Monday, February 17, 2014

FIAR - Snow books - Part 1

With the arrival of actual snow (yay!), our selection of FIAR snow-themed books seemed like the thing to do. We rowed several from the middle of January to this last week. The first was Katy and the Big Snow. Most of our printables came from Homeschool Share. Katy (a red crawler tractor with a snowplow attachment) helps to plow out a snow covered city so that the works can do their jobs and the people are safe. The kids already love this book so doing a bunch of activities with it was just icing on the cake.
Gabe's handwriting

 The first thing we did was learn how to measure so we would know how big 5 feet of snow would be.

 Then we measured a few more things and wrote them down. We also talked about some jobs of people in our community that we rely on like the postman, the police officers, and fire fighters.

 Then we talked about what a compass was, both on a map and how to use a real one. We talked about directions around our house. Like Gabe knew that our backyard is to the East because that is where the sun rises and it faces West because of the sunset. So then he was able to figure out which neighbors were to our North and South from that information. 

 The city in the book is called Geopolis. We talked about how this was a good name for an imaginary town. Olivia likes to be in on the FIAR activities and this was a good time to make a connection with the root words that we have been learning this year. Geo meaning of or from the earth and polis referring to Ancient Greek cities. Gabe and Ezra "built" a city and then used the compass to find their way around. They called it "Gabe-opolis". They acted out the book going this way and that to help out people in need around town. It was fun to listen to. 

 We also talked about street signs and took a ride around town to count all the ones we could find.

We talked about Katy's personality and her character traits like responsibility and patience. This included definitions, bible verses, and ways that we showed those things in our own lives. Gabe drew a picture of Katie. He gets rather frustrated with drawing (wanting it to be just right) but worked hard to do this. 

The kids had fun playing a memory game with street signs. Olivia had a couple pages of math word problems of the Katy theme to work on. 

Next, we talked about snowflakes and read a book about Snowflake Bentley and how he took pictures of thousands of snowflakes and never found 2 alike. He did this from the time he was a young boy. It was quite a passion of his. We looked at a book with many of his pictures. One thing that stood our in our discussions was that many winters he hardly got a good picture but he kept on trying while other winters he was able to take many good pictures. While technically not a vol 1 FIAR selection (it is actually vol 4), the information was so relevant to the topic, we couldn't pass it by. We just used the same methods in the guide like our other FIAR books.

 They went out and tried to catch snowflakes like he did. We talked about how snowflakes form. We were in awe of the fact that Bentley was able to catch the details he did with his camera or drawings. It was very hard to see much detail with our snowflakes. The kids definitely had fun catching them on their tongues though. :)

 We looked at art featuring snowy scenes using the Charlotte Mason methods of picture study. This involves looking at the picture until you can see it in your mind and then you put the actual picture out of site and share your observations or the story of the picture. This helps the kids with their skills of observation, attention, and creative thinking. It is fun to hear them share. Even Ezra speaks up and participates readily. This is where I got that great resource.  Then we even made sweet tortilla "snowflakes" and chocolate almond ice cream using our snow!

Next we read White Snow, Bright Snow. This is not a FIAR selection but it is Caldecott Medal winner and a wonderful book. It has a poem in the beginning and then follows several characters through a snowy winter to its end and the beginning of spring.  

 The kids really liked this book and thought it was funny how each person in the book had different was of knowing it was going to snow. One saw it, one smelled it, and one felt it. We read how about the author and his inspiration for writing this book which is shared toward the back of the book. He was walking down the streets of New York one snowy evening and thinking about how people he knew growing up would predict the snow to come and how they dealt with the snow.  

 Next we read Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening. This book is the Robert Frost poem put into a book form with lovely illustrations. We discussed a bit about poetry since White Snow Bright snow had a poem to start the book and then this was a poem. Hidden in the art work of Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening in the forest scenes were many animals. White Snow Bright Snow also talked about some rabbits and how they handled the winter and then the early spring. So we looked at the different ways animals spent the winter, whether hibernating, gathering or migrating. We read Animals in Winter to learn more. We took a walk in the snow looking for animal tracks. Mostly we found dog and human but maybe a deer. :) We also read the winter portion of this Crinkleroot book which showed us some animal tracks and had the kids looking for certain clues to determine the animals. 

We learned about rhyming words and the rhyme scheme in Frost's poem. Gabe loves doing pattern blocks and creating ABAB, AABB, ABBA type patterns. So we related this activity to his math blocks which helped him to understand it better. This was another place that Olivia could do some work on her level.

Gabe's handwriting

The best part was getting to actually experience the snow for themselves!

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