at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

Below are our baked dough animals. The discerning African safari-goer can spot lions, giraffes, snakes, and even a gazelle.

Once the shapes have cooled completely, they can even be painted.  The book says acrylic paint works best.  Since we had limited acrylic colors, we also used glitter glue paint pens and some fabric paint. The acrylics definitely worked best.

We only used part of the dough for our animals, so I wrapped our leftover dough in plastic wrap.  The uncooked dough will has kept great.

We’ll be using this one again for sure!

Continent and Ocean Song

We’re starting a new curriculum about countries and cultures.  I am so excited!  We’re just learning about the continents and oceans now.  Being the musical kind of family we are, and knowing how easily we can memorize things when they’re set to music, I looked for a good song to teach them.  This was the best one I found. Though it seemed a bit cheesy to me at first, I eventually settled on it because it was clear (no classroom full of kids mumbling the words), included some neat points to aid memory (Europe is the only one that doesn’t start with A), and was short and sweet.

I found out afterward though, that it’s not entirely accurate. In 2000, they (whomever “they” may be exactly) added another ocean.  So, now instead of four oceans, there are five.

We have adjusted this song accordingly.  So, we now sing:

Indian, Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Southern makes it so specific
When we name the seven continents and the five oceans.

I hope you and your kiddos enjoy this as much as we have.