Mirette on the High Wire
Mirette's mother owns a boardinghouse in Paris, and Mirette helps with the chores. The boardinghouse is well-known, and many famous people come to stay there. When Mirette meets Bellini, a retired tight-rope walker, she knows she'll never again be happy on the ground.
These literature-based unit study curriculum guides are so named because you spend five days in a row (a full week; one day for each subject area) using a particular children's book as the theme for multiple academic subject areas. Five in a Row (FIAR) Volumes 1-3 cover social studies and character, language arts, math, science, and art through 15-21 children's books. The literature selections, primarily picture books, contain positive moral values reflecting Biblical values. Christian content is not incorporated in Volumes 1-3, but is available separately in a Christian Character & Bible Study Supplement. Five in a Row Vol. 4 is for slightly older students (Grades 2-4) and features fewer books, some of which are stretched to two weeks of lessons. Christian content is included in the Volume 4 guide.
Before Five in a Row takes the same concept, but simplifies it for ages 2-4, with multiple activities provided for each book, but not as structured between days of the week.
Beyond Five in a Row is the next step up (for Grades 3+), and these guides are structured around chapter books. Activities at this level incorporate history, geography, science, language arts and fine arts with Christian Character and Bible content available separately.
These literature-based unit study curriculum guides cover social studies and character, language arts, math, science, and art. Literature selections contain positive moral values reflecting Biblical values. Use as a stand-alone curriculum for preschool or supplement with phonics and math for older children. Curriculum is so named because you spend five days in a row (a full week; one day for each subject area) using a particular children's book as the theme. There's plenty of text here as the author provides all the reference material you'll need right in the volumes as background for your studies. Hands-on activities and projects abound and there are plenty to choose from each day, using the literature selections as a springboard. The varying difficulty of the activities makes it easy to use with a range of ages. Very little teacher preparation is required. Once you have the needed literature selection, you can open the book and begin! Each book also includes tips for teaching the curriculum, instructions for creating manipulatives, a topical index, a sample planning sheet with a blank, reproducible lesson plan sheet, literary glossary, story disks, and suggestions for finding the reading books. Volumes 1-3 do not incorporate Biblical content, as this is found in the optional Christian Character & Bible Study Supplement, available separately.
What is a "unit study"? Briefly, it's a thematic or topical approach to teaching as opposed to the traditional by-subject approach. Rather than teach each subject separately, a unit study attempts to integrate many or all subject areas into a unified study - usually centered around a particular subject or event. Obviously History (the study of events) and Science (the study of "things") are well-suited to unit studies, and usually form the "core" around which other subjects are integrated. Subjects like Bible, Geography, Government, English (writing), and Reading/Literature, Music, Home Economics, Life Skills, and Art, are usually easy to integrate around a core topics. Remaining subjects (Math, Phonics, Grammar, Spelling) can be integrated to some extent via related activities. Each, however, has its own "system" (progression of skills, mastery of "rules") which must be followed to some degree. Since one of the additional advantages of a unit study curriculum is the ability to use it with students of varying ages and skill levels, these subjects are generally taught apart from the core curriculum. This may be as simple as assigning pages in a grammar or spelling book, or using a separate "program" for Phonics and Math. Unit studies also tend to be more activity-oriented than the traditional approach, a real boon to kinesthetic learners. Advocates of the unit study approach site studies showing that children learn best when learning is unified rather than fragmented and when learning is more participatory than passive.