Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Five In a Row-Owl Moon

We had a LOT of fun with this book. We took a couple of weeks on it because there are so many things you can pull from the story. I decided that we would focus on owls, nocturnal animals and the moon. We could have easily pulled more out of this story. We probably could have gotten a month of activities from it.

We went to the library and checked out lots of books about owls to go along with the story:

The first thing we focused on was owls. This was a lot of fun. I made an owl shaped sandwich to kick off the unit:

Lily recently discovered that she enjoys painting with watercolors, so I found a printable owl, and she painted and glued it together. We hung it on the wall when she was finished. We end up with a whole wall of projects/activities by the time we are done with a unit. She loves to show off her work, and it keeps it fresh in her mind until we move to the next unit.

We went "owling" in the house. Daddy hid the owl, and we turned off the lights and gave Lily a flashlight. She had fun finding the owl.


Lily had been begging to dissect an owl pellet since the beginning of the unit. I love that she gets so excited about her learning activities. We printed out an animal bone grid from the owl pellet website, and she got busy:

Most of the bones were too tiny to identify, but we were able to see that this particular owl had eaten 4 mice for his dinner!

We decided to make a feather covered toilet paper roll owl. (The cat tried to chase this around for the entire week)

We made a little booklet about the materials owls use to make a nest. We went outside and collected leaves and twigs, and added some craft feathers to the mix.

The booklet was part of this awesome lap book from It had lots of great information, and was pretty easy to put together.

Lily really doesn't enjoy handwriting practice. I found a site:, and it lets you type in your own words or sentences for handwriting practice. This has worked a little better, because Lily gets to dictate the sentence.

Valentines Day fell during this unit, so for math practice that day, we did some fun math graphing and counting with conversation hearts. (As a bonus for finishing all of math that day, she ate the hearts)

This was her first time working with tally marks. I think she did a great job!

We discussed animal tracks, and did an animal track art project.

We talked about which animals are nocturnal and which ones are diurnal. I found this little print out chart, and Lily had to predict which ones she thought were nocturnal. We used the chart to find out if her predictions were correct. She started to get upset if they were "wrong," but I told her that it was just a guess, and there is no right or wrong guess. 

We finished our discussion about owls by making some owl cookies. They turned out cuter than I expected: 

After we finished talking about owls and nocturnal animals, we discussed the moon. We didn't spend too much time on this, because we had covered the moon in an earlier curriculum just a few months back. We did talk about the phases of the moon using Oreos, however. I even found yellow Spring Oreos, so they made perfect little moons. :)

Lily loves all things science related, so we talked about how the moon acts as a magnet and affects the tides in the ocean. After this, she was able to experiment with magnets, and see how polarity works.

We also went on Youtube and Discovery Education streaming and  watched short clips about owls and also found a great clip that had the sounds that different owls make. Lily said the screech owl was her favorite sound. 

We had a lot of fun with this unit. I think this has been our favorite unit so far. We are just getting started in our journey, though. Next up! The Story About Ping!

Monday, February 10, 2014

FIAR-Katy and the Big Snow

Katy and the Big Snow was a fun unit.  Lily really enjoyed this one. It helped that we got some snow while we were rowing this book, too. :) We took advantage of actually having snow. We discussed snow plows, and how they help clear the roads. We cleared our own "snow." (shaving cream) This was Lily's favorite activity during this row: 

We measured the snow that we got, and compared it to the snow that Geopolis got in the book. We only 8-9 inches. Nowhere near the 5 feet that dumped on Geopolis! We did our own science experiments with the snow. Lily played around to see what would happen if she put snow into water. We also measured out 3 inches of snow. I asked Lily if she thought it would be 3 inches of water when it melted. She said no, she thought it would be less. She was right! 3 inches of snow was 1/2 inch of water.

We built our own Geopolis out of blocks. We also made street signs to include in the city.

We spent some time just playing in the snow. Our neighbor came over and the girls did some snow painting.

This book talked a lot about community helpers, so we discussed lots of different community helpers, and what they do for the community. I found some cute printables on Pinterest for that unit.

One of Lily's absolute favorite things to do was a street sign graph. I gave her a sheet that had street signs on the bottom. When we were in the car, she had to look out for those signs and graph them on her sheet. She had a blast with that.

We finished up the unit by measuring different things around the house.

This book had so many things to dig in to. We could have spent even more time on each thing, but we can always row this one again later. We are moving on to Owl Moon next. When I told Lily that we were finished up with Katy and the Big Snow, she said "Aww, but I'll miss Katy!" I love that she gets "attached" to the characters. She is really into the books, and is enjoying her journey with FIAR.