Curriculum Ideas for Ukranian Tale of Springtime Hope and Faith
This book gives children a chance to learn that the hope of spring may turn out differently than expected, yet still be truly wonderful. Time to decorate eggs!
Easter Eggs for Anya is a tender story which can be used not only for curriculum skills, but also for lessons of life. Easter, and the hope inherent in the spring of the year, makes life seem brand new.
Anya had a special where she went to pray for heartfelt desires, but something terrible happened instead. This book shows her journey to the unexpected gifts which sometimes come when people do not get what they want.
Learn About Psanky Eggs from Easter Eggs for Anya
This artistically illustrated book shows Ukranian psanky eggs in cultural context and explains how to make these special eggs to keep and to give away. The rich culture of psanky eggs has been practiced in Eastern Europe and Russia with intricate and colorful designs.
Symbols of Spring and Easter
Symbols used on psanky eggs include both secular and religious. Secular symbols include birds for spring’s arrival, flowers for love and beauty in nature, chicks for hopes and wishes, animals like deer or horses for health and wealth, and the sun for good luck.
Christian symbols include the cross for the Resurrection, dots for Mary’s tears, and fish to represent Jesus and His teachings. More universal symbols are hearts for love and circles to represent eternity.
A followup assignment for this lovely book can involve making Easter cards. Also, using the book and other research sources, have children draw symbols of spring and Easter, putting captions under each to tall what they stand for.
Teaching Point of View with Virginia Knoll’s Book
First have students write possible adventures of the goslings during the year between the Easter in the story and the next Easter, when the family could have plenty of Easter eggs to decorate.
Then have the children write from the point of view of the fox about coming to the yard and capturing the goose in order to bring food home to its family. Although this is a sensitive subject, it enables our youth to practice seeing a concept from another point of view than the one they may have been exposed to already.
This is worth doing in order to master the concept as well as strengthen the higher order thinking skills and logic. It presents a curriculum skill as well as a cultural understanding and social skill of seeing things from different viewpoints.
Using the Story to Teach Compare and Contrast Skills
Compare the gift of pysanky eggs Anya planned with the actual outcome of hatchling surprises that she actually got. Students can make a two lists of Same and Different, or use a Venn Diagram made out of overlapping Easter Egg shapes. This can help them find characteristics of each, the wished for eggs and what hatched out, eventually discovering commonalities and advantages of the gift that actually developed.
After writing the distinctive features of both, children can use pastel spring colors to decorate the Venn diagram, leaving their words still readable. On the back they might use pysanky decorations and hang as a mobile to be enjoyed from both sides.
Teaching Children About Life’s Unexpected Gifts from this Easter Book
The eggs Anya so carefully preserved for decorating turned out to be cracked, as do so many people’s plans in daily living. But, as her mother guided her to understand, the gift of the goslings which hatched out from the cracks offered future gifts of feathers as well as more eggs to perpetuate the hope of spring year after year.
Have students practice giving advice to others who hoped and planned for one thing yet something else actually happened. This can be done by brainstorming in class discussions, then in partners or small groups. Scenarios can be presented by the teacher or developed in class together or individually at home.
An example could be when a child looks forward to a baby sister and a brother arrives, or when a field trip or field day is planned and the weather changes these plans. From this they can learn that being disappointed doesn’t always mean things will end up badly. They can find there may be a blessing, or an unexpected gift, in these situations.
The wonderful Easter book , Easter Eggs for Anya, is well worth sharing with your students. They can learn about Easter Egg activities with a family of another culture, symbols of spring, point of view and unexpected gifts which may come when one finds life not working out exactly as expected.
Kroll, Virginia. Easter Eggs for Anya. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zonderkidz, 2007.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Contact author for written permission to use online or in print.