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Five in a Row - The Rag Coat

Our latest Five In A Row story is "The Rag Coat". I'd say this is my favorite story so far. I don't know if my son would agree - he liked it, but it will be hard to top "Lentil" for him! The Rag Coat is about a girl named Minna who tells the story of how she learned that people need each other. She comes from a poor family. Her father gets sick from working in the coal mines and dies. The mother makes quilts to support the family. Minna cannot go to school, because she does not have a coat to wear for the winter. Through the help of her mother and other mothers, they make a coat for Minna. This coat is made from all of the mothers' quilting scraps. At school, the children make fun of her coat. Minna shares with the class the story behind each patch. Each child has a tie to her coat, because their mothers helped make the coat with scraps from their history. Here's a rundown of what we did with the book each day last week:

Monday - plain read through of the story. I have found that just reading it the first day and then putting it away sparks my children's interest. They are even starting to think of things they might want to do on day two!

Tuesday - read the story again. This time I pointed out the quilts in the story and made a special notice of the Joseph's Coat of Many Colors pattern. My son then colored some quilt squares from the FIAR teacher's guide to put in his folder. I also talked to GMan about what goes on in coal mines. I wanted to go more in depth about mining, but we just ran out of time.

Wednesday - This day I got out a Grandmother's Quilt that was made by my husband's grandmother and let the children snuggle in it while we read.

I gave my son four vocabulary cards and he had to listen for those words while we read. (his favorite word was MURMUR... he takes great pride in murmuring now and seeing how many times that word is used in our other read alouds!
We talked about the quilt extensively, and looked at other handmade quilts we have in our house. We also looked at the illustrations in the book and discussed how the use of muted colors set the tone of the story.

Thursday - We read the story again, and focused today on the fact that it takes place in the Appalachian Mountains. We located them on a map and then I pointed out things in the story that would make it typically "Appalachian" - log cabins, folk instruments, poverty, etc... My children related to this since we live very close to the Appalachians. I chose to pick out the dulcimer (it hangs on the wall in one illustration) and we researched it, made it one of our spelling words, and listened to clips on YouTube.

We saw two different dulcimers... the hammered dulcimer and traditional mountain dulcimer. I think we spent almost an hour at the computer watching different videos - it was so interesting.
There is a nice resource online for a coloring sheet of a dulcimer (sorry it's from the Ozarks, but you don't have to tell your child that - just print the picture!)

Friday - More music with the story today! We read the book, and then I taught my children a folk song from Appalachia, "The Riddle Song" . I found sheet music here along with a nice lesson plan. If you don't play piano or guitar, we also found another video of a woman playing the song on the dulcimer - how cool is that? Even just printing the lyrics to the "The Riddle Song" and reading them is fun - it really is a riddle that kids enjoy.

As with all Five In A Row Stories, my older child tagged along in learning about it as well. The stories all have such an appeal to every age level, which is such a gift to us all.

This post in linked to the Hip Homeschool Hop. Stop by and see what other homeschoolers are doing this week!


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Reader Comments (2)

Oh goodness, how I miss FIAR. Used it when my kids were younger. We loved Lentil too! My kids can still point out second empire architecture and mansford roofs, thanks to Lentil. They also recognize soldiers and sailors monuments when we pass through small towns. Thanks for stopping by today.

September 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterToni

What a great week of lessons!
I have never heard of this book, but your post including all the neat activities really makes me want to check out the book. Thanks for sharing.

September 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDorie

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