Monday, May 26, 2014

Coffee, Cockroaches and Cuba with Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

Welcome to the May edition of Poppins Book Nook! 

This month's theme was: Folktales 

It took me quite a while to figure out what book we were going to read this month. I was having a bit of trouble grappling with the meaning of Folktale. Here is Jill's understanding of Folktale (I had to ask) " Here is my understanding of the breakdown of the literary genre of folktales: Fable is a folktale that tells a moral and usually involves animals. A tall tale is a folktale that there is no way it could be true. A folktale is an exaggerated story that has been shared generation after generation by word of mouth."

I ended up asking my librarian for help and she found this really cute book sitting on the shelf. 

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale retold by Carmen Agra Deedey and illustrated by Michael Austin.

In this story, Martina is 21 days old, the age that young cockroaches are ready to "give [their] leg in marriage." She learns some advice from her grandmother about choosing a husband. She is to use the coffee test to see what her suitors' responses will be when angry. From a rooster, to a pig, and then to a lizard, the coffee test helps her to discover how each suitor reacts when angry. At this point Martina is scared to see who may come next, but her grandmother points out another who may just be the one she has been waiting for. 

I really love the sweet ending to this story, but I will let you find out how it ends for yourself. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was that each animal's name was the word for the animal in Spanish. 

Over the course of several days we used the book for lessons in math, geography, art, vocabulary and Spanish. 

We started out our unit on Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by using coffee beans for our Number of the Day page. 

I like to have our snack somehow fit in with our lessons. On this day I gave them 9 raisins and 9 chocolate chips in a cupcake paper. 9+9 to add to our number of the day (18) and the cupcake paper to represent a coffee filter. 

We even looked up what coffee beans looked like.

Like last month, I wanted to include some Montessori type activities. I created some 3-Part cards and a size sorting activity.

Technically, the 3 part cards aren't exactly the typical Montessori cards, as I added some Spanish translations. I used the animals who appeared in the story, plus the gifts Martina received from family.

I then used the same animals for the size sorting activity.

I used the same animals, but different images to make this math activity for the two older girls. They are to pretend to be Martina and put either a single cup, a set of two cups or a set of three cups of coffee on the animals' feet. They were then to count how many total cups of coffee would be spilt depending on how many legs each animal had.

We also had fun with coffee crafts.

I found instructions at for Painting with Coffee

Unfortunately it is a little too hard to tell what their pictures are. 

We also made Textured Coffee Pictures and Coffee Dough, instructions found here.

As the story takes place in Cuba, I decided the girls could make a Cuba book, similar to the Guatemala poster we made in co-op. We found Cuba on the map, colored the Cuban flag, learned what the different aspects of the flag represented and learned a little bit about Cuba to fill in a fill-in-the-blank sheet.

Last, but not least, we made Cinnamon Cappuccino Brownies for Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen.

Come and check out what the other Poppins Book Nook co-hosts have been up to this month. Then don't forget to link up your own posts! Lastly, enter the giveaway below for a Journey Into the World of Folktales Curriculum Bundle.

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom ~ 3 Dinosaurs ~ To the Moon and Back ~ Planet Smarty Pants ~ Farm Fresh Adventures ~ Growing in God's Grace ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Learning and Growing the Piwi Way ~ The Usual Mayhem~ Preschool Powol Packets ~ Monsters Ed Homeschool Academy ~ Adventures in Mommydom ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Life with Moore Babies ~ Kathy's Cluttered Mind ~ Are We There Yet? ~ Our Crafts N Things ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ ABC Creative Learning ~ Joy Focused Learning ~ P is for Preschooler ~ Laugh and Learn ~ A Mommy's Adventures ~ Inspiring 2 New Hampshire Children ~ World for LearningEver After in the Woods ~ Golden Grasses ~ Our Simple Kinda Life ~ A glimpse of our life ~ Journey to Excellence ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Little Homeschool Blessings ~ Simplicity Breeds Happiness ~ Raventhreads ~ Water on the Floor ~ Learning Fundamentals ~ Tots and Me ~ As We Walk Along The Road ~ Stir the Wonder ~ For This Season ~ Where Imagination Grows ~ Lextin Academy ~ The Canadian Homeschooler ~ School Time Snippets ~ Peakle Pie ~ Mom's Heart ~ A Moment in our World ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Finchnwren ~ At Home Where Life Happens ~ Suncoast Momma ~ The Library Adventure ~ Embracing Destiny ~ Day by Day in our World ~ Our Homeschool Studio ~ A "Peace" of Mind ~ Thou Shall Not Whine ~ SAHM I am ~ eLeMeNo-P Kids ~ Simple Living Mama

Poppins Book NookGiveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win a copy of the E.H.M. curriculum Journeyinto the World of Folktales  (PDF) and one copy of the book that is required to teach it called Around the World in 80 Tales  by Saviour Pirotta to further their learning all about folktales.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the Rafflecopter terms& conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {
}.  Just enter the Rafflecopter below to win:
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Come and find out more information about Poppins Book Nook at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom, on Facebook and on Pinterest.

Clip Art by Melon Headz


  1. A cockroach unit, LOL! I love all the activities, so many of them <3 The coffee mouse is very special. The sensory play with coffee is great! We should do it too. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Looks like you created a wonderful unit study out of what seems like a cute little book!

  3. I love the ideas you came up with to go with the book. Coffee painting sounds like fun. I have never heard of it before.

  4. My favorite folktale was Babe and the Blue Ox

  5. What a lovely unit study from the one book. Having grown up in the greater New Orleans area, I have many not so fond memories of cockroaches. But, I could definitely get into the coffee aspect.

  6. Now you KNOW I had to check this out since the word "roach" is in the title! (Now that we have them in our house for our bearded dragons.) Enjoyed your post...great crafts and lessons!

  7. This looks amazing! We love anything literature based so I loved reading about this unit.

  8. As for the raffle post, I would say that I loved the tall tales when I was younger.

  9. You have a ton of great activities here to accompany this book, which I have somehow never read with my kids. (I am adding Martina the Beautiful Cockroach to our to read list!)

    Thank you for helping to bring a spoonful of reading fun to the Poppins Book Nook this month!


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