Friday, 5 November 2010

Follow The Drinking Gourd

This week Boykin rowed Follow The Drinking Gourd. He has really enjoyed it. It's been really obvious how enthused he's been by it from the way he described it in great detail at bookgroup :) However, it's really obvious he hasn't got to grips with the idea of an analogy. Every time he describes the underground railroad (railway to us) he makes it quite obvious that he thinks the people were really under the ground. Bless!
We did most of the activities in the Five in a Row Manual through discussion. It has been lovely to see what he added himself - drawing a compass - and what he pre-empted in some of the lessons - looking at detail, counting and finding the clues from the song. One of the beauties of FIAR is that by reading the book five times in quick succession, you get a really good chance to look at the pictures and get familiar with them by the time the art stuff comes up (day 3).
The book itself has some ideas for activities and also has the music for the song in the back. Even without the FIAR manual, you could still cover quite a bit just from the book itself. We learned the song and sang it together when it came up in the story. It also had an extra appeal for Boykin because it is based on fact.
For fun, and to add to their knowledge of slavery (by this time the Girl had become interested in what we were doing), we watched this clip from "The King and I" to compare the two stories of escaping slaves. The play performed for the King is based on "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe.

To look at time, I got all the time telling devices we had in the house and tried to guess when a minute as passed. This was a useful topic to look at with the Boy because he is forever asking how many nights until christmas/birthdays/easter etc. I also read a story from Two-Minute Kitten Tales, just to see if it was two minutes long.

For the cotton part of the science stuff, he did some sewing, filled a minibook with different types of cotton, tried his hand at 'spinning' cottonwool between his fingers and looked at the growing a pair of Jeans section in The Global Garden. (His idea) :) We also got out a a mini cotton bale that had been sent back with one of our Flat Travellers.

For the constellations bit, we made a mini planetarium from Simple Experiments with Time. We used a pringles tube, black paper, sellotape and some red paper to cover the outside of the tube. It's quite a simple idea but if I were to do it again for this story I would simplify it a little. The idea is that you mark out the constellation of The Plough and the Pole Star and Cassiopeia on the black paper so that it fits within the diameter of the pringles tube. (This is where I would simplify it and would not include Cassiopeia. It's not really relevent for this story and it just confused my Boy). Cut the bottom off the tube. Make holes in the paper where the stars are and tape the paper to one end the tube. We covered it in red paper at this point just to make it look nicer. Shine a torch through the tube and it projects the image onto the wall. We found that we had to hold the tube very close to the wall to get a clear image. It's actually much easier to point the tube at a lightsource and look through it like a telescope. All good fun :)

And then he put it all together in a lapbook :)
This is cute :) This is his version of one of the illustrations in the book where the runaway slaves hide under a barn floor. His hiding slaves are happy because they are playing with a bouncy ball so that they don't get bored :D

Useful links

NG Underground Railway game
HSS resources and lapbook
cotton worksheets
Alphabet song (youtube)
Paul Robeson singing Go Down Moses (youtube)
Johnny Cash singing Swing Low Sweet Chariot (youtube)

Books we used

The Seasons (Finding Out About Science)
The Stars and Their Legends (Ladybird books)
Cotton (Giraffe Books)

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