August 13, 2018

Paddington Bear Children's Literature Study from Branch Out World {Review}

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We do a lot of reading here in our home. It's something that I've always loved to do, and with a young child, it's quite enjoyable just sitting down for those fun storytime moments together as a family. What's even better is when we can take what we're reading and fully immerse ourselves into the story. That's exactly what we've been doing thanks to Branch Out World and their Paddington Bear literature study for children.

Branch Out World was created by a homeschooling mother who also enjoys sharing books with her own family. The Paddington Bear literature study that we've been working on is actually part of a collection of studies from the company's Picture Book Explorers series. Each study in the series focuses on a specific book and then invites families to "branch out" and expand their knowledge by studying various components and topics relating to the story in some shape or form.





Each study guide in the Picture Book Explorers series is offered in a downloadable PDF document. The Paddington Bear study is approximately sixty-nine pages long. The lesson activities that are included have really provided us with a whole new way to take in what we're reading. The best way to explain how this series works is to basically compare it to a collection of unit studies, because essentially that is kind of what it is. If you are familiar with unit studies, then you may already know that they incorporate a variety of different academic disciplines (math, reading, science, etc.) that revolve around one central theme or topic.





When you go to purchase a study in the Picture Book Explorers series, there will be notes on which version of the book you will need for the study. In our case, we used the picture book called Paddington. The guide does offer suggestions on additional books and even films that could also be used to enhance the study.  We planned on going all out with the Paddington theme, so in addition to the picture book that I had recently purchased, I was sure to also borrow the chapter book and shows from our local library. I was happy to find the original Paddington stop motion television series from the seventies. This was the one that I used to watch when I was a little girl, so it brought back many memories.




Now that we had all of our Paddington books and shows, it was time to plan out our activities from the study guide. The lesson activity plans are easily laid out. Depending on the activity being done, there may be some extra prep work involved. Some items are automatically included in the file, such as certain lesson templates, maps, coloring pages, etc. Other items such as basic arts and crafts materials, household items, and food ingredients may be needed, depending on which activities you decide to do with your child. What's nice is that the creator was sure to include a list of everything that would be needed right in the beginning of the guide. She also divides the items by each study day, so you'll also know when you need them. I can't stress how convenient this was for me, since I'm a planner who likes having orderly lists made, beforehand. This is the case for pretty much everything, but especially for our study plans.

One of the things that I really like about this Paddington study is that the creator offers various activity suggestions in each area of discussion, so this can actually be used with multiple ages or grade levels. You can choose to do all of the activities, or pick and choose the ones that will work for your family. The important thing to know is that there's basically a little something to do for everyone. This an especially helpful feature for me, personally, because I have a young child. While there were some activities that we had to temporarily pass up, there were plenty that we were still able to enjoy and even some that we had adapted to work for our own situation.

Since these guides offer a cross-curricular approach, there's a little bit of everything. The study is meant to be worked on in a span of five days where families should read the book on each day, and then follow up with an activity or collection of activities listed for that day. You could follow this method, but as I've discovered, there are so many fun activities to take part in, we decided to keep the study going a bit longer than five days. The program is adaptable in that way, so you could do this in a week or keep the study going on for weeks if your family enjoys it that much. 

So what does a Paddington Bear study actually involve?  Well a lot more than you would imagine–at least than what I had originally imagined! Paddington Bear is an Andean bear (spectacled bear) from Peru who hitches a ride onto a boat headed for England. He is then greeted by a couple at the train station. They decide to take him home, and eventually he becomes a part of their family.




On day one we focused on history and geography by exploring the settings in the story. In this case, we spent some time learning about Peru and England. We studied their flags and the difference between them, as well as the geographical locations of both countries. There were plenty of maps included in the study guide. We also pulled out our globe and atlases to really get a glance. My son enjoyed putting together this "tourism poster" for Peru, using the provided flag template (which he colored).





 


Day two focuses on literature and grammar. We learned a little bit about the author and had the opportunity to analyze vocabulary with some examples from the picture book. We also discussed character development and the importance of helping others, while also using examples of this from the book.

On day three we touched up on art by talking about the illustrations in the book and the various techniques that were used, such as creating the illusion of depth and dimension. We also did some memory work by focusing on the details of each image in the book. One of my personal favorites was the inclusion of a study on the architectural features of the Brown home (the family who had adopted Paddington). As an adult, I personally learned a thing or two from this study.

Day four focuses on science, so we spent a lot of our time doing a suggested garden study from the guide. We also spent some time learning about Andean bears. My son was already a bit familiar with these creatures since we do have them at our local zoo. Of course, with all of the Paddington excitement, lately, we are planning another trip back to spend some extra time observing them.

Day five wraps up the study with a little bit of everything else, including math, crafts, and even some culinary activities. My son had fun learning about spatial awareness by using the included template to pack his "suitcase to London." He also did one activity where he was prompted to find all of the random numbers shown in the book's illustrations. He then had to put them in increasing and deceasing order. He used some of his number manipulatives for this activity.
 

 



Some of our favorite activities included enjoying the local treats from both Peru and London. We ended our studies with a celebration of delicious marmalade toast from England and Inca Kola from Peru. I was actually surprised to have found this last item at my local grocery store. We're not big soda drinkers, unless they include natural ingredients. I'm not a fan of serving up anything with artificial dyes or high fructose syrup. I did make a very small exception this one time for the study and we only had a little bit. I have close childhood friends from Peru, so I remember this drink all too well (it's quite tasty...almost like pineapple). I thought it would be fun for my son to also try it.

 

 



We've been having a lot of fun with the Paddington Bear study from Branch Out World. There are plenty more ideas and suggestions in the guide that I couldn't possibly list them all, here. The study is very thorough with the information and activities that it offers.

Using the Picture Book Explorers series is definitely a fun way to get children excited about literature. I especially enjoyed how it allowed us to become fully immersed in what we were reading. It's also really convenient, too. Besides a bit of minimal prep work of having to collect a few items here and there to complete some of the activities, the rest of the planning is done for me. I would definitely consider purchasing additional studies from Branch Out World, and would even be happy to see further books added to the collection in the future, perhaps The Little House Collection or even The Chronicles of Narnia.





Paddington Bear {Branch Out World Reviews}


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