Sunday, May 30, 2010

Five in a Row: The Story About Ping

A'right, this isn't going to interest some of you, but I'm hoping that some of you might come play along and join us for our attempt at summer learning. School isn't even OUT yet, but we just couldn't wait to start our summer unit studies. I decided that we were going to do a program called Five in a Row, which is a simple and easy to follow curriculum--with tons of room for fitting it into your family, schedule, and life. The basic idea is that they give you one book to study each week. You read it for 5 days in a row, and include activities that build on the story and all the subjects found within the story. We are having a BLAST--so I decided to share what we're doing. Come play along.

Our first unit features The Story of Ping by Marjorie Flack.

We supplemented the text with these books, among others, for our subjects:

Basically, I just went to my library and grabbed a bunch of books on China.

Social Studies and Georgraphy Unit: A-Z China was fantastic because it threw in a lot of cultural information, along with some Chinese vocabulary. I wondered if my kids were old enough to get into The Emperor's Silent Army, but Thing 1 really took to it, and my husband and I were fascinated by it. We also made our own maps of China, with the basic map coming from Apples4theteacher--click here.

Math Unit: Count Your Way Through China wasn't as valuable for the text as it was for teaching us to count from 1-10 in Chinese:

1 - Yee
2 - Uhr
3 - Sahn
4 - Suh
5 - Woo
6 - Lyo
7 - Chee
8 -Bah
9 - Jo
10 - Shur

Yes, I typed that from memory. I am so proud of myself. So, we learned to count in Chinese for math, but we also spent some time adding and subtracting ducks. In the book it says that Ping has a huge family of aunts, uncles, and cousins--it was fun to take away the aunts and see how many were left. To do this, we used little counting ducks we have, but you could use anything to represent the ducks--even beans. It was great fun.

Science: Floating, diving, swimming, currents. Domestic ducks and wild ducks. YouTube videos of cormorants fishing for their masters. Why is the Yangtze River yellow? There are a LOT of science possiblities in Ping!

Language Arts and Art: For our art unit, we studied the pictures--the reflections in the water, and the way that the artist used ink and then filled it in with colored pencils. I pointed out that he only used the primary colors, and then layered them to create secondary colors. Then we grabbed some paper and played around with ink/colored pencil drawings, using only red-yellow-and blue. They turned out surprisingly well for 5 and 3 year olds. We also printed out basic maps of China and filled in broad areas--mountains, deserts, green tropical areas, cold areas, the major cities and rivers, and--of course--the Great Wall.

Kid's Movies to Go With: Ni-Hao Ki Lan series and Disney's Mulan.

Finally, for our field trip, we went to a local Chinese restaurant and had dinner. The kids greeted the owner with a friendly Ni-hao! And asked her how to say "thank you" -- "xie xie" (it sounds like "shia shia").

Next up--Lentil by Robert McCloskey (of Blueberries for Sal and Make Way for Ducklings fame.) It promises to be wonderful--grab it at your library and read along! :)

List of authors: The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack, A-Z China by Junstine and Ron Fontes, The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, Count Your Way Through China by Jim Haskins, The Emperor's Silent Army by Jane O'Connor, We Come From China by Julia Waterlow.


  1. sounds like fun! We might have to give it a try.

  2. Becca, you're amazing! Seriously!

  3. I'm sorry, I didn't comment on this sooner, but just reading about it made me feel so tired . . .

    :) You're a wonder woman.