You know what the most common thing to find when researching Poland for your Poland Unit? Poland’s resistance during World War 2. You know what my kids mention when you ask them about Poland? The partition of Poland. I may have given my kids a weird sense of humor. Oh well, our Poland unit was a great part of our geography lessons, so I was happy. Also, I found out about a cool new story for Poland.
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Cool website I found after reading several books about Chelm, Poland, I was hesitating to share anything about those books because they seem kind of mean-spirited, the people in Chelm are so stupid….. That type of thing, but it appears it’s a beloved part of Polish and Jewish culture, and that made it amusing as all get out to me.
And then because he split the flag into its own video, here is the Geography Now Poland flag video:
And because I’m going to reference it in a mini-book, a partition of Poland video.
I may like the partition of Poland memes because they crack me up.
Unlike many of the other countries I’ve talked about recently our library had lots of books about Poland.
- Welcome to Poland– a nice overview book that I refer to occasionally for ideas
- Let’s visit Poland– another fun overview book with a slightly different spin on it
- Janusz Korczak’s Children– this is one of several books set around World War 2 and I loved it
- A Confused Hanukkah: an original story of Chelm– This is an odd book for today’s audience, it follows the backwards village trope, and at first I hesitated to share it with my kids because it almost feels like you’re being mean to the Jews, but then I did some research and discovered this is part of a rich tradition of stories about Chelm in Poland, rather like Jack tales in England
- The Cats in Krasinski Square– This may be out of print, so if you can find it snap it up because it’s a great story of resistance, from the story I wasn’t completely clear if this was a true story or if it was a story they based on a composite of events
- The Secret of the Village Fool– Another in the series of books talking about the Polish resistance and how they hid people. Poland and Denmark are where you’ll find the majority of these stories
- Way Too Many Latkes: a Hanukkah in Chelm– Another funny Chelm story, my library primarily had books on them celebrating Hanukkah, but I’ve heard there are other stories
- The Angel’s Mistake: Stories of Chelm– This one made me laugh out loud as I read the reason why Chelm existed
- Butterflies Under Our Hats– another Chelm story, I forgot I had this one also
- Oscar Seeks a Friend– This book isn’t so much set in Poland as it is written by a Polish author
Polish unit: Polish Potato Soup
I hate potato soup, HOWEVER, all the rest of my family loves potato soup, so I arranged for them to make Polish Potato Soup while I was out. This led to me getting several phone calls with:
- Where is [fill in the blank ingredient]?
- Are you sure you bought [fill in the blank ingredient]?
- Where is [fill in the blank kitchen tool]?
- Never again leave me to make a new recipe without you! <<<<< This one is particularly amusing because everyone in my family is perfectly capable of cooking, but there is something magical about me being there.
Polish Potato Soup ingredients
- 8 cups of peeled cubed potatoes (I did about 4-5 medium/large potatoes)
- about 6 ounces of smoked pork (bacon, ham, etc)
- 1 1/2 cups peeled and cubed carrots (about 3 carrots)
- 1 parsnip peeled and cubed (I do not remember if we included this)
- couple of stalks celecry sliced
- 1/2 tablespoon of salt
- 6 peppercorns and allspice (whole)
- 2 bay leaves
- For roux: 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of flour, 3/4 cup chopped onion, 1/2 tablespoon marjoram
- Place potatoes, smoked meat, carrots, parsnip, celery, salt, peppercorns, and allspice in large pot. Add water (I used chicken broth I’d made, it adds more flavor) and boil for about 20 minutes until veggies are soft.
- In a small pan melt butter, add chopped onion and saute until golden brown. Add marjoram and cook another minute. Add flour and stir until well combinded. Add a couple of cups of the broth and mix to combine, then transfer to roux to help the soup thicken.
- Serve with bread (because I like a nice loaf of country bread)
- 4-5 large potatoes peeled and cubed
- about 6 ounces of smoked pork (ham, bacon, etc)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cubed
- 2-3 stalks celery sliced
- 8 cups of water
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 6 peppercorns and allspice (about 1 teaspoon of pepper ground and 1 teaspoon of allspice)
- 2 bay leaves
- For roux:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1/2 tablespoon marjoram
- After chopping and slicing various vegetables and meats, place in pot along with pepper and allspice, then add water or broth and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- While that is cooking, melt the butter in small pan and cook onions until sauted. Add flour and combine. Slowly mix in a cup or so of the broth, and once it has combined add the roux to the soup to help thicken it.
Poland Notebooking Pages
We filled out the Europe notebooking pages as we watched the Geography Now video.
This is one of the last countries where I made mini-notebooks for the kids to fill out. I had two different notebooks:
- The Partition of Poland- because we’ve joked a lot about how it was split up so many times
- How I hid them- Poland was known for so many of their citizens helping to hide Jewish refugees, so there are many books about small ways the Polish people resisted
More fun ideas
- War of the Worlds book club
- Raphael art history lesson
- How to make a Shaduf
- Why were the American colonies founded?
- Potential energy science lesson