We rowed our first Five in a Row book this week, Gramma’s Walk by Anna Grossnickle Hines. I chose this book for two reasons—it is about the beach and the beach is one of our very favorite places to be as a family. The other reason I chose it was because it reminded me of my grandma and the place she is at in her life right now. This story is so touching. I loved reading it each day and discussing it with the boys. Joe especially loved the book. It is rather long and Jack did such a good job of sitting and listening to it each day as we read it together. There were many things I wanted to touch on. The story is so sweet and there is much to be learned from the relationship of Grandma and Donnie.
Social Studies: Caring for Others
After reading the book I showed the boys pictures of Donnie interacting with his Grandma. I read passages about how he moved and acted when he was visiting with her. Donnie was always gentle, moved slowly and made sure not to bump Grandma as he moved the ottoman next to her wheelchair. We looked at several pictures of Donnie and Grandma holding hands, Donnie laying his head on her lap. We talked about how we should care for and treat others, especially elderly people.
We visited our Grandma. Before we left, we read the book together and talked about caring for Grandma, being gentle to her. At the very end of the story Donnie pushes his Grandma to the table for lunch. When we were getting ready to leave from our visit with it was time for Grandma to head down to the dining hall for supper. Joe asked so sweetly and with such excitement if he could push her to the table. He did, and it was priceless to watch. I know he was so proud. He pushed her slowly and gently just like we’d talked about.
Social Studies: Handicapped
Neither of the boys knew what the word handicapped meant so we talked about it’s definition. Joe is aware that some people have differences, but he didn’t know what the proper terminology was. We talked about different types of physical handicaps, how they affect people, and how we should act and react when we see people with handicaps. I showed the boys a handicap sign from one of our lapjournal pages and told them what it stood for. That night we went out to dinner and they both spotted the sign as soon as we drove into the parking lot. Jack spotted it first. I was so proud of him. They’ve been looking for them when out and about since. I also made sure to point out the Braille in the elevator when we visited Grandma.
Social Studies: Oceans
Language Arts: Imagination
This whole story is based on an imaginary walk on the beach. Since Grandma cannot walk in real life—she is handicapped and in a wheelchair—she and Donnie go on an imaginary walk down the beach. You can tell they are both drawing on their own real life memories and know the beach well. You can also tell this is something they do together often and that they enjoy. I talked with the boys about imagination and then Joe took me on an imaginary walk of his own. I wish I had written it down immediately, because now I’ve forgotten it, but I do remember it was comical, in true Joe fashion :-).
Language Arts: Compound Words
Joe has been studying compound words and capitalization in his daily Language Lessons. It was perfect to see compound words as one of the Language Arts options for this row. Joe completed a couple activities on compound words. One for his lapjournal……and a matching game on compound words. The game was challenging for him, but he hung in there and seemed to have fun with it. For capitalization Joe played Revise-A-Sentence. I liked this game because it gave him both practice in capitalization and handwriting. Writing isn’t one of his favorites, but he didn’t complain at all in game form. This will be a new regular. (We used our Education Cubes for this game.) Math: Counting
I used the math ideas in the FIAR manual for Jack. Off and on during the week we would practice counting all of the feathers inside the front and back covers of the book together. Jack is already changing—thinking more academically minded in his free time since we started school. At church this week instead of just flipping through books quickly, he turned each page slowly and counted objects carefully as he looked. He has also started pointing at words and asking what they say, what the letters are.
I printed number inserts for our Education Cubes and used them for a simple number game with Jack. I had him roll a number on the cube and then put the matching number on the felt board. We also played a ‘How Many Fish in the Ocean’ game from our Ocean Preschool Pack. Science: Beaches
We talked about the beach—what the sand feels like, what we see there, the sounds, ocean creatures. In the book Grandma and Donnie step on barnacle rocks and talk about how sharp they are. I found a really neat barnacle pop-up book to print and make online. They boys liked it. We went to the beach for the day. We saw real barnacles on shells… …and all over the pier. We had a super fun day at the beach. Because of all the storms we’ve had lately there were all sorts of cool shells washed up on shore. There were starfish everywhere too. We’ve seen lots of cool things at the beach this summer that were firsts. Jack had fun just hanging out, digging and being a handsome beach bum :-).
Science: Five Senses
We played several games based on our senses. The first was shell observation. I printed a shell observation sheet, gathered a basket of shells and some magnifying glasses for this. The boys observed whether the shells were rough, smooth, hard, soft, what they smelled like, if they had a sound and so forth. This was fun.
I put together a smell matching game from Kid’s Soup using flower printables, cotton balls and different ‘smelly’ things from around the house and the fridge. The boys had to match the sets of smells—there were five sets. They couldn’t stand the garlic :-). I used some interesting things for fun. I printed a game for Jack called ‘Whose Nose’ (also from Kid’s Soup). He had to match a small nose card with the correct animal head. He liked this game a lot. Science: Body PartsFrom our How and Why series we’ve been blessed with Joe read Animals Grow New Parts and completed a graph worksheet. (Please ignore how bad the lighting and coloring of this picture is!)
Art: Watercolors and Water
Joe used my favorite combination of watercolor paints and oil pastels to create a scene from the book. He chose an illustration of a lighthouse near the shore. He painted and drew the lighthouse, the path that leads to it, the ocean, seashore, a bench, a tree, a duck pond and a cardinal bird. He told me there are torches on each side of the lighthouse door. I love how it turned out. I helped Jack make a handprint crab because I love handprints! Lastly, we made ocean cupcakes with swimming fish. When I’d planned to make these along with this row I didn’t realize it would be Jesse’s birthday week. I was looking for a plate to put them on and all of a sudden it dawned on me it would be perfect to put them on our birthday plate. What made it even better was Jesse’s cake for his party was Nemo, so he thought the goldfish were Nemo fish :-). Worked out great. The kids all had fun making them and eating them!
We had such a fun and special time with this row. It was definitely the perfect start to our Five in a Row journey. It was all I’d hoped it would be. I love this book. It is emotional and thought provoking for a little mind. This week we are traveling around the world to make a tasty treat and already having lots of fun!
Inspiration, ideas and printables I used for Gramma’s Walk can be found at:
- Five in a Row Volume 2
- Homeschool Share – Gramma’s Walk unit
- First Grade Parade (via Delightful Learning) – Revise-A-Sentence game, Compound Words game
- Education Cubes
- Homeschool Creations Ocean Preschool Pack
- Barnacles Pop-Up mini book
- Kid’s Soup Five Senses theme
- Shell Observation Sheet
- Handprint crab art and Ocean cupcakes via Pinterest
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