Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wrap-Up: Katy and the Big Snow

I finally have my computer working again, after a long appointment with Phil at the Apple Genius Bar, so I can catch up the blog!

We spent a week right after the New Year on the Five in a Row unit for Katy and Big Snow.  Katy is one of several titles by Virginia Lee Burton included in FIAR, and one we read last year as we worked our way through the Sonlight P3/4 reading list, so it was familiar. We had the best time with this row!

For social studies, we did two of the activities suggested in the manual.  First, we discussed what different components make a community.  We talked about how we need homes, stores, community helpers like police, firefighters, etc.  In some cities they need snow plows like Katy, in ours we need pump operators to keep our city from being underwater.  Ha! We built a block city, labeled the different parts, and then made it SNOW!! We found a small toy bulldozer to play the part of Katy, plowed out the city, and thoroughly enjoyed the mess.

our city
snow! (shaving cream)
Hazel and "Katy"

Jono was happy to plow the snow with any ole' car

such joy!
The second social studies activity we did was mapping.  We mapped out the backyard, taking turns drawing the different parts and labeling them like the map of the city of Geopolis in Katy.  We learned which direction in our yard was north, south, east, and west, and practiced running to the right direction as I called them out.

running to touch "east"

backyard map
For math, we did a measuring activity.  In Katy, they talk about the snow being one inch deep, four inches deep, 10 inches deep, and then five feet deep (and beyond).

Five feet of snow would be well over his head!

For art, we cut snowflakes!  Well, to be honest, I cut snowflakes.  Hazel tried, and found it too difficult to cut through that many layers of paper.  She was happy to draw the parts she wanted cut out for me to do, though.  The boys declined the art activity this week.  Not a battle I was interested in fighting.  You can see the snowflakes on the back door above.

Our language arts topic was personification.  We defined the term, looked for examples in the story, and then sorted a pile of toys into those where were personified and those which weren't.  I didn't take an after picture, but I'm sure you can see which ones went in which pile.

Weather, and specifically snow, was the science topic this week.  We read some library books on winter precipitation and then watched the Magic School Bus episode on weather.

The biggest hit of the week, however, was our FIELD TRIP! When I was planning this row, I looked on some FIAR blogs and noticed several had taken field trips to their city works department to see the snow plows.  Well, New Orleans owns no snow plows.  Since we had talked about community helpers, in general, I scheduled a fire department tour.  We had SO MUCH FUN!

Jono in the driver's seat of the truck

too excited to even look over at Mom!

firefighter showing the kids how they put on their air tanks

trying to hold up the heavy hose

They took turns trying on the smoke mask

showing the kids the different parts of a firefighter's uniform 

trying on the mask

Happy kids! 

The firefighters at our local station were so good with the kids.  Bringing such a small group meant that they got to ask ALL of their questions and try everything out.  As we were leaving, one of the guys said, "Come back next year!" I think we will!