Here's what we did!
- We found the Chesapeake Bay on the map, and talked about what a bay is. I reminded her about Ungava Bay, from Very Last First Time.
- We discussed the "send-off" page, when everyone goes to see the men off to war. People in the illustration wave flags, eat ice cream, and celebrate the bravery of the people heading off to war. There was a band playing Over There, so we listened to the song on You Tube.
- We talked about first person point of view; this story is told through the eyes of Janie.
- We discussed poetic form, using the manual. On the last page of the story, Janie and her father spin around until they can no longer tell big from little, young from old, short from long, peace from war....I had her come up with similar phrases. She chose "cold from hot" and "tall from short", among others.
- I asked her why Janie's younger brother warns his father to stay away from his mother, but she wasn't sure. I explained that he didn't recognize him, since he was only a baby when his father left.
- We went over the vocabulary from the manual (jimmies, perch, horizon, sycamore, dock).
- We talked about the medium used in the illustrations (watercolor). On many of the pages you can see little paint drips, so we hunted for those.
- We discussed viewpoint and perspective in the illustrations. In the send-off scene, the boat looks huge because of the lower viewpoint of the people, and because the people are smaller on the page.
- As the boat moves away from the dock, the perspective changes.
- We looked for examples of shadows in the illustrations. The manual included a simple shadow activity, but it rained all week, so we didn't get to that.
- The manual had several ideas for appreciating small details in the illustrations. We noticed how the illustrator had "aged" Janie and Stevie while their father was away, so that they looked quite different when he returned. We also noted the splashes of water as the children waded in Chesapeake Bay - just like the water rings in The Story About Ping.
- We listened to a tuba playing, because there was a marching band at the send-off scene, and the manual told us these usually include a tuba.
- I had her practice counting by twos, since two years passed while Janie's father was away.
- Using the manual, we discussed how people may have begun to suspect the earth was round by watching how objects rise and fall on the horizon. We tried this out with a toy horse and our globe. At first, only a little bit of the horse is visible, but it eventually it reaches the top of the sphere and you can see all of it.
- We did an experiment to show how oil and water do not mix. She put oil and water in a jar and shook it up. The oil rose to the top, no matter how many times she shook it. In the story, Janie and Michael are not supposed to swim in the bay because there is so much oil in it.
- To wrap up this row, we had chocolate ice cream cones with jimmies, just like in the story.
My next FIAR post will be on Mrs. Katz and Tush, which we are just finishing up now.