Friday, June 24, 2011


This was our last book to row for the school year.  It was one of my favorites as a child, so it was a fun book to revisit.
We started with a lesson in geography; I printed a simple black and white map of the US and together we found Ohio (where Lentil takes place), and K colored it in.  It was also a good time to stop and talk about other states of personal interest to our family: Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Missouri.  We talked about where they were in relation to each other and to Ohio and how long it might take to travel to them.
We had given K a harmonica that came with a lesson book for Christmas a couple years ago and this Five in a Row book was the perfect time to pull it out and try a few lessons.  We also watched a Youtube clip of a talented harmonica player--he played "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain", the same song that is played in the book.  Then we listened to a recording of Pete Seeger singing the song on a cd I have.  K really enjoyed learning this song.
The next day we did some art lessons relating to Lentil.  Robert McCloskey's illustrations are done with charcoal and the characters' faces are very expressive.  I showed K how to make some happy and sad faces step by step.  Using charcoal pencils we drew them very large on the paper so there would be room for expressive eyebrows, mouths, etc.  She did well with this and enjoyed embellishing the faces she drew.  We also talked a bit about architecture and looked at house styles from over the years on this website.  This was really interesting to both of us, and K couldn't wait for me to print out some of them so she could look at them more closely.  She's not able to remember the names of the many different styles, but now whenever we happen to be driving in an older part of town, she talks about the different kinds of houses she sees.  Here is a picture of a Second Empire house from the website; it is the kind Colonial Carter has in the story.

I saved doing this book till last on purpose, so we could also learn about Memorial Day as suggested in the manual.  We also talked about patriotism and the American flag.  We made this popsicle stick flag and it turned out really cute.
The last two days were science days.  First we talked about sound and did some of the experiments described here by Tinderbox.  They were excellent activities.  They really helped K learn that sound is waves and how different factors can affect how we hear it.
Finally, we learned about the sense of taste.  K looked at her taste buds in the mirror with a magnifying glass. We tasted the four different tastes with salt, sugar, cocoa powder and lemons and tried to determine where these taste receptors are supposedly located on our tongues.  (Apparently the latest research says we actually sense all the tastes with our whole tongue and the strengths of the tastes in different spots is very slight.)  She was excited to try the four different tastes, but after rinsing the salt out of her mouth with a drink of water she asked with a quizzical look, "But where on my tongue is the 'delicious' spot?"  I tried not to laugh too much and explained that "delicious" is actually a nice combination of the different tastes and we taste it with our whole tongue.  Then we used the lemons to make lemonade from scratch.  Always excited to help make a treat, K was thrilled that we got to make this delicious drink.  It got high marks from the whole family in the ensuing taste test.
K's favorite and oft quoted line from the book was Old Sneep's "Hmph!"  She said that a lot, especially when something surprised or interested her.
I'm glad she got to experience this classic book.


Anonymous said...

What about WISCONSIN?! :-)

Rena said...

Oops, sorry Grandpa! :) I'm pretty sure we covered WI, too, I just neglected to mention it in the post.

Lynne Hix said...

Rena, I just love coming to visit to see the creative and wonderful ways you teach and instill the love of learning. (It always makes me extra happy to see how art factors in.) We are expecting our first grandchild in about a week...Mike and Marie's! I will be incorporating some of your shared activities into our time together as the years unfold. Hugs!