The Salamander Room was a great row. We loved the topics that went along with this whimsical storybook about a boy who imagines his room turns into the perfect Salamander habitat. We really embraced LOTS and LOTS of Nature Study for the two weeks we did this unit.
Here are just some of the topics we covered with our row of The Salamander Room:
- Language Arts – list making, story setting, parallel construction (see the activity at the bottom of the post), Reading for Knowledge (ie: how to research), copywork, narration
- Art – a review of various concepts (shadows, viewpoint, color palette, personification, etc.), creating Salt-dough Salamanders and decorating/painting our own Salamander Room, we also discussed the use of space and practiced drawing dew drops
- Science – We infused tons of Nature Study to inspire a deeper love of nature (as part of the theme). We looked at butterflies, amphibians, turtles, and did a Nature Scavenger Hunt. We took a nature walk at dusk to search for Salamanders, and enjoyed a sunset canoe trip. We also discussed Animal Classification (see the game posted below), anatomy and life cycles of Salamanders, Crickets, Butterflies, among other things!
Some of the books we enjoyed along with our row of The Salamander Room
Studying and Seeking Butterflies!
A trip to a local Butterfly Garden was the perfect late afternoon outing to go along with our study of butterflies. This also gave us an opportunity to discuss what kinds of flowers and plants attracted various species of butterflies.
This game is pretty fun and really drives home the idea of simple Animal Classification.
Here’s what you do:
-Collect every single stuffed animal or plastic-type animal you have
-Try really hard to find animals in each of the following categories: fish, amphibians, birds, mammals, reptiles.
-Now create a label for each classification using cardstock or basic paper
-Put your stuffies/animals in a pile and have the children take one at a time and place it in under the correct label.
-Once they are done, check to be sure all the animals are in the correct place and discuss the difference between the various categories!
Making Salt-dough Salamanders and Creating a Salamander Room:
We used a simple recipe
I found through another FIAR blogger to create easy (and super fun!) Salt-dough Salamanders. This was a challenging craft as Salamanders aren’t the easiest little creatures to mimic in shape and proportion. It took some time and patience, but we did it!
The entire project of making the Salt-dough Salamanders, baking them, painting them, and then creating our own Salamander Room out of a cardboard box took about 3 days total. It was worth it though!
Nature Walk – looking for Salamanders at Dusk
We had such a wonderful memory-making time one evening during our row. We set out at dusk in search of Salamanders. We didn’t find any Salamanders, but we did find toads and a big old TURTLE! What a gift! It was so fun.
Loving Nature – Canoe Trip!
We set out one evening on a sun-set canoe ride as part of the theme of inspiring a deeper love of nature. It was such a perfect night and we were blessed with many breath-taking wild life sightings!
These beautiful Swans came and swam along side our canoe!
And… a rare selfie of my husband and I… *smile*
Amphibians – Toads!
The study of amphibians in nothing new in our house. Our kids have been playing with toads and frogs for a long time. But, this was still another opportunity to take a closer look at these amazing creatures!
We set up a habitat for this guy and observed him for a while before setting him free.
A fun and easy Nature Scavenger Hunt –
1. Create a guide showing different colors with numbers beside the colors. If there is a dark green squiggle with a number 3 beside it, this means, “Find 3 dark green items”, and so on.
2. Give each child a paper bag with their Scavenger Hunt Guide on the front and explain what the colors and numbers mean.
3. Head out somewhere beautiful and start hunting! When children find the object, they can collect them in the bags to bring home to their Nature Table(s).
An activity to go with the Language Arts discussion of Parallel Construction:
The story of The Salamander Room uses a sort of parallel construction in the conversation between mother and son. We used a scale and pebbles to show the parallel construction as they spoke to one another.
Each time the boy asked a question, we put a pebble on the scale. Every time the Mom answered, we did the same on the other side of the scale.
Notebooking and Lapbooking:
A Few Links:
For notebooking, I used several pages from my membership at NotebookingPages.com.
Free Lapbook from Homeschool Share
Free Cricket page
Free Animal Classification print-outs
Recipe and more examples of awesome clay Salamanders
As always, thanks for reading!