Wintertime is beautiful. There are so many beautiful things about it! I am sure there are many of you that might choose to disagree right about now since I know you are buried under snow many feet deep and your temperatures are rather cold. Overall, though, winter will show us many beautiful things. We have chosen to use January and February to go through some of the Five In A Row stories that involve snow and cold. That is about the only time period in which there is a tiny little chance of us getting some of the white fluffy stuff.
We took about a week and a half and went through Robert Frost’s Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening, illustrated by Susan Jeffers. The illustrations in this version are beautiful and provide a lot of opportunity for discussion. There are other lovely versions of illustrations out there but this one is extremely high quality and we got a lot of joy out of this.
We did follow a lot of the material from the Five In A Row, volume 1 manual. I also added a lot to it.
Math: We talked about pattern, which flows naturally out of the discussion in poetry on rhyme scheme. The girls, especially J, used counting crystals and created a pattern based on the rhyme scheme of the poem. We expanded from there creating a bundle of various patterns, gradually increasing the difficulty level.
Math: The illustrations allowed for some interesting discussion on symmetry and asymmetry.
Poetry/Math: In conjunction with the pattern work in math, the girls created their own rhyme scheme pattern and wrote a poem that fit that rhyme scheme.
Poetry: We talked about many of the aspects of poetry and poems, including repetition, rhyme, rhyme scheme, and types of poetry. We have a set of posters that my mom used while teaching that cover 12 different styles/types of poetry and give examples of each. We pulled those out and looked at them. The girls used their knowledge of poetry to write a poem about snow.
Geography: In order to place the FIAR circle for this book, we discussed where we might encounter this type of weather in the US. We looked at those areas on the map and talked about what they were called. (United States, New England, state names, Canada, and more)
Geography: We discussed the landforms that are more prominent in those areas and contribute to the climate of that part of the nation.
Science: There is so much that could be done with this one! We reviewed snowflakes from when we studied snow and snowflakes last year. We discussed the states of matter and where snow fits into all of that. We talked about the water cycle as part of this discussion.
Science/Current Affairs: There is so much of the US that is getting record snowfall this winter that amazing pictures are out there. Pull up some pictures of the snowfall and take a look at it all. (This also fits REALLY well into the Katy and the Big Snow book, which is where we actually did this. You could work it in great here, too, though.)
Science: We talked about New England and what the seasons look like there. We used several books from the library that discussed various weather types and climates.
Science: We discussed the illustration where the man is leaving food for the animals and why that would be important. One of the things we noticed about the illustrations in the book is that many of them included animal tracks and other tracks of various kinds. We pulled out a poster that has animal tracks on it. We also pulled up an app for the Kindle that shows the tracks of North American mammals. The girls studied these and discussed how tracks in the snow could be good and bad. They drew some on the dry erase board. We then pulled out the pretend snow we made last year and the girls made different tracks in the snow.
Science: Another thing you could do is animal research about animals that prosper in the snow and cold.
Literature Connections: We pulled Snowflake Bentley from the library and looked at that book again. That was a favorite from last school year. We talked about On The Banks of Plum Creek and how it connects to the Robert Frost poem, as well as other Little House books.
Literature Connections: We talked about other poetry books that we have on our shelves or have borrowed from the library. The girls each chose a book of poetry and read it for a while, studying the poems to choose one they liked. They then shared that poem.
Art: Again we used a lot out of the FIAR guide. We discussed medium (pen & ink, pencil), hue, value, color, illustrations, viewpoint, and mood. All of these were a pretty easy discussion to have because of the vividness of the illustrations. The girls created a drawing using pencil and then used color to draw attention to the focal point of their drawing.
Art: Another art piece that could be created to go along with this would be to choose a favorite illustration in the book and then pick a viewpoint from which to draw it. You could also do this with a snowman, looking down from on top of him, with younger kids that would have difficulty thinking about the viewpoint of something as large as the forest.
Fun: There are so many options to do further activities with this book! One that I wanted to do but we never got around to because of some of the girls feeling crummy was to make a snowflake sculpture with marshmallows. With other wintery books coming up, I’ll bet we can do that with one of them.
Fun: Okay – the kids may not agree with me on the fun part of this but I’m leaving it here anyway. This was an easy poem to memorize and memorization is good skill for children to learn. This is a classic poem and the rhyme scheme makes it fairly easy. The girls memorized this without too much work since we were reading it every day at least once for the lesson.
Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening was an extremely fun unit. I definitely recommend it. At Home.