Monday, July 29, 2013

Gramma's Walk

Here is the second post for our next book completed in the Five in a Row (FIAR) series, Gramma's Walk by Anna Grossnickle Hines.  I chose to do this one next because since we had just finished our study of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, I knew our understanding of lighthouses would be fresh.  Plus, in just a couple of weeks, we're going on a family trip to Seattle, and I know we'll be seeing a lighthouse and the coast there, so it just made sense to read Gramma's Walk as our next FIAR book!
It was after I decided to do this book next that I realized it would be a great time to visit Maggie's grandparents, who live on the Gulf.  Since this book is about a little boy who goes on an imaginary journey to the beach with his grandmother, I thought it would be perfectly timed to have Maggie visit her grandmother and grandfather, and hit the beach!  With that being said, I had to plan our daily lessons accordingly.  Instead of five days, we would work on this book for four (FIAR can stand for "Four in a Row" this week, right?!), and we would mix up the lessons a bit to work in our travels.  (Ah, the beauty of homeschooling!)  So, here's how the lessons for this FIAR book will go:
Day 1 - Social Studies;
Day 2 - Language Arts, Art, Math;
Day 3 - Science; and
Day 4 - Science (cont'd).
So, let's get started!
Day 1 of 4 - Social Studies
Just like the last FIAR study we did, we started by reading our book!  What a great read!  Maggie really enjoyed it.  In addition to the brief description I gave above, the book also touches on kindness and physical disabilities.  Here is the story disk for this book, colored by Mags, and ready to hang on our map! 
Placing our second story disk on our map!  (I love this States map!  I got it for a steal at Office Max using coupons and a free shipping code, and it even came already laminated!)
To start our work for today, I had her color this coloring sheet I found at  This started our lapbook for this book!
Next, we did a writing activity that I found from a great set of printables for this book at  This, too, was added to our lapbook.
Then, Mags and I did a bit more reading on physical disabilities.  Here are a few of the resources we used:  Living with Physical Handicap by Dr. John Shenkman ...
... Some Kids Use Wheelchairs by Lola M. Schaefer ...
... It's Ok to Be Me! Just Like You, I Can Do Almost Anything! by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos (a great read!) ...
... and Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher (another one I highly recommend). 
Then, using that same link I listed above for the great printables for this book, I found this awesome matchbook foldable for her lapbook.  Here it is, closed ...
... and open!
But before we did our next project, it was time for lunch.  Last study, we used the recipes found in our The Five in a Row Cookbook for that book, which were great, but for this study, I wanted to do something a bit different than the suggested recipes for Gramma's Walk.  I found some great ideas for a themed lunch, including this adorable "Sandy Beach Cookie" as seen at  For the same, you need graham crackers, toothpicks, white icing, and blue food coloring.
First, using your toothpicks, carve into the bottom half of your graham cracker, like below.
Next, add about 2 drops of blue food coloring to about a tablespoonful of white icing and mix well.  Smear some onto the top half of your graham cracker to simulate a wave washing onto a beach.
Finally, using another toothpick, dab a few smears of white icing onto the edge of your blue to look like sea foam on the sand.  Here are the two cookies I made Maggie, one with a heart and the other with an M.  Cute, cute, cute! 
Then, for her sandwich, I decided to make this little "Sandcastle Sandwich," as seen at, using two regular-sized sandwiches, circular cookie cutters (I used three differently-sized glasses from the cupboard), a coffee grinder, a toothpick, and a paper leaf (to simulate the leaf flag Donnie and Gramma made in the book).  (For my leaf, I simply printed a picture from online and cut it out.)
First, make two sandwiches.  (We made turkey and cheese.)
Using circular cutters or drinking glasses, cut three circles from the middle of your sandwiches and stack them onto your plate, like I did here.  Then, add your toothpick and "flag" to the top.
Next, using a few remaining bits of bread and crust from your sandwich scraps, grind them in the coffee grinder to make "sand" for your castle.
Sprinkle them on top of your sandwich castle and there you have it!  An edible sandcastle!  Too fun!
I also added a couple of gummy sharks (Thanks, Hannah!), some sea-shaped crackers, and two pineapple rings. 
Lunch is served!
After lunch, we got back into our work, learning more about people with physical disabilities.  We talked about how they are like everyone else and how their handicaps should not keep them from living life as we do.  This carried us into the discussion of facilities for handicapped people.  Then, I implemented this cool idea I found for recognizing handicapped facilities around town at, using a bar graph to keep track of the number of handicapped parking spaces there are at different places around town.  (This ties in some math into today's lesson.)  Here is the graph I put together for her to work from.
(Here is the great site I used to make my graph...!  It was really easy to use and I'm glad to have it as a resource!)  Once the graph was explained to her, we set out to count the handicapped parking spaces at a few of our regular haunts ... the library, Daddy's work, Publix, CVS, and PAWS.  (Here is Mags at CVS, under one of those spots!)
Once our data was collected, we returned home to work on our graph.
Here is our completed graph, showing Publix as the winner of the most handicapped facilities with 10 spaces, and PAWS coming in last with only 2.  What we learned, though, is that very many places identify the needs of handicapped people and this is a very good thing!

Day 2 of 4 - Language Arts, Art, Math
Today, in recognition of our trip to the Gulf tomorrow, we covered three of the subjects in our manual -- Language Arts, Art, and Math.  Luckily, I am seeing a trend with our FIAR studies -- our busiest days of each week are the first and last, when we start a new story and finish one up, so I knew that doing more than one subject on Day 2 wouldn't be any more work than either a typical Day 1 or 5. 
After reading Gramma's Walk again, to start our study of Language Arts for this book, we talked about the structure of this story and how it moves linearly to a far point on the beach, until finally, towards the end of the book, the characters backtrack and return from that far point to the starting point again.  To illustrate this for Maggie, I got a neat idea for sequencing the events of this story at, using a ribbon roll.  For your own ribbon roll, you need a toilet paper tube, a lengthy ribbon, small pictures representing the events in the story (I just printed a few from a Google search for each), glue, and tape.  

After we cut out our pictures, I had Maggie put them in order of when they occurred in the story.
"They're all in order!"
Then, we unrolled our ribbon, and started to glue the pictures (still in order) to the ribbon, leaving a small space in between each.
Here they all are, glued to our ribbon!
Next, we glued the end of the ribbon (the end with the first picture nearest it) to our toilet paper tube and wrapped it around and around.  This showed the events of the story in order, with the last event rolled last against the tube.
To backtrack, you simply unroll the ribbon slowly and see the events in reverse order!  This was a great way to illustrate backtracking!  (Our cat, Emmett, was also intrigued with this project.)
When not in use, simply keep your ribbon roll together with a paper clip.
Next, we decided to map Gramma's walk using scrapbooking paper, stickers, colored pencils, and markers.  (Here is the piece I gave her to start with, which was a piece of scrapbooking paper made to look like waves, adhered to another piece that resembles sand.  This made our "beach" in which to draw our map.)
Using stickers, we mapped the lighthouse, rabbit, and deer tracks ...
... and the sandcastle.
We used colored pencils to draw in what we didn't have stickers for, like Maggie is doing here, with the otter.
(Look how cute he is!)
Finally, we connected all the points of interest with a line, to show Gramma's walk.  (Here, you can see the purple jelly bean rock and seashell they found at the end of their journey.)
All done!  Looks great!
We, of course, added this to the lapbook!
Our next Language Arts project was to revisit compound words.  (We did this last week in our study of The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.)  I found this great addition for our lapbook at, which required her to write the two parts of each compound word found in this story.
For art, we studied the pictures in our book and noticed the colors the artist used ... soft colors, which set the tone for a relaxed, quiet book.  I then challenged her to draw her own "soft, relaxed picture."  This is what she came up with ... Emmett, in the grass, with birds in the sky over his head.  She used the same colors we saw in the book.  :)
And for math, we used real seashells to make groups of twos, threes, and fours, then counted by the same.
This was so much fun for her, she insisted we do it again later that night after her bath!  :)
Day 3 of 4 - Science
We have made it to our destination at the Gulf to visit Grandma and Grandpop!  Today, we did part 1 of 2 of our study of Science for Gramma's Walk.  First, we talked about our senses with the reading of Five Senses by Lara Winnigham and The Five Senses by Kama Einhorn.  We also read this great poem by one of my favorites, Shel Silverstein, out of his A Light in the Attic, page 134:
A Mouth was talking to a Nose and an Eye.
A passing listening Ear
Said, 'Pardon me, but you spoke so loud,
I couldn't help but overhear.'
But the Mouth just closed and the Nose turned up
And the Eye just looked away,
And the Ear with nothing more to hear
Went sadly on its way.

Then, we did a few quick experiments to illustrate how our senses work.  First, for sight, we watched our pupils in a mirror with the lights on, then with the lights off.  We learned how our pupils dilate to let more light in when it is darker to help us see better and acclimate to the environment around us.
For better understanding our sense of hearing, we listened to noises in the room with our hands cupped around our ears, and without.  It was fun to hear the sounds get louder!
For taste, Maggie is sampling a bitter pickle ...
... and then a spoonful of sweet jam!
For better understanding our sense of smell, we lightly sniffed some rosemary, then deeply inhaled the same a few minutes later.  We learned that we could smell it better with the bigger whiff because the scent went higher in our noses, thereby smelling stronger.
And for sense of touch, Maggie closed her eyes while I placed this "prickly pear" in her hands for her to describe. 
We then completed the senses activity for this book found at, describing what Donnie and Gramma sensed on their walk along the beach.
Here is an example from that activity.  (We'll do another sensory activity of what we experience with our own senses when we hit the beach tomorrow.)  This, of course, was added to our lapbook as well.
In our study of beaches, we read Who Is This at the Beach? by Mary Elizabeth Salzmann ... 

... Hello Ocean by Pam Munoz Ryan (a GREAT book that covers what every one of our senses would experience at the beach) ...
... Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berkes (another great read with great pictures for identifying common shells) ...
... and The Shell Book by Barbara Hirsh Lember.
We then set out to learn more about barnacles with the reading of About Crustaceans: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill (a super read!) ...
... and Animal Kingdom Classification: Lobsters, Crabs & Other Crustaceans by Daniel Gilpin.
We then completed this addition to our lapbook about barnacles (again found at -- a fantastic resources for FIAR lapbook work), which folds out and gives a great definition and pictures for the same.
Next, we put together this very cool pop-up barnacle found at
(This was something she was very proud of!)
Super neat!

Day 4 of 4 - Science
So, on Day 4 of this adventure through Gramma's Walk, we hit the beach!  Beforehand, though, we made list of the things that we were looking to find!  (We found all of them!)
We made it!
It's very hard to see (click on the picture to see it closer), but very far behind Maggie, you can see the lighthouse we were looking for!
I zoomed in with my camera to get some better views of it.
Then, we found a shell that looked just like the one Donnie found in Gramma's Walk!
Good find, Mags!
Once we did some exploring, we got to work on our sensory activity (, describing what each of our senses was experiencing in that moment, which we would later add to our lapbook.  (Here is what it looked like later, put together.)
Another thing to check off our list!  We found animal tracks!
And we made our own sandcastle, complete with stick and leaf flag, just like in the book!
Then, we found a hermit crab!
"Come out, little guy!"
Heading back to the water ...
We found barnacles!!!
We immediately put our barnacles into a bucket of water to see what would happen, and guess what?!
They started to open and their cirri came out to feed!  Way cool!  This was a really neat find!
 Once home, we finished up our lapbook and called our second FIAR book study a great success!  (Here's Maggie, showing off the inside of our lapbook.)
 And the outside!  Great work, Mags!
See you next week with our third book study, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton!  It should be good!


  1. I saw your book project on the beach and wheelchairs and thought I'd share my blog about wheelchairs for the beach (Zooming On Sand) with you:

    1. How neat is that?! Thanks for sharing! I will be sure to show Maggie!