We’re back in the swing of things so I wanted to share another Five in a Row book we completed before the holidays. Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews was a great book for a week of fun activities. Here’s a peak…
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Read the Story
We only read the story once this week but it was enjoyed.
The gist of the story is that “Eva Padlyat lived in an Inuit village on Ungava Vat in northern Canada. In winter, when people wanted mussels to eat, they searched along the bottom of the seabed. Eva had often walked on the bottom, helping her mother, but today – for the very first time – she was to go down below the thick sea ice herself. Her mother went with her to the shore and out onto the ice. The time was just right. The outgoing tide had pulled the seawater away, leaving only the ice above and the rock-strewn seabed below.
Eva lowered herself through a hole in the ice and, by candlelight, had soon gathered a pan full of mussels. There was still time to explore, she decided. But she stumbled and her candle went out. She was alone in the darkness, and the tide had turned. When, at the end of her adventure, she is safe with her mother again on top of the ice, she says, ‘that was my very last first time for walking alone on the bottom of the sea.’ ”
After reading the story, we used our world map to find Canada. We discussed how it was our neighbor to the north and how we actually have some extended family that lives there. I asked M how we could travel to Canada and she came up with some very creative answers involving land, air and sea – I was expecting only driving, silly me!
Using the pictures in the book, M guessed what the climate was like where the main character lived. We talked about how it gets much colder there than where we live and how that affects the culture.
This book was a great opportunity to learn about the Inuit culture. We used some books from the library to learn more about them, where they live and what their lives are like. Our favorite was easily this one since it taught us a few native words. The lapbook this week had some pictures that depicted Inuit life also which made it much more tangible for M.
She immediately decided that the jackets they worn (parkas with fur trimmed hoods) were awesome and wanted her winter jacket to be the same.
I learned right alongside M this week in discovering that there is an Inuit language that uses symbols that look very different than our alphabet. It is called Inuktitut and using this resource, we tried our best to come up with what our names would look like in Inuktitut. I’m sure our final results were way off but it was a great way to show M that not all languages are the same.
M was really into completing the lap book this week so she spend a good amount of time on it. One of my favorite things it included was the idea of Crisis Thinking, or what to do in an emergency. This provided a nice backdrop for a conversation on how to calmly handle a dangerous or emergency situation.
It also introduced the concept of ordinal numbers. We went over the numbers and the order in which they go. I’ve also been trying to incorporate ordinal numbers in everyday situations to help her become more familiar with them.
We had a lot of fun with art this week. Using a technique seen in the illustrations of the book, we tried our hand creating our own pointillism paintings. Pointillism is a painting technique that involves small dots of color which are applied to form a picture. M and J both wanted to paint and I wanted to keep the picture simple enough that they could try out this concept without getting frustrated.
For our paintings, I printed out an outline of an apple tree with minimal detail. I don’t usually make my own copy of our art projects but for this, it was the best way to explain how the technique worked.
To make the dots, we used the eraser side of a pencil as our paint brushes. The kids love using objects other than paint brushes to paint and the erasers made perfect dots.
I was really impressed with how the kids paintings came out. They both understood the general idea of pointillism and were able to capture the essence of it.
Since the main character of the book goes hunting for mussels, the kids went through our bag of seashells from over the summer looking for their own mussel shells.
Another craft we did this week was to make our own ocean inspired fish bowl. To start, M painted a paper plant blue. Once it was dried, she covered it in ocean themed stickers including fish, octopus, sharks, snorkelers and even a mermaid or two. To give it a “fish bowl” feel, we covered the plate in plastic wrap once it was finished.
Very Last First Time was a great story and gives you so many different possibilities for activities to do alongside it. I would definitely recommend it!
Don’t miss our other FIAR books we’ve completed: