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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ox-Cart Man Reading Literacy Activity


  There is no better way to introduce simple economics to Kindergarten than by using the wonderful story, "Ox-Cart Man" by Donald Hall. 

     It never ceases to amaze me how fascinated children become by this simple story, where a New England farmer from the early 1800's, travels to market with the various items he and his family have created or grown throughout the year, sells them, and then purchases items to take back home. 


  I really wanted to make some activities that would help my kids to play-act this story, because I consistently find that allowing them to play out what they have heard is allowing their learning to sink in at a whole new level. 


And I am pretty excited by the final results, because these activities were fun, applicable and perfect for Reading Literacy Circles or a homeschooling lesson. 

First, let's look at the "Buying Like the Ox-Cart Man" Activity


   I decided to have my son and daughter work as a pair for this one, and gave each of them four Shillings to cut out from the bottom half of the Activity Sheet.

Then, I walked them both through the items that they could purchase on the top half of the Activity Sheet.  I explained they would get to make purchases with eight shillings each.  Since we just read Ox-Cart Man, they listened intently and carefully considered their options. 


My daughter chose to buy a baby ox for her first purchase.  My son chose a chicken and bucket and tap for his. 


They had so much fun taking turns to be the buyer and the seller of these items and even my young Kinder could easily do the math of counting out her shillings. 

They weren't even ready to end their play-fun and move on to the craft!  Until they saw what it was...


Once again, I decided to let them share the work because this is a LOT of cutting for small kids, and children unfamiliar with using scissors are going to need some help. 


The finished craft page creates an ox-cart, an ox, a sack of potatoes, a sack of wool, a broom and a pair of mittens. 

If you are homeschooling, I'd recommend taking it a step further and asking children what other items they can come up with to take to market in their cart to sell.  My daughter found a blanket and a duck in her toy box and brought these down to add to her wares.


My son took the initiative to cut up some Q-tips to make "candles", just like the Ox-Cart Man had in the story.


The final activity in the packet is the Beginning Sentences Worksheet, really excellent for taking it to another level with your older kids.  I encouraged my son to consider the differences between "Needs" and "Wants" and then he drew a picture (again, from the items displayed) of each in the indicated boxes.


Final step was finishing the sentence by writing down the items he chose.  I find this step excellent when discussing beginning economics with kids, because differentiating between "needs" and "wants" is an important facet of economics which we, as a wealthier nation, often have the luxury of
ignoring.  But in third world nations or in the 1800's, this was a step that definitely had to be considered.


To purchase this Reading Packet for "Ox-Cart Man", head over to my store.   But in the comments, I'd love to hear additional ideas for this story or additional ideas for teaching economics in the Kindergarten class.  Thanks for reading!



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