Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Salamander Room

Our last Five in a Row book for the year was The Salamander Room, a beautifully illustrated story of a boy who wishes to have a pet salamander. 

Since this was our first row with a tiny baby in the house, it was very abbreviated.  Up till now all my FIAR posts have just described the highlights of our unit-- there's always been several more additional activities we did that I don't write about to keep the posts from becoming too cumbersome.  But this time, we just did five activities.  That's it.  And that was just fine.  It was maybe more along the lines of what the curriculum is supposed to look like rather than some of the fancy rows we've done, anyway.  So here's what we did.

--K wrote and illustrated a list of things a salamander needs.  She came up with 17 items from the book.

--We learned about salamanders.  We talked about how salamanders are amphibians and what that means.  I would have printed out some worksheets, or at the very least, made a copy of the salamander life cycle at the end of the manual, but our printer was down.  So I had K look at the manual's salamander life cycle pictures and do her best to draw the different parts on index cards.  I think we were both surprised at how well they turned out.

K mixed up the cards and I asked T if he could put them in order.  He carefully did so.

--The family went on a nature scavenger hunt at a local pond.  It worked really well to use the scavenger hunt list in the book, as that gave our walk a focus and really made the kids look at what was around them.

The kids collected a few items to bring home.

Surprisingly, the most difficult item to find on the list was an anthill.  Probably because it was such a cool day, and the insects really weren't out much. 
After we'd wandered about for awhile, I stayed with the stroller on the path while B and the kids climbed the levy to look around and see what they could find at the top.

Found an anthill!  Hooray!

It was really nice to be out for a walk.

--The next day we talked about habitats.  We watched the Salamander Room Reading Rainbow episode which discusses building habitats to closely resemble the wild.  Then K and T made a habitat for some plastic insects using the items they'd collected on our walk.

--On our last day with Salamander Room, we talked about animal classification.  After discussing vertebrates, invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, fish, birds and amphibians, we cut out lots of animal pictures from magazines.  Then K sorted them into the appropriate category.

In addition to being an introduction to the topic of animal classification, it was a nice reminder of the sheer variety in creation.

It would have been nice to spend a little more time with this book, but we were really happy with the learning activities we did do.


Dana said...

You captured the ant hill discovery moment! Nice clipboard.

Joelle said...

We might be doing this story soon - I don't want to be cold during our scavenger hunt ;) I think your abbreviated row looks wonderful. We're currently on our 4th book (just started yesterday). How is the rowing going there?