Tag Archives: Russia

Rechenka’s Eggs : our experience with an Easter story

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Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polacco tells the story of an elderly woman, a babushka, who spends her winter painstakingly painting Easter eggs to display at the Easter festival in Moscow.  After rescuing a goose whom she names Rechenka, all her fragile eggs are shattered when the goose haphazardly flies about the little house.  Babushka continues to care for her adopted pet unaware of the surprise which awaits her the following morning.

Patricia Polacco is one of my favorites for her knack at revealing stories of family, kindness and tradition.  Her illustrations beautifully coordinate both ink sketches and ornately painted cultural and familial patterns.

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This is a rich and gorgeous story of kindness, love and searching for the daily wonder in our lives.  Babuskha does this so fluidly and naturally.  Children also seem to do this intuitively, don’t they?  Here are a few helpful hints for making the most out of this delightful Easter and springtime read.

TALK ABOUT THE ANIMALS – caribou/calves; goose, geese, gosling

TALK ABOUT NEW WORDS (vocabulary)

  • beamed – smiled warmly
  • processions – long lines or groups of people like in a parade
  • quivered – trembled or shook like from cold, fear or excitement
  • miracle – something extraordinary; brought about by God

TALK ABOUT RUSSIAN CULTURE

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  • St. Basil’s cathedral – the main cathedral in Moscow on Red Square, characterized by the “onion” domes.

 

 

  • Pysanky – an ornate and artistic style of decorating Easter eggs in the Ukraine and Russia using hot wax and a stylus.

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  • Icons, triptych – Byzantine religious works of art representing biblical figures, characterized by large eyes, long, slender noses and small mouths.  Triptychs are icons presented in a series of three panels.

 

TALK ABOUT RUSSIAN WORDS

Da – Yes         Nyet – No      Dacha- a small house in the countryside     babushka- grandmother

kulich – a sweet bread    pashka – a cheese spread with raisins    Moskva– Moscow

ACTIVITIES

  • Color your own Easter eggs, of course!
  • Fly around the house or yard, or even the park honking like a goose.
  • Read the story 20 times together and cuddle up with your favorite family quilt!

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When Vexillology Takes Center Stage

It is not often that A’s obsessive interests and fascination with minutiae become germane enough to share even with his brothers.  The upcoming Olympics provides him with a wonderful opportunity not only to display his flag collection in his room, but also to pass on this great love to his youngest brother.

Here is a sampling of some of A’s flags which he has displayed using a variety of mason jars and plastic containers on his bookshelf.

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Supposedly, vexillology, the study of flags and their symbolic meanings, can be a popular hobby with people on the autism spectrum.  Perhaps this is due to repetitive patterns and the need (or ability) to pay close attention to details.  A is astonishingly adept at quickly differentiating  France’s flag from Russia’s, and Indonesia’s from Poland’s.  Or even trickier, the flag of Chad from the flag of Romania.  Look them up.  They are maddeningly similar.  Yet, A instantaneously recognizes the country.  He seems to be passing this love and talent on to my very neuro-typical G.  Yesterday, while looking at some random photos from London’s 2012 flag ceremony, G instantly exclaims, pointing to a partially furled flag, “Look!  There’s Brazil’s flag, and there’s Syria’s!”  We have not made any kind of systematic study of flags.  I suspect he has been under the tutelage of his oldest brother more than I even expected.

Although this was not in connection with the Olympics, last year A and S created flags for our new home school.  Each reflects their own personality and interests.  This is is the NASA-inspired one S painted.  We named our school SAG House.

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A was still influenced by his love for Taiwan as the underdog.  He complains every Olympics that they are not permitted to carry their own flag.  And very quietly I type and admit he dressed up as Taiwan last year for Halloween.  (No political comments, please.)

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My attempts to get G to participate in flag creation were somewhat succesful.  That kid is just not a crafter.  I found this cute and very simple Olympic flag craft on East Coast Creative blog.  Click here to see how her son’s project turned out.  G spent all of five minutes on his, but he did enjoy it, moderately.

For those who might be more enthusiastic, it was a great way to talk about circles, continents (namely, the five involved in the Olympic games), and even a refresher on how to mix primary colors to create green, purple, orange, etc.

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After watching the flag ceremony clips and creating our own flags, we had to host a ceremony ourselves.  After all, an outdoor mini-Olympics may not really happen with all these Arctic temperatures in the Mid West this year.  Our wide staircase provided the perfect indoor venue for showcasing their spectacular colors.

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Of course, we will all be fixed to the television set on Febraury 6th for the 2014 Opening Ceremony in Sochi, Russia.  Unless, it is on too late in the evening, then we will just escort G on up to bed.

One more thing: A has asked me to include a flag quiz.

1.  Whose flag is NOT rectangular?

2.  Which national flag is the most ornate?

3.  Which country readopted their five-cross flag back in 2004?

4.  Which country’s flag previously featured a large ‘R’ in the center?

Are there any budding vexillologists out there?  May you enjoy the time as your passion takes center stage.