Friday, September 19, 2014


Our success with reading picture books Five in a Row style last made me decide to continue it this year. This past week we read Thundercake by Patrica Polacco. Since this isn't a book that appears on any of the Five in a Row lists (I just liked it), I had to make everything up from scratch. Here's what we did in case you are interested in using this book as well.

On Monday we read the book and talked about the word brave and what it means. The book tells the story of a little girl who is afraid of thunder. Her grandmother encourages her to come out from under the bed so that they can make a thunder cake together. In the course of gathering the ingredients, the grandmother shows the little girl how brave she really is. In addition to building vocabulary, I wanted to make sure that everyone understood what the book was about.

On Tuesday, we looked at the pictures in the book. Ms. Polacco fills her pages with lush, multi-colored textiles. We talked about the different patterns and then I made a simple quilt outline on paper for each child and let them create their own quite patterns in it.

On Wednesday, I found an excuse to use my laminator. As the child and grandmother go about gather the ingredients, they also count the time between the lightening flash and the clap of thunder to know how close the storm is. I made cards with lightning, thunder, and numbers so that we could practice counting and to find out how far away our pretend storm was.

What's the point of reading a book about a cake if you don't make the cake? On Thursday we followed the recipe and made our own thunder cake. While we didn't have any thunder to cook by, it still turned out quite well. The unusual thing about the recipe (which is in the back of the book), is that is uses crushed tomatoes. The littles were not quite so sure about pouring tomatoes into their chocolate cake batter, but it does help to make it moist... and you can't taste the tomatoes. Of course, I forgot to take a picture before most of it was eaten. This is what is left.

Today, we made cloud pictures. They used a mixture of shaving cream and school glue in equal amounts and they painted on blue construction paper. This was a quick and easy craft (and surprisingly un-messy) that they enjoyed. It went very fast, though, so don't expect it to fill your morning unless you plan on having dozens of cloud pictures drying around your house. The thicker mixture is taking a while to dry, but it is drying and preserving the texture on the page.

This is L. She was the last to leave the table.

1 comment:

Laura U said...

I copied this recipe out of this book 15 years ago and have often made it for birthday cakes since then. It is Kristine's favorite chocolate cake. Her fiancee, Kurt, got extra-credit love points this summer when he made it for her birthday!

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