Rose and I have begun rowing our way through Volume Two of Five in a Row, starting with an old favorite: Make Way for Ducklings. We had a lot of fun with this row, which is all about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their hunt for the perfect place to raise ducklings.
Here’s what we did!
- This story takes place in Boston; I had her find the city on our inflatable globe. We are lucky to live within driving distance of Boston – so we had some extra fun with this book (more on that in a bit!).
- We used a Boston tourist map to roughly map the route the ducklings took to get to the Public Garden.
- We had a discussion about caring for animals – and how Michael the policeman is much more considerate of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard than is the boy on the speeding bicycle who nearly knocks them over!
- She searched the illustrations for clues that this story is set in the past, such as how people are dressed, and the cars they are driving.
- We discussed the importance of not being too quick to take offense….Mr. Mallard is deeply offended when the big swan on the boat does not return his greeting….turns out he isn’t a real swan at all!
- We discussed the vocabulary words from the manual.
- We talked about the ducklings names and how wonderfully they rhyme: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Pack, Ouack, and Quack.
- There was so much art to discuss with this book! First, we talked about how the book won a Caldecott medal, and I read her the part from the manual that discussed McCloskey’s acceptance speech.
- We discussed the medium used (lithographic drawings on zinc plates), and she tried making a sketch using primarily brown pencil. We talked a bit about how the book lacks any bright color – but there is still so much wonderful detail that it doesn’t matter a bit.
- We talked about using lines to show speed, and she drew a picture of herself racing on a horse. She’s got quite the horse thing going on lately! I reminded her of our row of Papa Piccolo, which also included a discussion of speed lines.
- We reviewed the many ways artists show water….here with wavy lines and little splashes.
- We talked about using light and dark “value” or shading, as suggested in the manual. Lots of good shading on Michael’s uniform! There was a short activity in the appendix of the manual that involved shading squares in progressively darker hues, and she tried that as well.
- I shared information from the manual about how Robert McCloskey prepared to illustrate his book – he actually went and bought ducklings to study so that he could draw them accurately.
- We did a few multiplication problems orally, as suggested in the manual. I made up problems such as: “How many bugs would Mrs. Mallard have to catch if each duckling needed three for dinner?”
- She counted the number of automobiles in the story – there are lots.
- We are told in the story that the ducklings will take 21 days to hatch. I had her figure out how many weeks that would be.
- Using the manual and the FIAR Fold and Learn for this book (available to subscribers of the FIAR blog), I shared her with her some information about duckling development. We have four pet ducks, so this is something she knows a fair amount about.
- We made a list of animals that care for their babies and animals that don’t.
- The FIAR manual suggested The Secret Place by Eve Bunting as a go-along story. I picked up a copy at the library and we enjoyed reading it.
- We just happened to be finishing up this row the day of the Boston Marathon, so we did a Boston-themed dinner of hot dogs, brown bread, baked beans, and Boston cream pie. The recipes for the baked beans and the pie were from the FIAR cookbook, but I chose to buy canned brown bread rather than use the recipe in the book. Our Boston cream pie was a bit of a flop, literally. It tasted good though!
- Finally – and most fun of all – we took a daytrip to the Public Garden and enjoyed walking around seeing the sights. We saw the Make Way for Ducklings statues and took a ride on the Swan Boats.
- We even saw a little island that looked like the perfect place to raise ducklings.
- And we saw many Mr. and Mrs. Mallards swimming about.