Friday, September 19, 2014

The Story About Ping

This week, we rowed The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack (and illustrated by Kurt Wiese).  Amazon says about it, "Since 1933, The Story About Ping has captivated generations of readers ... No one can deny the appeal of the book's hero, Ping, the spirited little duck who lives on a boat on the Yangtze River. Ping's misadventures one night while exploring the world around his home form the basis of this timeless classic, which is brought to life by Kurt Wiese's warm and poignant illustrations."  Maggie, loving ducks, really enjoyed this book!
Once the book was read, we got started on our study of it by discussing China and its geography.  We located it on the map and completed the "Where in the World ... Is China?" printable from for the China lapbook we decided to make.
 Then, we placed our story disk on China, at the base of the Yangtze River, where Ping lived.
We read The Yangtze River by Nathan Olson ...
... then watched this video from YouTube on the river.  After the video, we completed a worksheet on the same, as found in the FIAR Fold&Learn online printables.  (Check their site for this offering.)
 Then, it was time to talk about the culture of China.  To get started, we read A Visit to China by Mary Packard ...
... Countries of the World: China by Michael Dahl ...
... D is for Dancing Dragon: A Chinese Alphabet by Carol Crane ...
... China ABCs: A Book About the People and Places of China by Holly Schroeder ....
 ... China in Colors by Marla Gamze-Pendergrast ...
... I Can Cook! Chinese Food by Wendy Blaxland ...
... and Games People Play! China by Kim Dramer.
 After our reading, we checked out this YouTube video about China ...
... and watched this Sesame Street's Big Bird in China DVD that we borrowed from the library.
It was time for some desk work.  We began working again on some additions for our lapbook, starting with this China map I printed out of our Dover Around the World Coloring Book by Winky Adam.
 We followed that with the "Flag of China" printable from ...
 ... the "What Would I Find in China?" pocket and cards from the same site ...
 ... and the "I Can Write My Name in Chinese" printable as well.
 She was tickled to see her name in Chinese writing!
 Once we had more elements completed for our China lapbook, we used our Usborne Sticker Dolly Dressing: Costumes Around the World sticker book to dress some Chinese women for the annual Flower Festival.
 Great job, Mags!
 Then, we played with our giant panda nesting dolls ...
 ... noting the bamboo in the paws of one ...
 ... and the orange in the paw of another (a symbol of good luck in China).
 (Our cat, Emmett, loves Maggie's desk and always has to get in on the action!)
 Here, Emmett is "helping" Maggie dress the Chinese girl, Mei-Mei, in our Dover Mei-Mei from China Sticker Paper Doll book.
 Looks great, Maggie!
We finished Day 1 of this book study with the reading of a few good stories based in China -- Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yin Bridges ...
 ... The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine ...
... Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin ...
 ... and Daisy Comes Home by Jan Brett.  (This one was a particularly great addition to the study of The Story About Ping because it is set on the Yangtze River and features house boats, fishing birds, and other things you see in the story.)
In our study of the Language Arts of this book (classic stories, fiction, and repetition), we completed this writing sheet from
 After our writing activity, we enjoyed some fun with a Chinese yo-yo!
 For a snack, we had oranges, again, a symbol of good luck in China!
On Day 3 of this read, we delved into art.  We talked about medium (colored pencils and crayon), viewpoint, composition, and drawing water.  Here, Maggie is using her own colored pencils to draw Ping in a scene with water.
 That night, we made two recipes out of our The Five in a Row Cookbook -- egg rolls, and fried rice!  Maggie was an expert egg roll roller!
She did better than me!  I was quite impressed!
Here, she is stirring our fried rice.
I had bought cute little panda plates for the meal, with chopsticks, of course!
Yum!  Our fried rice was really good!
And our egg rolls were baked, not fried, and delicious!
 For our Math study of this book, we noted that the book referred to Ping's family -- mother, father, two sisters, three brothers, eleven aunts, seven uncles, and forty-two cousins!  Oh, and Ping!  For a counting activity, I took out a cutting board, some rice, and a chopstick.
We grouped each set -- parents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins -- by counting each grain of rice as one duck and dragging them over to the other side of the board with our chopstick.  (She loved this.)
Once done, our board looked like this, with Ping on the bottom, or last in line to board the boat, like in the book.  Once grouped, we counted them all up to find that there were 68 ducks in all aboard Ping's boat on the Yangtzee River!
We studied ducks extensively when we rowed Make Way for Ducklings, but we didn't learn as much about preening as we had the opportunity to do with this book.  To start our talk of ducks, we read Ducks! by Gail Gibbons (LOVE her books) ...
 ... Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies ...
... and Ducks Don't Get Wet by Augusta Goldin.  (This was a great addition to this FIAR study!)
Before we started our projects we had a little snack -- some "Quack'n Bites" that I picked up at Whole Foods.
Little Pings!  :)
Then, we completed the worksheets on ducks found in the FIAR Fold&Learn online printables.  (Check their site for this offering.)
And we were tickled to see the classification of Pekin ducks on the worksheets, since we just recently studied Animal Classification in Science.
Once our reading was done (where we learned that Ping is a dabbling duck and a White Pekin), we did the preening activity we saw at and at, using yellow paper, oil, and water.  I found some duck clipart online and printed two out on yellow cardstock.  Once they were cut out, I made a "pond" of water in a plastic container, put some oil in a small bowl, and provided a paintbrush and plates.
First, Maggie dunked one duck (with no oil, or a "faulty preening gland") into the "pond."  It immediately got soaked.
Then with the second duck, she painted on the oil, much like a duck would spread oil over its body during preening.
Then that duck went for a swim.
The water droplets spilled right off of that one!
Our duck with the faulty preening gland ...
... and our duck with the well-preened body!
Here, Mags is checking out the final results of this little experiment!
The poor duck on the right wish he had preened his feathers!
For our next experiment (an experiment on buoyancy), we used our "pond" again with five small items (a pencil, a rubber duck, a penny, a plastic snake, and a rubber ball) to test whether each would sink or float.  We also used the sink and float experiment sheet found in the FIAR Fold&Learn online printables for tracking our results.
She guessed that the pencil would sink, but it was a floater!
A sinker!
Here are our results!
To finish this study of The Story About Ping, we finished our lapbook on China.  (Maggie loves covering the front of her lapbooks with stickers!)
The inside!
She insisted we add some of this ribbon.
Our next row is Madeline!  Can't wait!


  1. Your lap book looks wonderful! I can hardly wait to row Ping....that is one I'm really excited about! My daughter LOVES ducks. We had a fabulous time with Madeline a few weeks sure and check out the paper Paris if you have not already (do a google search for Made By Joel Paper Paris). Some fun things I found on Pinterest were a Madeline doll made out of a toilet paper tube, a cute lesson on how to draw the Eifel tower, and a fun impressionism art project in the style of Monet. There were also three cute snacks on Eifel tower made out of a banana and berries, a french flag (we used bread with white cheese, summer sausage, and blueberries laid out to look like the flag), and also an Eifel Tower built out of vanilla sugar wafers and frosting. If you try that one I wish you luck....ours collapsed before I could even get a picture of it, but it was super cute for about two minutes!!! Ha! It was TONS of work to cut all the wafers into the correct angles. I think I needed stiffer frosting to help "weld" it together. We also had a crepe night and watched the Madeline movie with Frances McDormand. I had never seen it before and it was darling. Our library had tons of Madeline books and (cartoon) movies. We have only done FIAR for five weeks so far, but I think Madeline is my favorite row to date. You are amazing at coming up with creative ideas. I can't wait to see what fun things you do in Paris!

    1. Hi again, Brooke! So glad to hear from you again! Maggie loves ducks, too! We just finished a book study on John Philip Duck by Patricia Polacco and watched the YouTube video of an Animal Planet special on the real Peabody Hotel ducks (who inspired the book). I bet your daughter would love it!

      I am glad you enjoyed Madeline! We are looking forward to it, though we won't start it until the 30th as this is our off week. (We work three weeks on, one week off per month instead of sit around for twelve straight weeks in the Summer.) I actually have the Joel Paper Paris, the berry Eiffel Tower, and the vanilla sugar wafer Eiffel Tower planned already! You and I think alike! (I will try to work with some stiff frosting!) I am looking forward to it. After that, we are staying in Paris with Mirette on the High Wire, The Giraffe That Walked to Paris, and Babar, To Duet or Not to Duet.

      By the way, how was Papa Piccolo? I just started planning that one and I have thought of you!

      Chat with you again soon! :)