This week's Five in a Row (FIAR) "row" was The Story of Ping. I know it is a classic, but I don't care much for the book's spanking references and its overall message about accepting punishment. We still had fun with the activities, however, and I found a few great companion books. All in all, we are enjoying Five in a Row very much.
We focused, generally, on ducks, China, and buoyancy. Here is what we did throughout the week, in no particular order:
We read a nonfiction duck book. We fed the ducks (some corn) at a nearby pond. Well, in actuality, we fed the geese, but I did see at least one brave duck sneak in and get some. (We also talked a bit about the science behind the reflections on the water - a suggestion from FIAR.) We played a fun little birds boardgame from Homeschool Share. And we visited the local aviary.
At the Bibliophile's request, we made a quick duck out of small paper plates.
We located the Yangtze river on our world map, and did our Asia Geopuzzle.
We built a Great Wall of China out of duplo blocks.
We tried to draw a few Chinese characters (he didn't take to this - just scribbled).
We watched this China field trip video. And this Chinese language video (which he loved. He doesn't like movies/television generally, but loves language dvd's).
We skimmed this China (True Books).
And we ate rice with chop sticks.
We also read these books:
Tikki Tikki Tembo -- This was a childhood favorite of mine. I have heard it criticized now as culturally inaccurate, and as the Bibliophile says, "that Mama is kind of mean," but we enjoyed it for just the silly name factor.
The Runaway Rice Cake -- a fun book about a runaway rice cake (ala Gingerbread Man), with a beautiful message. A family that only has enough money to make one "nián-gão" (rice cake) for their holiday dinner shares it with someone needier than they. Their generosity is rewarded when their neighbors (and presumably the Gods) fill their table.
The Empty Pot -- We loved this book, which had a nice message and a clever twist. The emperor is searching for a successor, and designs a contest whereby children are given seeds. Whoever grows the best flower after 1 year will be the next emperor. Ping, who has always had a green thumb, can't seem to get the seed to grow. After 1 year, he only has an empty pot to show for his labors. His father tells him "your best is good enough to present to the Emperor." So, that is what Ping does (amongst all of the impressive plants that others present), only to learn that the emperor had given out trick seeds which were incapable of sprouting. Of course, Ping's honesty is rewarded. We took an empty plant container and acted out this story about 25 times after we read the book. It is a lovely story with compound messages about honesty and perfectionism.
At the Bibliophile's suggestion, we also read Kai-Lan's Great Trip to China (he requested this from the librarian in person. He loves to chat up the librarians). His favorite part is that the story incorporates a handful of Chinese words and includes a list at the back of the book.
We also created a river rock sort of sensory bin. This was mostly because I wanted to get rid of our rice bin, which was ridiculously messy and kind of old. The rocks aren't as nice from a sensory perspective, but I find it a challenge to come up with fun sensory bins that are not a choking hazard for our crawling baby. I tried to pick rocks big enough that she couldn't choke on them, and within 5 seconds of setting it up, she grabbed one and had it in her mouth! So we haven't really used the bin all that much.
Buoyancy and Other Stuff --
Homeschool Share. This, and the Ping coloring sheet on the right (also from Homeschool Share), will be the focus of our FIAR coop group this week. We also played a bit with drawing and using lines to indicate water and movement (from the FIAR manual).
And, as we drove around in the car this week, we retold the story as we thought it should be told -- minus the spanking. This was a suggestion from the Five in a Row forums, in reference to a discussion as to what to do when a child doesn't enjoy a book. Today, I asked the Bibliophile what he thought should happen to the last duck to board the boat (who, in the book, gets a spank). He was quiet a minute, then said, "I think the last duck should be able to go over the bridge any way he wants -- he can roll over the bridge, he can do a silly walk, anything!"
We still had plenty of time for twice daily outings, free play, and 100 "NOW what should we do, Mama?" questions each day. And much of our best learning was student-led, as always. He has been very interested in multiplication and division lately, and in trying to tell time, so we dabbled a bit in those things.
Next up: Lentil!
I will be linking this post up with Weekly Wrap-Up and Preschool Corner.
Comment: Have you read The Story of Ping? Do you have a FIAR blog? Please share in the comments!
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