Rose and I just started our next Five in a Row book: Katy and the Big Snow, but I thought I’d pop in to share our recent finished row: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, an illustrated version of Robert Frost’s poem.
I have a soft spot in my heart for this poem, and this beautiful little book. Many years ago, my family (including my mother) had the opportunity to visit The Frost Place in New Hampshire, where Robert Frost lived for a few years, and where he spent many summers. I first saw Susan Jeffers book at the gift shop there. I bought my mother a copy for her birthday, and when I got home from our trip, I wished I had bought two – so I ordered one for myself. It has been in our winter book basket ever since.
This book is a bit different from the other FIAR Volume 1 selections, because it “doesn’t cover Social Studies, or Math and Science in any detail” (according to the manual). It was designed to be used with the Review Week plans found in the manual.
But onto the row….here’s what we did!
- We talked a bit about Robert Frost – where he lived, what kinds of things he wrote, and how much he enjoyed nature.
- We read a couple of other Frost poems from a collection of poems I own. We read Blueberries and Mending the Wall. Rose was very impressed at the size of the complete poems book – he wrote a lot of poems!
- Using the manual, we had a brief discussion about what makes a poem a poem, including alliteration and rhyme scheme.
- I asked if she wanted to try her hand at a winter poem, and with a bit of encouragement, she agreed to try. I typed it up for her so she could have a “fancy” copy.
- After several readings, I asked her to try to recite the poem. She did pretty well. The manual suggested memorizing the poem, but I chose not to do that.
- We took some time to look through the book and note where Jeffers chose to use color. Much of the artwork is done in shades of white and black, but there are pops of color on most pages that really stand out. I love the contrast.
- We searched for the “hidden animals” in the illustrations.
- We talked about how Jeffers integrates her illustrations with the text. The illustrations complement the words of the poem, but they also tell their own story about a man enjoying the snow, visiting family, and feeding the animals.
- We discussed the viewpoint of the artwork. The manual pointed out that all of the drawings, except one, are from a bird’s eye-view. The one exception is this one, where we are watching the man from the weasel’s viewpoint. At least, I think it is a weasel! This is the kind of thing I would not have picked up on without the FIAR manual.
- Using the manual, we discussed the mood of the poem. It is quiet, like the world after a snowstorm, and the illustrations are too.
- We talked about how the man drives a “one horse open sleigh”, just like in Jingle Bells. We also admired the intricate detail of these snowflakes.
- One day, Rose made tape-resist snowflakes. To do this, she put painter’s tape down to make “snow”. She chose to make one big snowflake and several smaller ones. Then, she painted all over the canvas.
When the paint dried, she carefully peeled off the tape to reveal her snow.
- She made paper snowflakes. I saved this project for the weekend, because Dad is better at paper snowflakes than I am. She made the first one, he made the second.
- We had a little snowstorm one day, which was perfect for this row. It was just enough to make some snowmen.
- I had planned to have Rose try to catch snowflakes on black felt so we could see them up close, but we didn’t get the right kind of snow to see detailed flakes.
- We looked for tracks in the snow.
- We did an online track matching activity. This was harder than it looked, but we figured it out.
- To wrap up this row, we made the peach crisp recipe from the FIAR cookbook. It was very well-received and super easy to make. So easy, that Rose was willing to help even after her two hour gymnastics practice.