Saturday, December 1, 2012

Very Last First Time Unit

This week, we rowed a charming book by Jan Andrews called Very Last First Time, a story about an Inuit girl in Northern Canada, who walks on the seabed to collect mussels when the tide is out, for the very first time. This story captures a slice of Inuit life and echoes common feelings experienced by children everywhere-- the pride completing a rite of passage, the fear of the dark, and overcoming an imagination that spirals out of control.

This was the perfect book to read during this time of year when the weather gets chilly and we start talking about the north pole.
This, of course, is a Five in a Row: Volume 1 selection. I gathered many ideas from the FIAR book as well as the FIAR forums and Homeschool Share.
Social Studies: Geography
After reading for our very first time, we immediately checked the globe for Ungava Bay, Canada. We looked at the location in relation to where we live, and I asked Aidyn to consider the weather, being that Ungava Bay is even further from the sun than we are.
He colored his story disk before finding Ungava Bay on his world map.

We also explored some facts about Canada.

Social Studies: Inuit Culture

The Inuit culture was a completely new topic for Aidyn. I, too, had never known about their mussel-collecting tradition.

Aidyn and I both watched a video about real Inuits digging a hole in the ice after the tide has gone out and collecting mussels in the eerie ice cave.

We also watched a video about the Inuit way of life.

In our Childcraft: About Us book, we read about Inuit families and learned how they prize their children and rarely punish them. We also learned how they hunt and live day-to-day.

Art: Colors and Artistic Style

Illustrator Ian Wallace used warm and cool colors and a pointillist style to make these beautiful pictures of arctic life. Before reading on this day, I prompted Aidyn to pay attention to the artwork throughout the story.

I showed him the difference between warm and cool colors and pointed out colors later to informally quiz him. Because of the nature of the story (cool conditions of the arctic vs. Eve's warm parka), learning the difference between warm and cool colors was easy-peasy.

I also asked him to look at the dotting style of the work before we replicated it ourselves. We used cotton-tipped swabs to make the dots.

Aidyn said this was two people looking into an ice hole while the sun was shining:
 This one's mine:

In Aidyn's Art Adventures class this week, they learned about shading, and he came out with a beautiful black-and-white picture of objects with shading.
In his K-2 Art class, he made an adorable mouse pad (which really resembled a mouse!).
Science: Dressing for Conditions
We had a lot of fun with science this week! We talked about how the Inuits must dress in the arctic cold. We looked at their parkas, fluffy hoods and sturdy boots.
I arranged piles of Aidyn's clothes in the living room. I mixed up summer clothes, sandals, swim shorts and winter clothes, snow boots, gloves, and scarves.
Beforehand, I had set up two videos to play of either summer or winter conditions. When I put on the video, I gave him some preliminary clues such as temperature and plans for the day (for example, "It's 100 degrees outside and we're going to the beach. Get dressed quickly!). He loved that I used a stopwatch to time him and, in a flurry, he dressed for each condition, thinking and correcting errors (like forgetting to take his swim shorts off before putting on snow boots!).
Silly monkey face in summer outfit. Total time: 1 min, 31 sec.

Winter outfit. Total time: 2 min, 32 sec. (Due to more layers, I suppose).

Language Arts: Vocabulary and Drama

I had printed out 13 verbs used in the story. Some of them were familiar to Aidyn (singing, shoveling, dragging) while others were new and a bit challenging (prying, heaving, peering). We played a little game with them to make remembering easy.

First I would pull a vocabulary word for him to act out. If he were stumped, he could say, "Definition, please." After I read the definition, he could usually act the hard ones out. He earned a point for every word he successfully acted out (he got all 13).

Then I cycled through them again, only without definitions and only hints for the really hard ones.

The third time, I timed him. He loves being timed and acting out words instead of explaining them. It was so fun watching him learn new words through drama.

In his other studies, he's progressing with learning phonics and has been working on long a sounds, specifically with -ai-, -ay, and -a_e.

We use Letter Tiles for hands-on practice.

I place -ay, -ai-, -ame, and -ane tiles to the far right and beginning and ending sounds (multiple letters and blends like bl-, fr-, and sh-). I made flashcards with long a words and one-by-one challenge him to recreate the word with tiles and read it in "chunks" and then fluidly. I'm hoping, in doing this, he learns that morphemes can be manipulated and placed at the beginning, middle and endings of words.

With math, he's continuing practice with subtraction. The other day I generated and printed a worksheet and mistakenly used double digit numbers. After a little squirming and a new way to learn how to subract (using his base ten blocks), Aidyn was able to catch on pretty quickly. He has been scoring 95% consistently on worksheets (without assistance) and yesterday got a 100% on a 20-question sheet.

This month, we're taking a break from FIAR and will be reading holiday stories and doing activities based off those particular books.



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