Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stopping By Woods

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, along with a unit on winter, occupied our homeschool lessons for a couple weeks in  January.  Our first activity was, naturally, making snowflakes!  It was also fun to make Borax crystal snowflakes. 

 We digressed slightly with a discussion about sleighs and the bells on the horse's harness.  This led to an introduction to the song Jingle Bells.  K got a set of hand bells for Christmas and we improvised a music lesson playing the song with the bells.  She actually got pretty good at playing the song by herself.
Another day we talked about animal tracks and K made a book matching animals to tracks using this source.  I also made up a worksheet for K to find all the rhyming words in the poem and we looked at the rhyming pattern that extends through the book.  It was fun to break from the usual linear story-telling and spend time with such an evocative poem.
We watched this Youtube video where Robert Frost himself recites the poem and then this silly Muppet take.  T got a kick out off that one.  Days after he talked about "the orange puppet [Fozzie Bear] who said 'sweep of easy wind and downy flake'".  On a side note, I've been continually surprised by how much T picks up and memorizes from our Five in a Row books.  He recites bits of the books we've read and has favorite pages in each story.  Sometimes he has definite dislikes, too.  He did not like the vultures that are in some of the pictures in Ferdinand.
After Stopping By Woods we segued into a winter unit where we read several winter-themed books and completed related activities.  One of the books we read was The Mitten by Jan Brett. I made up a "pre home ec" lesson and cut two mitten shapes out of felt for K to sew together.  She's been fascinated by a children's sewing machine she's seen in a catalogue and is anxious to try it when she turns 8.  (It's for ages 8 and up, she tells me every time she looks at it.)  I thought this activity might be a good sewing introduction for her.  She did a great job and was also interested in learning about the animals described in the book.
Other favorite activities included K drawing pictures for a pop-up book of things people like to do in winter and discussing what animals do to survive winter.  I designed a worksheet with a winter scene and lift the flaps to show where some animals hibernate.  We discussed some specific animals, then K glued them down in the correct places on the picture.  Later, she made up a little story telling about the animals. 

Another day we took the opportunity to go to the park again for a winter nature study.  Jane Claire Lambert's Winter Nature Study is an excellent resource.  I know we will use this in years to come whether or not we continue homeschooling.  When we were at the park we sat down near the pond and I had K use her five senses to tell me what she observed.  Even in January, there is lots to see, hear, etc., if you just take the time to do it.  We made a good list before we got too cold and then the kids were eager to do a "splash show" (throw rocks in the water).  As the weather warms up, we will visit this park again to see what is the same and what has changed. 



Anonymous said...

World-class teaching!

Joelle said...

Hi! I've been reading all these posts the past few weeks and not commenting - sorry! I LOVE what you're doing with the kids! I've thought about FIAR for next year with Audrey. It is nice to hear all the things you've been doing and how well it is going. Any other advice you'd like to give me? I should probably call sometime - so many things I'd like to chat about! I think we'd have to set that up so we'd both be available! Later!