Friday, 9 September 2011

Amber on the mountain

I love Five in a Row. It selects some of the best picure books and then suggests activities in different domains to go with them. These domains include language arts, maths, social studies, science and art. It would be quite possible to make up these activities, and some of those below, I have added or altered quite considerably. However, it is great to have this as a resource to point out the parts of the book that I haven't noticed and to give ideas for those weeks when inspiration lags.

My children are at the lower end of the suggested age range. Indeed, Mr Exuberance is younger than the range suggested so I've tended to use the easier activities and we have done very little writing. Mr Exuberance is two and doesn't write yet and Miss Belle is almost five and beginning to write but most of her writing is done separately from Five in a Row. I know that other mothers have done beautiful lapbooks with their children and it is possible to use the books to work with children who are much further advanced in writing.

There is a separate book called Before Five in a Row which covers books for younger children. Perhaps, in hindsight, this might have been better for us initially. Having said that adapting Five in a Row hasn't been a problem.

Amber on the mountain by Tony Johnston, illustrated by Robert Duncan, was our Five in a Row book, this week.

This is a story of a girl who lives an isolated life on a mountain, apparently, brought up by her grandmother. She befriends a new girl, Anna, who teaches Amber to read. A story of friendship, parting and determination.

So our activities:

Monday: we made our own entertainment. This involved improvised musical instruments and probably wasn't so suitable where there are neighbours as on the mountain.

Tuesday: Amber and Anna help Amber's Granny with her quilting. Miss Belle was keen to try quilting but Mummy chickened out, for now. Instead we used squares of fabric to glue to card. A chance to talk about shape and pattern.

Wednesday: On Monday, we had tried to model a mountain road from playdough which wasn't too successful. Using the compost left from our potatoes was far better! Far easier to see why roads snake up mountains.

Thursday: Amber made Anna a clay mule as a parting gift. We used air-dryingclay to make snail shaped mats which we decorated with glitter and sequins. We plan to paint these once they are properly dry. Pipe cleaners adorn everything, at present.

Friday: The book is full of similes. We talked about the concept of saying that something is "like" something else and practised a making up a few for ourselves.

The book refers to the story of Rumpelstiltskin so we read this a few times.

We are looking forward to reading "A new coat for Anna" next week.

This is linked to All of a Kind family FIAR linky.


  1. It sounds like a great program! I think glueing squares to make a quilt, at this stage, is perfect! Looks like a fun week :-)

  2. It was fun. Glueing was fun and not stressful. The thought of constantly rethreading needles and making sure they were put in the right bit of fabric was a bit scary.


  3. Looks great! We love this book too and we love Five in a Row. I would agree with you that a lot of FIAR is great with older kids as well. I sometimes hear people suggesting it's a light programme but I think it's great up to 7 at least - there's loads of meat to it! My two boys still choose FIAR books over most others when I let them choose a read aloud book. They're such great books!

  4. Looks like a great book and I like you activities!

  5. I have most of the Five in a Row books, but we've not read this one, Amber on the Mountain. Thank you for the reminder, and it's great to see how you've used the book in your learning.

  6. Alice-my concern was that it would be light but there is plenty of "meat" there. Far more than we are using! The choice of books is great and many that were previously unknown to us.

  7. Thanks for linking up your post. I'm hoping it works to help other moms find great information from a variety of moms!

    Many Blessings!