In first and second grade, Miss M knew well in advance of “Expert Day” at co-op what she wanted her project to be about. In the case of her second-grade project on horses, she knew almost a year in advance that this would be her topic of choice. This year, Miss M had a little bit harder time deciding. After listening to numerous suggestions from me, she decided she wanted to do her project on the history of dolls.
She says she picked this topic because she is always interested in learning about the kinds of toys in general, and the kinds of dolls in particular, that children played with in different times in history that we have studied.
Like the topic of horses, the history of dolls is a pretty broad topic. Unlike the study of horses (or even the study of the history of horses, which was the focus of Miss M’s expert day presentation), there weren’t a lot of books available at the library to help us learn about the topic.
We really only found two children’s books that fit the bill in our large library system:
Dolls by Kristine Hooks — a shorter book discussing the history and collecting of dolls
Dolls: An Inside Look from Raggedy Ann to Barbie by Vivian Werner — an older, somewhat longer book covering the history of all kinds of dolls in some depth. This book was written in 1991, so it doesn’t discuss newer doll “trends” very much, such as the American Girl dolls.
After Miss M read and took a few notes on these two books, we began discussing how she might like to narrow her project down in a way that she could convey the information in a three minute presentation.
Last year we broadened Miss M’s expert day topic by completing a lapbook and reading many library books — but with the difficulty of finding books or pre-prepared products dealing with this topic, it didn’t make a lot of sense to devote a lot of extra time beyond what Miss M would be able to convey in her presentation and display board.
I offered a number of suggestions of how she could focus her three minutes of presentation time — a very broad overview of doll history highlights, a focus on a particular genre of doll (aka rag dolls, baby dolls, etc), unusual dolls, homemade dolls, or highlighting a few popular dolls over the years.
After giving it some thought, Miss M decided she wanted to pick a few “famous dolls” from more recent history and talk about this history of each individual type of doll. She chose American Girl dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, Barbie and Raggedy Ann.
From this point on out, we decided the internet would be her best source of information. I helped Miss M look at Wikipedia and a few official or reputable-looking collector sites for each doll to learn a few interesting and important facts about their history. We also put together a timeline of dates for each doll — since with under a minute to talk about each doll, there were many historical highlights that Miss M would not have time to include in her talk.
We did not add in any literature to correlate with this project — but mostly because we have already read a number of wonderful books with characters who are dolls! Books with “dolls that come to life” in some way are one of Miss M’s favorite types of books.
Last year as read-alouds we read (linked to my reviews):
Miss M has previously read on her own:
The Doll People and its sequels
And of course she loves Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy Stories and has listened to the audio books of both many times.
I think there may be other books we have read together or that Miss M has read on her own, but those are the ones that come to mind at the moment.
I’m linking up with Blogging Through the Alphabet @ Ben and Me!