Turns out another friend had Vol. 1 I could borrow. (FREE!) and the library had several of the first books I would need (FREE!). The internet, it turns out, is chock full of downloads other people have slaved over that I could print (FREE!).
I'm loving me some FREE FIAR is my point.
I spent the weekend searching blogs for info because everyone knows bloggers are the best source of information when it comes to this type of thing. So we started the week off making a passport. I got that idea from Satori Smiles. (the link is in her post) The link where you get those passports had tons of other great downloads too.
The book comes with these little "story disks" which look like a paper circle with a picture inside that represents the book of the week. You put them on your world map wherever your story takes place. This week: The Story About Ping set in China. There is also a map for the "Land of Make Believe" (at the above mentioned link) in case your story doesn't occur in the real world. We colored a map of China as well, and looked up the Yangtze River on Google Earth. Check off Geography.
Tuesday found us with friends over for the day. No problem, Five in a Row is nothing if not inclusive. In the story, a little boy falls in the river, but is tethered to his family's boat with a small barrel tied to his back. So, we decided to see what would float and sink. OK, it's in the book. I can't have ALL the good ideas!
See? It's the Yangtze (yellow) River! Or lemonade. Which incidentally, drew bees after a while. Just a word of caution there. And of course, there is a nifty form to print that you can chart your results on.
We also got out the paints and painted pictures of ducks. And bluebonnets and mockingbirds since it was Texas Independence Day. I like to mix it up.
"Ping" is a children's classic, having been published in 1933. There is a handy-dandy timeline you can print and add your family's pictures to. Then you can put a story disk for Ping on the year it was written. See? Ping was written right before Grandpa was born. Whoa! That puts it into perspective. We also added some American Girl dolls because that helps my girls know what time period we are talking about. At our house, anything that happened during WWII is "Molly's time" and anything during the depression is "Kit's time." We will add story disks for all our books from now on.
Today I told Little Bit it was time for math. She said, "OK.....I'll get my book" and headed to the shelf for her Math U See book. Now I'm not knocking Math U See because if you know me, you know I love it. But I had let that be the only thing she thought math was. My mistake. Now we did this....
Ping has lots of family members and the book repeats that portion several times. It includes "42 cousins." I downloaded a paper with tons of little duck pictures on it and had her color Ping's father blue, his mother pink, his aunts purple, etc. Slowly it dawned on her and she said, "AM I GONNA HAFTA COLOR ALL 42 COUSINS???" :) She loved it. She did great counting.
Then we went to the table and painted the Yangtze River on a big paper. When that dries, we will glue Ping and his family on the river...counting while we go. And making patterns. Sweetheart walked in the room and said, "She's painting?" and LB replied, "Yes. I'm doing math. FUN math!"
Thank you FIAR. I love you.
So here's the basic premise to sum it all up for you. You read the book (good children's lit) five days in a row. The book promises your kids will notice all kinds of things doing it this way. Today she asked me what the little numbers were at the bottom of the page. (page numbers) Very cool. Then one day you do a literature activity, one day social studies, one day math, one day art, and one day science. All the subject activity ideas come straight from the book. And I haven't even mentioned all the playing this book has inspired. She has a yellow stuffed duck that she carried around all day, calling him Ping of course. She and her friend played float and sink for a long time. She uses the term "Yangtze River" like it's been part of her vocabulary her whole life. And she knows all about China.
OH! I forgot to mention tonight we are having a Chinese dinner in honor of Ping.
I'm thinking about Beyond Five in a Row for Sweetheart this summer. And there's Before Five in a Row if you have younger ones. ANY curriculum that both teaches your kids AND helps you with your menu planning is a winner in my book.