Over the weekend, Sheri from Shades of Pink asked me how I was going with bumping up my FIAR so I thought I’d give a progress report.
I have been very excited about our studies with “The Story about Ping” over the last two weeks. We still have a few days to go but things have been so successful I start to plan our next FIAR study with enthusiasm! We have been interrupted with several family-life situations so this study is stretching out a bit.
We have read the Ping story only a couple of times – they know it so well, but Daniel (9yo) did ask for it one day, and I gave Nomi(11yo) the freedom to go and do some of her independent work but she chose to stay and listen to the story. That was encouraging. I had chosen one particular topic (China) and found other books to read on the other days. Co-incidentally our Read Aloud at the time was also based in China though this is not something I am going to try and do with every FIAR unit it did work for us this time.
I found doing lapbooks Dinah Zikes way was quick, easy and gave plenty of room for individual creativity. I wanted this lapbook to be simple, with the focus on our getting into the swing of things, more than coloured paper and lots of complicated things. The lapbook booklets gave the kids opportunity to work with technology such as photocopier, clip art, computer graphics, and Word art. Nomi could do this independently and creatively, while Daniel is just learning. In previous years I used to create a couple of pages of appropriate clip art which they would then use for their lapbooks/notebooks but this time I let them find things themselves.
I found the lapbooks gave scope for independent work, even for Daniel. We would discuss the topic at hand, I would give Nomi a quick fold booklet and told her the writing assignment. Nomi would move to another room since Daniel’s work is mostly oral. Daniel would dictate to me his “writing” assignment, I would write it in his booklet and then he was to draw or find the graphics, colour them in if necessary, cut and glue etc to finish his little booklet for the day. Some booklets were longer and needed a few days where they came back and worked on that topic.
Nomi had an extra writing and art assignment (being older). After we discussed the literary choice (repetition) she was asked to write a story using that technique. I encouraged her to set her story in China which she has done. This story isn’t completed yet (Nomi writes long stories!). Once it is she will illustrate it with coloured pencils (just like in Ping).
So in summarizing the value of bumping up FIAR – I don’t believe the content, for this study anyway, was new material especially for Nomi. She did make new connections with China, especially since our study co-incided with the Olympics and our Read Aloud. The real benefit of the last two weeks for Nomi is the skills gained – independent work, technology, art, and writing.
The benefit for Daniel (though he doesn’t need the “bumping up”) is more to do with creating a love of learning, and a curiosity of the world. Five in a Row, in any format, excels at just that!