Five in a Row - Storm in the Night

Last week we "rowed" our first Five In a Row title. If you aren't familiar with FIAR, it is a wonderful literature based approach to learning for the young ones in your homeschool. Five in a Row also offers resources for children 8 and up in their Beyond Five in A Row book as well. I just noticed that there is something new on their site called Above and Beyond Five in a Row for the older set.

The Five in a Row teacher's manual is laid out with a calendar in the back. In volume 1 it has books assigned to each month. You don't have to follow their time suggestions, but I thought being a newbie I would pretty much stick to what they suggest at first. We dove right into the first title, Storm in the Night, by Mary Stolz. The whole idea with FIAR is that you read a book five days in a row, and each day after reading it to your child you extend it in some way, whether it be through math, writing, art, music, geography, etc... The suggestions given in the teacher's guide are great.

According to the School Library Journal, this is what the book is about:


PreSchool-Grade 2 Paintings in icy blue-white, black, and brown illustrate this story of a young black boy, his grandfather, and their cat during a fearsome thunder storm. There is a power failure, so that there is nothing to do except talk. Whatever fears the boy has are quelled by his grandfather's wit, understanding, and a comforting story. This is a picture book of contrast the raging storm without, the calm within as the grandfather shares the fear he had as a youngster during a similar storm when he accidently left his puppy outside. Stolz' poetic language is powerful, packed with vivid imagery and onomatopoeic verse from the ``thunder like mountains blowing up'' to the ``ping'' of the living room clock. The balance of the text is comprised of relaxed, unhurried dialogue. The pictures contrast the strong use of dark shadows and the soft light which illuminates the warmth in side the house. Best read aloud, but don't wait for a storm. Marianne Pilla, Long Beach Public Library, N.Y.



Here is our lapbook we completed.


Notice my son's eyes looking sideways in the picture - this was an activity we did one day that was a HIT! We learned about illustrators and the different techniques they use. In the book there are beautiful facial expressions, so we drew faces and made their eyes look different ways. We did a different element to go with the story each day - one day it was Quilt Math, the next day it was vocabulary, the next it was art (facial expressions), the next it was science (sources of light), and we also extended with having G Man dictate a story to me illustrating the use of quotation marks.

A lot of these activities were directly from the FIAR manual, but many of them came from Homeschool Share. Most FIAR titles have lesson ideas and lapbook templates posted on this site. It is a wealth of information! I have printed out the lapbook templates for many of the books on our schedule, and put them in large Ziploc bags so they are ready to go when we get to that book.

Back to Storm in the Night: one of the vocabulary words was "mandarin" (the cat had shining "madarin" eyes), so we had to have a special snack of Madarin Soda.

And walking outside over the weekend, I picked up a branch that had fallen from one of our trees and Grant said "Did you get that bough, mom?" Yes, bough had been one of our vocab. words, too!

What I really loved about this story (and I have a feeling the other FIAR titles will be the same way) was that it drew my daughter in as well. Each morning after devotions and calendar we would read the story together. Throughout the week she could talk with her brother about the book (we also did a science unit about weather, so this tied in perfectly!) and point out what stormy clouds looked like, etc...

To cap it off, last night (around 1 a.m.) we had horrible thunder and lightning storms. Grant came into our bedroom and hopped in bed with me. I said to him, "It's kind of like Storm in the Night, isn't it? He said yes it was, but that he was afraid, unlike Thomas (the little boy in the story) who declared he wasn't "afraid of anything". I then quoted back the Bible verse to Grant from our lapbook,


"Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God." Isaiah 41: 10a



What a beautiful gift this book had given us, to depend on God when we are afraid because He is with us. I'd say this has been a great "first project" for homeschooling with Grant, and I look forward to many more!