A New Coat For Anna (FIAR)

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I just finished up rowing A New Coat for Anna with the boys. This was such a great Five in a Row book! We spent three weeks of school on this book because we did an extended study on World War 2. (In FIAR lingo, we call this “chasing rabbit trails” 🙂 ) Flash had been asking me if he could learn more about WW2, so this was a great opportunity for that.


(Please note: This post contains lessons from the Five in a Row Volume 2 manual and activities added by me.)


A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert takes place in Europe at the end of World War 2, as countries are recovering from the war. Anna is in need of a new coat, but they are unable to buy things at the store because of the effects of the war. They also don’t have any extra money so her mother finds some valuable things that she can use to trade for the things they need to make Anna a new coat. Anna has to learn patience, as the entire process takes a whole year for her to get her new coat.

To start with, we read the story and went over the Geography lesson on the Setting of the Story. The book never says the exact country that the story takes place, but we know it is in Europe. So we placed our story disk near Germany, since we know that was where a lot of the war took place.



We also talked about how things are in countries after a war is over, how stores may close down and they are unable to get goods they need because of the war. We talked about how some people may be bitter and angry but Anna and her mother remain cheerful and learn to make do with what they have and are very patient considering the circumstances.

I also talked to them a little about what WW2 was all about. Some issues about this war are very sensitive, so I just tried to make this a very basic introduction because of their ages. We looked at these books for awhile:



I started reading the book from the above photo called “You Wouldn’t Want to Be a World War 2 Pilot!” to them aloud. We read a chapter/section each day. It was a neat book, if your kids are fascinated with flying/airplanes/wars.

The second day, we went over a few Bible lessons on war, poverty and sorrow from the Five in a Row Christian Character & Bible Study Supplement. We also covered a few other Social Studies lessons like one on being proud of hard work, one on patience (Anna had to be very patient to wait an entire year for something she really needed and wanted). Also, we talked about what Barter and Trade means since that is how Anna’s mother was able to attain what she needed for Anna’s new coat.

On day three, we worked on a few Language lessons.  We talked about how the author used Repetition in the story and for memory & comprehension, we tried to remember what Anna’s mother traded to each person and for what she traded them. We made a list on our board:



Then we talked about how this story basically shows a step by step process of how Anna got her new coat. So we picked a subject and wrote down the step by step process. We chose giving a dog a bath:



During our second week, we went over some Art lessons. We looked through the pictures in the book at the scenes that showed proof of it being during wartime and we looked at the “before and after” pictures of Anna in her old coat at the beginning and then in her new coat at the end. We also looked through the book at the expressions on the people’s faces and talked about how you can tell a lot about a story from looking at the faces of people.

We also went over another Bible lesson and talked about how Anna’s mother showed the truth that people are more important than riches. She didn’t have to give up those precious items, but she did it because she loved Anna and wanted to provide for her.

On our last day, we read “Charlie Needs a Cloak”, which is a great parallel to this book. We talked about wool and the process of making wool into fabric. I had gotten this wonderful card free from Pendleton Woolen Mills several years back and we spent some time looking at it. I tried to find out if you can still get these, but I couldn’t find it anywhere on their website. You may be able to send them an email and ask if you are interested. We’ve used this many times over the years for Five in a Row books, anytime we talk about shearing sheep or making wool into fabric, etc. It’s a great hands-on tool and the kids love it.



We looked at the book about textile workers and talked about how things have changed over the years and how they process wool and make fabric now. Here are some other books that went great with that subject:



Here are a few other go-along books that we used:



(These last three books were Daddy’s, who loves WW2 history and I was careful what pictures I let them see)

The boys were also very excited to make Lapbooks this time. They don’t always want to, so I took advantage and really enjoyed doing them!



Throughout our study, Hulk worked on making the lapbook from homeschoolshare.com for this book. You can get that for free HERE.






Flash had already made this lapbook several years ago, and so I looked for specifically WW2 lapbook for him. I ended up buying a very inexpensive one that I thought worked really well for us.  You can find it here at teacherspayteachers.com for only $4:  World War 2 Lapbook    I liked this one because it gave you different options to be able to print out blank mini books or ones that were already filled out with information. The filled out ones worked a lot easier for us, as my son does not have very good handwriting and it would’ve taken so much longer. Plus, the info in the mini books was great. He really enjoyed putting this one together.






So that finished up our time with A New Coat for Anna. This was another very memorable row for us. The boys enjoyed the story as well as learning more about World War 2 and it was a nice way to introduce them to this subject.

They are moving onto a three week long Football Unit Study, since the Superbowl is coming up!




Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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