Five in A Row Literature Unit: Gramma's Walk

By 1:33 AM

"A loving relationship between a young boy and his gramma provides an opportunity for using imagination to compensate a handicap" (FIAR manual summary).

The story begins with a little boy joining his gramma as she asks, "Where do you want to walk today...?"  Yet, as you will notice from the illustrations they will not be going on an actual walk, but will use their imagination to take a walk on the beach.  A very sweet story, indeed!

Homeschooling with Five in a Row

Social Studies
Setting:  The book never reveals where the gramma lives, so we placed our story disk where T's Yiayia and Grandma live, and he completed a simple worksheet labeling the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Gulf of Mexico.

Imagination: Just before nap/quiet time, we went on our own "walk."  T suggested we walk through the forest and we saw a squirrel, deer,.... and then a monkey appeared!  Apparently we walked into a Rainforest ; )  In the rainforest, we saw flowers, waterfall, butterflies and a frog.
I said, "T... do you see the frog?"
T: "Yes."
Me: "What does it look like?"
T: "A frog." (haha, smarty pants!)
Language Arts
Back-tracking:  Gramma's Walk is structured like a "ribbon on a roll;" the story rolls out to a possible ending, but instead of just stopping, it rolls back up again repeating similar phrases and/or scenes.  To show T this concept, we made our own Retelling Ribbon.
(She also references three other blogs that she sought her inspiration from)

Compound Words: I pulled out our Compound Word cards I used during our row for "How to Make An Apple Pie and See the World" last September/ October.  T did a great job matching them up!

Graphing: Donnie's gramma was kept from actually walking on the beach because she was in a wheelchair, so for a social studies/ math tie-in, we first talked about the word handicapped and what it meant and then went for a drive to several places and counted how many handicapped parking spaces were available.

Counting by 3s' and 4's: Practiced skip counting using sea shells.


Shell Observation/ Five Senses: Gramma and Donnie's walk seemed so real because of all their descriptive experiences with their five senses: sight, touch, smell, hear, and taste.  Well actually, taste was not used (good thing!).... For a practical activity, T observed a shell using his five senses.

Can you hear anything?

Barnacles: During the walk, Donnie steps on a rock covered in Barnacles... ouch!  We both learned that it is an animal that attaches its head to a rock and forms a protective shell around itself.  The weekend prior to reading this book we went to our local aquarium where they had an interactive tidal pool for the kids to touch and T remembered touching the barnacles on display.  We also checked out a video of a barnacle eating on You Tube.

Float or Sink? Beaches can be found off of Freshwater or Saltwater, so we conducted a sink or float experiment using an egg.  We were trying to figure out if it is easier to float in the ocean or a lake/ swimming pool-- T correctly guessed it would be easier to float in the Ocean, but didn't understand the reason for it.

We briefly touched on how the illustrations were very simple while still looking realistic (per the manual), but our art fun was had by constructing our own "Sand Castle" by using toilet paper tubes, glue, and whole wheat flour.

Just for Fun
For a little memory-making activity, we made beach themed pudding cups.

What we did:

  • made homemade vanilla pudding and tinted it blue for the ocean
  • crumbled up rice crispies and mixed with some brown sugar for the sand
  • bought a package of 75 mini umbrellas (and we only used 3!  Oh, the things you'll do to make memories!)
  • used gummy bears for our sunbathers
  • cut pieces of fruit leather for beach towels
  • melted chocolate to try and create shells, just note I am not a food artist!

Stop by the links I've provided and you may find other goodies : )  Here's some more:

Next up is Grandfather's Journey!

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