The Story about Ping: A Literature Unit Study for PreK- 2nd Grade

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Literature unit study for the story about Ping
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The Story about Ping is a classic kids’ story with a brave little duck as the hero. Kids will love hearing about Ping’s adventures when he finds himself alone on the Yangtze River. The story is also a good one to use for extended study of ducks and of China and its culture.

Book Information

Author- Marjorie Flack
Recommended ages- PreK-2nd
Synopsis- Ping is a little yellow duck. Every day he follows his family onto the boat where they live on the Yangtze River. One day Ping is going to be last aboard and doesn’t want to get spanked. So he doesn’t get on board.
Adventures follow and Pin is picked up by a little boy and almost eaten by the boy’s family. Eventually Ping finds the boat with his family and is reunited with them. He decides it’s better to be last and punished than to miss being on the boat with them.

Language Arts

Adjectives-There are some good descriptions in this story. Write some of the descriptive phrases out for the kids to see. (Ex. “beautiful, young duck” “wise-eyed boat” “strange, dark fishing birds”) Talk about the describing words. For older kids you can call them adjectives. Younger kids can just talk about words that describe.
Vocabulary- Choose ten words from the story. Write the words on duck patterns (you can print a template here). Help the kids find definitions for the words. For younger kids, you can choose sight words that they are learning.
Sequencing- After reading through the story, go back through it with the kids and write down at least ten of the main events that happen. (Ex. Ping misses getting on the boat. Ping slept on the grass near the river. Ping saw a boat with strange, dark fishing birds.) After kids have helped you come up with around ten events, working your way through the story to the end, cut apart the events into strips. Then let kids arrange the events into the correct order. Older kids can read the strips and do the activity themselves. You can read the events for younger kids.
Creative writing- After reading the story, have kids come up with their own story about what they would do if they were Ping and had missed the boat. Older kids can write the story for themselves. Younger kids can draw a picture and dictate a story to you.
The Letter “D”- Print this page with an uppercase and lowercase “d” as you talk about ducks. Kids can color in the letters or fill them with feathers (for ducks).

Science- Learning about ducks

Print the duck writing template found here and let kids record some of the facts they learn about ducks as you study.
Learn about ducks with this cute video.
Easy Science for Kids has more fun duck facts as well as photos and a video.
Here Come the Girls has some cute ideas for number games played with small plastic ducks.
This cool science experiment will help kids understand how ducks feathers stay dry.

History/Social Studies- Learning about China

Print a blank outline map of China and use it to let kids record facts about China as you learn about the country.
Print a blank world map with countries here and help kids find and color China.
A China Family Adventure has some links to great information about the culture and people of China.
Find thirty cool facts about China from National Geographic Kids.
History for Kids is a good resource for learning about Ancient Chinese culture.

Crafts and Fun

Use these instructions to make a duck with hand print feathers.
Make cute duck finger puppets with instructions from I Heart Crafty Things.
Use this printable to make a Chinese dragon puppet.
After you read about China, you can make Chinese spring rolls with the kids.
Literature Unit study for A Story About Ping


Activity Village has all kinds of duck-themed printable activities here.
Activity Village also has a great printables page for China.
Homeschool Share has a free China lapbook.

Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

Literature unit studies for kids

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