Galloping the Globe- Russia (and Another Celebrated Dancing Bear)

A couple of weeks ago, we studied Russia with Galloping the Globe and coupled it with a literary study of Another Celebrated Dancing Bear by Gladys Scheffrin-Falk.  Although we really enjoyed our study, this wasn’t the kids’ favorite Five in a Row book. They enjoyed the activities more than the actual literature for this one.

I used many of the  FIAR activities and also came up with some ideas of my own!

We started our study with a look at Russia.  Every literary study corresponding with Galloping the Globe starts with us opening up several Atlases and locating the country, its capital, and other important places within that country (major mountains, lakes, rivers, etc.)

Russia is incredibly vast and it was challenging to help the kids understand there are so many different types of people in Russia because it spans such a wide area.  The West is far more of a European influence and the East has much more of an Asian influence.

Some of the other books we enjoyed:

Many of these titles were suggested in the Galloping the Globe curriculum.  I was lucky to find them at the Library!
Vocabulary and action words.  The kids love doing this activity, so I just keep repeating it with every literary study we do.  First, I choose action words, verbs, and new vocabulary from the book.  Then I print them out, cut them up, put them in our grab box.  Then we have fun taking turns choosing a piece of paper, reading the action and acting them out for each other to guess.  Easy as pie, but so fun and educational for the kids!
More vocabulary.  I simply lay the words on the table, describe one of the words, and have the children choose the correct word.

Talking about character development. 

Borris the bear was, “a heavy-footed brown bear whose heart was as soft as butter.”  For this activity, we discussed character descriptions and how characters help develop a story line.  We took a look at the names of various characters from books we’ve studied.  The kids each gave their own verbal descriptions of the characters based on what they know.  They then chose their favorite character and wrote (or narrated for the younger kids) a descriptive sentence about that character.

This was a simple language activity we added to our lapbooks.

Color Temperature Wheels

We discussed warm and cool colors and created these color wheels.

Playing with warm and cool colors using pastels.
St. Basil Cathedral art project.

Making Snow Flake Crystals

We discussed the cold climate in the north of Russia and the concept of Freezing Point.  These snow crystals are easy to make.  We decided to add food coloring to create colorful snowflakes.  Here are some easy instructions.

Russian Ballet and Tchaikovsky

We spent some time reading about Russian ballet and listening to Tchaikovsky throughout the week.   We enjoyed some of Tchaikovsky’s best known pieces and I also found an old YouTube video of The Nutcraker and the kids really enjoyed watching.

Russian stacking dolls –


Another Celebrated Dancing Bear is illustrated using a medium of art called etching.  We had fun using pastels and watered down black paint to create our own etchings.  We found a great art project in one of our Usborne art books.
Use pastels to make a design leaving no white paper showing.

Cover your pastel pattern with watered down paint.

Once the paint dries, use a chopstick or the end of a paint brush to make designs or pictures in the paint.

The fished product.

Telling time and the days of the week.

I worked with Alex on the days of the week using several rhymes and songs.  Alex and Audrey also used a simple clock to learn more about how the minutes and hours are read.
Russian Volcanoes.  We didn’t discuss volcanoes at great length, because we’ve studied volcanoes so many times before.  We had fun talking about geysers and made some pink Goo using glue and Borax. We used straws to create ‘geysers’ with our breath.

Making Bread

Russian culture involves making a lot of bread!  I thought it’d be a great idea to experiment with making our own rolls and cheese sticks.  Lots of fun and very yummy!

 Having “tea”like the bears in the book… with Rye bread and jam and veggies.

Thanks for joining us!

The Homeschool Village


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