Last week we “rowed” Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews and Ian Wallace. This is a really beautiful book about an Inuit girl, Eva, who walks under the ice at low tide to collect mussels. This is a rite of passage for Eva who will be making this journey alone for the first time – her very last first time. It’s a very suspenseful story. Eva gets lost under the ice and her candle goes out as she can hear the tide coming in. There is just enough suspense to take a child to the edge of what they can handle without going too far.

The illustrations in this book are incredible – full of interesting details that provide a ton of information about Inuit culture. We learned a lot through this book and had a really great week.

Language Arts
Henry decided, on his own, to right a sea themed version of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? It was entitled Blue Crab, Blue Crab, What Do You See? Henry isn’t one for drawing, but I was proud that he did color the pictures he chose from the internet. He was pretty proud of himself too.

Helen was also pretty proud of her crab picture.

Social Studies/Geography/Art
We attempted to build an igloo out of ice cubes on a sheet of ice, but we couldn’t get the ice to stick together. The interwebs assured me that I could sprinkle salt on the ice to temporarily melt them enough to stick together, but the interwebs lied.

So the project morphed into chipping an ice hole and coloring the ice with Crayola markers in blues and purples. Our art topic from the book was warm versus cool colors, and so we used blues and purples to emphasize the coldness of the ice and to make it look like the illustrations in the book. The kids also added some of their plastic sea creatures to the scene. And note Henry’s “annuraaq.”

Math and Science
I sent Henry out to collect “mussels” from the yard to use in a demonstration of the tides. We got side tracked with counting and grouping the rocks.

Then we moved onto a demonstration of how when the tides go out, tide pools and dry land are left. He used a Star Wars figure to collect mussels on the bottom of the sea.


We made a trip to the grocery store and purchased some mussels which Ryan ate for dinner. But first we dissected them. Henry used a butter knife (aka lever – we’ve been studying simple machines) to pry one open. And we looked up a few diagrams and videos online to figure out what we were looking at.


I went looking online for some traditional Inuit music to play with dinner last night. I didn’t come across any Inuit folk streaming radio, but I did discover that “throat singing” is a traditional form of Inuit music. There’s a passage in the book where Eva hums  “far back in her throat to make the echoes rumble.” If we hadn’t been studying this book so deeply I never would have known that this was a reference to traditional Inuit music! Helen really enjoyed watching throat singers on YouTube. Here’s a brief demonstration:


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