Saturday, January 25, 2014

Our week of Night of the Moonjellies

This past week was another attempt at Five in a Row style learning for the younger set. We read Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha. It's about the author's memories of working at his grandmother's lobster roll stand when he was a child. One day he finds something jelly-like on the beach and shows it to his grandmother. After they close the stand for the night, she takes him out on the ocean to where the moonjellies are. Everyone enjoyed the book and happily sat through it each day.

On the first day we looked at a map to see where New England was. This, of course, turned into a discussion about where Arizona was and how we would get there. Since we were not planning to imminently go to New England, their interest in it was minimal.

On another day we made moonjelly paintings with black construction paper and pastels. Since moonjellies are bioluminescent, they glow in the ocean and the pastels on the black paper have that same quality. It was one of those "it turns out well no matter what the age" art projects.

On Thursday while I was learning about skin expansion, A. read the book to the littles again and spurred them on to running an imaginary lobster roll stand for a good part of the morning. Construction paper hats were made and the name of the stand was written on them. They decided to call it "Pandy's Hot Dogs". I think G. had a strong vote in the naming process. Hats were still being worn when I arrived home.

Yesterday was our long-planned field trip to the Shedd Aquarium. (We have discovered that the most cost-effective way to visit the aquarium with large families is to plan a field trip and go together as a school group.) This is really the reason why I chose to do this book this week. A trip to the aquarium where we could actually look at real jelly fish after having read about them (though moonjellies are not technically jelly fish) seemed like too good plan to pass up.

We had a nice time, though, every time I'm there it feels as though all we're doing is fighting our way through huge school groups. We saw leafy sea dragons (my absolute favorite sea creature):

We saw the dolphin show...

and garden eels (I love these things. I don't know why they make me so happy.)

A. took pictures, even though she doesn't like my camera.

That evening, to top off our week, I splurged and made lobster rolls for dinner. Have you seen the price of lobster if you live in the land-locked midwest (or maybe even if you don't)?! It was probably the only time we'll ever do it, but I wanted to let everyone taste what we had been reading about all week. The guy at the fish store thought I was a bit crazy to be making lobster rolls in January, but understood when I told him about the book. (He didn't give me a discount in the interest of children's educations, though.) We decided it was our summer dinner in January meal since we also had corn-on-the-cob and garlic potatoes as well. It took all of our powers of imagination to pretend we were eating outside in 80 degree weather.

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