Wednesday, August 19, 2015

FIAR: Follow the Drinking Gourd

When we were reviewing With Lee in Virginia the boys were upset at the scenes that depicted abusive slave owners.  It was only a couple of scenes at the beginning, but it was enough to horrify them.  We have the book Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winters, so I thought it might be a good time to row it and discuss abolitionists and the Underground Railroad, to show "another side" of that part of history.  It was a mostly conversational row as we've been very relaxed this summer, but it kept us moving forward through July.

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Language Arts
Analogies, Compound Words
The analogies lesson on the Underground Railroad was covered from the manual.  We also did the compound words lesson (review for Elliott, but he liked "teaching" it to Emory) and I asked the boys to choose a word from the list and draw a picture.

Social Studies
Civil War, Underground Railroad, Geography, Compasses
Because the book was set in the south, we discussed how the United States was roughly divided into "northern" and "southern" states, and how some were slave states and some were free states.  I showed them a color-coded map (I pulled this map from under section 7-4) to show them how the US was divided, and how far slaves had to travel to reach Canada.  We also looked at Virginia and West Virginia, and discussed how WV became a state during the Civil War.  We watched a video about Harriet Tubman and discussed the Underground Railroad.  We discussed directions and I let the boys play around with a compass.  The compass was enjoyed for a long time after the row, and it goes in our nature bag now.

(That was all a lot of information for them, especially the five year old, but I think it's good exposure, and the next time we come around, it will be familiar and they will absorb even more.)

Elliott picked a southern state for our story disk.

Abraham Lincoln
This was a rabbit trail for us, because Emory wanted to study him.  We read the books Abe Lincoln Goes to Washington and Abe Lincoln Remembers.  The first one was extremely detailed.  Too many dates and battle details for an elementary read-aloud, especially to cram into one reading session.  The illustrations were interesting, but it's better suited for upper elementary or even middle school.  The second book was much more appropriate in content and length for our needs.


Measure of Time
We used the lesson in the manual, and then the book All about Time helped us expand on the topic.  They really liked the overlay pages that helped show the lapse of time.

Fine Arts
Art:  Cut-Away View; Music - Songs as a Teaching Method
We discussed this art lesson from the manual naturally as we were reading the book.  Of course we listened to the Follow the Drinking Gourd song one day.

Stars, Constellations
We talked about constellations and specifically about The Big Dipper.   We made constellations with the geoboard.  They also watched an episode about stars from The Magic School Bus.  We have a telescope, but my mind just isn't there when it finally gets dark.  Or in other words, I kept forgetting.  Maybe we'll get it out this fall and enjoy it when it gets dark before exhaustion sets in.

There was actually a lot more I wanted to do with this book, but the kids weren't particularly interested in this row.  It's heavy subject matter, and I probably should have waited a little longer for this book.  It was good exposure though, and that's still important.  We took a FIAR break for several weeks at the end of July and early August, and have actually started our "new" school year, so you'll be seeing that post soon enough!

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  1. I love how this followed With Lee in Virginia! Excellent tie in and a really great row! Thanks for linking up with the FIAR link-up!

    1. Thanks! One of boys was interested in learning about Abraham Lincoln, so Lincoln, With Lee in Virginia and this row all kind of circled around to each other.

  2. I love this book. Our nature museum has a planetarium show based on it. These are some great unit study ideas for it!

    1. My kids would love a planetarium show based on favorite books. That's awesome!