Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five in a Row Week 1: The Story of Ping

Story about PingThis 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:

 Ducks --

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.

China -- 

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).

Follow Jade! Learn Chinese: Let's Go To Market in ChinaWe 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
 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 CakeThe 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
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. 

Kai-lan's Great Trip to China (Ni Hao, Kai-Lan)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 -- 

We did a sink/float activity from 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!

Disclosure: If you click on any links in this post and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Raising a Happy Child said...

I see that you plan to walk FIAR in order. I skipped Lentil, because I didn't think my daughter will really care for the story. As for Ping, we read it, but I wasn't too thrilled with the story. Jan Brett has a very similar story (also set in China), but the main character is a hen. I can't recall now how the story is called, but we enjoyed that one a lot more than Ping.

Joyful Learner said...

K liked Ping even though I wasn't crazy about it. Spanking is so foreign to her as a concept. Feeding the ducks and sketching them was our favorite activity. Still bring back memories. Even after a year, K recognized a mallard duck she saw at the zoo from reading about ducks. I recommend the book Ducks Don't Get Wet. We did an activity included in the story. I also loved The Empty Pot.

Pam (@iwriteinbooks) said...

Oh wow this is a blast from the past, my goodness! Several of these I haven't read in years and years but still know all of the words to.

Manda said...

We're rowing the books in order once we get settled into a routine. We're doing Calvert K with my kindergartner, but as a librarian, I want to incorporate FIAR into our school day.

Amy said...

I never did five in a row but this post makes me wish that I had! Sounds like a fun week. Thanks for the reminder about Homeschool Share too; I plan to head over later.

Amy @ Missional Mama

Mama Bird said...

We are doing 5 in a row this year too! We started last week with How to eat an apple pie and see the world. I haven't blogged about it yet though we just started
Ping on Thursday. I do love the story but do not care for the spanking reference. I a alSo struggle with finding items to go in the sensory bin that are not choking hazards. Right now we have small beans in ours.Im following you so i hope you will follow back. I am doing our fiar out of order and using peek with books as well