A New Coat for Anna

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“In a post-wartime era, resourcefulness, sacrifice, love and care result in a new coat for Anna.”  -Five in a Row Manual

Winter had come and Anna needed a new coat.  The fuzzy blue coat she had worn for so many winters was no longer fuzzy and it was very small.  In the aftermath of World War II in Europe, Anna’s mother decides she will trade the few valuables she has left for a coat.

This is the second row of a two-part unit theme we studied during the month of December.  Our themes were sheep and sewing/knitting/tailoring/etc.

Social Studies:

We put our story disk over the country of Europe on our world map.



Anna’s mother pays for Anna to get a new coat by trading many of her possessions.  I explained to the boys that this is called bartering and we talked about the concept of trading one thing for another instead of using money to pay for things we want.

Character:  Patience and Sacrifice

We talked about the patience it required for Anna to wait an entire year for her coat to be made.  It’s so easy for us to just run to the store anytime we need the most trivial of things, so it was enlightening for the boys to see that hasn’t always been the case, nor is it the case for everybody in the world.  We also talked about the sacrifices that her mother was willing to make in order to get the coat for Anna…she had to trade many of her possessions just so Anna could have a new coat.

Language Arts:  Story Sequencing


The boys put the events in the order that they happened in the story.


Hands-On Fun:

I made the boys a sensory fun basket with kid-friendly sewing themed items.


It included a knitting book for kids, two different sizes of kid’s knitting needles, colored yarn, measuring tapes, plastic dull sewing needles, and extra large colorful buttons with holes for threading!

The boys sat down at the table with the needles, yarn, and buttons and made themselves some neckwear…







These large buttons will be great for doing tot-school with Barrett next year…shapes, colors, fine motor skills…cuteness!

And because boys will be boys, Logan used the rest of the yarn to booby trap the kitchen…



I couldn’t get to the dishes for hours…such a shame!

Math:  Measurements/ Tailoring


The boys used the measuring tapes that we found in the basket to take each other’s measurements, as if we were tailors making clothing for each other.




Barrett took down everybody’s measurements.   🙂


Science:  Yarn-dying

I found all these great ideas on-line for dying yarn at home.  I pretty much ignored most of them and decided that if they could just dye their yarn with Lingonberries in the story, then by-golly so could we!  I ordered some lingonberry jam on-line, along with some white yarn and we set forth with our experiment…


This would be the first clue that my brilliant idea isn’t going to work!  I noticed when we were gathering our stuff for the experiment that the white yarn specifically says “NO DYE LOT”.  Hmm.  Oh well.  Moving on!


We boiled some water and took turns plopping some of our jam in the pot.


I didn’t want to use too much because this jam wasn’t exactly cheap, but I was hoping to use enough of it to actually color the yarn.


We added a few strips of yarn.


And watched it cook for a minute.


And when we pulled it out…


It was pretty much still white…maybe a slight tinge of pink.  Drats!  Experiment fail.

Food (you know it!):

We tried our lingonberry jam on biscuits one morning for breakfast.


Muy delicioso!  Tasted kind of like cranberries.

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