The Salamander Room, written by Anne Mazer is a story about a little boy who finds a salamander in the woods and decides he wants to bring it home to live in his bedroom. He dreams of all the things he is going to do to turn his room into the perfect home for his new salamander.
Go-Along Books we Read this Week
- In the Pond by Anna Milbourne and Mat Russell
- All About Frogs by Jim Arnosky
- Tadpoles and Frogs by Anna Milbourne (an Usborne book)
- Do You Know about Reptiles? by Buffy Silverman
- Here Comes the Crocodile by Kathryn White
- Creepy Reptiles by Therese Shea
- Imagine You Are a Crocodile by Karen Wallace
I don’t always do so great on having the kids narrate back to me, but this week I actually remembered and had Alexa narrate the story to me after our 4th reading.
We couldn’t help but talk about animal homes and habitats after reading this book. I found this habitat file folder game at file folder fun. I printed the cards on cardstock and laminated them, then I added envelopes to a file folder with the habitat headings and had the kids work together to try to sort the animals into the right homes.
Amphibians: Frogs, Toads and Salamanders
I had the kids make a “My Book of Amphibians” so they could keep some pictures of amphibians in one place. I made a small book out of construction paper, and then printed off four different animals from the internet for them to cut and glue inside their books.
To teach Alexa the basic parts of an adult frog I used the template for the Parts of a Frog (for free) from Montessori Print Shop to make felt pieces for a frog parts puzzle for Alexa to put together and label. (I made my own labels by printing them off and attaching them to felt pieces (for when she wants to use it on the actual felt board). She really enjoyed this activity – I added this to her felt file box so she can do it again any time she wants.
After learning about how amphibians start their life in the water and then they metamorphous into a land-living adult, we used Frog Sequence Cards to illustrate this. I had two different copies of this type of printable, that the kids worked on putting in order. Alexa has learned so much this week. She caught on pretty quick to the life cycle and asked to do it several times in a row (I think she did it a total of 6 times :))
The kids also both worked on Life Cycle of a Frog Coloring Pages, I was so proud of Treyton’s coloring, he worked really hard on it.
For the first half of the week we focused solely on Amphibians, but on day 4 I introduced reptiles (which the kids are more familiar with). We talked about how the main difference between the two groups of animals was that amphibians had skin, whereas reptiles have scales. We brainstormed together about different animals found in each group.
The kids showed a big interest in crocodiles this week, so we watched some videos on National Geographic about crocodiles. Treyton picked one about Lions vs. Crocodiles, and Alexa picked one about the first day of a Crocodiles life. After reading our crocodile book, she was very interested in the fact that crocodile mom’s carry their babies in their mouths to bring them to the water – in the video she picked she got to watch it in action.
In our science curriculum (R.E.A.L. Life Science) we did an experiment with paper towels to show the difference between amphibian’s, human’s and reptile’s skin and how easily each retains or loses water. We laid the wet amphibian paper towel out flat, while we rolled up the wet human paper towel, and placed the wet reptile paper towel in a baggy. Treyton had to hypothesize on which he thought would dry out first, second and third. He guessed that the reptile (baggy) would dry out first, then the human, then the amphibian. He was surprised by the results that were the exact opposite! :)
Field Trip: Nature Reserve
Early on in the week, we took a trip to the nature reserve to see if we could see any frogs or toads…. Treyton injured his foot pretty significantly at his birthday party this past weekend and has not been able to walk much on it so we couldn’t walk too far, but we were able to find a lot of interesting animals (mostly stuffed or preserved) inside. The kids had a lot of fun, using the toy microscopes, testing their bird call knowledge, looking at the animal prints and stuffed animals.
One of the highlights outside was that we were able to watch a large line of geese making their way to the water together. We talked about how such a nasty thistle plant could have such a pretty flower on it.
Treyton found a bunch of bur plants (not quite their scientific name, but it was the best I could come up with on the spot). He really wanted to bring some home. He simply stuck them on to his sock to bring them home… it’s been 5 days, and I’m still finding them randomly throughout our house :).
We discussed what part of the plant we thought the bur was – the flower, leaves, roots or seed. Both of the kids guessed seed.
The kids watched a reading of The Salamander Room on Youtube
For a challenge for Alexa I printed off a frog 100s coloring chart from teachers pay teachers (for free).
I have (currently ordered and it’s on it’s way) a frog hatchery kit. I was a little disappointed that it hadn’t come in time for this weeks studies, but I’m sure the kids will still enjoy watching the eggs turn to tadpoles and grow into adult frogs!