(2/13 – 2/17) Our second week of studying Japan was spent rowing A Pair of Red Clogs by Masako Matsuno. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed this Five in a Row selection. The FIAR selections for the most part are books I would have never discovered if I hadn’t been using the curriculum. To me, most have been thought provoking and touching and the lessons from the manual are wonderful extensions of each book. I am learning to look at books as I read them in a different way than before our FIAR journey and I hope my boys are too. All three of the boys liked this book, but my Jack seemed to enjoy it the most. He was zoned out each day while I read it. Listening intently to each word. He talked about the book all week and asked lots of questions about things here and there.
We continued to study about Japan’s culture, the different types of land found throughout Japan and touched on World War 2.
Our main focus during this row was weather. In the book, Mako, cracks her beautiful red clogs while playing the weather telling game. She is very upset that her new, red clogs are now cracked and she purposefully dirties them to try and get another new pair. She tells a lie in the process and feels very displeased and ashamed of herself immediately. This book provided a week long discussion on telling the truth, being honest, taking care of what we have—lots of opportunities for conversation from this book.
We read the following books as go-alongs for our study about weather:
- Little Cloud
- It Looked Like Spilt Milk
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
- The Cloud Book
- Down Comes the Rain (Let’s Read and Find Out Science)
With the little boys I made Jack’s favorite puff paint and let them make clouds of their own after we read Little Cloud and Spilt Milk together. They had a blast with it, both of them. Even though it’s messy, this paint is so worth it just to see all the fun they have and the huge smiles on their faces.
With Joe, after reading several weather books together (mentioned above), we conducted two simple experiments about clouds, rain and evaporation.
In the first we simulated a body of water on a hot, sunny day—evaporation.
Next, we made a cloud by placing a pan full of ice over our pot of boiling water.
Finally, it rained. Ours was more like a heavy drizzle, but it was enough for Joe to say, ‘it’s raining, it worked!’, and that was ok with me!
We did one more experiment from our Usborne Science Activities book (Volume 1) on evaporation. Joe wet two washcloths. He placed one on a plate and the other in a ziploc bag. I asked him what did he think they would feel like the next day? He told me the one on the plate would be dry, but the one in the bag would still be wet. Yay, Joe, you are exactly right!! I asked him why again and he answered because the water in the cloth on the plate would go into the air, but the water from the cloth in the bag wouldn’t be able to get out and it would keep it wet. He was also able to tell me this process was called evaporation when I asked him :-).
We talked and read about typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis. These are all mentioned in Count Your Way Through Japan. I thought it would be neat to learn about these natural weather/nature forces and Joe was interested.
In A Pair of Red Clogs colored pencils are used throughout in all of the illustrations. A technique is used with them called crosshatching. I introduced this technique to Joe, talked about it a bit while looking at the pictures in the book and had him try it out on a Japanese scene I printed. Joe’s favorite art medium is colored pencils so he enjoyed this a lot. He wanted to add a circle sticker to the top left hand corner for the sun since (as he told me) Japan is the land of the rising sun.
I bought a little treat ‘from Japan’ at World Market for the kids called Pocky. They are like little pretzel/biscotti type sticks dipped in different flavors. I got milk chocolate. They were cute little treats and tasted good too. I really enjoyed our time studying Japan and rowing our last two books! It was relaxed and so much fun. Next, we are moving along to China.
*Ideas, inspiration and printables for this row can be found at: