Saturday, September 12, 2015

Chapter Books That Pair Well With Five in a Row Volume 4

We are diving into Five in a Row Volume 4 this year, so I have put together a list of chapter books I hope to read aloud with my kids to go along with our Five in a Row studies. Volume 4 is geared toward slightly older kids (grades 2-4). Since each book is rowed for two weeks, these might be slightly longer than the books suggested in my other Five in a Row lists. As a bonus, I've also included suggestions for chapter books to pair with the other Digital Units available on the Five in a Row website.

I am recently updated all of my other Five in a Row book lists as well. You can check those out here:
Chapter Books That Pair Well with Five in a Row Volume 1
Chapter Books That Pair Well with Five in a Row Volume 2
Chapter Books That Pair Well with Five in a Row Volume 3

**I have not actually read every book on this list, but I did read the reviews for age-appropriateness and I was helped immensely by recommendations people have shared on the Five in a Row forums.I will probably be tweaking this list as we go through our year so check back often. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment!

Five in a Row Volume 4
The Raft by Jim LaMarche
The Adventures of Grandfather Frog by Thorton Burgess 
The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat by Thorton Burgess
Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling 
Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling

Grass Sandals by Dawnine Spivak
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden 
The Big Wave by Pearl Buck 
The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson

Cowboy Charlie by Jeanette Winter 
Little Britches by Ralph Moody 
The Book of Cowboys by Holling C. Holling 
Riders of the Pony Express by Ralph Moody

Roxaboxen by Barbara Cooney
Twig by Elizabeth Orton Jones 
The Borrowers by Mary Norton 
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

Mailing May by Michael O. Tunnell 
Snowshoe Thompson by Nancy Smiler Levinson 
A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck 
Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin 
Anna, Grandpa and the Big Storm by Carla Stevens 
The Snow Walker by Margaret and Charles Wetterer 
The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Gullywasher by Joyce Rossi
American Girl: Josefina
Tales our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Alma Flor Ada 
American Tall Tales by Jim Weiss (audio cd) 

Arabella by Wendy Orr 
Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr 
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham 
Seabird by Holling C. Holling

Higgens Bend Song and Dance by Jacqueline Briggs Martin 
American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne 
Mountain Men: True Grit and Tall Tales by Andrew Glass 
McBroom’s Wonderful One Acre Farm by Sid Fleischman 
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell 

Albert by Donna Jo Napoli 
Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White 
Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat 
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George 
Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thorton Burgess 

Hickory Chair by Lisa Rowe Fraustino 
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey 
Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille by Russell Freedman 
By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
Hannah by Gloria Whelan

Hanna’s Cold Winter by Trish Marx
The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy
The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwegan

The Hatmaker's Sign by Candace Fleming 
Ben and Me by Robert Lawson 
What’s the Big Idea, Ben Franklin? by Jean Fritz 
Thomas Jefferson’s America by Jim Weiss (audio cd) 
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
The Pumpkin Runner by Marsha Diane Arnold 
The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay 
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
Audrey of the Outback by Christine Harris

Angelo by David MacCauley
Rome Antics by David McCauley 
Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfield 
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli 

Bonus: Digital Units 
Paper Lanterns by Stefan Czernecki 
Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Lattimore 
The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin 
Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore Look

The Bravest of Us All by Marsha Diane Arnold 
Tornado by Betsy Byars 
On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder 
McBroom’s Zoo by Sid Fleischman

You’re on Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt by Judith St. George 
Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt by Jean Fritz 
Teddy Roosevelt, Young Rough Rider by Edd Winfield Parks 

The Tree Lady by H. Joseph Hopkins
A Tree for Peter by Kate Seredy
Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant 
Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Five in a Row: The Raft by Jim LaMarche

We spent two weeks in August studying The Raft by Jim LaMarche. By Day 2, my oldest daughter had declared it "the funnest book we've ever done a unit on." That was before most of the fun had even happened. This book tells the story of a little boy who reluctantly goes to spend the summer with his "River Rat" grandmother. He is convinced he will be completely bored. That is until he discovers a raft and begins to explore the river and get to know all the local flora and fauna, as well as spend some wonderful days with his grandmother. He also discovers that he loves to draw. The story is based on the real life of the writer and illustrator and the time he spent with his grandmother in the Wisconsin woods. He really did become a wonderful artist, as evidenced by the illustrations in this book.

Since the book talked so much about drawing from nature, we made our own nature journals. We took a simple single-subject notebook and covered the front with wood-grain paper and decorated it with stamps. I "laminated" the front with packing tape to help it stand up to the wilderness.
The first place we explored was our own backyard. Even though it's tiny, it's full of flowers, plants, and bugs and the children found plenty to draw. I love the way their drawings came out.
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The girls were really eager to build their own rafts. They would have built a full-size one if they could, but instead we settled for popsicle sticks and glue-guns.
Then we covered the bottom with aluminum foil because we weren't sure how well the glue-gun glue would hold up to water. We drew animals on the top with permanent marker just like Nikky in the book. Untitled
That afternoon we headed to a local park with a wonderful creek for wading. I pulled out a nature study I had purchased last year called NaturExplorers Incredible Creeks written by Cindy West and Melissa Leach. These are lovely little studies that include science, nature walks, scavenger hunts, as well as ideas for literature, music, and poetry go-alongs. One of the books they recommended was The Raft, so it worked perfectly. I printed out the Wading Water Scavenger Hunt and we had fun walking along and in the river looking for insects, animals, fish, plants, rocks, signs of erosion, and other interesting stuff.
We found a shell from a clam or molusk, saw a crayfish, and found a little island we claimed for our own.

We happened upon a little rock dam that looked like a perfect place to float our rafts. One of the sweetest moments was when Ella had already crossed the rocks and said, "I'm going to go back and help the tots." She helped her little sister and brother cross safely to the other side. I love those home-schooling moments like that!

Our rafts floated (for awhile at least).
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After we had floated our rafts, we explored the river some more, and had fun swinging on a vine. 
Then we took a walk in the woods and discovered a little bridge with no railings, and pretended it was a raft. The path led to a cool set of stairs climbing to the top of the hill, where we sat down to draw in our nature journals. Ella wrote in hers "If I had a 100 days, I would explore every nook and cranny of these woods, every bridge and stream."
We had lots more fun at home too. The kids filled up their wading pool and made rafts for their playmobil figures out of pieces of wood.
We enjoyed reading The Adventures of Grandfather Frog by Thorton Burgess. I have heard lots of good things about Burgess's books, but this was the first one we had read. We really enjoyed the story, and it was filled with all kinds of little life lessons. I especially liked this line, " Grandfather Frog almost choked again, he was so angry. You see, old Mr. Toad's remarks were very personal, and nobody likes personal remarks, especially if they happen to be true."
We also made a special snack for teatime. Ella and Mabel baked Raft cookies. We used a homemade graham cracker recipe, which provided plenty of opportunities to learn about 1/4 and 1/2 cups. Ella had the idea to mark them with a butter knife to look like the planks on a raft. After they baked, we drew on them with some food-coloring markers I have. For poetry we read one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver. Her poem "Summer Day" was just perfect. Afterward, the kids were inspired to write some poetry of their own. We also learned about cave paintings and watched a clip from one of the kids' favorite shows Hands On Crafts for Kids about making cave paintings. Then we drew our own cave paintings with oil pastels and crayons on sand paper. We celebrated the final day of our study with a playdate at the same park. The kids were excited to show their friends the island and swing on the vine some more.