Friday, July 26, 2013

FIAR - The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge Unit Study

* This post contains affiliate links.*

I am excited as I plan out our unit based on the book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde H. Swift. This book is in Five In A Row, Volume 2. As with all my units, this is a planning post and we haven't done the unit, yet. I will create another post with pictures when we've actually done the unit study. Also, like my other units, it is based on ideas from the FIAR manual and many other sources.

The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge

Go Alongs:


Social Studies:

  1. Mark Albany, New York City and the Hudson River on a blank map
  2. Read My New York by Kathy Jakobsen
  3. Read New York State of Mind by Billy Joel and listen the the included CD
  4. Put together New York State Mini-Lapbook from Currclick


Draw a lighthouse with these instructions from Art Projects for Kids

Draw a lighthouse

 Make this lighthouse craft from

Lighthouse craft

Make a cityscape craft from Project Around the World: New York City found here

Language Arts: Compound Words

I chose several worksheets on compound words from Evan-Moor. I have a membership to their Teacher File Box where I pay monthly and download and print any of the materials as much as I want. You can to to the site, and preview any of the materials for free and you can sign up for a free trial. It's a very useful site that I refer to often.

The worksheets I chose to use this time are Compound Words , Making Big Words, and Rule 16: Compound Words.

I also chose a Take It To Your Seat Center called Compound Words that we'll just do a matching game with the cards and not necessarily fill out the worksheets that go with it.

There are also some compound words cards at The First Grade Parade that we'll use for more practice.

Science: Light

  1. Read p. 52-53 in Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science
  2. Making Shadows worksheet here from Science Experiments for Young Learners
  3. Where Will the Light Go worksheet here from Science Experiments for Young Learners
  4. Make shadow puppets
  5. use mirrors to reflect light

Science: Bridges

Do a simple paper bridge science experiment found here
Bridge building ideas (and more) from School Time Snippets

Math: Time and Seconds

  1. Practice "one second on, two seconds off" with a flashlight
  2. Count seconds with "one-thousand" between (one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, etc)
  3. Discuss there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour. Practice counting to a minute and use a stopwatch to see if we're right. Set a timer for 60 minutes and check elapsed time.
  4. Play Tic Toc Cover Up game from Evan-Moor found here


Watch Travel with Kids: New York (free on Amazon Prime)
Watch little red lighthouse video here

What ideas do you plan to use for The Little Red Lighthouse?

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013

    FIAR - The Rag Coat Unit

    I've been working on our plans for our unit study based on The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills. This is a wonderful book about a little girl whose daddy was a coal miner but has passed away. Her mother cannot afford to buy a new coat, so the ladies who quilt together in the town decide to quilt the girl a new coat. This coat is full of memories and helps teach forgiveness and kindness to others. 

    Everyone should read this book with their children whether they do any activities to go along with it or not. 

    The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills

    Without further ado, here are my plans for this book...

    We will incorporate the lapbook found here at Aussie Pumpkin Patch into our studies of this book. When you see the abbreviation (LB) that item comes from this lapbook.

    Social Studies:

    1. Appalachian Mountains Map (LB)

    2. Compass lapbook (LB)

    3. Things from long ago lapbook (LB)

    Language Arts:

    1. Father’s words (LB)
    2. How did Minna include father (LB)

    1. Warm colors (LB) 
    2. Rag Coat lapbook cover (LB) 
    3. Make a quilt with felt squares and glue 
    4. Make a tied fleece blanket for a gift 
    5. Make crazy quilt with pattern scrapbook paper (choose paper that reminds you of events or people) 

    Handkerchief Doll
    Tied Fleece Blanket
    1. Make your own compass
    2. Explore coal kit 
    3. Identify different types of coal with this lesson 
    4. Coal mining with chocolate chip cookies using activity found here 
    5. Read p. 12-13 in DK Eye Wonder Rocks & Minerals
    Geo Shapes
    1. Pattern blocks w/ pattern cards 
    2. Make your own geo shapes printable 
    3. 3x3 quilt grids to design 

    Make coal cookies from recipe in  lapbook or make cookie bar coal from here . This recipe from delightful learning looks good.

     Other Activities:

    1. Movie: Christy  
    2. Listen to some bluegrass music  
    3. Listen to dulcimer music here  
    4. Video for Biblical explanation of coal formation 
    5. Play coal mining game  
    6. Listen to Billions of Dead Things

    Go Alongs:

    In Coal Country by Judith Hendershot
    DK Eye Wonder Rocks and Minerals
    Growing Up in Coal Country by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 
    Appalachia: The Voices of Singing Birds by Cynthia Rylant
    In Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson
    The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco 

    Bible Verse:

    Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

    I'm really looking forward to studying this unit. What fun activities have you done or have you planned to do?


      Monday, July 8, 2013

      FREE Evan Moor Brain Builders game

      Go here to download your free Evan Moor Brain Builders Interactive Learning game until July 31, 2013. Use code GAME2013 at checkout.

      You can choose from:

      The Science comes in grade levels PreK-4, Vocabulary is K-6+ and Reading/Language is K-6+.

      We downloaded the Science for grades 1-2 and it covers things like living vs. not living, animal life cycles, weather, energy and more.

      I didn't check out the other items, but hey, it's free so go give it a shot. Click here to get yours.

      Sunday, July 7, 2013

      Common Core Language Arts Book List for 1st Grade

      I've been asked by a teacher to post a list with links for the Language Arts Common Core 1st grade required and recommended books. She asked me to do this to make it easy for her and any of her students' parents to order the required books. I am an Amazon affiliate, so I do earn a commission from these. If you'd like to order them from this page, just click on the picture in the carousel and you'll be taken directly to the item. You can also visit my Amazon Store. Here they are:

      Language Common Core

      Suggested Reading List (*required):


      • "As I Was Going to St. Ives." by Anonymous
      • "Mix a Pancake." by Christina Rossetti
      • "Singing-Time." by Rose Fyleman
      • "Halfway Down." by A. A. Milne
      • "Drinking Fountain." by Marchette Chute
      • "Poem." by Langston Hughes
      • "Wouldn't You?" by John Ciardi
      • "Laughing Boy." by Richard Wright
      • "By Myself." by Eloise Greenfield
      • "Covers." by Nikki Giovanni
      • "It Fell in the City." by Eve Merriam
      • "Celebration." by Alonzo Lopez
      • "Two Tree Toads." by Jon Agee

      Read-Alouds (*required) :

      Read-Aloud Poetry:

      • "The Fox's Foray." by Anonymous
      • "Over in the Meadow." by John Langstaff
      • "The Owl and the Pussycat." by Edward Lear
      • "April Rain Song." by Langston Hughes
      • "Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin." by Lloyd Moss

      Informational Reading (*required):

         Read-aloud Informational Texts (*required):

          How I Plan Units Using Five In A Row

          If you've been following my posts, you know that I do this a different way than most. My blog is here for me to have a visual planning tool for the books/units we plan to work through. I don't have pictures of what we've done because we haven't done them yet. I will create new blog posts with pictures when we've done the unit.

           Five in a Row Book Set

          Another thing to mention... my units on the blog are loosely correlated with the Five In A Row curriculum by Jane Claire Lambert. I do not use the curriculum as it is intended and I don't want to represent that I do. I intend to read the book 5 days in a row, but I include mostly activities I've found on other blogs and such, not the recommended lessons in the Five In a Row books. I mention this for two reasons. First, I want you to go read the Five In A Row books yourself for all these wonderful ideas and be inspired yourself, so I don't want to include them all on my blog. Those guides are such a valuable resource for all of these units, especially for art and language arts activities that anyone who is doing a unit on any of the books she includes should have their own copy of the Five In A Row curriculum guides. Secondly, I want you to visit these other blogs that have been such an inspiration to me. For this reason, I provide a ton of links in my blog posts so you can go to these blogs and be inspired, too.

          Of course, as I revealed in an earlier post, I like to use my Literature based Unit Study Planner, Pinterest, a list I've made on Word and weekly planners to do the nitty gritty of my planning. Then I transfer that information to give me a visual plan complete with links that my sometimes disorganized self can't lose and I can access from anywhere.

          Sometimes I label my blog posts FIAR or Five In A Row, but I just wanted to explain that these posts are not all inclusive and while I take ideas from the FIAR guides, most of the ideas I share here come from my own research via other blogs and websites. Sometimes I thought them up my very own self.

          How do you pull your unit studies together? How do you use the FIAR guides in your homeschool?

          Friday, July 5, 2013

          FIAR Madeline Unit

          Madeline: "In an old house in Paris, all covered with vines, lived 12 little girls in 2 straight lines..."

          Here are my plans for the book Madeline (be sure to click on the pictures for the links to the activities). This one is waaaaay over-planned so I won't be using all of these activities, but I'd rather over-plan than under-plan. I like the variety and we can choose whatever we're in the mood for and still know we are covering a lot of stuff. So, without further ado...

          • Look What Came from France by Miles Harvey
          • Madeline Says Merci
          • Usborne First Encyclopedia of Science
          • How Your Body Works (Scienceworks for Kids Series)
          • Madeline and the Bad Hat


          • Countries Around the World: France
          • French for Kids
          • Madeline

          Social Studies:

          Madeline Lapbook from  - Select mini books will be used but not all.

          Language Arts:
          • Madeline Lapbook from
          • Vocabulary: Appendix, solemn, disaster
          • Narrate the story while Mom types it 
          • Play the rhyme game (take turns saying rhyming words)
          • Make a list of words that rhyme with  Madeline.
          • Madeline copywork: They left the house at half past nine in two straight lines in rain or shine—the smallest one was Madeline.

          • Build Eiffel Tower with sugar wafers and frosting

          •  Draw cover with chalk pastels..

          • Color coloring page however you want and then 2nd one in monochrome.
          • Paint one side of a page with paint, fold and unfold to see symmetry or cut folded paper and unfold to see symmetry.
          • Make paper daisies.


          Staying healthy: germs, glitter on hands experiment 
          Digestive system (usborne First Encyclopedia of Science p. 28-29)
          How long are your intestines? (How Your Body Works, p. 48)

          What happens to  your food mini book (How Your Body Works p. 49-51)


          Demonstrate 2 straight lines in a row (symmetrical) using manipulatives


          Crepes (see recipe)

          Make French toast with French bread

          Eat French bread with dinner

          Other Activities:

          Watch Madeline (the full movie, available at Library)
          Sing Frere Jacques
          Watch Countries Around the World: France (from Library)
          Paper city Paris by Made by Joel
          Watch French for Kids (library)

          Bible Verse:

                   I Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

          Other blogs with cool activities:

          What cool activities do you have planned for Madeline?