Sunday, May 8, 2016

Rowing Make Way for Ducklings {FIAR}

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!

*Social Studies*

  • 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!

*Language Arts*
  • 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 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. 

*More Fun*
  • 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. 

We had a ton of fun with this row!  We recently finished our row of A New Coat for Anna, so I will have a post on that soon. Our current row is All Those Secrets of the World

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