This was a cute story about a little girl, telling of when she was “young in the mountains.” Almost every page starts with the sentence, “when I was young in the mountains,” and she continues on to tell things about her childhood, like swimming in the lake, eating cornbread and okra and so forth.
Just like our Down Down the Moutain week, we discussed the Appalachian mountain range. We focused on the state of West Virginia, locating it on the map, coloring it in, and doing a few other state activities. I let the kiddos watch the Mountains episode in the “Planet Earth” series.
We looked at some pictures of the Appalachian mountains and its wildlife, and I had the kids put the animal cards into categories (birds, fish, etc.) Since the story capitalized on snakes, we read a book about them and did a fun spiral snake craft – a big hit. Mommy even got in on the action!
I love the end of the story, when the girl says she never wanted to be anywhere other than in the mountains. We discussed what it means to be content where you are and with what you have.
We made cast iron cranberry cornbread one night to go along with dinner. It wasn’t as good as our typical cornbread recipe, but I really liked the addition of cranberries and it was neat baking it in the cast iron pan. I hoped to make fried okra but couldn’t find okra at the store; instead we took a trip to Cracker Barrel with Aunt Jenn and had some of their fried okra. The kiddos didn’t give it much of a chance but I thought it was really good; I’d love to make it when it’s in season. I often make homemade hot chocolate, and this time around I did it on our woodstove – just like in the story! The kiddos love my hot chocolate, and I mixed it up a bit, doing a variation of gingerbread hot chocolate, mixing some ginger, cinnamon, cloves and almond extract into my typical recipe.
While reading the story a second time I had Gwen tell me which words she didn’t know. She’s actually gotten pretty good at speaking up, asking what certain words mean. For most of the words we had handy picture cards and we talked about each of them – mound, shiver, threaten and baptism.
It was especially fun doing our own little writing exercise, filling in the blanks to complete the story. Here’s Gwen’s tale:
“When Gwen Was Young in Rhode Island”
When I was young in RI, I like to swing on my swingset when it is dry.
When I was young in RI, my favorite food was a piece of toast with jelly.
When I was young in RI, I played with my animals.
When I was young in RI, we went to a restaurant sometimes for breakfast.
When I was young in RI, I loved my mom.
*I’ll have you know that that last sentence was not suggested or co-erced in any way; she came up with that all on her own.
Looking at the illustrations in the book, we decided to paint some sky pictures. Then we tried using puffy paint to make pretty pictures, but as cool as it was, the kiddos soon lost interest.
Since the girl in the story mentions her grandmother braiding her hair, I intended to have the kiddos try braiding yarn or something like that, but it slipped my mind.
Since we didn’t end up using all of our math printables during our Cranberry Thanksgiving week, I used some of them this time around. Among other things we did pie graphing, pumpkin seed counting and leaf confetti for counting practice.
Since there are a number of food items discussed in the story, we talked about nutrition and what’s good for our bodies. The kiddos are no stranger to this topic since I often tell them that sugar, white flour, etc. isn’t good for us, and growing our own food they’ve become used to the benefits of fruits and veggies.
We looked through grocery store circulars and cut out pictures of healthy foods, gluing them to brown paper “shopping” bags. Gwen filled out a healthy eating book, coloring or circling some of her favorite food items.
Throughout the book, the night sky showcases the moon in different phases. I used the opportunity to talk about moon phases and we did a bunch of activities – sequence cards, mini book, coloring picture and a cookie diagram. As you can imagine, the cookies were a big hit, and I was surprised how well Gwen caught on. We watched Eric Carle’s “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me, ” and Gwen pointed out the different moon phases during the story without prompting from me.
We’re planning on charting the phases of the moon for the month of December but we’ll see if we remember to keep up with it!
Homeschool Share’s When I Was Young in the Mountains resources
spiral snake craft inspiration
Eating Well’s cast iron Cranberry Cornbread
gingerbread hot chocolate inspiration
Royal Baloo’s Thanksgiving Math Pack
Evan Moor’s Nutrition mini book
Making Learning Fun’s Phases of the Moon Sequence Cards
moon phases mini-book
Education.com’s Learning the Moon’s Phases Worksheet
Table of Four’s Oreo Phases of the Moon Project